Scabies is a contagious itch or mange caused by a parasite. I don’t want it, but some unfortunate inmate brought it to Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp last summer. He was gone before I arrived on August 26th, but left this deposit as a parting gift. His bunk mate came down with the symptoms immediately, but it took the medical staff almost a month to determine the cause. By then ten other inmates had it. It’s not fun.

All my information about the first outbreak is second hand, and I’m sure facts have evolved into myth over the 3 months since it happened. I guess the good news is that I didn’t experience the first infestation. The bad news is that it’s back, or never left.

When this happened the Warden showed up for a Town Hall Meeting and said she was going to do a Barney Fife (my words, not hers) on scabies and nip it…in the bud. Apparently she had not heard that the bud had flowered and was about to go to seed. I was still glad to see her.

In the meeting the inmates were told to put all our personal clothes in our laundry bag so it could be washed at 200 degrees, but for some reason we were just told to return our Bureau of Prison clothes. We piled them up outside where they sat for 24 hours in a vast unmarked grave, as few of them are tagged with our names since we have been out of tags for two months. Thankfully about 90% of us, me included, were returned all our personal clothes. Our BoP clothes were another matter. Most of us are now wearing someone else’s. My BoP t-shirts looks like someone tried to tie dye the front, but I’m not sure I care. This isn’t Camp Fashion any more than it’s Camp Logistics.

The best part, and I don’t have the imagination to make this up, was that while our clothes were gone, we were all given 4XL t-shirts and boxers to wear until they found us some temporary clothes 24 hours later. These 4XLers totally worked for me as when I stood up, the boxers covered my feet and ankles and the t-shirt covered everything else. During this 24 hours, we were “locked in” the East and West Wings, leaving only twice briefly while they sprayed our mattresses. We were also given some ointment which we had to put all over ourselves and leave on for 8 hours. An 81 year old inmate who was one of the victims of the first outbreak asked if someone was going to put it on his back. Everyone laughed, but nobody answered. It seemed like a reasonable question to my back.

Will the bud be nipped? Is the pesky parasite still hiding somewhere? Did I get the ointment between my shoulder blades? Enquiring minds want to know. I guess time will tell and Lord knows I have time.

My only regret is that I didn’t have a camera.