October 31-November 3 was a four day weekend because it was parents week. I stayed back but Marissa and Shannon went with their parents on the school trip. I spent Thursday doing homework and finishing up my papers.
Friday morning I did homework and after Mass for the feast of all saints and lunch, Rose and I headed out to hike Book Mountain. It was a nice leisurely hike up to the cross where we spent about 20 minutes taking pictures and admiring the view. We continued on our way up the mountain and we were doing pretty well until we hit the steep part. Then I nearly died. And I remembered why I don’t hike. It was a good thing I went with Rose because every few minutes I’d be like “Can we please stop here?” And she’d be like, “Let’s make it to the log just ahead.” We finally made it to the top and sat down on the bench up there. We spent about 45 minutes writing our names in the book, carving our initials into a tree, and finding our friend’s signatures and initials. We started our hike down and when we were about 5 minutes into our descent, I slipped and landed on my hands instead of my butt. It kinda hurt, but I didn’t think anything of it and continued on. I slipped again and caught myself and carried on with our descent. A few minutes later I noticed my hand was throbbing so I looked down and realized that I had a blood bubble about the size of my knuckle forming right where my thumb connects with my wrist. Rose, being the good nursing student that she is, instructed me to hold it above my heart so I made the rest of the hike down with my hand on my shoulder. We stopped again at the cross and took more pictures and ate Milka and finally made it back to the Kartause. We creek jumped (because that’s just the best way to end a sweaty hike!) in our jeans and tee shirts and came back and took showers.
After dinner, my hand was pretty sore so I started asking around for an ace bandage and finally found out that Stephen had one. I got my wrist wrapped up and then put some ice on it before going to bed. The next morning, Ben looked at it and determined that it probably wasn’t broken, but he wrapped it a different way. It felt a lot better, but it looked much worse. I couldn’t do anything because it was my right hand that was hurt, so I got pretty good at highlighting with my left hand! People were asking me what I did to my hand, and I was telling them, but Matt decided I needed a more interesting story. According to him, I was hiking down the mountain and I came across a monkey who had a banana attached to a string. I really wanted the banana and so I followed the monkey. When the monkey turned around and saw me, I tried to punch him so he wouldn't run away and I missed his face and punched a tree instead.
Sunday was uneventful until everyone started coming back to campus. We found out that some of the girls had head lice, and so we started checking other people who were finding out. It was looking like it was going to be a pretty bad situation because most of the people we were checking had it. I ended up shaving Andrew and David’s heads because they wanted to avoid it. When I got back to my room, Shannon and Marissa came back and they were both car sick/have a gluten reaction from eating gluten, so Shannon was throwing up and Marissa was super nauseous. I spent the night on the floor of Becca, Mickayla, and Anne’s room and the next morning, Shannon was still having a reaction to the gluten. All week, people kept coming and knocking on my door and Cheris’ door to get checked or have their hair combed, so we spent the rest of the week combing and checking hair in between classes. I had overheard people saying that they were too embarrassed to get checked, didn’t want to deal with it in Rome (which people were leaving for in a few days), had checked themselves, or had their boyfriend check them. Cheris and I went to Mr. Pipp and told him he needed to make it mandatory that everyone get checked and that we would be available from 6-8pm in the Francis Room to check people. Signs went up and people all came to get checked. It was just great to meet people and be like, “So when was the last time you washed your hair? Do you have dandruff? Do you have products in your hair?” Ya know, typical questions you ask people when you first meet them. I had so many different reactions from so many people such as laughing, not caring, nearly passing out, or arguing with me that it was just dandruff. I even had people come up to me the next day to apologize for arguing with me…honestly, I didn’t even remember that I had checked them because I had looked at so many heads. All in all, we had 84 cases of lice. We were up every night checking and combing until 12:30am ish, and by the time people started leaving for Rome, we finally had some time to be by ourselves.
The funny part for me was that I was in confession the Tuesday before it all started and Father asked me what I thought God wanted me to work on. I was like, “I think patience and kindness towards others and really just taking the time to sit down and talk with people because I like to be busy so I never really just sit and talk. I’m always moving.” Well, ask and you shall receive! I had hours on end of stand talking to people and getting to know them as I combed through their hair.
My theory is that the lice came from the states either from someone who had them over the summer and wasn’t diligent enough with the last round of their treatment, and they had it and they didn’t know it. In the process of everyone hugging everyone who they haven’t seen all summer, sharing clothes while traveling, and sitting on the same couches as everyone else, it just got passed around. By the time people started noticing they had a bad case, it was right around the two month mark which is usually when people start having symptoms. It could have come from anywhere, but the States seems to make the most sense.