The latest victim of the scourge of the Halfwit Sundays is Teisa. She has been bitten by a paralysis tick and is currently residing at Koala Park Veterinary Clinic on the mainland. (I have taken out a second mortgage to pay the expected bill.)
On going downstairs on Monday morning, I saw her reclining on the sofa. But when she didn't leap into the air and run for the food bowl, I was sure something was wrong. Examing her, I found that she couldn't stand up: her back legs were paralysed.
The evil paralysis tick had attacked my lovely Teisa.
Can you imagine a worse creature? It climbs up into trees and bushes and launches itself onto passing victims. Cats, dogs, even humans fall to its evil bite. Yes, even humans!
Once on board, it scuttles to a handy crevice and starts burrowing its way into the flesh, sucking blood as it goes. It generally takes two to three days to affect the animal, starting with excessive salivation and then paralysing the hind legs of the animal. This gradually proceeds up the spine unless the animal is treated.
We didn't know this! We found a tick on Teisa and removed it completely. No tick head was left on the cat, so we thought all was well. But apparently we should have taken her to the vet immediately. If treated then, she would have avoided the paralysis stage or it would not have been so severe.
The Vet on the island only comes on Tuesdays and Saturdays so it was a mad rush to the barge to see if we could get on to take her to the mainland. Luckily, there was an empty berth so we took her across to the vet, who saw her immediately. She was treated with anti-tick serum and there she will stay until she can stand, eat and urinate. (It's Thursday afternoon now and still no good news.)
With humans, the main problem is allergy. I've known people in the Halfwits having to be hellicoptered out due to tick bites. It swells up the airways and can cause severe breathing difficulties.
Even if you do find out and remove it, you will find yourself with an instant headache. The longer the tick has been on you, the more severe the headache will be. So beware!
Robert got bitten on the leg last week and his whole leg became swollen. He likened the headache to a long-lasting migraine. Another friend Guy has been doing bush work on nearby Russell Island and has had a dozen small ticks removed from various parts of his body. They had fallen on him whilst he was working under casuarina trees. He has taken to stripping the minute he gets home and having an all-over body search with the help of his Dad.
The Garden of Eden had the serpent: The Halfwits have the tick.