Aaaagh! What a night.
So just as we were going to bed, we hear our daughter rumaging around in her draws. She’s looking for a pair of pajamas!
“Why are you looking for more pajamas?” I ask
“Uh” she replies, still half asleep.
Five minutes later she comes out and says she has a wet bed.
This, we learn later, is a symptom of having tape worms.
We change the bed and carry on getting ready for our own joyful night of sleep: HAH!
Five minutes later she is obviiously in deep discomfort. A tingling sensation, sort of inside, sort of near her bottom and itchy, but she is reacting strangley to it dancing around one minute, wanting to go to the toilet the next.
She seems in pain so Calpol is administered but 20 minutes later it is still the same. “A warm bath might help” suggests my wife and as she takes our daughter out she mouths, incomprehensibly, over her shoulder “could be worms”.
The bath seems to help and we head back to bed. I ask what my wife mouthed and she explains. We had had a look for redness earlier but hadn’t seen / hadn’t been looking for worms. The respite is short and another inspection with the big torch from downstairs reveals a centremetre long piece of wiggly cotton: a tape worm!
Apart from my sister 40 years ago, this is the families first experience of worms, so we head online to see what to do!
My word are there some scare stories!
Yes I get it that some people suffer more than others but when that is all you see, the sensationalist headlines, you start to wonder!
So with doom-laden messages of being stuck with the condition (as a family I might add) for EVER and promises of secondary infection and worms coming out of our eyes I head off to find a late night chemist.
TOP TIP: If you live near Luton there are no 24 hour chemists. The one in Bury Park is open till 12 midnight, so diagnose yourself before then!
An hour later (1am) I return with the bad news. As I walk in the door I can hear more crying! This is going to be a long night and I am still sweating with the stories I found on google of huge infestations and dire warnings of rotting worms being left inside my child’s bowells!
The only thing I can think of to help is my piles cream: it will at least numb the area and see her through till she can have more calpol and, before you shudder, I have never double dipped!!!
I know you shouldn’t administer anything to a child that has been specifcally given to someone else but, having read the packet and finding no warnings I was fairly sure that one fingerfull wouldn’t cause too much damage.
10 minutes later and no immediate effects… good or bad!
“Let’s go and watch the Simpsons” I offer. To take her mind off the irritation and to give my wife a bit of rest.
So half way through the second episode of the Simpsons she is obviously calmer and we head to bed.
I am never too sure which is the short straw in these circumstances but my daughter goes to sleep with “mummy” and I sleep in her bedroom with our youngest daughter and, miraculously, all is calm until 6:30 when our youngest wakes up with tummy ache! Fortunately this just a whinge and she goes back to bed until an hour later when, to keep her from waking the others I take her down stairs to play in the den.
At 8:45, with daughter number one still asleep, daughter number 2 and I go on an adventure to the local chemist to hear the worst!
In I walk with trepidation
“My Daughter’s Got Worms” I mummble conspiratorily to the pharmacisit, expecting alarms to go off and the shutters to crash down around us whilst men in helmets and white overalls fumigate us and burn our clothes.
“Yes, how old is she?” Asks the pharmacist calmly. Gosh she is good: no sign of the rising panic in her voice. I wonder if they have special training.
“9 years old” I say. “Good” she says.
What do you mean “good” I wonder. “Good” she had some good years, “good” she will never realise what could have been?
“You do realise that all the family will need to be treated?” Oh god: not little D too! and I’ve entered the Lisbon Marathon in October! Oh the humanity!
“Each of you will have to take one of these”
Just one? Then what? Will we feel any pain? Will it be quick?
“If the worms return you might have to take another one in two weeks time but just make sure hands are washed and everything is kept clean: toilets, sinks, flush handles. It would be a good idea to laundrey bed linen etc. That’s £7.85 please.”
Oh miracle! Life Giver! Happy day, rapturous joy, calloo callay!
“Let’s get Pain au Chocolate to celebrate” I say and daughter number 2 agrees, never knowing how close she came.
So if, worried parent, you are ever faced with a daughter, or son, with tape worms, I hope that this article is listed higher in the search results than the other, more sensational, articles that I found.
Worms are a pain and a horrible yucky thing for a nine year old to cope with (especially on the day they have returned from a tiring three-night Brownie camp) and you do have to make sure that the whole family stays clean, washes hands etc, and they can hang around for a couple of days but, as long as you haven’t left it so late that the itching has inflamed and irritated the area, exacerbating the problem, a tablet over the counter from your pharmacy to kill the blighters and maybe a little cream to help the itching, a couple of episodes of the Simpsons to take their minds of of it and daily baths to wash away any stubborn eggs left around the bottom and you will be fine!
Google can be great, but late at night, when you are tired and stressed and you have a screaming child in the house, don’t believe everything you read!
And don’t double dip!