Yesterday was momentous in that it marked the first day post-surgeries that I was allowed to wash my hair.
It was glorious.
It was also strange.
Until this past fall, my hair stretched halfway to my waist. Then my surgery was initially scheduled, and I got a series of cuts to prepare myself for the shaved head to come, first six or so inches off, later to my shoulders. Even with this reduction in length, there was still a good deal of bulk: my hair, after all, is nothing if not thick. I’d thus grown accustomed to certain hair-washing rituals, such as palmfuls of shampoo and conditioner and a post-bathing towel dedicated to my unruly tresses.
As it turns out, there aren’t so many requirements for washing a month’s worth of hair growth. My husband, who was helping me with the task (I tire easily these days, OK?), rubbed a dab or two of shampoo over my scalp, carefully avoiding the lengthy incision running from the middle of my forehead to just above my right ear.
“Done,” he announced after rinsing.
“What about the conditioner?” I asked, somewhat taken aback that it hadn’t taken half an hour and buckets of energy to get my hair clean.
“Your hair’s a third of an inch long, if that. It’s not at risk of getting tangled,” was his pragmatic reply. He had a point.
Hair-washing complete, I requested two towels, as I’ve used for the past, oh, twenty-five years.
“Think about this. How long is it going to take your hair to air dry?”
Point taken. “I don’t know. Five minutes?”
In the end, it was more like three.
And so my reacclimatization to the non-hospital world continues, one shampoo at a time.