Writing a blog has been liberating and healing, and I am so appreciative of the warm response to my ramblings and reflections. But one recent experience was so scary and distressing it gave me my first ever case of writer’s block.
It involved lice.
A couple of weeks ago, I got a call after dinner to inform me that one of my daughter’s friends, with whom she’d just spent the weekend, had lice. It was too late to go to the lice lady to have Kim checked out, so I made an appointment for the next morning. Then I raced to CVS and purchased an at-home treatment (after a quick survey of the store to make sure no one I knew was on the checkout line), because of course I couldn’t wait overnight to find out from an expert whether Kim had it, too.
Dr. House was was determined to make that diagnosis herself.
That night, as I combed out Kim’s hair with our new blue plastic nit comb, I found dozens of tiny white eggs.
I cannot tell you how grossed out I was, so I won’t even try.
As I made the dreaded calls to the moms of the friends Kim had seen since the weekend to warn them their daughters might be infected, too, my head started to itch.
First thing the next morning, I took Kim to the lice lady, who said I had done an excellent job with the at-home kit, because after an hour combing Kim’s hair, she didn’t find a single egg.
Evidently I was quite the lice-slayer. I was very proud of myself.
I had a comb out too, and the lice lady didn’t find anything because, she explained cheerfully, a) I’m old, and b) there are some people lice just aren’t attracted to.
I thought we were home free, but two days later I did a comb out on Kim as a precaution, and found more eggs. I had already changed Kim’s bedding and tossed her stuffed animals in the attic, but evidently that wasn’t enough. I boiled her brushes (again), and put everything she touched in the dryer, not to mention vacuuming like a madwoman (once I figured out where the cleaning lady keeps the vacuum cleaner, and how to operate it).
But the next day, more eggs.
This cleaning frenzy continued for two weeks, with me spending hours a day doing laundry, and evenings in front of the kitchen sink, combing out Kim’s hair. At one point, I gave Kim a hug (being careful to avoid her head) and told her it was nice to have this bonding time with her, just the two of us. “WHAT KIND OF MOTHER ARE YOU,” yelled Kim, “THAT YOU’RE HAPPY YOUR DAUGHTER HAS LICE?!”
That’s not exactly what I meant, but she had a point.
Finally, right before Christmas, I decided we had to make another trip to the lice lady to figure out why we couldn’t shake the problem. The lady did a comb out, and found the eggs, just like I had.
Only it turns out what I’d been combing out for two weeks weren’t eggs. They were towel lint. “So you’ve been combing my hair for an hour every night til my neck hurts, and using that nasty shampoo that smells, and boiling my brushes til they melt, and ruining my North Face jacket in the dryer, all because I have TOWEL LINT?” asked Kim with a look.
All things considered, though, she took it pretty well. Good thing for me Christmas was right around the corner.
Needless to say, Santa brought her a new coat and a new brush.
Christmas is what I’ll write about tomorrow, but I had to get this story out of the way first, the story of the last time I play doctor because I am too impatient to spend one night waiting for a proper appointment.
Ho ho ho.