Pressing the Reset Button

Before I get into this post, an update on my mom: we have gotten her settled into a hospital bed (and this one my dad literary referred to as the “Maybach of Hospital Beds”), and it’s one you’d typically find in an intensive care unit, with an air-operated mattress that also helps in rotating her when we have to change her briefs (and my dad and I have finally managed to get into a routine regarding that). The sore she has is still there, but slowly healing thanks to a change in briefs (we’ve gone from pull-up Depends to specially made briefs that they use in hospitals for patients who are in similar conditions to my mom’s (unable to care for or go to the toilet for themselves), and the material is much more breathable and absorbent, which not only keeps her cleaner in general, but also allows us to properly clean and dress the sore (Bactine has also been a huge help in this; it’s a spray-on antiseptic that helps keep the wound clean, and it’s usually what they apply to fresh tattoos to help heal them and prevent infection from setting in). We’re still trying to figure out what foods work for her, but I did manage to find a miniature Cuisinart food processor (fits on a countertop) that’s got enough volume for me to prepare solid food purées for her, and it’s allowing me to fix her a wider variety of food. I’ve found that she likes macaroni and cheese puréed with some ham and warm milk, and spaghetti with meat sauce and beef broth went over decently last night. She also quite enjoyed the strawberry Greek yogurt I fed to her for breakfast the last couple of days. It’s yogurt, but it’s thicker and has the consistency of pudding. Applesauce proved to be a hit with her as well. Chunkier fruits I can purée if I need to.

Getting her to drink liquids has been a challenge, and sadly, I’m starting to suspect that the reason why (and possibly also the reason why her decline started in the first place) is that she may have suffered a stroke. She can still move and wiggle her extremities, but the left side of her face (her left, the right if you’re looking at her) has noticeable drooping, especially on her mouth. We haven’t tried straws yet, but getting her to drink out of a cup has resulted in liquid dribbling out of that side of her mouth. Her speech has also slurred, although she can still get the occasional “What?!” or “No” to come out. We haven’t had a doctor come in yet (my dad is supposed to be handling that and he hasn’t informed me of when he’ll be able to get one to come and see her), but I wouldn’t be surprised. Alzheimer’s patients, among other things, are at greater risk of suffering strokes, and it’s likely that whenever it did happen, we wouldn’t have known as she wasn’t really in a condition to tell us anything was wrong (especially if she was suffering any headaches associated with it). Her current situation is a new normal for us. However long that will last, we don’t know. Some days she’s more alert, and then there’s days like today where she sleeps a lot. We’re doing all we can to keep her fed, hydrated, and comfortable, but we’re coming to terms with the fact that we can only do so much. Right now, I’m watching her sleep.

I’ve also been hiding a little something. My hair in recent months was in pretty bad shape and I decided to cut the whole thing off. The bulk of it was cut off a couple of weeks ago, but yesterday I decided to execute Phase Two of my plan. Now, what you’re gonna see is a bit shocking, but I decided to do this because: 1. I think that every woman who has the means to should do this at least once in her life, so no better time than the present, and 2. I felt like I needed to press the reset button on my hair, and my life, in the process.

You’re not seeing things…I did, in fact, shave my head.

So, to answer any questions you may have:

  • I am not sick or anything like that.
  • I also did not shave my head to make a statement on anything.
  • This was purely an aesthetic and therapeutic decision.
  • It feels pretty good to be free of all that thick, heavy hair on my head, but I don’t see myself staying this way for long. I miss having hair to whip around.
  • I shaved most of my head myself with some Wahl electric clippers, and the guard I used to get what you see here was a #3 (which leaves about 3/8 of an inch of hair behind). I only had my dad come in at the very end to touch up the back of my head and remove any semblance of a mullet.
  • Yes, it will be shampooed and conditioned. But I won’t have to use nearly as much.
  • I will likely just leave it alone for the next few months or so to grow out naturally. Given that my hair is thick, it will probably be pixie length by the summer and I’ll eventually have it touched up by a hairdresser when it’s long enough.
  • I’m gonna give myself a few days to get used to the look, then maybe doll myself up a bit and take some pictures so I can update my social media profile pics.
  • I’m a little nervous about going out in public for the first time with this, and I may take a head wrap with me for backup.

I know I have a bit of a masculine personality at times, but I still consider myself very much female (I always have), and I realize it’s gonna be a little tricky to find a style that works for me while trying to grow this out. But at least I have control over this. I’m interested to see how this experiment pans out…because hair (usually) does grow back. At least I have one less burden on me now. If you have any tips on makeup or styling, I’d appreciate them.

It’s still a lot going on, but we’re trying to figure things out.