Well it was bound to happen and it finally did. One of my kids got lice, her teacher had called to warn me the week before that she had gotten it from one of the kids, but I was sure we would escape unharmed. I had checked her everyday and not found a thing, but finally when I noticed she was scratching last Friday, I found one bug in her head. I felt myself get dizzy and had to sit down, the reality hit me right between the eyes, “Your kid has lice AND your house has lice!” What the hell do I do now? I drove to Walgreens and discovered that the best course of action is to treat the humans and then treat the house. I had no idea what I was in for. The treatment process is a pain, especially the removal of the nits, but I got through that is a couple of hours. The house is a whole other story.
I actually contemplated telling my husband, as I am sure he would self assign himself to some 24/7 project so he wouldn’t have to come home. He may actually be a bigger germ freak that I am and the word lice will freak you out if you have never had any experience with it before. Neither he nor I have ever had it and our children had always missed it when daycare or school had an outbreak….until now. It’s the strangest thing, but as soon as you discover it you feel dirty and trashy. You are embarrassed and you want to hide in the house until it is over.
We went on a cleaning frenzy stripping every bed, towel and rug in the house and washing them all in HOT water. We then set to vacuuming the floors, furniture, mattresses, box springs and anything else that got in our way. My husband and I took turns having meltdowns, which is always productive when you are in emergency mode. When my daughter finally came to tell us she was sorry that we were mad at each other, we realized that when your kid has to apologize to you then you are officially on the giant A-hole list. I also had to contact the people my kids had been near to warn them, which really makes you feel like you stepped right out of the slums. This isn’t something you want to broadcast but you need to take responsibility so maybe they can be proactive and take care of it. By ten o’clock that night I had gotten through my ninth load and wanted to go sleep somewhere where I could be guaranteed there were no lice.
Saturday morning we woke up and started all over again to ensure we had been successful with our cleaning. I took a trip back to Walgreens and confronted the pharmacist and wanted him to reassure me that I did everything right. When I told him all the cleaning we had done, his eyes got really big and he asked, “How many bugs did you find?” Just one, but it looked angry and fertile to me! It’s funny that his reaction was similar to my pediatricians the day before, they act as if your kid got a mild cold and you are completely over reacting. I wound up spending another $50 on pre-lice, post-lice and ‘your paranoid’ sprays and went back home to give all of us treatments again, even though the rest of us never found anything in our heads. I then rewashed half the stuff I had washed the day before, just to be safe.
To add to our situation, yesterday when I got home the fridge was pulled halfway across the floor and it looked as if my husband had been scrubbing. I have to admit, this is like foreplay, he actually was going to clean something without being asked, and something that I have been dreading. Not the case, he came in to wipe the smile off my face with the news that the fridge was leaking underneath. I wanted to ask, “Do you think it was the lice?” Ok that’s a stretch but I wanted to blame someone for some of this shit!
So, we have not seen a louse in three days and I am starting to breathe calmly again and can now make fun of myself. It is almost as if I am relieved that something that I always dreaded, even more than mall Santas, finally happened and we got through it. I now consider myself an expert and am available for consultations on lice and paranoia. If your head is itching as you finish reading this post, it is completely normal, or is it???