Monday, 14 February 2011

Nothing is worse than having an itch you can never scratch

22nd February 53/365In case you thought blogging cannot have a physical effect on the blogger this post is for you: a post whose very typing makes me itchy all over. A post regarding the latest pleasures delivered to us through the experience of parenthood (in our case, parenting a three year old).
Yesterday, and after a fortnight of suspecting something was wrong, we have positively identified our son suffers from threadworms. That is, in plain language, parasite worms infecting our son’s digestive system. Note that by positive identification of the problem I am referring to my wife spotting a worm popping out of the anus.
In general, there is nothing particularly special about this phenomenon. Worms and other parasites have been there with humans since before homo sapiens, and they’ll probably outlast us too. At any given moment there are billions of people infected with worms; most of them come from poor countries. Us Westerners can rid our bodies from this pest by taking a single dose of medicine.
Indeed, the medicine part is the coolest thing about threadworms: the medicine given to me last night by the pharmacist is special chocolate. Special in the sense that it contains the medicine; taste wise, it felt like any [cheap] chocolate out there. It was the first medicine ever I did not mind consuming. Even our son came asking for more! [In case you’re asking, given the threadworm’s talents at distribution the entire household needs to take the medicine if eradication is your aim]
The problem is that this is not the end of the war on the worms. The problem is that worm eggs are easily distributed all over the place: beddings, sofas, chairs - enough to make even the most persistent hand washer give up. We are now in for a major cloth washing and vacuuming effort, but even after that it is clear we are yet to see the last of the worms when considering how easy it will be for our son to be reinfected via childcare. When you share a room with 25 other toddlers lacking any sense of hygiene, you know you’re doomed.

Indeed, the cause of our next harassment looks to be childcare, where reports have been coming of kids suffering from head lice. While it does not seem like this epidemic has entered our household yet it is clearly just a matter of time, and with our son’s love of sharing our bed with us in the mornings it is clear this is going to be another campaign of massive bed linen washing coupled with weeks of careful head combing and nasty toxic shampoos. It is also clear this will not be a one time affair.

Memories of my own childhood head lice experiences, plus the current pleasures of dealing with threadworms, remind me of the one we should be thankful for all this taking place. Please sing along with me and the Pythons as we raise a toast to the twisted mind behind parasites:
All things dull and ugly,
All creatures short and squat.
All things rude and nasty,
The Lord God made the lot.
Each little snake that poisons,
Each little wasp that stings.
He made their brutish venom,
He made their horrid wings.
All things sick and cancerous
All evil great and small.
All things foul and dangerous,
The Lord God made them all.
Each nasty little hornet,
Each beastly little squid,
Who made the spiny urchin?
Who made the sharks? He did!!
All things scabbed and ulcerous,
All pox both great and small.
Putrid foul and gangrenous,
The Lord God made them all.
All Things Dull and Ugly by Monty Python

P.S. If you think these parasites are god’s punishment for us non believers then think again. For a start, why should my three year old suffer from his father's disbelief? Is that the way a loving god would act?
Second, given that the bulk of today’s human population is god fearing, and given there are billions out there infected by parasites, it is safe to say the majority of those infected by parasites are believers.
My own conciliation is in the thought that if man was truly created in the image of god, then god might have his own issues with head lice and worms sticking out his ass.

Disclaimer: The above poem and its subsequent analysis represents plain mockery of those who put their faith in imaginary friends and should not be interpreted as personal admission to belief in that for which evidence can never be found.

Image by fifikins, Creative Commons license
It is safe to assume someone owns the copyrights to the above lyrics

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