If you feel like you are losing your mind, this article is for you. It’s an article that I have put off writing for some time. I’ve struggled with how I would write it and what I would say. In the end, what you read from here on in is me re-living the raw emotions I felt when my child came home with lice. Let me preface this by saying that I am grateful for an understanding husband who realized that I was not in my right mind for about 3 weeks.
My day started normal enough, sick kid at home. After spending the day listening to her cough I decided it was time to take her to the clinic so I sat her down at the kitchen table while I got ready. I glanced at her head under just the right light and almost screamed. I saw the daunting white tear shaped form of a louse egg. Step 1 – panic. Step 2 – think…drugstore. Step 3 – ask what should we use for lice. We were given the most commonly recommended product and I undertook what I didn’t realize was going to be a 3 week odyssey of torture, tears and treatments.
Please know that I really love food, I mean, really love food. I literally did not eat for 5 days. Not a bite. I was so obsessed with washing just about every soft piece of clothing and bedding I could find. It gets better – if a freshly laundered piece of clothing so much as grazed an article of “unwashed clothing”, I washed it again. I treated her with the product and followed the directions, to the letter. I combed her hair to the point of almost combing it all out. I picked out white nits, because isn’t that what you are really looking for? Too bad I didn’t know then that I should have been pulling out the dark colored eggs. After 2 weeks of futile washing, fretting, and crying I still had not overcome this invader to my home.
In hindsight, I became a lunatic. I made my daughter sit on a plastic lawn chair in our house because I was tired of vacuuming 3 times a day. She had to wear a hat at all times inside our house and put all of her clothes into bags so as not to “infect” anything else. At one point I took crayola scissors and cut 2 inches off of her hair. You see, I couldn’t find my good kitchen scissors so as I cut a lovely jagged bob for her, we both sobbed.
As if this wasn’t enough, I encouraged her to stay away from everyone with long hair because maybe that’s where she got it. If I saw her head getting close to another child I literally lost my mind. I was the military hair police on high alert. Looking back, I realize now how much I did to damage her social relationships during that time. I would hair spray her hair with ice mist (for those of you older than 30 you will know what I mean). Whenever she walked by me I would do a “head check”. I mean, really, how many times did I have to go through her hair in a day? I cried every day until she was clear of lice for a week.
After finding the right product and doing lots of research and hours of nit picking, we finally came out the other side. Yes, I am still finding hair combs and elastics in my freezer but never mind…. I’ve overcome lots of issues in my life but nothing has really made me lose a grasp of reality like lice did. If you are reading this and know what I mean, please be assured there is hope. And there is a light at the end of a tunnel.
If you come to us, we promise you, we understand and encourage the questions, the tears and the frustration. Know that we have both been there before.