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.