Tuesday, May 19, 2009

fun times :-(

Pat bought himself new boots which he really needed so, after a week of wearing them around the house to make sure that they would work for him, we decided to give them a good hike. On Friday after he got off work we headed to Mt. Tzouhalem. We figured that it would be nicer to take the trails rather than following the road up.
The weather was good and it was fairly easy to find the trails despite having only gone up once and down 2 or 3 times. We stopped at the cross where I took some pictures of the scenery. At one point I was sort of on my belly to take pictures.

I guess that was a mistake because, on the way down I reached to tuck my shirt back into my pants and felt something weird. I looked and a tick had attached itself to my belly. I panicked and called out to Pat but, as I was calling him, I managed to slowly grab the tick and pull him out whole. I thought I had squished him but we thought we'd save him just in case he was still in one piece. The recommendation is that you save the tick so that he can be sent to see if he carries any nasties.
Pat phoned the BC Nurse hotline and they said for me to wash my hands and belly thoroughly with soap and water. Then I was to ice the bite for 15 - 20 minute intervals on the hour for 6 hours (or until bedtime). I was to go to ER in the morning with the tick and I was to get a tetanus shot since my last one was more than 5 years ago. Usually if you've had a shot within 10 years you are fine but with an insect bite or dirty wound they prefer it to be within 5 years.
Well, we got to ER at 8 a.m. The place was deserted so I got in right away. I gave the triage nurse my little buddy in his jar with the wet cotton ball and she looked at me as if I was a little kid with show-and-tell.
While I was in the treatment room the triage nurse walked in to say that I had forgotten my critter. Hmmm.
The doctor looked at me and my creature, said that there are currently no cases of tick carried diseases on Vancouver Island. She said that they no longer send ticks to be tested although after consulting with another doctor she returned and said that, since my critter looked so good, they'd send it off and I would be notified of the results by my GP. No tetanus shot.
In fact there are quite a few diagnosed cases of Lyme disease on Vancouver Island all due to local tick bites. A friend of ours was bitten in Rathtrevor Park and was seen by quite a few doctors including psychiatrists before he was diagnosed with Lyme disease.
A young lady was bitten while hiking along the West Coast trail and she is also suffering from Lyme disease. Her condition is not very good and her family has had to pay for her to receive treatment in California. There are many more on the island with the same problem.
I'm monitoring myself and, if any symptoms do show up I'm to go on antibiotics a.s.a.p.

Despite all this we attended a birthday party on Saturday for my daughter at her home in Nanaimo. Then on Sunday we had our annual birthdays barbecue here. The weather was agreeable for a change but, since it was the long weekend not too many people were able to make it.
Yesterday Pat, myself and two other members of the COG hiked Mt. Benson in Nanaimo with guidance from Kent. The hike started off at Witchcraft Lake. The beginning was fairly level and then climbed up and up. Eventually we reached the ridge where things levelled out before dropping down and up to the summit.
Clouds were swirling around the mountain but we still had great views.
On the way down we were hiking through some snow but not for long. Just about 2 minutes before reaching the cars it started to lightly rain.

View from Mt. Benson

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

time passes when you're having fun

We spent a lovely (rainy) 4 days at Pacific Rim National Park on the we(s)t coast of Canada for our 35th wedding anniversary.
It wasn't raining when we arrived so we did our usual and headed for South Beach, just south-east of Wickaninnish Beach since we weren't able to check into our unit until 3:00 p.m. It was somewhat busy and we didn't see any sign of bears this time. When we were visiting around the same time last year we were fortunate to see a momma bear and her cub.

Momma bear and baby at Wickaninnish Beach parking lot, 2008

Since we arrived on May 3rd, which is our actual anniversary, we decided to have dinner at the Wickaninnish Interpretative Centre.
There was some delays in getting there since a new water system is being put in to supply the town of Tofino with water from the nearby Kennedy Lake. After a 15 minute wait we were allowed to continue on to the restaurant. Suddenly a fully grown black bear ran out of the wood on our side of the road, narrowly missed the car immediately in front of us, then also missed an oncoming truck. The driver of the truck had seen the bear so had time to slow down. I was telling Pat that, if the car in front had struck the bear and both driver and bear had died in the smouldering wreck, I would have skirted past the scene of destruction in order to get to dinner. I guess I was just hungry and irritated at the long wait.
The following 3 days consisted of intermittent torrential downpours and drizzle. Even the surfers were missing from all of their usual beaches but appeared at MacKenzie Beach, where we had never seen surfers before.

We were able to do a bit of walking along the beaches although our walk from Long Beach to Green Point was very soggy. As per Murphy's Law, the last day was the best and we were able to take a good long walk along Florencia Bay and then back along Half Moon Bay. That is one of the bad things about having to reserve; not getting the ideal weather.

I had been having trouble with a rash that wouldn't go away. My family doctor said that it appeared to be dermatitis but we couldn't figure out the trigger. While we were in Tofino I spent the first 2 days reading and the rash improved. After my book was done I brought out some cotton/linen yarn that I had brought along and started knitting a towel.
As soon as I got home I returned to working on a cotton-linen top and the rash returned. We figured it was due to the heat (we have the fireplace insert going most of the time) but, after letting the fire die for a few days, the rash was still there. That was when the light bulb finally went off. I had been having respiratory problems years ago when I put a cottolin warp on my loom. I ended up tossing the yarn into the trash. Then two years ago I had bought some linen blouses to wear to work and found that they made me quite itchy. The blouses were given to the Goodwill.
Around Christmas, when I started knitting with cottolin, I started getting the rash. Still the lights didn't go on until yesterday.
Now I've got an appointment with the doctor in order to get a referral to see the allergist. I'm crossing my fingers, toes and eyes in hopes that it is an allergy to linen and not to wool. Just to be safe, I did put in an order for 100% cotton so that I can re-knit the top I had started using cottolin.