Greystone Psychiatric Hospital in New Jersey, that is. It’s surrounded by public parkland and there are several geocaches there. The state is also planning to destroy one the old main buildings – an iconic Kirkbride building. Dr. Kirkbride designed a building with a central administration area and two symmetrical wings on either side to separate male and female patients. It is long and thin when viewed from above but it’s incredibly imposing when viewed from the front entrance. His design has become part of the history of mental health and unfortunately, New Jersey finds it easier to simply tear it down than to take up one of the many offers to renovate or rehab. Typical and disappointing. Anyway…
My friend Carrie and I visited the grounds to take a few pictures and find a few geocaches. We were out for a few hours, and the weather was sort of perfect for geocaching – not too chilly and not too hot. We found seven or eight caches and called it a day. The hike wasn’t super strenuous although some sections gave me a decent workout (both up and down) and I’m sure we covered at least a few miles.
We went to lunch afterwards but had to cut our day short because I had to rush home to help take care of my lovely cat. The next day while I was changing my shirt…. I look down…. and on my arm…. no, rather, IN my arm is a tick! AGH! I had checked myself out for ticks a little bit the day before, but obviously not well enough! I actually yelled to my husband, “Help me! There’s a tick in me!” He put olive oil on it, which for some reason made it stand up straight out of my skin which made it easier to grab with the tweezers and he was able to wiggle the whole thing out, head and all. At that point it actually seemed pretty dead. Still…. we went to the ER. It was Easter Sunday & nothing was open, and I wouldn’t even be able to call a doctor’s office to schedule an appointment the next day, and I figured I would have to get some wonderful antibiotics that make you sunburn and prevent you from eating chocolate. Which was the worst thing ever, because, I repeat, it was Easter Sunday. Since it had been in there less than 72 hours, the doc dug around in my arm a little to make sure it was all gone, gave me one dose of the antibiotics instead of two weeks worth (the Center for Disease Control in the US recommends only one dose if the tick is completely removed within 72 hours), gave me a tetanus shot and sent me on my way. I guess it’s possible that it still transmitted Lyme, but it’s not likely…. still, I’m paranoid about every ache and pain. Oh, and apparently doxycycline is rather harsh on the stomach, because about half an hour later, I got incredibly nauseous and threw up the pills. So, I got to take another dose. Yay.
So, in conclusion…. wear bug spray if you’re going into the woods. After your hike, check yourself for ticks. When you get home, take off your bug-sprayed clothes and put them in a bag so you can wash them as soon as possible, and check yourself AGAIN for ticks. Then shower. Same rules apply as with spiders: if you find a tick, set everything on fire.