Thursday, September 11, 2008

Stomach Flu, Migrains, and Lice....OH MY

The sparsity of my writing is directly related to the above mentioned plagues. Our summer concluded with a representation from all the categories mentioned in the title, and I can say with out a doubt that I have discovered, so far, what the worst part of parenting is. Looking at the given list, you can choose the one you think worst, but let me bring it to a more personal level before you make your final decision.

Caution: The material ahead may not be suited for just anyone, definitely not the faint of heart, and definitely not anyone who thinks a family with lice is subhuman.

We returned from on annual vacation to Colorado in good spirits. The trip was great. Everyone got along, the food was awesome, and once again I found myself wondering why anyone would live any other place. Less than 24 hours in the door, Kayci started throwing up. She's always had a nervous stomach so I chalked it up to a flurry of activities during the last week. I diligently held her head back as she threw up everything she had eaten in her short life, then comforted her as her body felt, even though there was no more food, it should keep heaving just in case. I lovingly washed her bedding, covered the couch with a towel, selected her favorite movie, and filled a sippy cup with diluted Gatorade and ice. I was doing laundry anyway from the trip, so washing a few more items was no big deal. Especially since this was only the result of a nervous stomach.

I guess nervous stomach is contagious.

During the subsequent days, Courtney contracted this vile illness, followed very closely by me, and soon after by Haley. Steve says his stomach "felt kind of strange," but never actually visited the great porcelain god like the rest of us. My care for the rest of the family greatly diminished as I crawled repeatedly to the toilet wondering if there was a special place moms could go to be taken care of when they were sick. (I would settle for the Pound...they care for sick wounded animals right? Then they put them out of their misery when it looks like all hope is lost?)

So after this epidemic was over, and all the beds had been washed and remade, the second plague dropped. Kayci (why does it always start with her?) came out from her bed saying that her head was itchy. Being very compassionate I said, "There's nothing I can do about it. Go back to bed." She had been complaining about an itchy head for a while and I just assumed that it was dry scalp and a ploy to stay up an extra two minutes instead of going to sleep. She has dry skin, so not a bad assumption. The next morning she was itching her head like crazy and said, "I can't stand it anymore mom!!" So I looked a little closer at her now raw head. (Did I mention there was blood under her finger nails from scratching her head so hard?) I think parent of the year award won't be going to me. I decided to search the Internet to see if it could possibly be lice. (I really doubted it could be this, but I decided to at least rule out this possibility.) After reading about it and looking closely at her head I told Steve of my suspicions, to which he dismissed my idea as idiotic, until we found a "bug" crawling on the top of her head. I immediately went to Target and bought 4 bottles of alcohol and 2 $40 lice treatments, because one thing I did know, lice was contagious and the Merrick girls share brushes. After treating Kayci with insecticide I started to brush through her hair, more bugs than I care to share, fell out of her hair. It was awful. I checked bugs...I checked bugs...Steve checked bugs....I checked Steve....NO FREAKIN BUGS!! To make a long story short 28 days later, 2 different shampoos, Listerine treatments, 25 days worth of washing and remaking beds, 4 and 1/2 hours per day of combing through every one's hair picking out lice eggs, steam cleaning all the carpets, running every pillow and stuffed animal through the dryer multiple times, we are finally lice free. We are on day 10 currently of no bugs on us. It really was a nightmare.

The kids are under strict rules to never, never use anyone else's brush or hat. They all have their own brushes and are not allowed to share even with each other. The penalty for disobeying any of these rules is they will be sent away to live with an evil stepmother somewhere. You think I'm kidding...but I am NOT.

The stress of the lice sent me into the worst migraine ever known to a human being. I know about pain because I have given birth three times AND i have had kidney stones, apparently equal to child birth in pain level. The pain was so bad that I had to go to the ER and even their strongest narcotics only dulled the pain. I told them I was at a level 9 for pain when I got there, but apparently this only encouraged them to ask me more questions. My friend Tana weathered this storm with me and sat in the ER and talked to me to keep me from taking my own life. My friend Lisa also dropped everything she was doing to come and take care of my lice infested kids. She is a true friend considering she has 4 kids of her own with full heads of lice inviting hair.

While I think these were some of the worst times I have had as a mother, I was humbled by Kayci one night while we were saying our prayers. She said, "You know what mom, having lice hasn't been so bad, because we've stayed home together, we played a lot of games, and you spent a lot of time with just us by ourselves."

There are so many things I can learn from this statement.