Well, the wind was pretty well out of my sails on Friday.  I didn’t sleep at all well Thursday night, and woke up with a sore throat.  I ended up ditching the fun evening we had planned, and most loathsome of all, the poor Snork Maiden turned out to have (shudder) head lice.  I’d been dreading this since Bestfriend got a case of it a few months ago.  The S.M. escaped it that time, but last night she came home late (our delightful neighbors the C. Fam. took her out to dinner) and said her head was itchy.  Peering among the roots of her hair, I found one minuscule louse, so small that I wasn’t even sure that was really what it was, and a few itty-bitty white dots clinging to her hair within half an inch of the scalp.  As per the internets, they were very tightly attached, hard to pull off with fingernails. 

Like so many things that one dreads–the Great Plumbing Disaster of 2005 springs to mind–it turned out that dealing with it was not as bad as the anticipation of dealing with it would lead one to think.  We just sort of went ahead and did it.  I let her go to bed because it was so late and she was so tired.  Stubb went out and got lice combs and a bottle of Nix.  I looked up treatment protocols on the web, and this morning, we dealt.

I found an Australian health website that recommended combing conditioner into dry hair as a method of finding lice, so we did that first.  It took about an hour and a half (on a towel on the floor in front of a “Hannah Montana” DVD) to comb conditioner into her hair and go through it with a metal lice comb.  I found two more live lice as well as some eggs and nits. (Most websites use these words interchangeably, but some use “nits” to mean the leftover egg shells after the louse has hatched.  After a while I thought I could distinguish between these two, as the shape of the shell is different and it’s more translucent.  I think.)  It was usually easier just to cut off the single strand of hair than to get the egg off.  The comb did not usually dislodge the egg on its own.

After this, she shampooed her hair (no conditioner, since it interferes with the treatment) and we worked the Nix into it.  Nix is not nearly as nasty as I assumed it would be.  It’s a fairly nice-smelling sort of creme conditioner, which helps you deny the fact that you are rubbing insect poison into your child’s head. You rinse it out after ten minutes and then go through the hair with a lice comb.  At this stage, thank goodness, I found almost nothing in her hair.  The idea is that we keep checking, shampooing with tea-tree oil, and combing.  And, of course, wash the sheets and the pillowcases and put her stuffed animals in plastic bags.  The Australian website is more laid back than the U.S. ones, saying that you don’t need to go crazy cleaning everything in your house.  We are taking a guarded, but not entirely paranoid approach.  Fortunately, the Snork Maiden’s timing was good: school is on break next week, giving us time to be sure that the infestation is over before she goes back.  Fingers crossed, anyway.

Definitely not what I had in mind for Friday night and Saturday!  I’m feeling better today, though–sore throat is gone.  Except that I keep imagining my scalp is itching.  I could easily have caught the lice from my pillowcase, which the S.M. put her head on Friday morning, and on which I took a nap on Friday afternoon.  But Stubb sees nothing–yet.  That would definitely have to be a sick day from Starfleet Academy…how embarrassing.  Please, can we not have that happen? 

To a Louse

Ha! whare ye gaun’ ye crowlin ferlie?
Your impudence protects you sairly;
I canna say but ye strunt rarely
Owre gauze and lace,
Tho faith! I fear ye dine but sparely
On sic a place.

Ye ugly, creepin, blastit wonner,
Detested, shunn’d by saunt an sinner,
How daur ye set your fit upon her–
Sae fine a lady!
Gae somewhere else and seek your dinner
On some poor body.

Swith! in some beggar’s hauffet squattle;
There ye may creep, and sprawl, and sprattle;
Wi’ ither kindred, jumping cattle;
In shoals and nations;
Whare horn nor bane ne’er daur unsettle
Your thick plantations.

Now haud you there! ye’re out o’ sight,
Below the fatt’rils, snug an tight,
Na, faith ye yet! ye’ll no be right,
Till ye’ve got on it–
The vera tapmost, tow’rin height
O’ Miss’s bonnet.

My sooth! right bauld ye set your nose out,
As plump an grey as onie grozet:
O for some rank, mercurial rozet,
Or fell, red smeddum,
I’d gie you sic a hearty dose o’t,
Wad dress your droddum!

I wad na been surpris’d to spy
You on an auld wife’s flainen toy
Or aiblins some bit duddie boy,
On’s wyliecoat;
But Miss’s fine Lunardi! fye!
How daur ye do’t?

O Jeany, dinna toss your head,
An set your beauties a’ abread!
Ye little ken what cursed speed
The blastie’s makin!
Thae winks an finger-ends, I dread,
Are notice takin!

O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us
An foolish notion:
What airs in dress an gait wad lea’es us,
An ev’n devotion!

–Robert Burns


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Pym Fan on March 18, 2008 at 9:32 pm

    Head lice! Lawsy mussy (as my grandmother would have said). And yet you and Stubb (and the amazingly patient S.M.) seem to have met the crisis with fortitude and grace. May that be the last you see of the nasty buggers.


  2. Posted by meansomething on March 21, 2008 at 5:04 am

    Lawsy mussy, indeed. The S.M. has about had it. I really hope we’re over it and that it never, never happens again.


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