My duck-related injuries

May 24, 2022 • 1:15 pm

There is a lack of news today, so I’ll just add this. I have started developing swimmer’s itch again (“cercarial dermatitis“, caused by flatworm larvae associated with waterforwl). I had it last year, and it was dreadful, with an itchy red rash (and I mean itchy) that lasts several weeks. Scratching is useless; only prescription creams offer temporary relief.

This came, of course, from my double immersion in Botany Pond a week ago to rescue an orphan duckling some peabrain put there. Although I failed to rescue it, a student named Brandon did, and it’s now in rehab. As for me, I thought I’d come off scot-free this time because the water was cold and we don’t have many ducks.

No such luck. The rash, due to an immune reaction from the larvae that drilled into me, is starting, and since I was completely underwater once or twice it’s on my hands, feet, belly, and, well, everywhere. When I called the doc to get some prescription steroid cream, I realized that I may have incurred more duck-related injuries than anyone whose job isn’t to raise ducks.

So far:

1.) Swimmer’s itch, bout 1

2.) Head laceration from running into a tree while chasing drake malefactors

3) Serious ear laceration (11 stitches, some double) from snagging my ear on a tree branch while chasing duck malefactors

4.) Swimmer’s itch, bout 2 (both from attempting to rescue orphan ducklings

5.) Badly banged up knee from falling into the pond several years ago.

Non-medical injury: lost my glasses ($200) while trying to catch a duckling in the main pond. Couldn’t find them in the muddy pond bottom. (BTW, all orphans have been successfully caught and rehabbed.)

I won’t show pictures of the wounds themselves, but I had to tell my doctor that I’m sure he’s never had a patient with so many duck-related complaints. He agreed. But of course I’d do it all over again to save the ducks. I do love me some waterfowl.

Here’s after I was dressed in a turban after my ear injury on May 8, 2020:

And remember, try not to go swimming in ponds where there are ducks. (My swim was of course involuntary.)

28 thoughts on “My duck-related injuries

  1. Sounds like you’re deserving a Purple Heart. Several times over. When I have a bad itch, I find that just brushing it lightly with the tips of my fingers helps … some. Scratching makes it spread.

  2. Those are some lucky ducks, to have such an amazing friend! I didn’t know that swimmer’s itch was from a flatworm infection. I guess it’s good news that humans are not suitable hosts, so no ivermectin needed. But, oy…

    1. I did a search for ivermectin as a treatment for the little buggers, but I did not see anything. It would be annoying if it was effective, but of course now is all sold out bc of idiots.

  3. I don’t recall if I mentioned using a towed hen duck decoy to draw in a wayward youngster to a net, but it seems at least worth trying. I get chiggers, but I think swimmer’s itch much be worse!

  4. The boss-O-meter is in the red here.

    I’ve learned so much from this – hard won knowledge…

    I venture a guess that PCC(E) would contribute greatly to a wildlife rescue team, or something.

  5. “My swim was of course involuntary.”

    You’re alluding to the fact that you have no free will, of course. I couldn’t resist reminding you of that (of course).

    I can still hope that you get better soon, can’t I?

  6. Strewth! I missed the ear injury 2 years ago – it was when We were in lock up & I was getting made redundant with little web access..


    If there is a duck god it does not appreciate you!

  7. You saved a life, knowing it would cost you, and you didn’t think twice about it. That’s huge.

    What news of ducklings? What ever happened to Dorothy’s nestlings, perched in the inappropriate window ledge? Does Honey ever appear at Botany Pond, or do you think she may have nested elsewhere this year?

    Also, I note there are chest waders available for under $40 on Amazon.

    1. Yes get the blasted waders Jerry! Mind you, not sure about this speciesism – save the flatworm larvae! 😁

  8. Although you probably have already thought of this, you may get your glasses back when they drain the pond. That’s still the plan for this summer, right?

  9. Would prescription-strength antihistamine help? Non-drowsy in the day and Benadryl at night to sedate you.
    From wiki >> “Orally administered hydroxyzine, an antihistamine, is sometimes prescribed to treat swimmer’s itch and similar dermal allergic reactions. In addition, bathing in oatmeal, baking soda, or Epsom salts can also provide relief of symptoms.[6]”

  10. Would a healthy pond-side post-rescue lathering of “hand sanitizer” blast the bugs enough?

  11. Non-medical injury: lost my glasses ($200) while trying to catch a duckling in the main pond. Couldn’t find them in the muddy pond bottom.

    Maybe they’ll find them when they drain the pond — the way the cops found Nathan Leopold’s glasses near the body of Bobby Franks in a culvert in a marshy area of Chicago.

    Those glasses had a starring roll in the Orson Welles movie Compulsion.

    1. Missing eyeglasses that ought to have seared their way into the face of a corpse of a man he had murdered for Kathleen Turner got William Hurt’s character into trouble in Body Heat.

  12. Hope the cream does the trick – and that your medical insurer doesn’t try to duck their obligations…!

  13. I have no doubt you would dash into heavy speeding traffic to rescue a little animal. You deserve a Purple Heart.

  14. Try rubbing sensitivity toothpaste (potassium nitrate) on your cecaria infection sites. I sometimes use it for lone star tick bites which are always insanely itchy.

  15. In the 1960’s I spent my weekends at a sailing club operating at a gravel pit in Gloucestershire. I always swam (or capsized!) and often got swimmer’s itch. The recommendation in those days was to swab the skin on emerging from the water with dilute Dettol (a chloroxylenol disinfectant and antiseptic) and kill the little buggers before they could bore in. Worked very well. And, sadly, probably too late to help you this time, Jerry. But if you have to get wet again, have something suitable at hand and try it out as soon as you get out.
    (Can’t you see the headlines: “Respected professor suspended for standing naked in a washing up bowl anointing himself with pungent foreign liquid. Terrorism charges pending.”?!)

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