These were dreaded words in the rural community where I grew up. You never, ever wanted to hear that everyone on your bus was called to the nurse’s office, because this meant one of two things–either someone had lice or someone had scabies (or ringworm–forgot about that one).

Luckily, my bus was never, ever called to the nurse’s office. I left school free from mites and parasites.

This morning, however, I woke up feeling that my bus had been called. Why? Well, about two weeks ago I got a weird rash on my hands, right in between my pinky and the finger next to it–on both hands. I had a rash on my hands similar to this five years ago, but in a different location. At that time the dermatologist I saw prescribed a topical ointment and it went away. It was, according to him, an allergic reaction to something in my garden.

I figured that’s what this was but then this morning when the rash still had not gone away, I convinced myself–even though none of the photos were remotely similar to my rash–that I had scabies.

Learning from my research that ANYone can get scabies, I headed into a downward spirl nonetheless.

Where had I gotten them? How would I get rid of them? I’d need to have this pesticide applied to my whole body and then basically scald everything else in the house. One web site suggested putting shoes in plastic bags and putting them in the freezer (!?!?!).

Allen would have to tell his work and anyone who had been in contact with him would need treatment.

I would have to contact all of our relatives that we’d seen a few weeks ago and let them know.

Then our niece would have to call her school and tell them that a scabies infected woman had attended her graducation.

I would throw out all of our bedding and clothes.

We would move.

Perhaps to a different country where no one knew us.

We would become nudists, live off the land, embrace our scabiness.

Luckily, I live right across the road from my doctor and was able to get in there immediately. Within about two seconds the doctor told me that it is not scabies; it’s eczema. It’s stress/allergy related and it’s really common (and I’m prone to eczema anyway and so should know this!). He told me that if I had scabies, it would have already spread and I would have seen the burrow marks of the mites underneath my skin quite obviously and I would have marks on my wrists, etc. etc.

I nearly fainted from relief when he told me and I even recalled for him the whole bus being called down to the nurse’s office story. At which point, I think I was starting to freak him out so he left to get my prescription.

And so while yesterday I survived the T-Zone, today I survived the scabies scare of 2006.

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