Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The visit that didn't happen

We were supposed to have the kids for a week long visit this week. All was well, until I met the social worker on Monday. The kids were with her, they were ready to come to my house. Luke and Emma were ready for a visit too.

And then I saw it. L-I-C-E. Ugh.

We knew they had it, I found them at the end of their visit here last week. I have been crazy all week. I mean CRA-ZY. We have done treatments just in case, I have scrubbed, vacuumed, bagged, tried every home remedy possible, and I've been combing through Emma and my hair like it's been nobody's business.

Thankfully, we have been spared. My head will never forgive me, but I don't care.

Unfortunately, the other kids are completely covered. How sad. Devastating, actually.

I have googled my brains out this week. The good news is - lice isn't a death sentence. They honestly pose no threat, they're just a nuisance. Not sure that I believe that, but that's what the experts in Google Land say.

I am now an expert on the life cycle of lice. Not something I ever wanted to add to my resume.

I guess we were fortunate to know we could've been infected before that life cycle exploded on our heads. Because we did the treatment right away, I'm sure we caught anything that could've been.

The other two kids aren't as fortunate. Their mom said she treated them - twice - and didn't know why they weren't clean. When our social worker asked more questions, it turns out she has no vacuum and no laundry facilities so she can't stop the problem. No matter how clean a head is - if you lay back down on the same pillow, the cycle starts all over again.

Our old pillows are in the garbage. She can't afford new pillows. Even if she could, she has no way to wash the pillow cases every night in hot water and dry them on high heat for at least 20 minutes. Yes... I said I am now a lice expert.

So after we found the lice, the social worker tried treating them. It wasn't working out so well. We went to a hair salon. Silly me, I thought they could treat us all and we could move on with our visit. Nope. That's against the law. Of course it is. But there was an extra nice stylist who put on some disposable gloves (different ones for each of us) and dug through our heads. Outside. She confirmed that Luke, Emma, and I were clean - but the other 2 were infested. She freaked out mildly and said, "You cannot have these kids interacting, the other 2 will be infested in no time flat."

And so we stood there in the parking lot wondering what to do. Part of me knew I couldn't bring them home. I knew I couldn't purposely throw Luke and Emma in harm's way.

But the other part of me just wanted to take them home, clean them up and make everything all better.

The social worker put them back in her van, apologized and said she promised she'd clean them up the next time they come. But she had to take them back home.

All 3 kids start to cry. (The baby was of course clueless.) They're all begging for this visit to happen. We tried to explain we would see each other again and we just couldn't visit right now. But they were all sad and confused.

I was too. And since everyone else was crying, I joined in.

It was the hardest thing I ever had to do. How could putting the key in the ignition, turning it, and putting the van in reverse be so hard? I could see her little face behind the tinted window of the social's worker's van. It was pressed up against the glass and she was waving like crazy.

My kids were crying, pushing their faces up against our glass, and waving back.

I was just trying to figure out how to get the tears gone so I could actually see out of my sunglasses. No wonder that stupid van wouldn't go in reverse. I couldn't even see reverse.

So now we wait. Again. I guess we should be getting good at this waiting thing by now. But somehow it still isn't easy...

Yes, the social worker could've had them cleaned up and ready to go again within a few days, but we are coming up on our vacation so we took the precaution to postpone another interaction until after we get back. I really didn't want to take lice with us on vacation. And I REALLY need a vacation.

I'm looking forward to frilly drinks in a big fishbowl-sized glass while enjoying the white sand and swimming with dolphins.

Sounds like heaven right about now.

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