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…