Summer always comes with its dramas here, whether it's trees falling on the house or one of the Littleboys having an attack of poison ivy. So far, this summer has been no less deadly; The Doctor has been diagnosed with Lyme Disease.
For those not familiar with Lyme, it is carried by deer ticks and initially causes a rash, a flu-like illness and fatigue. For those left untreated, it can lead to serious health problems, but luckily in his case it has been caught early and the treatment, which hopefully cures it, is a three week course of antibiotics. It is common in the northeastern US and apparently, what with the mild winter, there are more ticks than usual this year.
We think he was bitten by the tick on Memorial Day weekend, when we went 'out East', as they say around here - not, in fact, Japan or outer Mongolia but the Eastern End of Long Island. We did some hiking in a state park where there were deer, and that is almost certainly where the tick was. This was followed by a rash we initially thought was an allergic reaction to mosquito bites, and he has felt tired and lethargic ever since.
Having started the antibiotics, he's starting to feel better, but it's a reminder of how deadly summer can be in America. Suddenly I can see our planned summer holiday - a week's camping in rural New Hampshire in August - turning into a paranoid week of reapplying insect repellent and forcing the kids to wear long trousers. But, when I'm not slathering my children in suncream and mosquito spray, making sure they don't walk in anything green when we're somewhere rural, and checking the weather report for tornado warnings - summer's quite fun. And at least we can say that, healthwise, we've had the full-on North American summer experience.