May 8, 2009

How Heavy is Hair?

How much can a head of hair weigh? Is it enough to cause your neck from being able to hold your head up straight? I have heard that hair can weigh from .5 to 3.0 ounces an inch--- how heavy is that, really?
When I was a girl of eight, about 1960, my Mama went to see a neurologist about me. She patiently explained to this demigod about my epilepsy and about the seizures I had. She also told him that I often had seizures when she brushed my hair. She explained that I had shoulder-length red hair, and that I could not reach to brush it myself, so she did it nearly every morning.
"Hmmmmm", said the demigod. He seemed very interested in my hair. In his most serious and convincing tone of voice he said "I see the problem--- her hair is too heavy for her head. It will have to be cut off and kept short, if you want to relieve her seizures. The weight of the hair is creating too much pressure on your daughter's head and it is causing her to seize."
Mama thanked the man and returned home. She had been very impressed with the way he assessed the situation without even seeing me.
She went to a drawer in the bathroom and got out her scissors. She waited for me to come home. She called me into the kitchen told me what the doctor told her, and then, like lightening, moved in for the first snip.
"Well", she said looking at one of my braids that had fallen to the floor, "we can't leave it like that!" so she snipped off the other braid. Then, she ran a comb through my hair and cooed that it would be much easier for me to take care of now... Over the next fifteen minutes, she trimmed and fussed and played with my hair until she finally handed me a mirror and pronounced that she had given me a "Pixie cut".

I was 25 years old before I let my hair grow out again.
Because a doctor had said it was the way to control my seizures, I firmly believed that long hair would cause me to have more seizures, so in spite of my adult defiance, I began preparing, waiting for the next seizures to strike.
Today, my hair is down the middle of my back. Still naturally red, although I am waiting for it to turn gray. But I cannot help wondering what Mama was thinking when she listened to the doctor who said my hair was too heavy for my head?


claudia m. said...

I want to give you kudos on your blog, I just found it and will forward it to my sis who's had E. since she was 8 yrs old (she turned 33 on the day of this post!)
Keep up the good work, you're an inspiration, and thanks =)

Linda said...

Hi Paula, I love your posts. It gives me so much courage and strength on those hard E.days. I have to just laugh at some of these silly things people think are cures for E. One doctor years ago said that I was having seizures because I missed my kids who are grown. I retorted "what? are you kidding? they are always coming back for dinner and to have their laundry done! I don't miss them because they keep coming back!" Silly doc.

Linda said...

My mother was also told to cut my hair short, but not because of the weight, the doctor believed it was taking all my nutrition.
I have since experienced seizures from having my long thick hair wrapped up on top of my head - it was pinching a nerve - so I am aware of when that. I have very thick hair, though, and yours looks fine. I think doctors do more guessing than we realise,though. Keep up the good work!