Well, understanding that it’s not worms, actual parasitic worms, has been a balm on my shattered nerves.
I have Ringworm.
However, since fungi are hard up there under worms in “Things I Don’t Want In OR On My Body” - it’s only a small consolation. Ask Dr. Sears was a very comforting site to visit. It gave me hope, with its "harmless" and "easily treatable", that with just a little cream, I could go on. I went there first, like dipping a toe in the water, as I'd always viewed it as a childhood thing. Okay - I'd also always viewed it as a white trash, impoverished third world country or crazy cat lady thing. I had never viewed it, ever, as something that could (or would dare to) happen to me. However, since the only other adult that I know that has had it (until a good friend whom I will not link to just confessed to once having it in an equally almost pretty hideous place, thankyouverymuch) is an older relative, who falls under the crazy animal loving adorably nutty old lady variety, I have been feeling like a pariah.
Oh...wait...did I say that the friend's was in a bad place? Well, mine is kind of worse. I mean - there's one on my upper arm on the right side. Oh yes, I am going to show it to you:
And there are two on my face. On. my. face.
I am not going to show those.
One on my nose, admittedly - very faintly, but it'd dead centre on the bridge. Not on the tip, like Bozo, but still...and one on my left eyebrow.
As I have been obsessing about where I could lay the blame, I can think of three main possible carriers of this awful contagion, plus one bonus source that's almost too terrible to contemplate - and that is not, the husband, because he is not in consideration due to the fact that the others are so much more likely:
He is a filthy beast, roaming the neighbourhood and hiding and exploring in every little hiding spot, brushing undaunted through bushes and over rocks and borders that have been showered with dog pee; or even hiding in overgrowth that masks human excrement that we’ve found in the parking lot near our home. He’s a horrible little bastard, who lost his $9 reflective collar with the $6 tag AGAIN, and I’m now thinking of just shaving our address in his side. He also sprayed on every place that Molly hangs out when we were away for the weekend (he has been fixed - he's just evil). That means Josie’s antique rag rug; Molly’s chair, the down throw on the sofa, a spot on the carpet in Steve’s office are all places I've been spending my best hours removing odours from lately. He’s also requesting to be let in the house more now that it's getting colder; but then when he’s in, he’s baiting Molly like a frat boy starts a bum fight. I am so ready to punch him in his wee little black nose that I am almost ashamed of myself.
She has been on antibiotics for a month or more, with all her surgeries, and still has an eyeful of pus. Who knows what’s in that pus, the goo that I scoop from her eye three times a day? Should I be saving it and selling it to foreign governments for germicidal warfare? The drugs may have lowered her resistance, she could have caught it at the vet’s, and studies show (from one of the scarier sites about Ringworm (Here, by the way, is one of the scarier sites) (and don’t look up Roundworm first, which is how I scared myself shitless, because the rings of fungus are round and I got panicky and confused and thought I had Roundworm and all I knew is that I had some worm disease) that it mostly comes from dogs. And when dogs have it, it is even more gross and horrible and so I am glad that Molly probably doesn't have it, because I see no evidence of it - which means, the possiblities are now exponentially worse.
As the scarier site above says, cases of Ringworm are on the rise. She's in a new daycare, one that already treated us to a lovely bout with Bronchiolitis. The site also makes it seem like it’s something I could have picked up anywhere and everywhere, and like if I don’t already clean enough, which you KNOW I do – I have to clean more. I know the daycare is very clean, but still...kids and germs. I admit Josie and I often share hairbrushes, or sometimes towels and stuff – but it’s her new and awful habit of nail-biting that’s freaking me out. She bites her nails, and rips the shards off and then sucks the blood when they bleed. Now, because I am checking everything in my life with a fervor, I can see no evidence of Ringworm on her, anywhere. The dog and the cat are seemingly fine as well. Which leaves, the worst and most appalling potential source:
My Parents' Home.
Oh, sweet hairy Jesus, I've complained about their place all my life, and now it's happened. I've become infected, afflicted by something in that unhygienic hellhole..
You see, for years I've been grossed out, in a bratty teenage way, by their various disgusting habits and health problems. The times I lifted up my mom's skin folds to dust powder underneath in order to keep away yeasty skin infections are never recalled without a shudder. How I refuse, usually, to go barefoot there and never let my baby crawl there because there have been toenails found on their living room end tables and there are always dirty nylon knee-his under the sofa. How the food storage there is beyond scary. How the Preparation H is WAAAAY too close to the toothpaste in the bathroom. How just this weekend I nearly coughed up a lung after getting a face full of Lysol that my mom crop dusted the bathroom with after she had her "constitutional" - because opening a window wouldn't have done the job, what with her poor diet and digestive problems...and how I've been complaining about my Dad's various fungi problems, and how he needs help - professional help.
With all the medications he's on, his immunity suffers. Sure, he might be repelling heart attacks with medications galore - but there's a toenail fungus that has had a hold on him for over a decade. And, something I've been fighting with them about for over a year - his dandruff problem. I'd seen bottles of anti-dandruff shampoo, and even expensive salon tea tree oil shampoos appear in their shower, and asked my mom about them. I pointed out he could have a fungal scalp infection, and that those products wouldn't help. He needs a doctor to really look at all of the areas where he has itchy crusty scaly yellowing thickening problems, and he needs help, he needs actual doctor that exists with a certificate on his wall help, and he needs to get that shit taken care of. There are good drugs that he could be taking for them! So that others wouldn't have to be in danger of catching his funguses! Fungi. Cooties.
And I've become a bit lazy - while I'm not exactly using their communal bath pouf, I haven't been as careful about never ever touching anything that might have come in contact with their business with my bare skin (which is why I've also always refused my mom's offers to take naps in her bed - even a thin layer of boxer shorts is not enough distance between me and my dad's junk). In fact...oh dear. I'm also recalling that not too long ago he did go to the dermatologist...for a fungus on his...well, um...Steve and I, between ourselves, were calling him "Fuzzy Johnson"... IfI'vecaughtmydad'spenisfungusI'lljusthavetodie.
The gestation for Ringworm, the time it takes to manifest itself after contact, is 4 to 10 days.