Don’t feel bad! I’m a nurse and I missed it too!
Many years ago when I was taking college writing 101 I knew it would be a good tool to have in my tool box. But I never would have imagined I would need it one day to write about head lice! In fact, I never thought once about head lice in my 60 years until that day in July, 2014. Yes, THAT day. So here’s my thesis. (It will be followed by a few supporting paragraphs and end with a summary.)
“Mom, I need you to check my head for lice.” “OK,” said Mom the Registered Nurse, “Nope you don’t have it.” Two days later I got a frantic phone call from her hotel room crying, “Mom! You said I don’t have lice! I just found one on my towel!” (OOPS! My bad!!!) She was on her way to Europe for her long awaited second honeymoon, 18-year anniversary. Oh the stories I could tell beyond that, but she would kill me! Many tears, hours, and dollars in a foreign country were spent trying to get rid of the problem. (Actual events have been slightly altered to conceal the identity of the person who has not quite gotten over it yet.)
That was there. On our end, we found 11 people in our family with head lice, cousins who are like siblings, playing, swimming, using each other’s towels, sleeping in beds together, heads together thinking up new things to do. Oh my! Knowing what I do now, I think that maybe they didn’t all have it, but at least 6 of us did. Yes, US. Including me. Yikes! As for the ones who probably didn’t have it, but we thought they did, well, that’s a common occurrence when head lice are found. We all think we itch, we think every piece of dandruff, every grain of sand (because we were at the beach), every piece of debris (because we walked through the woods), yes, we’re sure it’s “the lice.” One very educated member of our family announced two days later that she had just found, and I quote, “a big old bug carrying a big old egg sac in the van”, which she has now learned was an impossibility. And so, we treated and retreated and treated yet again with those over the counter products and guess what? Yes, we still had lice. Almost 3 months later we were still dealing with it. Hundreds of dollars on OTC products. Hundreds of dollars at the laundry mat washing everything in our houses. I mean EVERYTHING! Clothing and bedding that hadn’t been out of a closet or drawer in years went to the laundry mat. If only I had known me, Mary the lice expert back then! I could have saved us all a whole lot of tears, pain, dollars, and misery. But unfortunately I was not the lice expert then. We did eventually get it all gone but we were left weary and sick, sick, sick of lice! So sick of it that I decided to become an expert at this. I went for training under the leading lice scientist in the country, Katie Shepherd in West Palm Beach, Florida, and have developed a relationship with a leading lice product manufacturer. Over the past 5 years I have now successfully treated a few thousand cases in my small salon in Waterville, ME, and have recently opened a second shop in Clifton Park, NY.
I suspect that this story resonates with more than a few frazzled parents and caregivers. I hear these same stories over and over again. Having a case of head lice feels like it’s the end of the world as you know it, like life will never be the same again. But I’m happy to tell you that you can get through it, you will survive. And we can tell you how.
Your case of head lice is easily treated. You can prevent further infestations. You can resume your life activities quickly. You can do this! Education is essential. If only I’d known the things I’m able to share with you on THAT day in 2014, I could have readily identified my daughter’s head lice and treated her before her long awaited honeymoon vacation, could have easily identified and treated all the infested children and grandparents in our family. Instead of dealing with it for 3 months, we would have been done with it on a weekend! And so can you.
Mary Collar RN Owner
All About Lice
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