Microscope – by Tabitha

22 Apr

Like Justyna, I had a microscope as a kid which sat on the shelf in its box. The great failing of microscopes is that you can only look at things on slides, which is really limiting, unless you like performing biopsies.

But I was also given a little handheld microscope, with a light, through which you could look at absolutely anything, and at quite impressive magnifications. It looked like this:

Those of you with children should go out and buy one of these RIGHT NOW. I don’t think any gadget from my childhood brought such prolonged educational joy. You can use it on the family dog, on things you find in the garden, your siblings, foodstuffs, and various parts of your own body. When I was a kid, I had a disgusting corn on the heel of my foot, and I would pass hours investigating it with this microscope. I also, less revoltingly, discovered that images in books are made up of tiny coloured circles thanks to the same device.

I still have this handheld microscope, and as an adult have used it to investigate all kinds of moles and ingrown hairs and various suspicious bugs.

Its most notable use was after a trip to the Pittwater YHA with Anthony many moons ago. We acquired an alarming number of ticks while we were there, and spent the evenings removing them with the special tweezers the YHA supplied for just this purpose (GROSS!). When we returned to Simmons Street, I noticed I had a little pimple on my head, and over several days, fiddled and picked at it, to no avail. Eventually I asked Anthony to inspect it with the microscope. I remember his fateful words: “It’s moving.”

That is correct. A tick had lodged itself into my skull, and I had been idly playing with it for days.

I feel like this post has made me sound like a revolting human being. But I can assure you, under a microscope, we all are.



8 Responses to “Microscope – by Tabitha”

  1. Justyna April 22, 2012 at 9:50 am #

    Tabitha, this is indeed the most revolting post. Your corns, your pimples, your skin infested with ticks. And I read all this just before sitting down to breakfast.

    Interesting fact: ticks are one of the few insects in Poland that are actually dangerous. They carry some hideous disease here. That melts your brain. So think how lucky you were being fed upon by an Aussie tick in your head. If it was a Polish one you’d probably be brain dead by now. Glad you were supplied with special tweezers.

    I will look into the microscope for Kazek. When he’s about 6. Then he look for gray hairs protruding out of Michal’s ears or something equally exciting.

    • Maria April 23, 2012 at 7:05 pm #

      I read it with great interest. The disease is called lyme disease and it’s pretty nasty.

      • Justyna May 6, 2012 at 10:02 pm #

        A friend of mine contracted it whilst pregnant. It was a horrible nightmare. For her and then baby.

  2. mischb April 23, 2012 at 3:23 am #

    not to be outdone on dangerous creatures, i can attest that my sister in law got lyme disease (aka tick typhus) from an australian tick. them thar insects is dangerous!

    • Karen April 23, 2012 at 8:38 am #

      eww, I didn’t know we had lyme disease in Australia

  3. Maria April 23, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

    …and it looks like I didn’t read all posts…!

  4. Suzysiu April 29, 2012 at 3:31 am #

    Your tick experience sounds traumatic. It’s awful to read about it, let alone experience it!

    But thanks for the tip about the microscope for kids!

  5. Mat from usb microscope site May 2, 2012 at 6:13 am #

    Many people use a handheld or portable microscope to investigate all kinds of stuff under their skin. I know one lady who used one of these handheld microscopes for inspectng flee eggs on here cat.

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