i have a question...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Do I have a story for you!

It all started when I sauntered into my hair salon, aching and ready for a haircut. I haven't gotten one since probably March, and my bangs are no longer bangs and my ends are FRIED. Not to mention that my hair is way past my shoulders.

I was tended to about 20 minutes after my appointment time, chatted up the woman who washed my dirty hair, and sat in the chair, ready for sweepy, sexy bangs I can rock at the wedding I'm in in August.

My stylist combed my hair and suddenly leaned down next to me.

"You work with kids, right?" she asked.

"Yep!" I responded, proudly. She looked closely at my hair. "Why? Because I have so much gray hair?"

"No," she said. "Don't freak out."

"Uh oh."

"Don't freak out. You have lice."

My heart dropped, mostly out of embarrassment. Panic set in, and I apologized profusely as my stylist gave me advice on shampooing my head and calling a nitpicker (gag). She explained that she couldn't cut my hair, as she left me with my limp, wet, infested locks and shuffled me out the door. But she assured me that after I called a nitpicker (gag!), I'd be able to return to get sexy, sweepy bangs.

I threw my hair up into a tight, wet bun and nearly ran to CVS, feeling dirty, embarrassed, and annoyed.

I spent the rest of Saturday hiding, trying to figure out how to tell everyone I needed to tell, and researching lice.

I know that they actually love clean, dry hair. That they can't cling to African American hair because the hair shaft is different. That they have three stages of life and go through them every 10-40 days.

I felt like I had just seen blood coming from a cut I didn't even know was there and now was throbbing in pain.

I slept in infested sheets for two days, paralyzed by not knowing what to do first.

Everything I read on the internet assured me that the pesticide shampoos don't work anymore, so I didn't do one.

I called several nitpicking services, hoping to get things handled as soon as possible, but the fastest they could get me someone was a tentative evening slot on Sunday.

By Sunday morning, the embarrassment had subsided and I was just kind of pissed and feeling gross. I realized my job couldn't be mad at me since I definitely got it there. I didn't know how bad my case was, and I didn't really want to know. Ignorance felt like itchy, scabby bliss.

Now that I sort of knew what I was looking for, I began to see the small nits when I scratched and even saw a live louse or two. (Gag.)

I spent most of Sunday watching Gene Simmons' Family Jewels (gag) on Netflix and feeling dirty. Counting down the minutes until the technicians would come to take care of me. Told my bosses who were both awesome about it and tried to forget my state, scratching all the while.

4 PM and 5 PM came and went, and I got a call from the owner of the treatment center who told me that the woman who was coming to take care of me had had car trouble and wouldn't be able to make it. The soonest they'd be able to send someone would be 3 PM Monday.

Today, I got a call at 10 to 3 saying they'd make it by 4. It crossed my mind a couple times that the whole company was a hoax, but a little after 4, two women came armed with a magnifying light, special shampoos, clips, baking soda, conditioners, and oils.

Here's how the process went:

1. I sat in my chair as they inspected me and deciphered that I had probably had lice for weeks. They oohed and aahed over the amount of nits at the base of my head.

2. They dosed my head with lice treatment shampoo that smelled like peppermint and soothed my itchy scalp, and I kept it on for 30 minutes, while I offered the women take-out menus because they had not eaten all day, having come straight from a screening at a camp in Weston.

3. Got my shampoo rinsed and then was doused with a concoction of baking soda and conditioner, which they combed through my head 1/8-inch sections at a time, removing tons of eggs and many lice in various stages of life. I was both horrified and fascinated. This process started at 5:30 PM and ended at 9:30 PM. (This proves not only their thoroughness but also that I had a fairly bad case.) By 8:45, I was starving and ready to burst into tears, my scalp screaming from the constant pulling on it. After downing a PB&J, I got my second wind and made it through the last 1/4 of my head. We spent the four hours watching Food Network and VH1. Highlights included most of the Mary J. Blige: Behind the Music and a couple episodes of Sex and the City.

4. The baking soda and conditioner were thoroughly rinsed and they took another inspection of my head, exclaiming at the way my scalp shined.

5. The final step was the application of some oil treatment to the scalp, to suffocate any microscopic eggs.

6. They were out of the house by 10 PM, at which point, I sprayed down my mattress, couch, and rugs, swept my house, scrubbed my desk and tables, took all the trash out, and stripped and remade my bed.

I have a 10-day aftercare program, which will still give me a full week to get a haircut before I go to California in August.

I cannot imagine dealing with this alone. Nitpickers are the only way to go these days, it seems.

I am thoroughly physically and emotionally exhausted and vow to keep my hair up and to keep my hugs from being too tight at work.

Who gets lice these days?

Serves me right for loving my job so much.


Luke said...

Holy crap!!!!! Such a great story -- I can't believe it. I love you!

Katy said...

OMG!!! you just reminded me of the childhood years of public rural Peru schools, my mom had to deal with 4 kids getting in it at one point or another. If you saw us looking like soldiers (short hair) it was because it had happened again. I can't believe they offer that service here though...I have never heard of someone havign that job...wow...So happy you are free now and ready to come to see my Rapunzel, she doesn't have any don't worry jajaja besos

Annie said...

yeah, i had it REALLY bad after camp one year, but that was over 15 years ago. :( and yes, why would anyone ever be a nitpicker? bleh. but i could NOT have handled this case by myself, so i am grateful to them...thanks for the assurance about kamilah :)