When I wrote yesterday's post, I honestly didn't think there would be any need for a follow up. Ain't nobody wants a "part two" of a lice story, you know what I'm saying?
I guess God knew I've been a little short on material lately, and in His infinite wisdom (and probably stifling a heavenly chuckle) he decided to give me more to write about.
MUCH more, actually. Like, dozens and dozens more.
I woke up this morning and prepared to take my oldest to the lice removal specialists. (AN ASIDE: Did you even know there was such an industry?? I most certainly did not. I've gotta say with some level of pride that today we visited the world's LARGEST and MOST ADVANCED lice eradication facility. Twice. No joke! These people are legit.)
I got the boys off to school, packed Em up in the van, and we headed off to Head Hunters (not even kidding - my friend whose husband is looking for a job asked me if she should send him their way - ROTFL!). I was tired, as I didn't sleep well last night because LICE. Obvi.
We showed up at Head Hunters, and, first things first, I've gotta them props. When I pulled up I had to do a double take, because it looked so upscale that I thought I might've made a wrong turn and gone to Spa Sydell. Nope, just a fancy lice eradication place. The facility was beautiful and it really felt like we were at a high end hair salon. Well, except for the extra-large canvases hanging in the front lobby that showed lice in their different stages of growth.
They took us back to the room (insert evil laugh here), and they popped Emerson up into a hair salon chair. The did a quick scalp check to confirm my worst fear (or what I thought was my worst fear): she did, indeed, have lice.
In that moment, I wished the fire of a thousand suns would rain down on Head Hunters (and Emerson's pillow) and annihilate every lice (louse? leese?) within a 50-mile radius. The fire of a thousand suns did not rain down, but they DID drench her hair in some sort of (probably chemical-filled and toxic) lice repellant solution, then immediately got to work with a lice comb (WHO KNEW??), picking every single nit (egg sac), baby, adolescent, and adult out of her hair (again, WHO KNEW??).
The owner walked in, and I told him I'd been itching since last night. He laughed and told me it was psychopsychotic.
Yeah...something like that.
I told him I felt strongly that I needed a head check, and he obliged. I sat in the other salon chair in the room, and he drenched my hair and brushed and brushed to get my curls untangled enough for the lice comb to slide through.
He began combing. And combing. And combing. He combed and didn't find anything. I began to relax and even chuckled at myself for being so paranoid.
Then, "Uh-oh." -- Head Hunters dude
"What, uh-oh? Huh? No, no uh-oh! What's wrong?? Don't say uh-oh!" -- me
Enter my ACTUAL worst fear.
"No, it's fine...I just found a nit. But I'm sure it's nothing, just due to exposure. We have to find four (YES, FOUR) nits or babies to consider you infested." - Head Hunters dude
I, meanwhile, was still stuck on the uh-oh.
"What do you MEAN you have to find FOUR?? You found ONE? WHAT? Isn't one ENOUGH? Holy mother of all good things, this is NOT happening! You HAVE to treat me! You CAN'T call this 'exposure.' It's a FREAKING LICE!!!" - me, on the verge of a panic attack
Well, turns out that I didn't need to worry about the four-lice-to-be-infested rule.
I had more than four. I'm trying not to vomit as I type this.
That's right, my friends. I. Had. Lice. I say "had" because they're gone now. They BETTER be for $150 (that's what it cost to "eradicate them" from my scalp). Don't judge - if you were me, you'd have paid it, too. Trying to run a comb through this hair is like trying to untangle a Brillo pad. They had their work cut out for them.
The Head Hunters man laughed, I dry heaved, and Emerson watched a movie. All while we had, between the two of us, approximately 50 nits, babies, adolescents, and adults removed.
Britney's approach really was looking more and more appealing.
Two hours later (and with a much lighter wallet), we walked out of Head Hunters, utterly repulsed and smelling like licorice (that's what the spray smelled like...not sure why). I knew that I had to check the boys as soon as they got home from school, and that Brandon would DEFINITELY need a good once over.
Foster came home and I started the process of checking his head. I was quite familiar with how to do it at this point. I wet his hair and went over every strand with a fine-toothed comb. Literally - it looks like this:
He appeared to be okay. *PHEW*
Not long after that, Sutton got home. I met him at the bus stop and walked him home, telling him I needed to check his head immediately.
"Mom, my head doesn't ITCH!" -- Sutton
"Tough luck, big guy - go to my bathroom immediately and wait for me there." -- me
I wet his hair down and brushed the tangles out. I grabbed the lice comb and took a swipe.
Holy. Mother. Of. Pearl.
I seriously might barf right now just thinking about it. I am feeling psychopsychotic.
The comb was covered -- COVERED -- in nits, babies, and even adult lice. I wanted to cry, but you'll be proud to know that I laughed.
Then I shouted, "Straight to the car, son - we're going to Head Hunters!" The other two kids threw their shoes on and we jumped in the car, and I was yelling, "Kids, don't TOUCH your brother - he is COVERED in lice!," which prompted him to cry out of fear of dying of lice and the other kids to scream, "EWWWWWW" out of disgust. Nothing like a little family-wide humiliation, right Middle Child? We peeled out of the our neighborhood like we were driving a Maserati.
I called Head Hunters and told them we were on our way, and that my husband would be arriving shortly as well for a head check. They didn't even have to ask who I was - we're close like that now.
When we arrived, we went back to the delousing room (I knew the drill at this point). Sutton climbed up in the chair and they wet him down and went to town combing and cleaning, combing and cleaning. I stood next to the technician and stared at the paper towel they wiped with, knowing I'd never be able to unsee the creatures they were pulling off of my son's scalp, but also unable to look away, like I was staring at the scene of a bad accident.
They finally got his head clean, and then my husband walked in.
"Sit down, Babe. They have GOT to check you. There is NO WAY you don't have lice!" -- me
"Well, thanks for the vote of confidence, Dear." -- Brandon
I'm not gonna lie - I secretly hoped he had lice and that they had migrated to his too-bushy, too-majestic, pubic-hair-looking beard that he's been sporting for the last couple of years, and that he'd have to shave it all off so he didn't have beard lice.
Head lice can't live off beards, in case you were wondering. Another kind of lice can, though...
They wet his hair and started combing. Nothing.
"Oooh, this looks like an empty casing." -- lady tech
"What does that mean?" -- me
"Oh, it's probably just exposure." - lady tech
Oh, for the LOVE, here we go again!
After finding one empty casing and one nit, she declared him lice free and said he didn't need a treatment.
Lice FREE? One casing and one nit? That ain't exposure, that's LICE, baby!
She didn't agree and reitterated that finding four warrants a treatment, and no less.
Barf. Gag. Dry Heave. Gross. Me. Out.
But I trusted their expertise, because, after all, they are the largest lice eradication facility in the world. So I guess they should know...right?
This brings me to tonight. I'm currently on my fourth load of laundry (out of six). Sheets, pillow cases, comfortors, towels, coats - they ALL have to be washed and dried using high heat. All stuffed animals must be bagged and put away for a few days to suffocate any remaining lice (hurl). Hair brushes, hair ties, hair accessories must be put in the freezer to kill any nits that might be on them (puke).
The next week will consist of me doing lice checks on my entire family to ensure we have no more activity. Next Monday we will visit Head Hunters for a recheck, and for the next month Emerson has to wear her hair up and tucked away at school, because those of us who had lice (Em, Sutton, and (gulp) me) are more succeptible to getting them again because they leave behind their scent via their saliva (ok, seriously, I'm ill), which attracts other lice.
I don't typically attract a lot of men...so why do I have to attract lice? For the love...
I feel like realistically I'm left with two options. 1) Douse my family's hair in lice-prevention spray every morning before we leave the house for the rest of our lives. 2) Homeschool my children through...forever so we never have to encounter lice ever, ever again.