And more importantly, I will still be here when you decide it's safe to be my friend, and for your children to hang with my children once again.
Last week, we got lice. Lice. LICE! (Pause for understandable shiver and head scratch.)
I blame the schools or the movie theaters or the barber or the pocket park. But it doesn't change the disgusting and plain truth that my house has recently been infected with lice.
When we discovered this tragedy, I decided we should move. Since that solution wasn't immediately available, I texted my friend. She shall remain nameless in order to protect her family. A fellow survivor, she was very supportive and very informative. When we finished our text stream (highlights below), I got to cleaning. At midnight, in between laundry loads, I consulted the WEB and was assured that contracting lice has nothing to do with hygiene. It said that I am not a dirty person. My kids are not dirty children. (WEB has clearly never picked up said children after a long, sweaty day at school, when they immediately remove their shoes in the car. That smell, sorry, there's only one word for that: DIRTY!) But stinky, sweaty, dirty, end-of-school-day-children have no relation to lice transmission. I checked. So people, we are not generally dirty. The internet says so.
Nonetheless, we did, very recently, have tiny, microscopic bugs crawling in our hair and probably all over the house, and in the cars, and in our beds, and on our multiple seating options and maybe even on our pets (except WEB said that pets can't get lice...oh, ok. They eat fleas and lick their asses clean but they draw the line at lice. Whatever.) So, our pets are the only things here that didn't need to be completely disinfected which, by the way, involves boiling and poison. Oh to be a dog, just for a week. Last week.
So to get rid of lice, you have options. You can pay a service to completely clean your house and your heads. Plan to spend $500 or more, depending on the severity of your case. They will guarantee no lice and even give you a certificate proving that you are uber-clean. (I've heard some private schools require this certification to allow your kids back in if they find a critter crawling on your sweet one's head.) You can also go the organic route with tea tree oil, vinegar, rosemary, mayonnaise, and other environmentally friendly, non-toxic treatment methods. Or, like me, you can go for the heavy stuff: washable and sprayable and practically ingest-able pesticides. Don't worry, I did my research and most of the websites said these are totally safe.
Once we decided our preferred method of de-lousing, like, as soon as we picked the tiny, moving blood-sucker from the scalp, we got to cleaning. EVERYTHING and EVERYONE! The whole family, even those of us that had no creepy critters and did not exhibit any signs of scratching, got treated. We cleaned the whole house. Really, the entire freaking house. Every blanket, sheet, mattress pad, pillowcase, pillow insert, quilt, towel, rug, cushion, stuffed animal, car interior, helmet, backpack, brush, hat, hair band/bow, not to mention every stitch of clothing that we own, was scalded and run through HIGH heat in the dryer. Everything else (including the pets, just for good measure), was sprayed, first with lice-killing poison and then a tea tree oil spray. After all, if we have to deal with lice, at least we can pretend we're at the spa.
I am hopeful we got them all. There weren't very many to begin with and since our treatment, we haven't uncovered any critters. But we will remain diligent and continue our daily family hair-combing time, closely resembling a family of chimps, for another few days. We want to make sure the lice stay away, as much as it's in our power to do so.
If you've ever had lice, I join you in solidarity and am hear to say it's ok. It totally sucks but the shame is unnecessary. Shame should be reserved for intentional and hurtful actions against others, like say, um, I don't know, running away when you hear your good friend has a lice infestation. That's shameful. But the act of catching lice? It's out of your hands. You can't be ashamed of something you can't control. So let it go sister. You don't have to keep this nasty little secret anymore.
And if you haven't had lice yet, don't worry. If you have children who attend school, daycare, the movies, get haircuts or venture outside, EVER, statistically speaking, you will one day get your lice.
But I will TOTALLY support you. I will share with you what worked for us. I will remind you that you didn't do anything wrong and I will assure you that you will get through it...all of it. The cleaning, the combing, the sterilizing, the stressing, the nausea, the paranoia, the repressing, the calling-the-school-and-neighbors and even the forgiving. Because as survivors, we get it...our friends, the ones who are afraid of us and our bugs, are right to be afraid.
But if you're a judging, abandoning-your-friends-in-their-time-of-need type of person, you'll probably get it twice.
Enjoy the post-lice-discovery text feed. I must warn though, this is rated MATURE due to a few expletives. Come on...I was STRESSED out! And disregard the few typos.