As I write this self-indulgent blog post, there are thirty staples holding the twenty-seven-centimetre incision on the right side of my head together (yes, I counted them—my life’s pretty slow these days) and an additional three near my left temple. (I didn’t ask what they were doing there. Fixing a slip of the scalpel?)
I have no problem admitting that something about the combination of my almost-shaved hair and the hardware studding my scalp makes me feel more bad-ass than I have at any other point in my life. Admittedly, though, I didn’t go through a goth or a punk phase in my youth—indeed, my forms of rebellion were never cosmetological in nature—so I don’t have a very good term of comparison for this particular experience, which I hope I’ll only have once. If I do happen to be subjected to another major hospitalization, I plan for it to be something truly exciting, like recovering from a paragliding accident. #nevergoingparagliding
But I digress.
My reaction to my lustrous scalp of stubble, and to the sizeable crescent of staples that runs through it, has surely been made more positive by two factors:
- The fact that I didn’t see my hair until it had already grown out a little since it was fully covered by an enormous bandage until after the second surgery. I’m not sure what I’d have thought had I seen it in the ball-of-naked-flesh stage.
- The degree to which family and friends continue to reassure me that a hairdo composed of less than half an inch of hair of all one length, with utilitarian bling, suits me. I’m not sure if I should be flattered by these comparisons or not, but at least ten people have said I look like Eleven in the Netflix series Stranger Things, and several have drawn parallels between me and Charlize Theron’s character in Mad Max.
My main issue with the staples is that they produce an itch like no one’s business, an itch that I’m constantly trying to convince myself that I shouldn’t scratch. (The discharge summary/instructions for home that I was given when I was released from hospital, in fact, specifically reminded me that I was not to scratch the incision. I get the feeling that I’m not the first patient to encounter this challenge.) It’s gotten to the point that a few mornings ago, I woke up literally attempting to pick the staple nearest my ear out. My version of sleepwalking, I guess.
Fortunately, I’m having the staples removed this coming Monday, so minimal opportunity remains for me to unhygienically pluck them from my scalp in my sleep. Before leaving the EMU, I was provided with a staple-removal kit to bring to my family doctor, which I find a little strange—if my GP is equipped to deal with this task, which I’m sure she is, shouldn’t she have, you know, the equipment for it? But no matter. All I really care about is that four days from now, the only metal in my head will be dangling from my ears.