Tuesday, October 17, 2006 | 6 comment(s)

This past weekend we had another bout of gucci camping in Shenandoah National Park. It was cold... damn cold. I'd say mid-20s at night. All that was good and fine standing by a camp fire (though it was difficult to play guitar unless you were perilously close to the flames).

Meg (unfortunately) has had some problems with her sleeping bag in the past, and sure enough, she had them again. It seems the synthetic insulation fibers may be breaking down in the foot her bag because the last few times we've camped, she's had cold feet overnight. Previously (and again this past weekend), I've had to unzip the bottom portion of my bag and stick her feet (still inside her sleeping bag, mind you) inside of my sleeping bag. I've teased her that what she needs is a good case of diabetes to get such warm feet inside a sleeping bag!

We also found out that beagles are not really cold weather dogs. We took Jorge with us, but he was pretty unhappy Friday night when we got to the camp site in the dark.
Although Shenandoah Park is only 70 miles from DC, it takes a full 3 hours to get there in Friday afternoon traffic. Yes, if you do the math, that's an average speed of 23 mph. Traffic in the DC area sucks.

We originally thought that putting him down at our feet would be best since he might help keep Meg's feet warm. But a shivering beagle doesn't help much, it turns out. At some point in the early morning hours, I stuck Meg's feet in my sleeping bag and stuffed Jorge in up near the top. For a few hours, at least, we were one cozy, warm family in a tent in the woods.

We call it gucci camping for a reason. We weren't really "roughing it", you see. We ate better in the woods that we do most days of the week at home.
Our Menu:
Friday Night:
Everyone fends for themselves (that meant roasting chicken and apple sausages over a fire, for me and Meg)

Saturday Morning:
Scrambled Egg and Chorizo Tacos

Saturday Lunch:
Pack your own lunches for a (not so) strenuous 4 mile hike.

Saturday Dinner:
Surf & Turf (Yup, steak and bacon wrapped shrimp)
Baked Potatoes (and/or Baked Sweet Potatoes), and

Green Beans with butter and sliced almonds
(All items were cooked over the camp fire. It was awesome.)

Sunday Breakfast:
Oatmeal/Yogurt/Granola bar with:
  • honey
  • raisins
  • dates
  • strawberries
  • fresh pineapple
  • roasted pecans
  • diced apples
  • diced pears
As I was getting into the car on Sunday afternoon to start the drive home I noticed a little pinch of pain along the left side of my abdomen. I had recently read someone's
I Apologize Completely
But I have no idea who it was that recently wrote about having to get an shot of antibiotics because of an infected pump site. If you know, please remind me so I can (re)assure myself that I'm not going crazy. Thanks.

post about an infected insertion site they had, and then the following conversation in my head ensued: "Hmmm, I've got this weird pain on my side."
"I wonder if I've got a little infection in one of my old sites."
"But that would be strange, I haven't had a site over on my left side for at least two weeks."
"But then you haven't showered in two days and have been frolicking in the woods...."

I had several layers of clothes still on as we were leaving, so I wasn't able to easily check it out. Finally when I got home and unpacked all our gear and went to take a shower, I looked down, and saw the latter half of a tick sticking out of me.

Not cool.

Meg got some tweezers and removed the bugger (he was surprisingly difficult to remove) and placed him in a zip-lock bag. She did a bit of research on Lyme Disease while I showered. I searched some more and found a ton of information about the probabilities of infection from known tick bites (14%) and what the infection rates were by region (the county we were in only has a "moderate" risk), and what the infection rates are based on how engorged the tick was upon removal and how long it had been there (the more engorged and the longer it's in you, the higher the risk).

I also learned that if some of the "mouth-pieces" were left behind upon removal of the tick, this will not result in a higher likelihood of Lyme disease. I also learned that prophylactic antibiotic treatment for Lyme's disease is not often recommened. Apparently, they wait until it develops before trying to treat it. Same goes for the slightly more frieghtening Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

So, now I have a little ticky-hickey, and I have to keep an eye out for the (not so) "tell-tale" bull's eye sign of Lyme disease or some general flu-like symptoms that may pop up in the next 2-weeks to a month. Thankfully, a course of antibiotics "usually" cures both Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. But the flip-side sounds like hell.

I used to always feel confident that I was strong as an ox when it came to stuff like this. I tend not to use band-aids, or take any medication unless absolutely necessary, or go to a doctor unless I feel like I'm about to die. As I've started to get a little older though, and a few diabetic complications have started to rear their ugly heads, my self-confidence on this front has been a little shaken. I feel more at risk.

I so don't need to add this to the list of things to worry about.

6 Comment(s):

Blogger Scott K. Johnson said...

1) Don't you hate when you have recently read something on a blog somewhere, and want to refer to it in your post, but can't remember which one of the fabulous blogs it was on?? For the record, you handled it VERY nicely! :-)

2) Man, that sucks about the tick! I've never had the pleasure - but then again my idea of a cool weekend would involve something more along the lines of hotels with nice swimming pools and good grilled cheese sandwiches... I'm not exactly the "outdoor" type, usually.

Here's to hoping that there's nothing more to worry about!

Blogger Minnesota Nice said...

Back when you were debating whether or not to accept a reward for the fundraiser, I thought you said you didn't know how to cook. Surf and turf - when camping? My idea of campfood is trailmix and a baloney sandwich.
We have Lyme Disease here too, but only in the recent years when it jumped the river from Wisconsin.
Having diabetes simply makes us more aware of the vulnerability we all face by being in a body. And, maybe with that awareness comes gratitude on those days when everything's okay. Keep an eye on that bite.

Blogger Johnboy said...

Sounds like a great time camping, Kevin, sans the hickey (of course).

You guys really know how to eat well on these trips! I guess the old baked beans around the campfire is just too cliche. ;)

Anonymous Anonymous said...


This is my second attempt to leave a comment - the first got lost!

Anyhow, take care of that tic bite. I was bitten walking tin the Vosges Mountains in eastern France early last spring. If you get a red circle around it, immediately get antibiotics! That is what happened to me. But all went fine. Do take care and keep an eye on the spot!

Freezing dog and freezing wife's feet, but all three of you together MUST have been nice and cozy!

Blogger art-sweet said...

You don't always get the rash, so if you feel tired and nasty a week or two from now, go see your doctor. I speak from personal experience.

Blogger George said...

I am glad you had fun and DC sounds like LA traffic except that it is like that all the time it seems!

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