Here is the funny thing: my stroke, which I have spoken about freely, has not that I can tell, changed any one's opinion of me. The fact that I have head lice at the moment may have. We live in such an interesting society.
I have had a lifelong phobia of getting lice and whenever one of my student's had it, I would develop a psychosomatic itch that would last for days. My partners over the years got used to my requests to "take a quick look", all negative.
Well, the universe decided that it was time I faced this particular fear head on, so to speak. Two of us have it and it ain't pretty. The shock of the first sighting is quickly followed by the deep desire to get rid of them, at all costs. I promptly purchased over 100.00 dollars in de-lousing products including shampoos, gels, combs, sprays, after-lice shampoo, olive oil, lavender oil, shower caps, new hair accessories, and new brushes. That, for the record, was an hour after first sighting. Also for the record, one's local drugstore handles requests for all these products with ease. The local Target, on the other hand, has 4 staff members radioing each other on walkie-talkies yelling "I don't know what it is called, it is for head-lice". You will run into a friend you
know at the drugstore while standing in line with all these products. I chose not to use words but just to smile and shrug. Your friend will then tell you that she has heard that lice only like clean hair. This will be the beginning of your entomological journey. You have much to learn..
Then comes Operation RID. This involves shampooing, lathering, rinsing, washing, combing, gel-ing, and using every clean towel you have. Operation RID leads to Operation Wash Everything which is continuing even as I type this. If yours is a household with 74 stuffed animals, be prepared to put them in big trashbags and say goodbye for awhile. Wash a couple of the favorite ones, since the beds look forlorn with all their little stuffed occupants shipped off to the attic.
We are now in Day Two and I have moved from a place of slight panic to a place of fatigue. I have to decide who to tell and who not to tell. I let the pertinent school know and they took swift action (everyone was checked in the classroom). We will not be sharing this at church, or at the family Easter party but then I think...why not? Why do some things still carry stigma and other more serious things do not? In all fairness, until you have joined this particular club, the default position is to stay the hell away from folks who have lice. Still, I want to shout out "we didn't do anything wrong....don't judge us, especially the kids."
Still, we do judge, and that is the reality of living in civilization. Yet another teachable moment (I could use a little teachable moment break, really) for the kids. Why can't we tell everyone at school we have lice? What sorts of things do we talk about and what do we not talk about? For that matter, what sorts of things can and should we blog about that live on in perpetuity?
My stance is that we have to write and talk about things that make us and those around us uncomfortable some of the time. So much of what happens in our communities goes on underground and we struggle alone, fearful of our neighbor's judgements. I made it through yesterday with the help of my friends who had helpful lice lore and colorful stories of their own. I don't wish this plague on anyone but I always remember that we all take a turn at the trough.
On a positive note, I now know the difference between a psychosomatic itch and the real deal...night and day, my friends:)