Bitter Pill

Photo by Artem Podrez on
I asked my hematologist if there was anything that I could do about me losing my hair. You see, I knew it was a side effect of Coumadin, but at 30, I was not quite prepared to be the spitting image of my father; which is to say, my hair receding further and further back first, covered by the comb over and then, teased just got thinner and thinner; until, it was starting to spin into a salt and pepper speckled horse shoe singular like thread, and my fear was it would continue this way until all of my femininity was wiped away. 

My doctor looked at me, wall eyed, ready for a fight, triggered by my question. He fired back, 
     “It’s a lifesaving drug!”
I nodded timidly and say, 
     “I know. I just want to know if I should just start wearing wigs.” 
I smile a little to ease the tension, and he releases the grip from my metaphorical shoulders, and tells me all my options, but I did my research already. I just needed confirmation. My hair is not growing back. 

Can we just take a minute to recognize the doctors who day in and day out work tirelessly to save lives only for someone to willingly choose to die for their vanity. I could imagine how many conversations he had just like mine being a Hematologist/Oncologist, and how much it would burn the insides of his soul like molten bubbling tar to know a drug could save a patient, and they chose to die for their beauty, for frivolity. I felt incredibly kindred to him in that moment. Trauma recognizes trauma. We forget doctors even though they hold scalpels; they too have scars. 

But in that moment, I could not find the words to explain my hair, that frivolity, while I deemed it not worth dying for, it certainly was worth living for. The moment I came out of the hospital after almost dying from my blood clot, the wind whipped my hair. My baby nephews, when I held them up to my shoulder, they used to pull on my brown chestnut ringlets. I’ve had men nuzzle into my neck and whisper secrets into my ear as they tug on my ponytail. As I aged and my gray hairs were coming in, I actually loved how the sun gleamed over my hair. My grays sparkled like diamonds in the ground! I will never know what it’s like to go full granny haired white.

So yes at 30, the life-saving drug is a hard pill to swallow; I swallow it. I will swallow it every day of my life. Hopefully, it will be a long one. Hopefully, I will learn to love my body in all states of being glorious main, thin tail, horseshoe, shaved head, cue ball, wig, weave, scarf, topper, hat and my personal favorite messy bun it’s a lifestyle don’t you know!

By Hyacinth Hale

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