Before we begin, can I just say this: OHMYGOD-EWWWWWW-HOLYSHITFUCK-BLEURGHH.
Right. It started when we got a note home from Amelie’s school saying that there was a case of threadworms (pinworms if you’re American) in her class. I immediately consulted Google to see what we were dealing with. HUGE mistake.
Oh god, they’re just… they’re just VILE. Disgusting doesn’t cover it. You know what happens if you get them? They go into your intestine, hatch, and then at night the female crawls OUT OF YOUR ANUS and lays thousands of eggs. That’s right, she uses your anus as a fucking NEST. She also leaves an itchy mucous so the person (most likely a child, because they don’t wash their hands properly, rancid beasts) will scratch themselves and get eggs caught in their fingernails, then they’ll touch their mouth and swallow the eggs and the whole process starts again.
Can we all just take a moment to stop and gag collectively?
So, with the vision of this ungodly horror seared into my mind and a vague itch creeping into my nethers, my eyes narrowed and I turned to Amelie, who was probably in the midst of licking her 5 month old brother, and asked if her bum was itchy.
In fairness, if you asked this child if she was enjoying her masters degree she would probably answer in the affirmative.
“No, seriously, is your bum itchy? Did you sleep ok last night? CAN I LOOK AT YOUR BUM?”
I had a look, I couldn’t see anything, I continued about my day. But the paranoia never left me.
What followed was a weekend of examining every poo, every twitch, every scratch. On Saturday morning she woke up looking wrecked – pale, with bags under her eyes – and I asked her if she’d slept ok. She said the duvet had come off her feet and she’d been cold. Hmmmm. I decided to wash her bedding, pyjamas and towels and any item of clothing that may have been in close proximity to her arse.
I continued bum-watch for the rest of the weekend and noted that she was very cranky (which is a symptom of worms), but she was clearly developing a cold so I couldn’t tell what was causing what. I didn’t want to give her medication just for the sake of it, you know, because I can be a bit of a hippy about these things.
I didn’t sleep very well that night.
Oh wait, I don’t sleep well any night. Anyway.
By Monday I had reached breaking point. I was washing her hands about 500 times an hour. I was washing mine even more. I used sanitising lotion in between. While she was at school I examined her clothes and bedlinen for anything that could be construed as eggs and I completely freaked out when I saw tiny flecks of something on her bed (in hindsight these were probably bits of snot).
I went to pick her up. I stood in the schoolyard and watched the children emerging from the classroom, eyeing them suspiciously and choking back the urge to puke on them as they passed. I wanted to know who the instigator was. Which one of these pale, filthy children had (POSSIBLY) infected my home with goddamn parasites?
I couldn’t take much more, my hands were raw and my laundry pile was insane. I asked some mums on Facebook. The advice was unanimous: get the drugs.
I went to the chemist and asked for Vermox. The pharmacist said you’re meant to treat the whole family. I told her that I’m breastfeeding and she advised taking the tablet and to pump and dump for 12 hours. Erm, not really an option, I said, I have no idea if he’ll take a bottle. She said to leave the drugs, wait and see, keep washing everything, that there was no point just treating Amelie. This was not the answer I wanted to hear. I bought them and went home.
At the very least I was going to treat her. And Brendan. And I decided to do some research to see if there was a way for me to take it without feeling negligent.
I gave Amelie hers crushed up in some chocolate ice-cream. Before dinner. She was bleedin’ delighted and wolfed it down in half a minute. Then Brendan got home and I gave him a dose. I promised him ice-cream for dessert. He stopped whinging about it being unfair. Then I set upon Google to tell me how bad it would be if I took one too, and I found this, and it was enough for me, so I took the tablet.
Now I’m not advocating that you ignore your pharmacist’s advice, but I did my research, made a judgment call, and decided that I couldn’t handle the anxiety of waiting to see if worms were going to crawl out of my bum.
I took it and immediately felt a huge sense of relief. But then I realised that we were not out of the woods yet, the house could still be laced with them, and the eggs can live for weeks outside of the body. So I kept washing my hands. And when the kids were asleep, I sprayed every surface in my house with disinfectant – to the point where I felt dizzy (but victorious) with the fumes. And this morning I stripped the beds again, washed the towels, and then went and bought Amelie her own laundry basket. Because that way my knickers don’t have to touch her knickers as they wait to be cleaned. And I have a feeling I’m going to keep obsessively washing everything for at least another few weeks (or until my washing machine breaks down) because I’m neurotic. And because BLEURGHH.
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