The only thing worse than an itch, is an itch you can’t scratch!
On the 29th December 2011, Ali arrived with an unusual smirk on her face – a combination of pity and mild (maybe moderate) amusement. She walked over, looked at me, and told me she had some bad news. My kids, and the house full of cousins, had nits! Her announcement was followed by lots of giggling.
She started looking through my hair and soon announced that I too had been blessed with my own nit family. Not surprising really – I was on a winning streak! The good news though was that I would soon be relieved of the torturous itch.
Courtney arrived soon after for back-up. The nurse looking after me that day was the mother of 2 school-age girls and therefore familiar with the joy of nits. The 3 of them started moving my bed around and making a plan for applying a treatment. I can’t remember all the details but the head of my bed was slightly lowered. It felt so strange and I thought I would surely slide out the end – imagining a scene out of Beverley Hills Cop. Mum arrived too to share in the ‘entertainment’.
Now for the real fun – the nit comb. It’s hard enough getting the nit comb through a kids hair, let alone the long hair of a paralysed woman, lying flat on her back. So after ten long minutes, Ali threw her hands in the air, looked to Courtney, and said, “It needs to be cut.”
As Courtney approached me with a pair of scissors, my nurse turned to her with a smile and said, “How convenient that you’re a hairdresser.” Courts was a little embarrassed to admit that she was not actually a hairdresser. She quickly added that her sister was a hairdresser, as if this would somehow qualify her to cut my hair. With that, the room erupted in to laughter.
I was quite blaze about the whole thing and tried to convince them to shave it off. It seemed like the best solution to me. I figured my appearance was so ordinary anyway, that a shaved head was hardly worth worrying about. Ali flatly refused. She said she was worried that Katie would never talk to her again and felt the kids had been traumatised enough.
So a haircut it was. Mum pulled out a trusty tape measure from her handbag. As Courtney cut, Mum was full of advice on how to get it straight. I’m not sure how many award winning hair-dos have been done on women lying flat on their backs, but I assume, not many.
So with some of the length off my hair and the major birds nests chopped out, the nit comb was getting through my hair. As Ali combed for nits, Courtney gave me a pedicure, and Mum giggled. As Ali and Courtney left to start treating the 14 heads of hair at my house, I thought there was at least 1 big advantage of being in hospital.
A day that could have been miserable, certainly brought many blessings. Mum, Ali, Courtney and I, found so much to joke and laugh about. It felt so normal to be spending some fun time with these 3 women.
Having several blink interpreters that day, and a playful mood in my room, we were given a great opportunity to get to know my nurse. She had noticed my address on the ID stickers in my medical chart. It turns out Lesley lived only 3 streets away from my home. We then realised we both had 12 year old girls. Ali explained to Lesley that we had moved only 3 weeks earlier and Katie was very nervous about starting at a new school. Lesley explained that her daughter Montana, was also changing schools. As the conversation continued, we established that our girls were starting year 7 at the same school.
Lesley’s caring and compassionate nature, extends far beyond her work life. She exchanged numbers with Ali so they could get the girls together before the start of the school year. Katie and Montana hit it off. They spent lots of time together over the remainder of the holiday.
I spent 8 weeks in ICU. With 1:1 nurse / patient ratios, I had all the nurses many times over. Except for Lesley that is. She was never rostered to nurse me again. Lesley became my friend, and remains one of my best friends. Lesley never knew me as a ‘normal’ person. Yet she saw the person I am behind my physical disability.
Lesley and Montana were gifts from God I’m sure. People whose lives crossed my path only once on a professional level. He intended for us to be friends, so from that day on Lesley was not my nurse. I had lots of great nurses – I needed a great friend.
In retrospect, discovering nits that day ‘was meant to be’.