We had only been married for 4 months. High school sweetharts who went to college together, and just after graduation we were married. Nick and me (Stephanie) were both offered great jobs in a Columbus after college, so after our honeymoon we moved into a nice suburban townhouse just two weeks before we started our new careers.
The last weekend before we started to work we decided that we would go for a ride in the countryside and explore the area. It was a great afternoon exploring several tourist spots and having a fun time. We decided to head back towards Columbus and have dinner in the city. We were driving along a state route when it happened. We entered into an intersection when a semi-truck ran thru a traffic light at over 40 mph. The truck hit us almost in the middle, with my door taking a major hit. I of course remember seeing the truck, but nothing after.
When I woke up several hours later I was in a trauma center, and I remember seeing my husband with a collar on his neck. He was leaning in towards me telling me he loved me and would see me after surgery. I remember being wheeled out of the room, then it all went black.
When I woke up the next time I was surrounded by my husband and family. I was still groggy when my husband told me that they fixed everything. I tried to look down at my body, but the neck collar I had on kept me from seeing anything. All I could see was several IV bags that I assumed were all being pumped in to me, and I could feel something in my nose. It was then that her told me what had happened to me. In the accident I sustained a broken hip, and my leg was broken in 2 places. My arm was also broken in 2 places, but the most concerning was I had a broken back.
I was crying as Nick was telling me this, some how he walked away with just a banged up knee and some cuts and scratches. Me, on the other hand was going to be in the hospital for weeks. My mind went to our new jobs, but Nick assured me that he had spoken to my new employer and they would hold my job until I was ready to start.
The next few days were pretty quiet as they were giving my body time to settle down after the surgeries. I was always an active person, so laying in bed all day was driving me crazy. The only thing that bothered me more was not being able to shower and wash my hair. The nursing staff took good care of me, but I couldn’t get used to having a stranger wash my body as I laid there. The weirdest thing to me was how they washed my hair. The nurse placed this odd looking foil bag over my head which had some kind of shampoo in it. My very long curly hair barely fit into the thing and the nurses struggled with the whole process. This was my life for the next 4 weeks, laying in the bed watching tv. I was still unable to do even the most basic of things, most of my food came from the tube in my nose. Nick would come every day after work with and feed me my dinner.
The next week I had a visit from a care coordinator who told me that my insurance decided I needed to be moved to a long term care facility. She told us she would work with us to find a place that was the best fit for my needs. We were new to the area, so we had no idea what any of these places were. Later that day the woman told us that there was an available bed at a place called ‘Andover Village’. She said they were the best place for hip injuries, so Nick and I figured it was our best choice. The next morning I was loading into an ambulance and driven to my what would be my new home for several weeks to come.
Nick was with me as they put me into my room. It wasn’t long before someone from the facility came to welcome us and try to explain what the plan was for my rehab. After she had us sign all the required paperwork she turned on the television and told us there was a information channel for us to watch. A few minutes in to watching and I was starting to notice something. This wasn’t just a rehab center, but a retirement center and nursing home. I asked Nick why he had them bring me here, and he told me they do the best work on people who break their hips. I was feeling a little unsure about this, but I knew Nick meant well.
I was there for a week before they started any therapy sessions. I finally got the cast removed from my arm, so at least I could try to feed myself now. I asked when I could have the catheter removed and the therapist said that should be my motivation to get up and start walking. They started with light work, just in my room for a few days before I was taken to the main rehab room where they were going to get me mobile again.
They brought in several specialists over the next few days, each one working on a different part of my body. I was told that we would have a meeting on Saturday morning, when Nick was there to go over that full plan for me. My first goal was being able to bathe myself, as I still hadn’t gotten used to being washed like a baby.
When Saturday came, Nick and I was excited to hear what the program director had to say. She laid out a full plan which would mean another 8-10 weeks of living here. I was getting upset by what she said, but knew it had to be done. Then she said something that put me over the edge. They were going to cut my hair. Almost hyperventilating, I told them that there was no way that was going to happen. Nick calmed me down, and asked if it was really necessary.
The woman first explained that I would be fitted for a Milwaukee brace to support my neck when I start walking, and my hair would cause problems when fitting it. I sort of understood, but still refused to approve. The woman then said that the head nurse had received complaints about all the extra work it took to bathe me and wash my hair, so she had the already placed an order to have the staff beautician see me later in the day.
I was getting upset all over again. I told Nick that I wanted to go home. He quieted me down and reminded me their was no way for me to get up the full flight of stairs into our house even if I wanted. I told them I didn’t care. I would not agree to having my hair cut. It was then that the director sealed my fate, telling me that if I left the facility against medical advise that insurance wouldn’t pay for any of my time here. She estimated my bill so far at about $60,000. I slumped in my wheelchair, and started to cry. With all that had happened to me, this was what bothered me the most. Nick looked at me sadly and said what I knew was true “Babe, it’s gotta go”
When I woke up on Monday I knew it would be my last day with long hair. I remembered from the info channel that the on site beautician was available Tuesday thru Friday, so I was still somewhat relaxed. The nurse came in with my morning meds and as she handed me the cup she said “Oh, there’s an extra one today” It wasn’t unusual, so I just downed the meds, and ate my breakfast. A little while later she returned with a wheelchair. I knew I didn’t have therapy this morning so I asked her “where are we going?” The nurse gave me a very generic answer “Just a little ride this morning.” She wheeled me out of the building I was in, and I was more than happy to be outside for the first time in weeks. We soon reached the main building. I had never seen this before, and as she pushed me thru the halls I was looking at all the different places inside, flower shop, small grocery type store, gift shop, barbershop, beauty parlor. I was a little groggy this morning, so it took until she reached for the door that I knew why we went for a walk. They were going to cut off my hair. I don’t know why but I didn’t seem as upset as she rolled me inside. We were quickly greeted by a woman who looked older than my grandmother. “Stephanie, Good Morning. I’m Mrs Miller. Are you ready for your appointment?” I just sat there and said nothing. The nurse then spoke up “She didn’t know we were coming here today. She was getting upset about losing her long hair, so the boss decided to not tell her beforehand. We gave her a nice, strong sedative with her morning meds, so she will be good and compliant for you. Mrs Miller just said “wonderful. Lets bring her over here and get on with it then.”
I have worked here for 10 years, since I closed my old shop. Taking care of all my senior clients has been wonderful, but I was so happy when they told me that Stephanie was coming in. There’s nothing like having some thick, healthy hair to work on for a change. When Stephanie first came thru the door it reminded me of many years ago when mothers would bring their teenage daughters in my shop to have their childish long hair cut off. Just like I did then, I had been given instructions on what was to be done, so I had no qualms about taking off over 30″ of Stephanie’s hair. I had the nurse roll her wheelchair onto the lift so we could get started right away. It was about this time that the sedative had taken full effect, so Stephanie just sat quietly in he chair as I wet her hair down and began combing it out. I was somewhat out of practice on newer hairstyles as most of my regular customers have worn the same hairstyle for 40-50 years, but I decided that I would give Stephanie a sleek lip length bob cut with a small undercut in the back. That will keep he hair out of the way of her brace and make her weekly shampooing easier on the support staff.
After a few minutes to get her hair combed thru it was time for the big chop. I placed my big sheers just below her ear and as I made the first cut a long ribbon of hair slid down the cape and into Stephanie’s lap. I saw a bit of a tear start on Stephanie’s face which made me smile as I remembered all the girls that balled their eyes out as I took them on the right of passage from a child to an adult. After I took the same amount from the other side and it too came into Stephanie’s view, I decided I would put the rest up in a ponytail to save as a trophy. Once the rest of the long hair was taken from her, the rest of the cut went fairly quickly. A nice precision cut followed by a few passes up the bottom with the #2 clipper guide, and the cut was complete. I decided to finish the style with a straightening iron so Stephanie had a smooth new look.
I was just wheeled into my room as I began to realize what had just happened. I can just barely remember seeing my beautiful hair falling down my body into my lap, but as I saw it there I wasn’t able to do anything about it. It was like I was dreaming the whole thing. Reality hit me as the nurse helped me into bed “Your new haircut looks so nice.” I thanked her for her compliment even though I didn’t share her opinion. I still hadn’t seen the cut since it was done, but I reached up and felt it, and immediately felt sick to my stomach. They brought my lunch to me but by then I was starting to get upset over what happened. I had spent most of the afternoon in tears and tried to quickly wipe my face as Nick came in with dinner. He had a huge smile on his face “Oh Steph, you look amazing. I’ve never seen you with straight hair before.” I told him that I didn’t know they were going to cut it today. Nick just told me again how good it looked. I could tell he was being less than truthful about something, so I asked “Did you know they were taking me for a haircut this morning?” He confessed that the nurses had told him told him about it and that they were going to sedate me beforehand. He said it was to make it easier on me, but I didn’t care what he had to say at that time. I was so pissed off at him that I told him to leave. Nick knew he should walk away, so he said he would be right back. He returned about 10 minutes later with a hand mirror in his hand. “Come on Steph. I mean it. You look amazing.” I closed my eyes at first, not wanting to see what they had all done to me. “Stephanie, please look at how beautiful you are.” I looked, and was immediately mortified, all my wonderful curls were gone, replaced by some boring straight hair. I felt sick to my stomach “My curls. They meant everything too me.” I started to cry all over again. It was a few minutes later when the nurse came in with my evening meds. I thought it was much to early for her to be there, but just assumed she had finished her other duties early. I threw back the cup without a second thought, followed by a sip of water. After it was done the nurse chimed in “That should calm you down a bit.” I wondered what she was talking about and looked at Nick again. He was being too quiet about what had happened, and when I asked he said he had told they nurse I was still very upset, so they decided to give me something to help me sleep. I was only 7:30, but the pill was certainly doing its job. I was dozing off as Nick told me he would see me tomorrow.
I felt so terrible that I hadn’t told Stephanie about her appointment, but I really thought it was better if she didn’t know ahead of time. I thought the short hair was very sexy, and really liked it. As upset as she was with me, I tried to make it better by getting the mirror to show just how great she looked. When I mentioned to the nurse at the desk that she was all upset again, she replied “We knew she would be, so we ordered something to calm her down for the night” Again, I decided not to tell Stephanie beforehand.
I knew just how much Stephanie loved her curls, so the next day, before I went to Stephanie’s room, I went to see the beautician Mrs Miller. I told her how Stephanie loved her curly hair, and didn’t think she would ever get used to having it straight Mrs Miller told me that she could give her a nice head curls, but only if that is what I was sure I wanted. I quickly said I think that’s just the thing she needs and told Mrs Miller to take care of it as soon as she could.
When I made my way to Stephanie’s room, I decided I would tell her the good news. “Hey Steph, great news. Mrs Miller said she could help fix that straight hair. Do you want me to bring your curling irons from home?” Stephanie seemed to perk up with what I had said “Okay, but you’ll have to bring the smaller one with as short as my hair is.” We had a good evening and I was happy that Stephanie was getting used to her short hair. The next night, as I headed down the hall towards he exit, I stopped at the nurses desk to inquire about Stephanie going back to see Mrs Miller. The nurse looked at her schedule and told me “She is scheduled for a perm at 1:00 tomorrow afternoon. I have a sedative on order to keep her nice and calm while she’s there.” I was a bit confused. Perm? I really didn’t know anything about what beauticians do, so I figured that Mrs Miller certainly knew what she was doing. I told the nurse goodnight and headed out the door. I knew that Stephanie was going to be over the moon when I came to see her the next day.
I was more than happy when Nick came to visit me. I knew instantly that I was going to have a head of virgin hair to roll again. It had been several years since I had a young girl in my chair for her first perm, so I decided I would give her the full treatment. I went to the beauty supply to pick up a nice strong perm kit, as all of the ones I had in stock were for thin delicate hair that all of my regulars had. This was going to be like the good old times all over again, a young girl turned in to a proper woman. Before I went home for the night I called over to the nurse on her floor, and we decided it would be best if Stephanie had something keep her nice and compliant for her appointment.
I was still upset over losing all my beautiful curly hair, but was so happy that Nick was doing everything to make me happy. I was surprised when I wasn’t taken to therapy in the morning, instead the doctor came in and I saw what he had with him. It was the brace I was going to have to wear for the next 6 months. I didn’t get upset as they started the procedure to fit me with it. They took off my clothes with the exception of my panties, but after this long I was used to the staff seeing my naked and now very hairy body.
Before the accident I would have been horrified to be seen with even the slightest stubble on my legs or armpits, but now it seems as if I had never seen a razor in my life, and surprisingly I was okay with that. It took a good hour before all the adjustments were finished, and it was only then that I understood why my hair needed to be cut. It would have been impossible to keep it from interfering with the brace, and just too hard to take care of.
I decided that I would learn to enjoy my new straight style. I was smiling like I hadn’t done in weeks when the nurse came in with my lunch and mid-day meds. It took a little getting used to eating with the brace, but not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. After I quickly finished my sandwich and took my meds I settled into my chair for what I thought was an afternoon of the soap opera I had gotten hooked on. The show began, but after a few minutes I started to feel like I was having trouble concentrating on it. Just then one of the orderly’s came thru the door with a wheelchair “Okay Stephanie. I’m here to take you for your appointment.”
I couldn’t remember any scheduled therapy sessions, but figured it must have something to do with my new brace. As I was being wheeled out of the building I was starting to remember going this route before. She pushed me to the main building and I saw the now familiar sights flower shop, gift shop, barbershop, beauty parlor. I was happy as I guessed that Mrs Miller was going to curl my hair with a curling iron. It will look so nice when Nick shows up this evening.
I was ready and waiting as they wheeled Stephanie thru the door. She could get around a little better with her brace on, so I decided that I would have her sit in my styling chair so she would be more comfortable for the few hours it would take to give her a head full of curls. I could tell that the sedative had taken full effect and Stephanie would sit there without getting to jumpy. The new brace meant that she would be looking straight into the mirror during the whole process. I wasted no time wetting her hair down and putting it into 8 separate sections. I could see that Stephanie had a look of confusion on her face, so I just told her “We’re on our way sweetie. You’ll have some nice curls in no time at all.” Stephanie tried to say something to me, but she never got it out. I wheeled the cart full of rods over by the chair, but there was no doubt on which one I was going to use.
I always gave my first timers the tightest perm they would ever get. I started at the back of her head, using my rat-tail comb I took a section a little less than 1/4″. An end paper was applied then I held the hair straight out and rolled the first rod as tight as I could get it. I worked my way forward, each rod so tight that Stephanie would feel everyone of them. I was about half way to the front when I noticed that Stephanie’s eyes got wider as she watched me work. I always loved it when my young clients realize what was happening to them, and the knew that there was nothing they could do to stop it. I continued with the top, reaching the last inch or so of hair. I would usually roll the last 3 rods going forward to give a softer look, but not this time. Stephanie looked a little worried once the top was done, but I was quickly on to the back. The sides followed, and as I finished the rolling, Stephanie had well over 100 rods in her hair.
I placed the box on the counter in plain view to Stephanie ‘Zotos Quantum 5 Mega Firm Exothermic Perm Kit”. She had a slight look or terror on her face but I snipped the top off the bottle of setting lotion and told her “Almost there”, and started to saturate each rod. I replaced the cotton strip along the edges before I wheeled over the bonnet dryer “Just 25 minutes honey” Stephanie looked at me expressionless as we waited for the perm to work its magic. A nice rinse followed and I patted the rods dry. I warned Stephanie that the neutralizer would be cold after the heat from the dryer. She flinched as the liquid hit her head. Again I soaked every rod, and next I did a secret trick I learned many years before. I put the dryer back over her head as this will lock the curls in even harder than they would normally be. “10 minutes then you can see the new you” By this time the sedative was starting to wind down and Stephanie responded “Okay Mrs Miller”
After a rinse of the neutralizer I patted the rods dry one last time. I worked my way up the back, removing the rods and smiling more and more as the hair sprung back tight against Stephanie’s head. I saved the front half until the very end, and as the rest of the rods came out I saw Stephanie biting her lip. She was a curly girl now and there was no turning back. I finished her off with a hair pick and a light coating of hairspray. No need for a heavy coat because the perm was so tight it couldn’t move anywhere. As I took the cape off of her Stephanie seemed like a different person now, the look of a young housewife from years past. I helped her to the wheelchair and then gave her a hair pick to keep. “You can put away all of your other hair tools for the next 6 months or so.” I then decided to see how far I could take her “Stephanie, I’ll want to see you again in a month for a trim so we can keep you looking so beautiful.” Stephanie looked confused for a second, knowing that she would no longer by staying at the facility by then, but I insisted that she come back to me as a regular customer from now on. To my surprise Stephanie smiled, then agreed and asked to make an appointment. I knew then that I should start keeping the stronger perm lotion on hand. There was no way I would let my new client have anything but a full head of very short, very tight curls.
I couldn’t believe what was happening to me. I thought that Mrs Miller was going to curl my hair with a curling iron at most, but a perm? I sat there confused as she started to roll those tiny curlers into my hair, but I had seen my mom use some larger ones to roll her own hair when I was younger. With the new brace on my only focus could be on what was happening to my hair, so after a while I got used to the process and thought I should try to enjoy how I was being pampered.
The effects of what I thought was a muscle relaxant were starting to calm down a little as she finished with the tiny curlers in my hair. I expected to be moved to one of the dryer chairs to finish off the look, but then Mrs Miller put that box on the counter. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Perm Kit. Mega Firm. For hard to wave hair. She wasn’t really going to put that in my hair was she? Then she opened the box and I knew it was true. Did Nick really ask Mrs Miller to perm my hair? I don’t know why, but I decided at that point that I was okay with whatever was going to happen. It was a whole new experience to me and for some reason it didn’t bother me.
By the time the setting lotion had finished its work I was actually setting a little excited about how it was going to turn out. This was going to be my new look for the next 6 months, or more, so I was going to have to get use to it anyhow. As Mrs Miller started to remove the rods I couldn’t believe my eyes, she had transformed me into a whole new person. I now looked like almost all of the other women I had seen in the facility, but it didn’t bother me. When Mrs Miller was finished, and told me to schedule my next appointment, I was more than happy to do so. As I was being pushed back to my room several of the ladies we went past commented about how jealous they were of my beautiful curls. I was starting to feel like I was one of the girls now. I just hoped that this was the look that he wanted when he told Mrs Miller to curl my hair.
I brought Stephanie’s curling irons from home, hoping that if she could get some of her curls back, she would be happier. The nurse smiled as I walked towards the desk “Your new lady has been waiting for you to arrive” I didn’t know what she meant, and entered Stephanie’s room. At first I thought I was in the wrong place. With the sun coming in the window behind her, all I noticed was the shadow of a curly head of hair. I started to turn around to make sure I was in the right place when she stopped me “Nick, I hope this is what you had in mind when you told Mrs Miller to curl my hair” I went closer and Stephanie’s new look was revealed to me. I was in a state of shock. This is definitely not what I thought she would do. I started to apologize to Stephanie for what Mrs Miller had done to her when, to my surprise, Stephanie said “Thanks for telling Mrs Miller to perm my hair. I just love how beautiful it turned out”
Now I was totally confused. My once 24 year old smoking hot wife now looked like all the other old woman here, and she was actually happy about it? How could that be? As we sat and ate dinner I couldn’t stop staring at her head, wondering how long it would be before she would look like she used to. I was certainly caught off guard when I saw the appointment card on the side table. “You’re going back there? I asked. Stephanie smiled as she replied “Once a month for a trim, and a fresh perm every 4-6 months” She couldn’t be serious, as upset as she was to have her beautiful long hair cut off now she wants to keep it looking like this? I sat quietly, and hoped that she would soon want to let her hair grow our again. I can’t imagine any young girl wanting to have her hair like that.
I was so excited when Nick walked in the room. I thought he was going to see me just how he wanted me to look, but he didn’t seem to be happy with what he saw. As we ate, her just kept staring at my hair, and not in a good way, more of disbelief. When he saw the appointment card, and almost seemed mad. I didn’t care though. This was the new me, and I was happier than I had been since before the accident.
I was starting to get more mobile now, and as I would head out with my walker, I was always greeted so nice by the other ladies who lived at the facility permanently. I was invited to attend some of the craft classes, and a couple of the ladies even taught me how to knit and crochet. The first time Nick came in the room and saw me, in my chair, knitting an afghan he had a confused look on his face. His once beautiful, young bride was now sitting in an old ladies housecoat, knitting needles in her hands, like a little old lady.
I was really loving my time at Andover Village, but I could now move around enough that the insurance company decided I had to be released at the end of the week. I was a bit emotional as I told all of my new friends that I would be leaving, but they said I could come visit anytime I wanted. The day before I was to be discharged I stopped in to see Mrs Miller, after all she was the one who created the new person that I was. She invited me to have a seat, and even though I wasn’t scheduled to be there, she gave my style a quick touch up. As she was doing this she asked me what my plans were, once I left the facility. I told her that in a few weeks I would probably start the job that was still being held for me. As I said this, my mind was telling me that I wasn’t at all interested in the job I had waiting, but didn’t know what else to do.
It was then that Mrs Miller asked if I would want to be at Andover every day. I laughed and told her I was much too young to retire, but she said she was serious. The facility had posted a job opening for a Program Director, and she thought I would be the perfect candidate. I was getting excited and went immediately to the office to inquire about the position.
The next day I interviewed for the position, and surprisingly the woman said that she had received dozens of calls recommending me for the position. The salary was higher than the job that was waiting for me, plus they offered me a 2 bedroom condominium on the grounds to live in. I knew instantly that I was going to accept the offer, but I told them that I would discuss it with my husband and let them know in the morning.
To say Nick was stunned was an understatement. He thought that I would be leaving here in a couple days and we could resume our planned life like it was before the accident. I told him that the original job no longer interested me, and that I wasn’t the same little girl anymore. He tried to tell me that after I back at my own house I would go back to my own ways again. He promised to pay for a spa day so I could have my legs, crotch, and armpits waxed, so I would start to feel like normal again. He was less than thrilled when I told him I had gotten used to how hairy I had gotten, so why would I ever want to go thru the pain waxing and shaving again.
This is what was i wanted, so I told him I was going to accept the job, but we could still live in our townhouse if he wanted. Nick then let his feelings known. He wanted his long haired trophy wife back, and told me he didn’t want me to take the job.
I wondered what I was going to do with the extra bedroom in my new condominium, maybe a sewing room.