Note: Just a brief pause in Irish stories due to info below sent to me by Robert Rood…Rooter
to his friends.  He survived a terrible black legged tick bite and subsequent Lyme disease.
A warning to readers.


alan skeoch
sept. 2022

“ Rooter, can I send your Lyme disease experience to my readers?  A terrible experience.”
“If my story will help prevent Lyme disease, I will be happy.”
“Great, Rooter, I think some people do not take me seriously when I tell my tick stories
because very few people ever have a problem.”
“Sure thing!  If it helps one person to be more cautious it is worth telling.”

Robert Root on the day we got permission to explore a derelict farm
near Collingwood, Ontario.  Farm equipment was just abandoned.  On that
day we did not worry about the ticks that might be waiting for us in the
long grass.  We wore long pants of course.

5 ticks on a ruler and surrounding a dime. They range in size from about 3 millimeters long to about half the size of the dime.
Stages of life – black legged tick

(“Alan, I hope this helps alert people to the danger of black legged ticks.”

On Aug 31, 2022, at 2:27 PM, Robert Root <robertwroot@gmail.com> wrote:

I was walking on a trail in the local conservation area when I decided to go into the long grass beside the trail to get to the summit of a hill and get a better view.  I was wearing shorts.  I did not know anything about ticks or lyme disease and at the time twenty years ago Lyme disease was not very prevalent in Ancaster, Ontario.

Two or three days later I experienced swelling in my lower legs and when I sat down and elevated my legs 
my heart felt like it was being swamped with fluid.  
I went to my doctor who is a real frontier doctor.  He has  a record for the most house calls in a year because 
in the rural area where he had practiced many of his patients were unable to come to his office for help.

I did not have a bullseye rash but did have a lot of redness on my left lower leg.  He laughed and said, “Oh you have spider bites!”.  He gave me an antibiotic to deal with the spider bites and thankfully it was the same antibiotic that is used to treat Lymes disease.  At that time 20 years ago Lyme disease was in New York State but it was not thought to have crossed into Ontario and so he was not looking for it.

The swelling continued and I spent considerable time lying on the floor with my legs propped up to drain fluid from them.  Both lower legs were now affected.  It took weeks for this to subside a bit.  During this time I went to a Stag for my son Wesley at the Woodbine racetrack but had to go back to my car and prop my legs up on the dash for the fluid to drain out of them.   My doctor now recognized that it was Lyme Disease.  He prescribed Support hose for me to wear.  Gradually I got a bit better but to this day I still wear support hose during the day and try to put my legs up to drain a couple of times a day. 

I am one of the lucky ones who got the antibiotic early and that prevented a lot of the long term damage which some people have to endure.  There is a lady who lives down the street from me that is suffering a lot more long term problems from Lyme disease because it was not detected early and by the time it was diagnosed the antibiotic was not  very effective.

When I walk in the woods now I wear a long sleeve shirt and long pants and always check for ticks on my body when I come back.   One can still be reinfected by Lyme disease.   You do not build up immunity to it.


Rooter’s description puts me in mind of a line from the poet T.S. Elliot

“I grow old
I grow old,
I think I’ll wear my pant legs rolled”

(Don’t take this advice…do not wear your pant legs rolled in the long grass)


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