Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hair today, gone tomorrow

As noted in a previous post, I had long, very fine hair, past my waist. Since my hospitalization(s), my hair has been falling out by the handful. Every time I brushed it, I had to clean a handful of hair from the brush.

Daughter Jeana suggested that I might want to consider cutting my hair. I had to think about that for a while. A long while.

Finally, while I was staying at Jeana's for a few days, I made the plunge. She took me to the hair dresser who cuts her hair. When I told her I wanted my hair cut to shoulder length, she stared at me for a long moment, and then asked, "Are you sure?"

No, I wasn't sure. I loved my long hair. I took great pride in the fact that my long hair was silky, shiny, and in great condition. But that was before.

After seven weeks in the hospital, rarely eating, I was malnourished. I have grooves in my fingernails that confirm the diagnosis of malnutrition. I lost nearly 60 pounds--almost a pound a day. My body was shutting down peripheral activities, including growing hair. That's why my hair was falling out.

My hair was in a long braid down my back. The hair dresser cut the braid and laid it on the counter. I had braced myself for that moment, because in the past getting my hair cut had been so stressful, usually disappointing, and always something I dreaded.

This time, as I stared at that braid, I realized that it did not even look like my hair. My hair has always been very thick, so thick that most hair dressers said I had enough for two or three people. This braid was thin. Very thin. Not like my hair at all.

I plan to send the braid to Locks of Love, an organization that takes donated hair and turns it into wigs for cancer patients.

When I look in the mirror, I can see tiny new hairs growing in around my face and along my part. My hair still looks thin, but I have to admit it is much easier to deal with at this length, drying faster when I wash it.

I miss my long hair. I miss how it feels against my skin, and how easy it was to put it up with hair sticks.

But, as Jo March noted once, maybe my brains needed a little airing, and maybe I was too vain about it, considering it my one great beauty.

At any rate, I did cut it, and while it may take several years to reach the length it once was, it has already grown noticeably, my bangs already needing a trim after just three weeks.

I wish I had a great punch line to end this post, but I can't think of anything funny, or witty. Oh...except....I didn't cry when my hair was cut this time. Maybe I am growing up after all.