Lice can make you crazy. Those little suckers crawling around on your head (or the thought of them crawling around on your head) can take a normally calm person and turn them into a raving lunatic. It is true. I have seen it happen.
No ... craziness caused by lice is not a scientific fact — but that doesn't mean it isn't true. After all, those bugs are sucking blood straight through your scalp. Plus, I have personally seen it make a grown woman go insane!
Last week my cousin told me her little girl had lice. Normally I would be sympathetic and just hold off on plans until they had the all-clear. But only days earlier that same little girl was in my house, playing with my kids, sitting on my lap, hugging me. She was hugging me. My skin crawls just thinking about the fact that there were little bugs zipping around on her scalp while she was hugging me. I hung up the phone and checked my kids immediately. They were clean. No nits. No lice. But I am no expert. I knew I had to call the Lice Lady. She would come over and inspect all of our heads. The Lice Lady is a woman in the area whom I have never met; she charges $25 a head to inspect and then $100 a person to clean (if infested). In my mind she was totally worth the money. After all, I don't really know what I am doing and, more importantly, I needed someone to check me!
When my husband came home from work, I told him we might all be infested. I told him about the Lice Lady, that she was coming the next day. I had wanted her to come immediately but it made sense to wait until she could check everyone in our house; my babysitter, my parents, my husband — and that meant we had to wait a day. I was scratching my head incessantly. I knew I had lice. I had to act fast, lest I infest everyone else (assuming they were all clean). I bought one of those lice combs and, after the kids went to bed, I combed through my hair. It said to make sure to really scrape the scalp. I did that — and subsequently ripped out a lot of my hair — but that's fine. It was for the protection of my family. My husband thought I was insane. He told me to take a shower and I would feel better. I told him showers were no good. The little pamphlet that came with the comb said lice can hold their breath!
He tried to rationalize with me. He checked my scalp, had my mom check my scalp — but neither of them were seeing clearly. We might have bugs crawling around on our heads. He tried to reason with me ... saying that we did not need the Lice Lady. We were all clean. I argued that she was a professional. These lice could be procreating on my head. This wasn't about the kids anymore — I knew they were in the clear. I needed to protect them from me!
I was itching all over. What if the lice turned into bedbugs? Oh Jesus ... can that happen? All of a sudden I was in the middle of a science fiction movie. My husband finally had to have a "conversation" with me.
He said, "What the hell is wrong with you? I am normally the neurotic one. You need to cancel the Lice Lady. What if she brings lice into our house?" I looked at him, shocked; I hadn't thought about that!
The next morning I sent the kids to school, canceled the Lice Lady, and continued to itch. My husband told me to go to the doctor. Our co-pay is less than the $25 check from the Lice Lady and it will ease my mind. I made the appointment. I was definitely infested. I was itching like mad.
The doctor said I was clean. He can't be right. Why won't anyone really inspect my head?
It wasn't until the next day — four days after that initial phone call from my cousin — that I finally found someone I could believe. I went for a haircut. After my wash, in a very low voice, I told the stylist about the previous few days. She inspected my head. I watched her through the mirror. She really put care into her inspection. Plus, we were under some serious fluorescent lights. She cleared me. Told me there was not a single nit or louse on my head. I then gave her permission to cut my hair much shorter than normal. I felt like she deserved that.
So now that I know for sure that I am clear, why the hell am I still itching? Because lice (or the mere mention of lice) can make you crazy.
Does the thought of lice make you itch?
Image via anna gutermuth/Flickr