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The caped crusader

April 18, 2016
by Kathleen Mears
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Ever since I have lived in nursing homes, there seems to always be things I want that are difficult to get. Usually I just like to get out of the facility for a while. But occasionally I like to get my hair done—cut or colored—as a pick-me-up. Since there is no salon or regular stylist at this facility, hairdos can be challenging. I shared my hair woes with my sister, Janice, and she said she would be my caped crusader and take me out to the salon. She told me that would not solve my hairdo problems in the future, but said she could take me to the salon on her April visit. We hoped for a nice spring day.

When the weather turned unseasonably colder, I e-mailed Janice asking if she wanted to nix our plans, but she still wanted to go out. The morning of her visit there was 1 1/2 inches of snow on the ground. After breakfast I was glad most of it had melted. Janice lives in Florida and I knew this Ohio cold snap would chill her.

I started up the ramp to my van, but my 7-year-old power chair was giving me trouble. The left armrest was wiggling and I could not keep sustained pressure on the joystick. I tried three more times and we decided to give up. The cold air had my left hand feeling frozen. We came inside and got the maintenance man to stabilize my left armrest. He found the Velcro strap I had someone put on it several years ago and reattached it in a different way. Now I can more easily hit the sweet spot on my joystick. Nevertheless, we decided stay in.

Though Janice has never colored my hair before, she got a box of my color and put it on. She had never seen my makeshift hair-rinsing technique, but after I explained it she assured me she could handle it. The aides helped us into the shower room where she rinsed my hair. When we returned to my room, I asked her if she would trim my hair. Since Janice started cutting her own hair in the fourth grade, I was not concerned about a disaster. She began with my kiddie scissors. Luckily one of the staff let us use a pair of haircutting scissors. Janice even put my headband on to make sure her trim was even.

After my color and trim, I felt like a new woman. Our mother was a hairdresser and she said getting your hair done makes you feel special. We ordered lunch in, went through paperwork and generally got caught up with each other.

After our visit, I was grateful my sister, the caped crusader, visited and, as always, helped me out.


Kathleen Mears

Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...