Once you read the post this title will totally make sense but when I reread it I wondered if you would think I was pregnant. So just to clarify, I am NOT pregnant. My uterus is completely empty of any small people/parasites. Just in case you spend your time thinking about the state of my uterus. Onward to the story!

While Studly was recovering from his recent knee surgery and was staying with me, I noticed a rash on his arm. He’s allergic to a number of things – dust, cats, mold…I never clean my house and Sam the Cat is here to stay. We figured it was an allergy flare up and I vacuumed a bit. A few days later while helping him get boxers on over his bandaged leg, I noticed the rash had spread to his groin.

With an uneasy look at his hip, Studly said, “Um, I’m sure it’s fine.”

I raised my eyebrows imperiously (I’ve always wanted to raise my eyebrows imperiously – it just sounds so classy and commanding!) and pointed to the front door, “Car. Now.” After he hobbled downstairs I drove him to the doctor.

We’ve been dating for a while, are exclusive and have had a few talks about the future but I wasn’t sure he wanted me to go into the exam room with him. If it were my doctor I would say yes, he can join me. Unless it’s a lady parts doctor, in which case park your ass in the waiting room. You may get to see my lady bits, but normally in a setting with soft light and seductive sheets, not florescent lights and paper gowns. Keep the romance alive!

So before his name was called, I softly whispered, “Do you want me to go in with you? If not, it’s ok.”

He gave me a look like I was crazy and asked me to go with him. I guess if you’re willing to share your Facebook password and bank account information a little visit to the doctor about a groin rash isn’t even a blip on the radar. To clarify, he has shared that information. I would never use that against him. I, on the other hand, prefer to keep both of those things to myself.

We were called into the patient room and the nurse asked some routine questions. After stating that the rash had spread to his groin, the nurse actually physically moved away from Studly and quickly exited the room. We took it as a bad sign.

By the time the doctor came in, Studly’s face was strained and he was convinced he had some incurable disease. I think he was particularly worried since the rash was so close to his man-parts. After a brief exam the doctor nodded to himself and gave the diagnosis. “It’s scabies.” He proclaimed.

What is scabies? Basically they are teeny tiny little bugs you can’t see that lay their eggs in your skin. Gross, right? Right before his surgery Studly had been across the country for work and stayed in this hotel that had seemed less than stellar at the time. According to the doctor, the timing was right for having gotten the parasites from that hotel. Although he couldn’t really confirm it. Way to cover your ass.

I can haz home in ur skin
Almost like an LOL Cat…but not

“I wonder if I can claim worker’s compensation…” Studly mused, extending his hand for the prescription.

“Hold on.” I said, wondering why the hell no one was talking about this further. “What about me? I’ve been sleeping with him since he came back from the hotel. Am I at risk?”

The doctor asked some cursory questions like, “Do you have a rash?” and at my “Um, no. Would have mentioned it if I did.” He said that if I didn’t have it by now, I probably wouldn’t get it. “You probably just have thick skin.” He said with a smile.

That sounded really wrong. Not like I was insulted that he implied that my skin is tough like an Armadillo and not soft and delicate (ok, maybe I’m a little miffed about that), but it sounded incorrect. I have HORRIBLE skin. I have allergies and break out into hives at the smallest thing. I’ve had pityriasis three times in my life. That’s a disease that usually strikes once, if ever. My skin is extremely sensitive to light and to tempurature. I get nasty bruises just from a light hickey, remember? But I’m immune to bugs that dig into your skin. Right.

“What about Sam the Cat?” I asked, hoping against hope that I didn’t need to take her to a Vet.

The scabies killed Sam the Cat
Not really, just fucking with you.

“You have a pet?” He asked, surprised. Shouldn’t these be standard questions? “Your pet cannot get scabies, but they can be a carrier. Your animal will need to be bathed.” I suddenly pictured the last time I had to hunt Sam the Cat down and stuff her into her carrier to take her to the groomers. It was a nightmare. Studly took the prescription and we started planning the rest of our day. I made an appointment with the groomer for Sam, we got tons of quarters so we could wash everything and we headed home to catch Sam.

In a bit of luck, we discovered Sam the Cat lounging on the couch in a patch of sunlight. I quietly closed all of the doors she could use to escape while Studly got the cat carrier out. She lazily opened one eye and suddenly realized something was wrong. She’s only recently come to trust Studly, so it must have been quite a shock for her new favorite person to turn on her and try to catch her. While shrieking and running away, I finally managed to grab her only to have her pee all over me and I accidentally let her go. Luckily we were in the kitchen which is tiled, so it was easily cleaned up.

Finally, she gave up and let Studly catch her and stuff her into her carrier. He locked the door and gave a sigh, throwing himself onto the floor next to her where she was screaming like a banshee. After cleaning up the cat pee we got into my car and started driving. Then things got much worse, because while she was screaming I could say this was what was best for her, but then she changed tactics. Rather than yell, she began to cry. Piteously. Softly. Incessantly. It sounded like I had broken her heart. Suddenly I pictured all of the good times Sam and I had – the time I was sick and stuck at home and she never left my side. In the middle of the night when I heard a noise and she jogged over to my side of the bed to snuggle. Eating ice cream and watching X-Files together. How she waits outside of the shower for me every morning, licking her little paws and rubbing at her face like she’s getting ready for the day along with me. Licking my hand for the first time, almost like saying, “I love you, Zoogie2.

I wondered what she thought was going on. A nasty thought crossed my mind: is this is how it happened to her before, the times she’s been returned to the shelter? Did they drive her and just leave her there with no goodbye? Does she assume that’s what’s happening now? Does she think I’m abandoning her? And just like that I started to cry – because I was breaking Sam’s heart and she wasn’t able to understand why I was doing this to her.

Suddenly Studly was confronted with two sobbing females and he awkwardly tried to comfort me as we drove to the groomer. We dropped her off and I emotionally limped back to the car. Studly hung his head, later saying he felt worse about upsetting Sam and I than about the tiny bugs living in his dermis. How sweet!

We spent the afternoon washing every single item in my home that could go through a washer and dryer. After what seemed like an eternity, I went to pick Sam up. I held Studly’s hand as the Petco woman reached into the cage to pull her out and knew my kitten was going to be just fine when I hear her scream of rage and saw her ineffectually bat at the woman. The employee sighed and drew on thick gloves, but when she tried to drag Sam out by her waist, Sam held onto the sides of the cage with her little paws, screeching the whole time. Ah, my beautiful hellcat.

The drive home was silence from the backseat and I worried she would never forgive me when I let her out. She must have had a drop of pity in her soul,  because after bounding away from me with a glare she looked back. I felt so terrible that my head was hanging and I whispered, “I’m sorry, Sam.” She reluctantly scampered back to me just long enough to pet her before disappearing under the bed.

A few hours later I was Googling scabies and I looked over at the kitchen. Studly had just finished washing our dinner dishes and was playing with Sam the Cat before feeding her. As he tickled her belly and scratched her chin, I realized I’d never seen Sam take to anyone so quickly, aside from me. She playfully batted at his hands and purred her pleasure. I looked back at the screen and saw pictures of bugs; bugs that had infested my house, my pet and my boyfriend. Not once during the day had this bothered me. I remember an infestation occurring with some of my friends in high school and when I found out I hadn’t touched them for weeks even thought I knew intellectually that they weren’t contagious. Not once had I hesitated to touch Studly throughout the day. He had miserably apologized a few times and said he felt disgusting and I had easily hugged him and told him it would be OK. Where was my disgust?

Then with dawning horror I realized that it didn’t bother me because I cared more about Studly than about bugs literally burrowing into my skin. That I loved this man. It took a parasite to make me see it, but I love Studly. I was so shocked I spent the next few hours quietly musing on my realization. This in turn led Studly to suspect that I actually did find him disgusting.

“You’re so quiet, why won’t you tell me what’s wrong?” He demanded, worry in his eyes. I thought about how to tell him how I feel. He watched me taste the words, convinced that I would say that I didn’t want him to spend the night.

“You don’t have to say it back,” I cautioned him, “but I think I love you.”

He relaxed. “Oh. I love you too.” He said, as if it was something we’d said a million times before.

After covering his entire body with a cream, we went to sleep in each other’s arms. I’ll stop the mushiness now. When I woke up, I absentmindedly scratched my arm and Studly grabbed my hand to inspect my wrist. Two little rashes had appeared overnight. Motherfucker.

So I hauled myself to my doctor and got a lecture about scabies. It turns out that I should have undergone the treatment with Studly the night before to ensure that I wasn’t a carrier with no visible symptoms. It can take two weeks for the rashes to form. Mofo! If I hadn’t come in, I could have re-contaminated him AND Sam the Cat. Great.

After accepting a prescription, I was diagnosed with…hives. I didn’t have scabies at all (and never had any sign of them); I got hives from the shampoo they used on Sam the Cat. We underwent the second treatment together and he’s slowly losing his rash. I guess in a way it was fortuitous, since it made me realize my feelings. But really, I could have done without the bugs, washing Sam and massive amounts of laundry.

Advertisements