What Could Be Worse Than Lice?

I have come to the conclusion that one of the only things worse than lice itself is chickenpox AND lice AT THE SAME TIME. I know this because I am lucky enough to be on Pox Watch 2014 while simultaneously trying to recover from Sunday’s lice insurgence. And since I know you’re just itching for the details (see what I did there?), I’ll break down the chain of events that led to Pox Watch 2014.

Spots started showing up on Little C’s arms on Saturday, but they didn’t look like anything special. I figured it was just contact dermatitis, something had rubbed her skin and irritated it, nothing to write home about. On Sunday our lice-tastic incident took precedence over most everything else and between the numerous loads of laundry and lice medication and hair combing I didn’t even think to check Little C’s arms again. Bad mommy. By mid-day yesterday however, spots were starting to show up on her legs and her forehead. The spots on her arms were angry and red and sort of blistered, and she kept scratching at them and saying that they hurt. That evening I drove a tired and relatively angry Little C to the Urgent Care in Marina del Rey where we were quickly escorted into a separate room when I apologetically whispered that we were there for a possible case of the chickenpox. QUARANTINE!

Waiting for the doctor was a joy. And by joy I mean an absolute test of my willpower, serenity, and patience. Little C wanted to run in the hall, she wanted to talk to the nurses and stand on the scale that we had walked past. She kept opening the door and bolting out into the hall screeching like a banshee, and then would refuse to stand up once I had retrieved her, forcing me to sort of half drag her (flailing) back to the room. She kept opening cabinets and pulling out all sorts of various medical supplies; she tried to sit on the rolling stool and type on the doctor’s computer and keyboard. She wanted nothing to do with the coloring book I had brought or even my phone (which generally is a fail-safe). We ended up playing catch with some sterile cotton balls and I allowed her to put on my Nars lipstick (yes, I was THAT desperate). I only later realized that she still had pink smeared on her cheeks when the doctor started to examine her and was staring in bewilderment at her face. Oopsies. The doctor was nice-not a peds doc obviously but nice enough that Little C approved of his presence in the room. As I waited to hear the verdict of the examination I thought, “No way could we be unlucky enough to have lice and freaking chickenpox at the same damn time. Impossible”. Well, friends, it would certainly appear that anything is possible, because we left Urgent Care with a “That’s most likely chickenpox, we will have test results in three days, see your primary pedi for a follow up by Wednesday, keep her away from other kids”.

For the record, Little C is vaccinated. I am a strong proponent of vaccinations and believe firmly that they are imperative. So yes, Little C had her varicella vaccination. But just a heads up, having the vaccination doesn’t necessarily make one immune to chickenpox, as I came to find out. A child who has been immunized can still get pox but generally the symptoms will be atypical and less intense (which is why her pox were showing up on her arms first, instead of her trunk, no fever, etc.).

When I was little my mom used to read a book to me called “It Could Always Be Worse”, and thus in life I have tried to adopt that same outlook; remember to be grateful for what you have because someone has it much worse. So, when it became apparent that Little C had what was very likely a case of the chicken pox, all I could do was repeat “It could always be worse” over and over in my head. Because really, it could. It could be much much worse than a case of head lice and some chickenpox. We are blessed with easily accessible medication to combat the lice, vaccinations to lessen the effects of the chickenpox. We are not starving or living in a war-torn country, we have food and shelter and freedoms that the majority of the world does not. I have a great job that is very understanding and a lot of PTO saved up so that I can hang out with the babe. Overall, life is good. Complicated, messy, a bit icky sometimes, but good. Happy Tuesday. I need a vacation.