Nurse Loves Farmer


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Wednesday, 29 June 2016 08:38

On Bed Bugs, Head Lice and Hardship

I recall an incident as a teenager, a family that I babysat for - and absolutely adored - called me over to talk with them in person for a serious conversation.  I was so worried that they were moving, or worse - that someone in the family was deathly ill - that when they told me their daughter had head lice, I was relieved!  Yes, I was their babysitter, and because I was very much the kind of babysitter who played on their level, my head had probably come in close proximity to hers. They gave me a box of the shampoo treatment, and I used it at home but never found any signs of the bugs in my hair. 

Yesterday, I was painting the girls faces - my first face-painting experience - to practice for a family gathering weekend for which I have been asked to possibly do some face-painting.

As I was finishing Audrey's rainbow, I noticed a small insect crawl down the length of one of her hairs. I grabbed it, took note of how odd it looked - somewhat transparent and so flat it was completely un-squishable - and threw it in the garbage. I had a friend over at the time, and as I continued painting Audrey's face, my friend started googling what head lice looked like.


Image from

These little jerks were definitely what was crawling out of her hair. I finished painting her face - not wanting to ruin her day, but afterward I searched through her hair and found five or six more crawling around without having to search too hard.  My next move was to call everyone I could think of who's children had been in contact with mine.  Partly to warn them, and partly because I seem to need to talk about something before I can take action. 

Clara's hair showed no sign of lice, but we spent the evening shampooing both girls with the treatment and going over their hair with the nit comb. The nit comb that came in the package was completely useless - I had to hold the girls' hair so tightly in order to get the hair to go between the teeth that it was uncomfortable for the girls, and then when I started finding eggs on Audrey the comb teeth weren't even tight enough to pull them off. So, I went over hear head with a tweezer, clipping her hair back and going section by section, strand by strand on her head. I tweezed off hundreds of eggs, and I suspect that it isn't possible that I have gotten them all since I scanned over her again later and found a few more. The eggs were so tiny, and sometimes I could feel them with my fingers but not see them unless I was at exactly the right angle. I just hope we will be able to get rid of them...

My children are so serious.

A few weeks ago, we had a bed bug scare in our house. We had travelled to a few different locations where we could have picked up such things, and I started seeing strange spots on my body. They were varying in size and itched like mosquito bites.  The first night I found them, there were at least a dozen bites, which seemed like a lot on the first night I noticed them. 

Our sheets are white, and I began searching the seams of our bed daily but didn't find any signs of bugs. We bought bug traps and placed them by the corners of our bed and nothing came up. Also, neither Brian nor the girls developed any signs of bites, which isn't conclusive in itself - neither is the lack of evidence, for that matter - but it called my bed bug theory into question. Still, I had no idea where my own spots were coming from. 

In the midst of all of this, and aside from all of this, the past month has been HARD. June 25th was the fourth anniversary of my Dad's death. On May 25th of this year, my poor Grandma died after three horrible months in the hospital since her fall at the beginning of March. The months leading up to her death were difficult, as I was emotionally pulled in so many directions and not wanting to neglect anyone in my life, but feeling as though I was neglecting everything. Then, when she died, it hit me harder than I expected.  She and I had seen each other weekly, and spoken on the phone every couple of days. I thought I was calling to keep a lonely woman company, but the withdrawal I feel is proof of how much our relationship did for me, and I suddenly feel very alone.  

Suddenly one day the spots on my body were clearly more than bug bites, but a rash that spread from my thighs to the inside of my elbows. I haven't had it diagnosed, but I found information online about stress rashes, and have sort of taken for granted that considering how I have felt lately - this makes perfect sense. 

So, our lives in the past few months have been less than predictable, and far from easy. I signed up for a piano teaching course online that began the day after my Grandma died.  I'm excited to be taking this course, but it turns out to be very bad timing, since my reaction to all of these emotions has been slightly depressive. I am often incapable of seeing anything beyond the hour I am in, and as a result I have been unable to get very much done. My house has fallen into a sort of general chaos, and our meals are being planned five minutes ahead - which has expensively resulted in a lot of meals in restaurants, and a lot of last-minute trips to the grocery store.  I think I am on the upswing, but I have tried to minimize my stress by not taking on anything extra. I am trying not to judge myself too harshly right now, and trying not to panic about everything that isn't getting done - because I can't see life very clearly right now. 

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