Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Exposed

I am itching uncontrollably.

I just got an email today from my boys' school. An exposure notice. Not chicken pox this time. Not strep throat.

"Your child has been exposed to lice. It is highly contagious. Please check your child every day for the next two weeks and immediately report any cases to the school office."

I questioned my children later and all three of them quickly name exactly who has been sent home with lice. There is no hope of anonymity here. Then they told me that even a teacher had been sent home. That's when I started itching.

There is a lot of good information online about lice. The worst part, however, is the microscope view of a louse. Don't look at it!! It will give you nightmares.

I immediately went to the drugstore to see what I could find. Someone has told me about a special kind of comb that will take the lice and nits out. My children weren't even home from school and I didn't know if they had lice or not, but I wanted to be prepared. I wandered through the shampoo and hairbrush section and didn't find what I was looking for. Lice stuff is not where other hair-related products are sold. It is in the aisle with the fungicides, jock itch sprays, athletes' foot medication, and pinworm medication. I have had to purchase each of these items in the past. I hate this aisle of the drugstore. It is the gross isle. I have never had to even walk down this aisle until I had three boys. When visiting this aisle for the first time, I approached timidly, looking around me cautiously as I desperately tried to study the labels to determine which would treat athlete's foot the fastest. When we needed the pinworm medication, I couldn't even go to the store. I sent my husband. He gamely went and got it. In a different city. Then we had a long round of needing wart stuff, as my sons caught warts from each other in the shower, and then I got one. I bought and tried every kind of wart remover and resorted to wearing flip flops in my own shower. By this time I didn't care who saw me shopping in the gross aisle.

I thought I was done with the gross aisle for a while. But no, the lice stuff is right there too. So I bought the strange metal combs and called my friend from the store on my cell phone. She has children with thick, dark curly hair. I was trying to make myself feel better by telling her about the exposure notice. Satisfyingly, she flipped out, her visiting mother flipped out, and we all had a nice panicked gross-out conversation. Then I drove home and since my children were not home from school yet, started to obsessively comb my own hair looking for evidence of lice.

I found no lice on myself or any of my boys. Since they have such fine thin short hair, they all enjoyed the combing, which was a little weird. I even made my husband submit to the combing, and he didn't even dare argue about it. I felt like a mother gorilla grooming her family. Well, except for the part where they eat the bugs they find.

I did discover while combing my hair with the lice comb that I have dandruff. That must be why I'm itchy! I have to head back to the drugstore. At least dandruff shampoo is NOT in the gross aisle!!!

1 comment:

carolyn said...

I so can relate to this!! my daughter came home with head lice - like in kindergarten or first grade - I was mortified. My god i had become like poor black folk (not knowing the dna group waited down the road) and white trash! How could this happen. OH well even the privileged are susceptible I guess. With ammonia and boiling and new brushes etc anything can be overcome. You go cousin - love cosmic gypsy