I'll get back to the subject of ageing but something odd happened a few days ago. Carol asked me what was the matter with my left leg, pointing to something on the back of my leg, out of my sightline.''I.ve never seen anything like it! she exclaimed. 'It's like a black growth with a black teardrop hanging down. It's really strange and ugly.' Blissfully unawares I had for some days, showered, dressed, sat and walked while this thing determinedly hung on.
At Tesco pharmacist we asked for advice. At first she seemed loathe to examine me but, when pressed, she pronounced with surprise that I was housing a large tick which needed to be removed at once. A tick? Wouldn't I have felt something like that? Apparently not. Just over 2 hours later in our doctor's surgery a nurse wielded large tweezers to extract the tick and then jump on it several times. Apparently, NHS regulations suggest killing it by a burning cigarette - that doesn't sound appropriate in a smoke free zone! The nurse from Cameroon said she had often dealt with ticks in Africa but since coming to England I was only her fourth victim.
Then began a watch and see period. Was the site going to expand, change shape and colour? Was I going to show symptoms of infection such as headache, fatigue, muscle pain. I am happy to report that a friend who is an experienced nurse has now examined me and declared me free. There is no mass underneath the bite and I have no symptoms.
The great mystery is where this particular tick has come from. Could it have begun eating me in the US on our visit there? Or is it homegrown? Apparently, they are on the rise in the UK. So, this salutary tale is a warning to us all. Beware ticks..