While hiking through Pennsylvania I had begun to notice a large, hard, and painful spot developing on my tookus. I couldn’t actually see most of it due to its location, but I could see the edge of it, and it was red. Oh man, was it red. A tick bite, I thought?
On several occasions I would catch myself pouting with my eyebrows furrowed, and with one hand rubbing my malady (which I will remind you was on my rear-end). I was checking to see if it was still there, if it still hurt, if it had shrunk, etc... Maybe it would go away as quickly as it came, like a cold or a bruise. I’m sure one day I’d feel for it and it would be gone, and I’d think, “huh, I wonder how long that’s been gone.” It occurs to me now, that others may have also caught me in this affectionate rub to my behind. I wonder what they thought. Did they think I was lonely? I wonder if the concentrated look on my face threw them. But, no matter.
When I stopped in Duncannon, and then went home to Bloomsburg bringing 6 trail friends with me, I had the chance to look at myself in a full length mirror. It was still there. It was red, and looked like a bulls eye, but not the kind I had seen in photographs of tick bites. There were concentric rings of dry skin. It was sore, hard and raised. It had grown larger since I first noticed it, and there were two sizable bite marks in the center of the inflammation.
A spider bite? Eh, I’ve been bitten before, and I don’t feel sick. It’ll probably pass.
These were the thoughts I used to comfort myself. I didn’t have health insurance and I was worried that if I showed someone my tush, in particular my mother, I’d be forced to get off the trail. However, one doesn’t become sick in the doctor’s office. You’re just sick and the doctor is the one who has to clue you in. I needed to get a second opinion.
While we were at my house, my trail mate Fiddler asked to go to the emergency room. The doctor reported that Fiddler had a small hernia and a skin infection. Antibiotics would fix the infection, but the hernia would eventually require surgery. Those things don’t just fix themselves. I remember Fiddler looked at me, worried. “Aren’t hernias for someone...older?” he asked me. I didn’t know. Fiddler was 19, and fresh out of high school. He looked like he wanted his mom. I wanted his mom too.
If he didn’t seek surgery, the doctor told him that bending over and picking up heavy things could make it worse. So basically whenever he bends down to pick up his pack he’s going to have to worry about literally ripping a new one. I was worried that he was going to have to go home, seek surgery, rest up, and possibly not make it back to the trail with enough time to finish this year.
This is what comes of telling doctors you have problems. They give you a condition.
But I showed my mom, the retired nurse, anyway. First, I encouraged her not to get excited. Then I dropped my shorts. She said that we should call the tell-a-nurse right away.
The tell-a-nurse told me to start using a topical antibiotic, such as Neosporin, and to seek additional help if the swelling didn’t do down. I crossed my fingers, and hopped back on the trail.
A week later it was still there.It was hard to sit down and I’d nearly start crying whenever my arse took any sort of a hit.
Yeti, a south bounder I had met in Maine that had since left the trail, came to pick a few of us up in Harpers Ferry and took us back to his house. Papa Yeti, and his good friend Susan gave us the best breakfasts. I watched Planet Earth for the first time, and enjoyed their showers. At such a nice place the group had decided to “zero” (take a day off, a day where you hike “zero” miles) and I thought, “Okay, it’s now or never.” So after breakfast, I decided I would seek not only a second opinion, but a second, third, and fourth opinion.
Not too long after the dishes were washed, I walked into the dining room and asked the guys (Curse, Yeti, Lost Rob, and Bacon) if I could show them something on my badonkadonk. They all said yes without reservation. Hey, it was a free show! I decided not to drop my shorts, but instead I just lifted up the side. And upon this exposure the guys started groaning and I could almost hear them reeling back and flinching with disgust. Someone said, “Dipps, you should really see a doctor about that!”
Now, this is the last thing you want a guy to say when you reveal something so sensitive, such as your butt. You’d rather hear, “Nice!” or “Damn, that one fine booty.” But no, they told me to show it to a medical professional...that I needed help.
So, through an amazing connection of Yeti’s, I got into see a doctor for free (I beat the system). I was led past all of the waiting patients and seen within 5 minutes of my arrival. What service! The doctor told me it wasn’t a tick bite. That I had been bitten by something and that I had developed a minor staph infection. I remember he said the word, “MRSA,” which freaked me out, but he assured me that I didn’t have that and not to worry. He wrote me a prescription for an antibiotic that was on special (free) at the local pharmacy and wished me luck. Though I thought my luck was looking pretty good right about now. Thank you doctor.
And thanks to Travis (Curse) I finished off my medication, and the bite disappeared. My bum is once again looking quite fine.
P.S. Bacon, I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly.