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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Breaking Taboo

Well now I know that title has got to have y'all like, "Oh My! What could this be about?" I guarantee you it's probably not what you're thinking.

So it all began for me this last Sunday evening. The watch had actually been on over a week before that. I was almost convinced I was hyper vigilant bordering on paranoid. Three reports from three different sources had actually started to wear on me. What could I be referring to?

Lice.

I feel so much better just saying it. Why in the world is that such a hard thing to discuss? I mean chances are if you have kids you may have this scare and the actual dealing with it, too. I just occurred to me that the talking about it is perceived more wrong than talking sex. Tell you me didn't start to get major jumpy and itchy just reading the word. The effects are even worse if you say it out loud.

I think we got lucky and my girls only had a light case of it. I mean, I knew what I was looking for and I had to look hard to find it. It's definitely better to find it early. It makes the getting rid of them a lot easier. Sadly, I couldn't save the kids from all the trauma of full on cleaning and tossing out of things. That all going on in the midst of getting Hubs on the phone to tell him and light a fire under him to get home since I had no money. Getting the girls to help strip al our beds and put all our pillows (which actually were due for replacing anyway) in trash bags. Making the harder decision to throw away the pillow pets which I felt couldn't be properly washed or dried, better safe than sorry. The girls were very upset but seemed to understand. When Sean found out he took it even worse. I hated being the cause of it but knew it was just stuff. Just stuff that could be replaced. That didn't make it easier to throw away things they were attached to.  Hubs doesn't even wanna replace the pillow pets. I don't think he gets it. I told them I'd replace them and I will.

In the midst of all that were several phone calls between hubs and me. One to my sister to tell her since we were at my parents place for Thanksgiving. I didn't want to make that call to her but it's way better to give the heads up than to let her girls get lice and wonder where from. They may not get it. I hope not, her oldest little girl that is B's age has super long hair. Her littlest girl has lots of cute curly ringlets. If you can believe it, at the same time I was having a conversation with BIL about where to go and what to get. It seems that after one of Hubs calls he called Nana/Pop and asked them if they could ask Rob to go to the store. You'd think I could've asked him but with BIL you just never know what reaction you are going to get. Having Nana/Pop call BIL and ask makes it more official and less likely that he'd refuse. Complicated, I know. I give him bonus points for being helpful. So he didn't decide on his own to go to the store. Fact is he did go. He also helped hand Bridge a bottle of soap she couldn't reach. I couldn't help her as I already had my hands in Meg's hair making sure not to miss one strand w/the lice shampoo.

Over 3 hours it took. 3 hours is counting from the actual washing stage. I have no idea how long we spent stripping beds and throwing washable stuffed animals in a trash bag and non washable ones in another thrash bag. Forget the mess that met Hubs in the hall and Nana/Pop when they got home. Someone thought to put it all in baskets and stick em in the garage.

Having Meg have to get back in the tub to wash her hair with plain shampoo w/o conditioner. Getting B in the shower and repeating several times to wash her hair with plain shampoo only, no shampoo plus conditioner or any conditioner. The pain staking washing of the girls hair. The smell. The even longer more painful checking and combing of every little strand of hair on their heads. Ever so thankful for the tons of hair clips the girls have. Made sectioning off of the hair much easier. I do wish they had chosen a different video to watch. One can only watch Care Bears so many times. It was short cartoons and not the actual full length movies. Meg was first to sit and she was the hardest actually. She behaved well. It's just that her hair is cut in a bob style making it harder to section off and comb through. Bridge was a bit more restless but then it took over 2 hours to comb through her just below shoulder length hair. Didn't find but a few nits amongst either of them. But of course, the painstaking thoroughness is absolutely necessary.

By then Hubs had made it home. He stopped at the Wal Mart to pick up new pillows, more lice shampoo just in case I had it, and lice spray. That's when the sorting of the mess in the hall began. Hubs and Nana/Pop practically made it home at the same time. That definitely helped to speed up the sorting and taking care of getting kids beds taken care of. Once they were all settled, Nana started the process of checking my hair. My nice long, thick hair. Thankfully, she didn't find anything.

I spent all of yesterday washing every single scrap of bedding we use. Sheets and pillow cases put through the sanitary cycle on the washer and two dryer cycles. Blankets and comforters that could stand it went through hot was cycle and 2 dryer cycles. Everything else, 2 warm was cycles and 2 dryer cycles. I set the dryer each time for the max length of time it can be set. Overkill? Who knows. I tend to lean towards better safe than sorry. Once all the bedding was done it was time for the coats. Chances probably aren't high anything was on em, but they were due for washing and again, better safe than sorry.

I may have been lonely at times over the long weekend being the only one home with the girls but now I am super glad they weren't all here. Nana/Pop was left Wed evening to go out of town to visit family. BIL spends more time w/his girlfriend than here. Lucky for me he was here to lend a hand on Sunday. Hubs left Friday night with Sean for a one day coin show. He decided late Saturday afternoon to meet up with Nana/Pop. I don't think any of us are really out of the clear just yet but our odds are pretty good.

That brings me back to the taboo of it all. I think lice is a damn nuisance but it's not like leprosy. Though if you get it/have to deal with it you feel like you might as well be a leper. So, why? Maybe because it's wrongly associated with being dirty. I really think that's the major thing making it taboo. It matters little if you are OCD clean or "dirty" you stand equal chance of getting lice. Though, lice do seem to prefer nice clean heads. Direct head to head contact is the most likely way it it is transferred. From my research, lice prefer to stay on a live host and can't live for long without a host. That doesn't mean it's not impossible to get it from a hat or coat. I mean really, do I have to say it again? Better safe than sorry.

If you google lice myths and facts your will find out opinions vary. But most constantly you'll find that every article of bedding and clothing an infected person touched needs to be washed properly. It's really no different than say if someone in your house got a cold or the flu. You'd take the same measures to clean and disinfect.

Or does the taboo come from the fear of getting it? For me it was nearly utter panic. Causing me to be super observant of my kids and checking their heads every day. They never once scratched their heads in a suspicious way that I saw. Even my sister said she didn't see them doing it at Thanksgiving. She didn't even know we were on the watch for it but definitely major head scratching is a dead give away. Of course, excessive head scratching could also be from dandruff or in a few unlucky individuals psoriasis.

One thing that I noticed is that my Bridge already knew about the not sharing brushes and things with people. She also had a basic understanding of what lice were. She says from a cartoon video the school showed. From the school districts web site I found helpful tips. One was adding some orange oil into shampoo. It helps prevent lice or so they say. Probably couldn't hurt but I'm still researching that. Sounds better than the tea tree oil shampoo mixture I read about on another sight. That is apparently really smell and can only be used like once a week or it can lead to dandruff.

For what it's worth, I feel better getting this out there. For me, I feel like I'm breaking a taboo. But like any sickness we can get or kids/people with special needs, we should feel free to talk about it. To understand it and share our experiences.