When I took my socks off Sunday evening, i found several red wheals on my left ankle. Thinking back I recalled sitting on a bench in the Bluemont Park “Master Gardener’s garden” next to a patch of low-lying weeds. I then recalled my childhood days when I developed red sores and my Mother called them chigger bites.
I was surprised to find Chiggers live in urban parks and can work their way through thick socks…they can and do. From Wiki:
English: Trombiculosis sores from chigger bites on human ankle skin, Alabama, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Trombiculidae (pron.: /trɒmbɨˈkjuːlɨdiː/ (also called berry bugs, harvest mites, red bugs, scrub-itch mites and aoutas) are a family of mites. In their larval stage, those species which bite their host and “causes intense irritation“ or “a wheal, usually with severe itching and dermatitis,” are called chiggers. The term “chigger” is often confused with the term “jigger”, the chigoe flea (Tunga penetrans) – the name chigger originated as a corruption of chigoe. Trombiculidae live in the forests and grasslands and are also found in the vegetation of low, damp areas such as woodlands, berry bushes, orchards, along lakes and streams, and even in drier places where vegetation is low, such as lawns, golf courses, and parks.
As luck would have it, Tuesday, I had my annual physical with my doctor of over 30 years who can never remember much about me without reading his notes. He confirmed the lesions on my ankle were indeed chigger bites. After sharing the results of my blood tests, he said I was in A-1 health.
Well, no he didn’t actually say that, doctors always have something negative to say don’t they? Although my glucose reading has dropped back into the high normal range owing to weight loss, he told me I would feel so much better if I lost more weight. As if that wasn’t in my plan. He can be really annoying at times. My LDL cholesterol is so low I am actually losing any potential plaque in my arteries. My HDL cholesterol has always been that of someone destined to live a long time. My heart is nearly perfect, as are kidneys, liver, etc.
After this encounter, and the realization with no immediate health threats looming on the horizon that I would probably live to become a very old woman, I had a moment of sober thinking. I mean, who knew?
As a demographer familiar with life tables, while I was working, I elected to put my savings and pension buyout into annuities, gambling that the money would last longer than if I put it into some risky venture producing a higher rate of return.
But the really shocking thing is that I am going to spend more than a third of my life “old.” Now don’t say, “You are only as young as you feel,” because with osteoarthritis, I feel old most days. The government thinks I am old. As soon as I turned 65 they sent me a Medicare card, which I found very surprising. I like the sign in the retirement home near us, “Growing old isn’t for sissies.”
David who also has an A-1 health record says, “If I am in such great shape, why do I feel so bad?” It’s his joints which cause him constant pain.
Every time I see someone running as he once did, I want to say….STOP. Waking does as much good and you won’t destroy your joints.
Today, we are attending a luncheon and fashion show at the retirement home. I’ll take a few photos if they let me.
Lest I leave you on a downer, below are some of the photos I snapped on Sunday in the rose park. Only a few roses had popped. Most were in bud. This means another trip to the park in a week or so. I’m going to avoid that bench however.
Tomorrow? A photo of my Cecile Brunner rose.