It seems a trivial thing to be concerned about but, when I came out of surgery (1st OP) and returned to all my senses the following morning, there was one thing that bothered me. Feeling the bandage around my head and seeing how other people in the ward stared at me, made me feel very conscious and aware. It became clear to me, after a while, that we were all in there for different reasons and yet, here I was, having just had brain surgery.
By the next day, I was allowed to go home and felt anxious as I wanted to get home to my boys (aged 5 and 3 at the time). When the nurse removed the bandage, she struggled a bit to remove the dressings, which was sticking to my hair. She said she’d have to cut it off and would be back shortly, my curiosity rose tenfold as I reached for my phone to take a photo of what had been done. I stared at the sight of the photo with a little bit of disbelief and felt my eyes tear up. I knew that the surgeon had to get in somehow and I knew that I would have some hair missing but somehow, it just hit me like a train and I felt almost…fragile. The nurse returned and put some fresh dressings on my incisions and said I could go and have a shower if I wanted before I was discharged.
With the bandage now removed, which sat like a turban on my head before, I headed straight for the mirror (still feeling lit up with emotions). I looked at my reflection, I looked tired…I also noticed the lopsided hairstyle I was now sporting. Touching it gently, the spiky hair around the fresh dressing, being brushed by my fingers…I took a deep breath in and sighed. I looked myself in the eye and whispered: “You can do this…you can do this“. (I’ve intentionally left the photo’s out for any sensitive readers. However, they are in my book Hydrocephalus Floating Faithfully)
When I got home, I took another shower but this time to wash my hair which felt matted and knotty. Washing gently as per the instructions I was given at the hospital, I noticed the red coloured water and felt gritty pieces of blood as I ran my fingers over my head. It was one of the most glorious feelings to have a clean head of hair and luckily for me, I had longer than shoulder length hair, which meant I could flick it over to the other side.
However, as my wounds healed, the shaved spots on my head just bothered me too much so I got a short (boys) haircut. It was almost like me saying, “I embrace the new me…look out world, here I come. I’ve earned my scars“. Also, in time I loved the wash and go factor, which saved me so much time in the morning.
Looking at the length of my hair now, one would never say it was ever that short, it’s halfway, down my back! And, there is no evidence to the naked eye of any scars unless you go looking for it (like my 6-year old daughter does from time to time 🙂 )…
One would think that after having gone through brain surgery, the last thing on your mind (or that should bother you) is the state of your hair. In hindsight, I can now say that it really isn’t such an important thing at all. If I had any advice for myself at that point in time, it would be to “Not sweat the small stuff” and “Hair grows back again” or even “There are more important things in life” or better yet “Thank God you’re alive!”
How often don’t we all fall short of these reminders though? How often, regardless of what the situation or circumstances, don’t we stress over things that aren’t really that important?