# of literary mags submitted to: 3
# of pages written (now that my novel is done, I’m just working on short stories and other projects, not that I actually got anything accomplished today, but that’s the plan): 0
Just in time for Halloween, I have the creepiest/coolest health ailment!
It started about a week ago. I noticed that the skin around my left eye was dry and scaly. And every morning when I woke up, my eyes were especially crusty. But I did my usual thing, which is to ignore the problem and wait for it to go away. But as the days went by, the skin around both eyes started getting really itchy and burning, and when I woke up every morning it felt like my eyelids were glued together.
Nikki, being the good nurse that she is, gave me some surgical ointment to soothe my itchiness and encouraged me to go to the doctor’s.
I made an appointment, but I felt silly. I figured the doctor was going to tell me one of two things:
1. It’s just dry skin, dumbass. Use some super gentle lotion.
2. This is what happens when you get old, dumbass. Your eyes get scaly and crusty. Get over it.
What the doctor said instead was surprising and, to me, exciting. Apparently, I have blepharitis. This is an inflammation in the eyelash follicles. What happened was that the mites living in my eyelashes somehow burrowed deep down into the roots of my eyelashes and are now snuggled down in there multiplying rapidly, causing infection and all of my dry, itchy, crusty symptoms.
“You know, we all have mites living on our faces,” the doctor told me. She seemed worried that this would upset me.
“Oh, I know!” I said, smiling and nodding eagerly. “So my little mites did this to me? They’re so wily!”
“Yes,” she said. “The mites did this.”
I love learning about the microbes that live in and on my body. Of course, I’m a little frustrated with my little eyelash mites right now, but apparently a few days of washing my eyes with baby shampoo and getting all new eye make-up will set them straight.
As I was driving home from the doctor’s, my eyes started to itch, and I imagined the itsy bitsy mites, tunneling around inside my eyelash follicles. Those crazy kids! I got home and washed my eyes with diluted baby shampoo. Then I did some research about eyelash mites.
Apparently, they are quite adorable little eight-legged creatures, only about 0.4 millimeters long and covered in scales. They feast, not only on dead skin cells, but also hormones and some juicy stuff call the sebum which accumulates inside the hair follicles. So that’s why they wanted to burrow on down there – it’s where the food comes from!
Now, here’s the really crazy part. Male and female eyelash mites have sex, and then the female mite lays up to twenty eggs on one eyelash. It takes a few days for the eggs to hatch, and the little mite babies enjoy a week of childhood before they develop into full-grown adults and start having sex themselves.
Think about that. At this very moment, your eyelash mites are having sex on your face! Right now, a baby mite is being born on one of your eyelashes! As you read this, a dear old mite is breathing his last breath and coming to the end of his three-week life.
Perhaps you find this creepy, but I actually find it quite exciting. It means that even when I feel like nothing much is going on, or, for example, like today, when I haven’t been very productive, I’m happy to know that actually, there is always something exciting happening, right here on my very face!