Eyes Wide Open

A Perspective From Within



I was so close to being weaned off the dopamine, released from ICU, and into a step down room, but really, my main concern was actually to get my hair washed. It had been almost two weeks, and I felt like I was getting dreadlocks. I had so many wonderful patient care techs in ICU that took care of my nonmedical needs like brushing my teeth, bathing etc. but no one in ICU would take on the monumental task of washing my long brown mane. I had asked Ocean, who I affectionately called Jennifer Hudson (they could’ve been twins) and according to her, it never had been done there before. We just put a rover on Mars, I was quite certain that they could get this accomplished. It’s not like I was asking them for a cut, color and blow out.  I was not going to let up until I got my way. I just thought that if I could have clean, fresh hair, I would feel so much better and it would contribute to my recovery. This was my mission statement and of course was BS; I just wanted my hair washed because it was filthy and I couldn’t take it anymore.

My initial question was, “can anyone wash my hair?” The word “wash” to them conjured up the vision of lots of water next to expensive medical equipment.  The obvious answer was always “we have no way of doing that in ICU.” Thinking out-of-the-box, they had a couple of suggestions though. How about some wet towels, tousled around on my head? This was not even remotely close to what I wanted.

Another quite keen suggestion from them was… “the no rinse shampoo cap”. Hmm, this sounded intriguing and frightening at the same time. One cannot possibly wash hair without water. Has the hospital discovered a unique beauty product that has never crossed this beauty junkie’s path? Very doubtful. If you look in my bathroom, you’ll realize that I am a makeup and hair product hoarder. After further investigation, I found out that this cap is absolutely horrid. It was some sort of gross dry shampoo that was in a cap and gets heated. The packaging is horrible too. Apparently, just heat the cap, place on head, massage, towel dry and style. Absolutely no water necessary. You can be out the door in minutes. My God, wish I would’ve known about this unbelievable product sooner. Was this an Allure magazine top beauty pick of the year, and I missed it? Thank you for that option, but I’ll pass. I would rather just lay here with gross dirty hair.

I decided that my approach had to change and I needed to ask the question in a different way. My revised question was, “can anyone clean up my hair a bit… I would feel so much better.” I knew that by asking the question in this way they could not refuse me. After all, that’s what they did. I also knew that I had the keen ability to casually talk whoever was going to do it into getting a bowl of water in here to really get the job done right. Janet, a sweet and talkative tech from Haiti, agreed to help me out. Before I knew it, there was a gray plastic hospital tub filled with warm water at the head of my bed. I of course supplied the shampoo… yummy Bliss Lemon and Sage Supershine shampoo, my favorite. Thankfully, Ross brought me a few beauty products that I requested and this was one of them. There was no way in the world that I was going to use the hospital shampoo on my hair. That would’ve been like putting low octane gas in a Bentley. Janet went to town on my hair. It may have been my imagination or the Percocet, but I think there was even a scalp massage somewhere in this process. The scent of lemon and sage filled my room and temporarily covered up that weird hospital smell. I was in heaven. Thank you Janet for contributing to my recovery…

8 thoughts on “BrainWASHED

  1. Mary, I am amazed at your blog! I am praying for you daily, but today’s post about the hair washing had me laughing so hard! From one blow out queen to another, I can’t imagine how you felt. I never realized how complicated it could be in an ICU! I’m so happy you found someone to make you more comfortable and beautiful!
    Lisa Packo Dregalla

  2. Mary, hooray for good hair! Clean hair makes you feel like a new person. No one would wash my hair after two weeks and so my friends, Kim, Linda and Karen were told to bring the good stuff. We closed the door and locked it…they slid me sideways in the bed..someone held my feet..someone held my head and someone lathered and rinsed….the blow dry was just ok not like my weekly blow out but at least it was clean.
    Lisa Craine

  3. Mary, unfortunately I ran into the same problem, but I didn’t find a Jennifer Hudson to help me out. I found the CAP!! They actually heat it in a microwave and then put it on your head, it didn’t feel great, actually pretty nasty and I came out looking like a French Poodle!! I believe they charge 15.00 a cap and tried to discourage it. I ask for it every other day after that!

  4. Where does one find this lemon sage supershine shampoo? 🙂

    I am so glad you were able to get freshened up. There is nothing worse then the feeling of dirty hair. It sounds like the aid who helped you is an angel!!!

    Mary praying for you daily! Your eloquent and honest writings keep me glued to my inbox email.

    • Gina, so great to hear from you. I hope all is well. The blog keeps me very busy after rehab and I love writing it. Thank you for all your prayers! BTW-the shampoo is from Bliss Spa. It’s the best shampoo. you can order online at blissworld.com

  5. Hi Mary…I saw Jenny Frantz and she said that her and Bill were coming down in a few days…She said Bill can’t wait to see you…

  6. Hi Mary, I’m writing on behalf of my mother, Mira Katanic:) I found your blog today and she quickly asked me to write you a message. She wants you to know that she is so sorry and that she is praying for you daily.
    I will continue to read your blog and keep her posted. You are amazingly strong!!!

  7. Hi Mary…Isn’t amazing how such a simple thing like getting your hair washed can be so difficult to get accomplished. I’m so glad Janet came to the rescue and got your hair washed for you. I’m sure having clean hair and a bit of a scalp massage made you feel so much better. I also have to say, you surely got me to chuckling while reading through your post and I love the title! We continue to keep you in our thoughts and prayers. Your positive attitude, strength, and sense of humor are amazing! Thank you for sharing your journey, you’re a special lady!

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