Wednesday, 2 April 2008

26. a surreal day dealing with hair salons...

Wednesday April 02

What an aggravating day. I was very tempted to commit GBH on a few occasions. And if one more person calls me about a driveway / mobile phone upgrade / bank account, my head will explode.

But that’s not the reason I was tempted to violence [surprisingly!]. I decided that today I would A: cut my hair very short, B: arrange to have the rest shaved off at home once it starts falling out in clumps [well, hopefully it won’t do quite that, but you never know]. I had to see the nurse at the GP’s today, as the bottom of the wound hasn’t healed the same way the rest has, so I thought I had better get it checked. Right as rain, so that was step one sorted. The nurse was lovely – she had a problem with hair as well, and highly recommended the ladies at the wig salon in Dingles in Exeter, as she has seen them herself. That was encouraging, as I am going there after work Friday, and as she was so positive about them, I called make an appointment.

But I am getting ahead of myself – I forgot the interesting and infuriating interlude in between. I thought that as we have a hair salon 2 minutes walk up the road, I’d nip in there on the way home from the GP and see if I could have the A and B sorted. Seemed quite simple to me – cut my hair short now in the salon. In a few weeks, one of the girls might be able to walk down to our house, and razor the remains of my hair. A good idea from Aj, as it would be a lot less stressful to have this done at home, rather than in a salon. Nope! It would have been ‘too much trouble’ as ‘everyone is off on their holidays’ and ‘we need 2 people in the shop at all times’ etc – ‘sorry’...very thoughtful girls. As there are loads of women suffering with alopecia and chemo induced hair loss, I found that very un-empathic and was pretty cross. So, obviously they don’t need the business. As a rather bitchy little manoeuvre and to vent some anger, I nipped onto the internet and gave them a bad review – not unkind or rude, but not recommending them either. Right, that was them crossed off the list.

You will note that I refer to ‘empathy’ here, as averse to ‘sympathy’ – I don’t need or want sympathy, but a little understanding makes a huge, huge difference when you are asking questions like that - it’s hard just to discuss the fact you are going to lose all your hair with a stranger, and the girls in there seemed to think I was asking about having the latest ‘Posh’ style – surreal.

Got home and decided to call the wig ladies at Dingles. AAARGH! The internet shows a number, which I duly called – apparently the hair ‘dressing’ side of it has moved. Ok. Call the new number. Deal with a total half wit who should never ever even be allowed NEAR a phone. Ever. Nor a pair of scissors if the phone conversation was anything to go by. I managed to discover, after much difficult two syllable style conversation, that the wig department is STILL at Dingles, but this new number is a hair salon [I am starting to wonder WHO works in hair salons – where do these people come from? the moon?]. And no, she didn’t know anything about wigs, chemo patients etc. Ok. More phone calls – thankfully, Dingles have a person on their exchange who has not yet undergone a frontal lobotomy, so I was put through at last to the right place.

What a relief!! I spoke to a sensible and empathic person at last. She sounded just up my street, understood my mind set, knew exactly what I wanted, how to get it and what I should be doing. Lovely. AND, interesting factoid from this woman, I actually am entitled to a free wig from the NHS, and apparently I can order it through the Dingles wig shop [I will no doubt find out all the names of everyone, and of the shop eventually]. They will call the RD&E on my behalf while I am there and get a case number, and order it for me. Oh yay. Such a relief. But after screwing myself up so much to go to the initial local hair ‘salon’ [grr] and to be so disappointed by them, I was now shattered. But, excellent that I now only have to lay out for one of the 2 wigs. Cool.

Deep breaths.

Now to organise a treat for myself, after all this torture – Mum has been advised by her friends that one’s finger nails get really brittle from the chemo. I am lucky and have very strong, long nails anyway, but I decided I’d have a full set of UV gel nails done – it’s a really hard coating over your own nails, set with UV light. It can incorporate a French Polish, and lasts for ages if it’s done properly. So I rang up about that, expecting more chaos. Incredible – a young girl answered the phone, arranged the appointment, knew quite what I wanted and that was that. Sorted. Hoorah!!

It is very tiring and trying, dealing with people who don’t understand or try to understand what you are going through – and even though it isn’t their fault, it can be very upsetting at the time [yes, I am over wanting to fire bomb the local salon by now heh heh]. You have to be prepared for the fact that even though all your hair falling out is central to your life, it’s peripheral to everyone else’s. And long may it remain so.

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