Remember when we went camping and I got some terrible spider bites? And then we went camping again and had these issues with ticks? That was nothing. NOTHING compared to the terrible, horrible thing that happened last week.
NOTE: Please know that I am not letting my emotions run completely away with myself. When I tell you about the terrible-horrible that happened to us, I have not lost perspective. This terrible-horrible was only terrible and horrible among the truly non-terrible and non-horrible things. I am obviously aware that truly terrible and horrible events (e.g., death of a child/parent/spouse, major illness, loss of a house to a fire) happen to people every day. And I realize how fortunate I am that as of now, I am relatively free of these things.
Sunday morning we're all getting ready for church when Rhett tells us that his head is itching. Crap. Because we know what it means. LICE. While I'm fanning myself so as to not faint, Chuck is fingertips deep in Rhett's hair. He's immediately convinced it's lice. Me? Not so sure. Every google image of lice (a google search I don't recommend, along with "blood filled tick"; just a friendly PSA) shows little white things. What we find in Rhett's hair is tiny black things. Still. We're scared enough to keep him home from church that day.
But of course at church I am unable to focus on anything else. I am also unable to stop scratching because I'm just so creeped out. (I'm also infected with one louse, but we didn't know that then.) I remembered a woman who made a career of lice removal and told Chuck that if/when this ever happens to us, we'd call her ASAP. So we did. At our appointment later that day, we found Rhett was a total mess (probably had them for 2-3 weeks) and I had one louse with a couple of nits. Miracle of miracles: Chuck and Ollie were clear. She gave us instructions (and hairnets!) and we went home.
Let me tell you what lice cleansing entails. Laundry. Loads and loads of laundry. Sheets. Comforters. Clothes. Towels. Slipcovers. Not just once, but twice and thrice. So much laundry. Vacuuming. Also, daily combing with a special lice comb. This is not like a plastic pick. No. It's metal with super close teeth, and being combed with it hurts. And having to comb an eight-year-old who cries and whines the entire time is pretty terrible. (Although you'll have to ask Chuck to verify this. I didn't do it.) Then of course there are the psychological disorders you develop. Paranoia ("I'm sure there's just one louse waiting to stage a comeback!"). PTSD ("That was terrible and horrible and terrible-horrible!"). Exhaustion ("If I have to remake that bed one more time, I'm just going to collapse on top and stay there the rest of the day."). Phantom itching ("Why is my head/arm/foot/eyeball itching? Is there a louse there?!"). And finally, dread ("What if we didn't get them all and they come back????"). The last one is the killer. We've been doing the daily combings for eight days and haven't had any lice nor nits for five or six of them. But still. STILL. What if?!
See. Told you. Terrible. Horrible.
But it's over...for now. We had our follow-up appointment earlier this week and Rhett and I were cleared! Hallelujah.
P.S. I have now added "lice killing" to the list of things I'd like to see a politician put on his/her platform (along with cancelling daylight saving time and requiring swim meets to be at most two hours). I'd totally vote for that person.