This morning I saw a bug. It was dead and, after Tres got to it, missing one leg. Whoops.
It reminded me of how psychotic I got about a bug right before Tres was born.
How to Kill A Bug (originally written March 4, 2010)
There’s not a lot that I know about my maternal grandfather. He died before I was born, and, though I know he was an attorney and judge with a deep desire to be a builder and that I have his cheekbones, there’s not a lot of substance to fill in the gaps of my grandfather’s personality.
What I do know is that sometime in the gap between WWI and WWII my grandfather was an elementary schooler in Texas and my great-grandparents found him running home from school one day at top speed and in a state of panic.
When they asked him what was wrong, he admitted that he had run home from school because he “was afraid the germs were going to get him.”
Though we are generations removed from one another, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I have spent the last week in a state of stress because I’m afraid the scabies are going to get us.
I heard there was an outbreak of scabies at the girl’s school last Thursday. I immediately did internet searches about scabies and began to disinfect my house to the best of my ability. On Friday I discovered that, while it wasn’t the little classmate Uno had accused because her voice sounded funny, it was her closest classmate – the one that she is “baby doll buddies” with. They share dolls, doll pacifiers, and convoluted games of house and make-believe on a minute-by-minute basis throughout each day of school.
That bit of information started another round of disinfecting. (May I remind you I am 33 weeks pregnant and large as a Beluga Whale?)
I washed every article of clothing and bedding in our house. I used several cans of Lysol spray on all hard surfaces. On Saturday morning, exhausted and stressed out to the max, I called my parents and became a sobbing heap, telling them that I “didn’t think I was going to make it through this scabies thing!”
I called the pediatrician and asked if we could be treated. The doctor on call on Saturday said we had to have a rash to treat.
On Sunday night we discovered a small red mark that may or may not have been a rash on Dos’s hand. On Monday morning, while yet another load of laundry was rotating in scalding water (I forced Lizard to turn up the heat on our water heater!) I went to the pediatrician’s office. Our regular physician told me that he didn’t know for sure if her rash was scabies but based on the circumstances, he was willing to treat us all for it.
I was happy. The scabies germ would die.
But then… I was distraught. How would I kill it all over our house without infecting ourselves again?!
Back to the internet I went!
(Be advised, you really shouldn’t Google “scabies.” It causes the concern levels to heighten dramatically. Pregnancy hormones have nothing to do with this.)
I went to the Center for Disease Control website, opened and studied every single link in connection to the subject. From that knowledge I formed the plan of attack.
The treatment for our bodies was to lather ourselves up with a cream for 12 hours – every member of the family had to do it or it would be a completely ineffective treatment. The next challenge was to once again put every fabric-based item in our house into the laundry, clean and disinfect all hard surfaces, and keep our children from wallowing in the uncleaned areas and contaminating the clean ones in the meantime.
Or… Since the mites can’t survive without human contact, we could leave our house for 72 hours.
The eight-month pregnant, stressed-out, exhausted woman had a preference.
Her husband is a wise man.
To Dallas we went!
All along the way I sent myself little encouraging text messages. Things like: “Watch out, mites! I have the planning prowess of Machiavelli and you’re going down!” and “The crusty Norwegians are the ones you really have to watch out for!”
(This last comment makes no sense unless you’ve studied scabies like I have in the past week. Basically there are two kinds of scabies, the kind we were exposed to, which is moderately difficult to spread and then the crusted Norwegian scabies which are EXTREMELY contagious, take over people’s lives, and can be caught from airline blankets. Most of the internet reading I had done originally was on the crusted Norwegians. In light of the recent Winter Olympics I’ve been having a good time imagining the events that a “crusty Norwegian” would win or lose… Hey, I can’t claim it’s been a sane time in my life but these little imaginings have been small beams of sunlight.)
We prepped our children multiple times to follow the plan. Here’s how it went.
We stopped at a store and purchased pajamas and underwear that were in plastic packaging.
We checked into the hotel and went from the hallway immediately into the shower. We stripped our clothes and dumped them into a plastic bag for immediate containment. We lathered ourselves in the treatment cream, and when I say we were thorough, WE WERE THOROUGH.
(I discovered that while some creases in my body – say my belly button – have vanished, there are other creases that have appeared thanks to the fetus. Who knew?! I’m praying by this time next year I’ve found my abdominal muscles again.) ***Note from 7/27/11: The abdominal muscles have not returned – they’re just covered by the lard baby. Sad day.***
We tiptoed into bed, touching as little as physically possible.
I got up in the wee hours of the morning and invaded the hotel laundry. I washed every cloth item we had with us in the hottest water the hotel could provide and then dried everything under the hottest temperature.
I lost my Croc slippers in this process. Apparently when you cook a pair of Croc slippers for 10 minutes in the dryer they shrink two shoe sizes. Not wanting to practice foot binding at this late age of my life, I left the poor shoes in Dallas. I’m missing them terribly.
After that, we asked for a complete linen change in the room and then tried to enjoy our forced 72-hour vacation.
Which we did, with the notable exceptions of the fights over the cell phone usage (the mite dies after 24 hours on a hard surface, 10 minutes in 120 degree or hotter temps, or 72 hours without human contact – you do the math on what that meant for our cell phones).
When we got home this afternoon I was so happy to be home again! I’ve already changed and washed all the bedding in the house, along with all the items that we took to Dallas. I view the house with a decent amount of suspicion, but I truly think that we’ve done everything possible to clear our family of this horror.
Lizard thinks that the timing couldn’t be worse – it plays into my general dislike of germs/disease/stuff as well as my nesting instincts from pregnancy. He may be right – in a conversation with our local Health Department rep I wailed, “I’m set to give birth in seven weeks! Am I bringing this baby into the world to give her a parasite?!”
No, no one should question my sanity. No, not at all.
Dear God, please let it be over.
We’re going to make it. Yessiree, we are!