I arrived in London from Armenia this afternoon after an excellent flight on BMI International. Eddy meets me at Heathrow and after a machine-banging performance at the parking machine that ate his five-pound note, he whisks me home to Montrose Court.
On the way home, I mention the mysterious small black blood blister that looks like a tiny lady-beetle that I first noticed on my teste a couple of days ago. In true Swiss efficiency, Eddy has me standing by the window in the light and he standing with magnifying glass suggesting I drop my daks and bare the ‘crown jewels’ for closer inspection. (Talk about the ‘Odd Couple!’)
After Dr Eddy examines the Michael ball, he pronounces it to be a tick!
Off to the kitchen and he returns with a pool of olive oil on a paper towel; wraps and secures it to scrotum with rubber band, like a wonton wrapper; and then we sit down for a cup of tea and wait for the critter to suffocate.
On re-checking in a quarter of an hour later, my small dried blood blister ‘under’ the skin has developed kicking legs (which I photograph with my iPhone but will preserve you from that), but its head is still firmly attached into the scrotum sucking my blood. I know enough about ticks and Lyme disease to be concerned that the animal isn’t pumping deadly pathogens into me.
Off to YouTube looking for instructions for removal, but the required pointy tweezers Eddy doesn’t have. So next step is to call Mercedes, who sagely recommends going to a doctor because I have had the animal attached for 2-3 days.
We can’t budge a thick, colourless lady at the front desk at Eddy’s medical practice to let me see a doctor there, and we are re-directed to an NHS ‘Drop-in Centre’. By now, no time to return home for Eddy’s free bus pass so I grab a taxi, and off we hurtle to the NHS ‘Drop-in’ Centre in Victoria, right behind Windsor House where I worked for seven years!
We arrive to only a small waiting list and another front desk lady of more colour, who tells me to keep the story of my testes for the doctor.
A nurse greets me and takes me to an Indian doctor, who asks if I mind if the nurse looks on as he ‘operates’. What have I to hide approaching 70 next year? I observe the removal in prone position on the couch while the nurse squeals “I’ve never seen one like that before. It’s so big!”
Not knowing whether the Armenian variety of tick is a disease carrier, the doctor prescribes a course of antibiotic for two weeks. I shake his hand and leave without having to pay a penny. Off to Boots the Chemist, and I’m fixed up with my medicine in minutes, and leave without having to pay a penny.
A great big tick for the British NHS!
By now a delightful London twilight, so Eddy and I walk home along the same route I walked for years to and from work; through Eaton Square and Belgravia, and on past the back of Harrods to Lennox Gardens and my old flat; before stopping for the ‘before 7.30pm’ Prix Fixe dinner at an old haunt on Brompton Road, the San Quentin Brasserie.
I wonder if my travelling companions need to check themselves? No problem for Pam and Ken, but I can’t quite envisage Edmundo’s expression with housekeeper Regina standing at the ready by the kitchen window with a magnifying glass in hand.