For those of you that know me well know that I have a serious phobia of germs. Not all germs, but specifically, throw up and…gulp…lice. I can hardly bring myself to say the word L-I-C-E. Excuse me, I just vomited.
Recently, my worst nightmare happened. Lice happened. The Bismarks had bugs living and laying tiny eggs in our hair. That folks, is probably one of the most repulsive things I can think of, and it literally terrifies me down to the core. I mean, sure there are way more terrible things that can happen to a person. I know that there is always something worse. But for me, at this very moment, this is it.
I firmly believe that “The Lice” were put here on this earth to test our patience, steal our souls, and remind us that we are not in control. The lice..those bastards are in charge. This retched experience nearly gave me a stroke and quite frankly, I am surprised that I am still alive to tell the story.
This is my horror story.
I first noticed it when my youngest kept saying that her head itches. This isn’t unusual for either of my girls. They both have very sensitive skin and get itchy bumps from certain shampoos, soaps, lotions, and hair products. So, honestly, I didn’t think too much of it. I did a quick check of her head and I didn’t see anything, so I just pushed it out of my mind. The days went on and the complaining persisted, so I looked a little more closely. And that is when I saw it. A live bug. At that very moment my normal Tuesday evening spiraled out of control.
There he was, a little, tiny, bug happily crawling around on her head probably reproducing and dropping 100 eggs out of its ass at that very moment. I was in sheer disbelief. Was that really a bug? No, it must be some sort of debris or dirt. Perhaps it was a speck of glitter from art…But dirt doesn’t have legs and can’t crawl around. This was a bug. I literally picked a live bug off my child’s head and set it onto the counter. Holy shit. This is happening. My biggest fear and worst nightmare were starting.
I’d never in my life (all my 38 years) had lice; I had no idea where to start. I panicked. Tears were instantly streaming down my face and my heart was pounding. This CAN NOT be happening. I proceeded to check my older daughter’s hair and much to my horror, I found that it was filled with nits. How in the hell had I not seen this before? How did I miss the billions of bugs living in my kid’s hair? Clearly I was a failure of a mom.
My first reaction to this infestation, burn the house down. No question. Burn that bitch to the ground. We can get a new one. A clean one with no bugs. But my youngest, she had a different idea. Buggies in her hair…now that is something special. She loves bugs and she is always collecting them and picking them up, dead or alive. “Awe…he’s so cute” she says. “I like him”. Um…..no. I loathe him. With every fiber of my being. Only the Hulk would love the bugs living in her very own hair.
My husband insisted that we buy the over-the-counter lice removal kit and do it ourselves. It’s just tiny bugs, we can do this. He really didn’t seem too concerned about it. I mean, he wasn’t excited about it, but wasn’t hysterical like I was. I was hesitant, but reluctantly ran up to the local Walgreens to purchase the lice kit. Embarrassed, I set the kit on the counter and forked over the $24.99 for the three-part set (furniture spray included). “Have a nice night” the cashier said I as I walked out with my lice kit. Right….screw you.
By the time I drove home, I had convinced myself that this was the worst idea ever. We needed a professional lice expert. There was no way in hell I was doing this on my own. If there was anything we needed to spend our life savings on, this was it. I will gladly pay a billion dollars (which I pretty much did) to make this go away. Shit, I’d gladly cut off my limbs if that made the bugs go away. Take my money…take it all. Just get rid of the bugs. So, much to my husband’s disappointment, I booked that appointment at the local lice removal salon. My magic Visa was ready.
This salon was excellent. They knew everything about those little shits. I mean everything…I didn’t know that people in this world existed that knew so much about a disgusting parasites that took residence in people’s hair. They confirmed what I already knew…that we were infested. That’s right…four out of five members of our family had head lice. They stayed calm, checked every member of my family, and gave us advice on how to de-lice our lives.
And thus began the hellish, soul crushing weeks of de-licing myself, my children, and our house. There were horrifying phone calls to all the friends, neighbors, and schools to let them know that our kids had the bugs. The endless days of washing, drying, sterilizing, cleaning, combing, burning, freezing, and spraying were upon us. Stuffed animals were suffocated, toys were thrown away, children were lathered in oils and chemicals, the neurotic vacuuming started, washing machines were burned out from over use, and long nights were spent crying and imagining tiny bugs crawling through our scalps.
One long, grueling, exhausting week later…the treatment was deemed successful. Much to my surprise, the kids are not dead. I am not dead. The house is still standing. We only spread it to three friends (that we know of…eeeeek!) And most importantly, the bugs are now gone. The Bismarks have been DE-Liced
As for me, I am forever changed by this experience. From this day forward I will be neurotically picking at my kids hair like an insane monkey searching for those little bugs. I will be spraying my kids down with mint at every opportunity to repel the bastards. My girls will not be allowed out of the house without a tight bun or ponytail. If you notice me standing a little too close to your child peering at their head, don’t worry…I am just creeping on their head trying to see if they have bugs. Because this….this can never happen again. Not to my kids, not to me, and not in my house.
SO…I have learned that there is in fact, life after lice. You will learn to groom again. Your head will stop itching, and your leper status will go away. Kids will once again be at the door wanting to play with your un-bugged kids. You will survive.
I know lice isn’t the end of the world. I don’t think there have been any reported lice-deaths. There are certainly worse things… just watch the news. But for those of us who have lived and survived this nightmare, we wouldn’t wish this on our worst enemies…
Or maybe we would!