Saturday, August 9, 2008

Hair Cut, Self Remedies, and Medical Humor

Today I got my hair cut supershort because it's all been falling out. That's what it does when I'm in pain. It looks much fuller--like anyone else's--when it's short and very layered. The bald spots definitely don't show. My hair is very curly, so the shorter it is the more springy it is, easier to hide those bald spots. A lot of it had fallen out last fall, but I'd had a lot of new fuzzy growth that had been coming back in and made my hair a little wild--until that fell out again too with the surgery. Hair from pain loss isn't permanent. It can grow back in again.

I always get it cut short when it starts falling out. Why pull down the follicle with more weight? A lot of people don't like it this way, I can tell. They don't know why I make such changes. They don't realize how many decisions are made on the basis of a disability. What if it were because it's easier and it pains me to reach and my husband's no good at styling it? That's why a couple of women I know with disabilities go with shorter hair. Others stay with longer hair because it's part of their style and their individual trademark. I wish others would show some support.

I'm glad that I had a lot of hair to start with. My sister and others say they notice a difference but that people who didn't know me well wouldn't know. And now they definitely won't know.

I don't quite like it being supershort since I can't pull it back but I do like it looking as if I have adequate hair! My husband, who's been looking at the shower drain in horror, said if I lose more I can get a wig. Gack, that would be too hot and expensive.

I feel more confident this way. At times it's been severe enough in spots that I've been terribly embarrassed but mostly been able to hide it.

The arthritis pain after that hurricane-eye respite is back with a venegeance and I'm looking for something--anything--to help with it. I will try cherry juice concentrate and bromelain tablets and see if that cuts the edge off it at all (antiinflammatory effect), or I may go to the big gun pharmaceuticals. I've already been eating foods with more sulfur content (that's what's in Celebrex, which I'm allergic to). Can't deal when pain meds don't cut the pain enough. I have arthritis in the base of my left thumb now, and I've not been doing anything to overuse it and my knee and heel and hip and upper spine/shoulder hurt too, and this time it's both SI joints, not just the left one. What is it about late summer that always gives me these flares?

Since humor is the best medicine and I love funny movies and books, I looked for medical humor on Amazon. Other than Patch Adams, most of what I saw was a large imbalance with doctors writing of their experiences with patients. Browsing one of the books made me glad I didn't go to medical school--what horrors med students and doctors have to deal with in the ER! Really, truly trust me on this, don't go looking it up. Ick, ick, ick. I'm not talking run-of-the-mill GI or skin problems. What is okay to share is that one book has several sections on patients with Munchausen's, who had faked diabetes using their spouses' insulin, had implanted the bladder with small river rocks to replicate stones, had deflated their lungs with hypodermics, had injected themselves with bacteria, and had physically assaulted doctors in order to get narcotics. Why, for the love of God, why?? I can't see that anyone could anything out of it and what they do to themselves makes me cringe. Gaaah.

Weirder was the story of the older patient who, when wanting to order a hospital bed, was taken to the hospital and assigned to a bed there against his will and his protests ignored! ("Are there any hospital beds available for Mr. Jones?") I can see how this could happen since I've had something similar happen.

What I couldn't find are any medical humor books from a patient point of view.

Family's back from ice skating, got to go.


Elizabeth McClung said...

Thanks for writing about the hair thing, I didn't know it could fall just because of pain.

I don't want to go to a shorter style because I have super-fine (baby's hair I think they stylest call it) and becuase after finally beating anoxeria after 13 years, my hair is my victory symbol, the shows the world that I am not choice. And now that is taken away.

I am glad your husband is supportive. It seems so wrong that after the conditions expose us to doctors staring at us nude, having to be fed, incontinence and everything else, it continues to reach into the private places to find the things we hold special, we have pride in, and it sucks them dry.

I'm sorry, I guess I am having my own humor issues. By the way I think having a collection of asinine statement from Doctors to patients would be viewed with such horror or familiarity people would be unable to laugh. Oddly I find when I treat the doctors with the exactly same level of respect and dignity they give me......they get really, really angry and lash out. But are surprised at patients who do the same. hahaha.

FridaWrites said...

Yeah, any kind of extreme physical stress will make it fall out--surgeries will, too. Rogaine apparently stops this process, though I haven't tried it. You may get a whole lot of new growth now that you're on the Lyrica.

I don't blame you for keeping your hair long at all--I plan to get mine long again, too. Right now the short tendrils are kind of in my eyes, ugh.

You know, I think you're right on the humor thing. When you're disempowered or treated as second class, there's really not any humor in that (or in any parallel disempowering situation).

D Phoenix said...

Here's an arthritis remedy that might cause you to smile: I met someone the other day who has arthritis in his hands and he is a knife sharpener. He swears by his new find: eating six raisins a day that have been soaked in Bombay Sapphire Gin. He said it took a couple of months for him to notice a difference but now, 6 months into doing this, his hands feel great. I wonder why it works for him. I wonder if I can turn my love of champagne into a remedy?

I agree with you on the lack of humour books written by patients, that's why I started my blog. I think people have been able to take doctor's comments and stranger's comments and such and look at them in a new light, finding the humour in our "sick" encounters. I think going through the actual encounter itself often isn't funny or amusing; however, in the retelling (to those who have been there), we are able to stand back from it and laugh. This distance has helped me let go of some bitterness I've been carrying around.

FridaWrites said...

I thought about adding the gin-raisin thing to the quiz, but there were about 15 possibilities to narrow from. No one's actually mentioned that to me that I remember, but I've read about it in the People's Pharmacy column. I wonder how much of it is just the alcohol or what the chemical reaction with the raisins is. :)

So maybe patients' medical humor comes from within rather than intrinsic to the experience itself, which is often not funny--when I write about the MRI phobias, for example, it doesn't undo the experience completely, but helps me reshape it. It helps me let go of the emotional pain to write too--that's why I enjoyed writing up the quiz so much. Rewriting it takes all the demands people make on me and makes the experience mine again or takes the barb out of the words (since a lot of the advice is given in a judgmental way, not a "have you heard of this?" kind of way. I'm not explaining that well, but that approximates it.