Yesterday afternoon, I discovered that I had lice. Yuck. Ick. Gross. While I was at work reading a contract, I brushed my hand through my hair and felt something there. It was a little brown bug. I immediately Googled “pictures of lice”, and while it was difficult to compare it to the 1000X magnified pictures, it looked similar enough. I was utterly, completely and totally mortified. . . beyond mortified.
How I would have loved to handle this quietly so that nobody would have to know outside of my family. But, as luck would have it, each of my daughters was at a friend’s house for a sleepover and I had plans to go to dinner and a movie with friends last night. So I had no choice but to go public immediately (oh how I dreaded those phone calls!!!) as I arranged for everyone to get home to be checked and cleaned by the “Hair Whisperer.”
The Hair Whisperer’s name was Amy. I will always have a fond place for her in my heart (and I hope to never see her again!). She came in with a smile, a calm demeanor and bunch of tools. She combed and checked and combed and checked for hours. My son and I were the only ones who came up positive — according to Amy we had caught it early and both had extremely light cases. The two of us got an additional heat treatment that is supposed to kill any remaining eggs (yuck!!!!!!).
We paid a lot for this house call, but it was completely worth it. The feeling that we were being taken care of by someone with expertise really kept my anxiety from hitting DEF CON 1. And, by the way, the treatment didn’t involve any toxic chemicals. Just a comb, conditioner, tea tree oil and a big blow-dryer contraption.
We’ve now been declared 100% lice-free. We are washing every towel, sheet and pillowcase within a 2-mile radius and the rest of our house is bagged up and sitting in our garage to ensure the ultimate demise of any remaining creatures.
Despite my strong feelings of repulsion and humiliation about the whole episode, my friends and family all rallied around and supported me. In retrospect, I’m so glad that I was forced to tell everyone right away so I could dispel my irrational fears of being stigmatized.
(Is your head itching yet?)