****news flash ****
Got the second drain removed. I am now a drain-free woman. It is so nice not to have the bulgey bulb sticking out of my shirt.
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I went back to Fancy Hospital today, and on the way out of the subway I saw that the Cancer Sucks sticker I'd stuck onto the side of the escalator was gone. I felt bad that a public employee (or anyone) had to work at scraping it off. I'll have to find better places to plaster, places that no one cares about, but places where people look. On my way to the hospital I looked for my hair nemesis (see yesterday's post), but she wasn't there. Maybe she and her colleagues hawked all they could at that corner and had lit out for other territory.

The physician's assistant I saw at Fancy told me she doubted that I'd really needed the antibiotic that the other PA had prescribed on Friday. I sensed they were dueling PAs. I was glad there were no medical students poking their noses into the examination room. It was good to deal with someone who knew what she was doing and not just pretending that she knew what she was doing. I asked her about exercising my "surgical arm," and she said not to do the exercises in the pink book I was given, but to do the ones in a DVD that she was going to give me, which she did. Before she gave it to me, she asked if I had a DVD player. I do. I thought everyone did; I figure by the time I acquire anything electronic, at least 99 percent of the population has bought at least one. This PA told me I could stop the antibiotics without worrying about building up a resistance. And she said I could go back to yoga!! Hasta miercoles.

Next stop after the Breast Floor was the Cancer Floor, where blood was taken for some reason related to the upcoming chemo. I met the chemo nurse and asked her if I would lose my hair, even though it's so thick. She said yes. I said, Is there no way it would still be there? and she said no. I told her I was planning to cut it to ease the transition but I didn't want to cut it if there was a chance it wouldn't all fall out. She told me that it was going to be gone from Day 16 after the first chemo treatment until 3 weeks after the last treatment. So that means from early April through late August or early September. That's a long time. For some reason I thought it would be for just a couple of months. I will have to get a number of official Cancer Bitch hats. The other day I got a prescription for a "cranial prosthesis." That means a wig. I may frame the Rx. It was written by a third-year oncology Fellow who was confident and droll. He'd even read my file before meeting with me.

Last night I spent a lot of time on a curly hair site. Last year my friend Miz P (as opposed to my friend P) found a hairdresser on that site and recommended her. I went to her last summer or fall and I liked her set-up: a one-chair salon in a labyrinthine basement, and I liked her but she didn't get the bottom layer right. To go into more detail would be boring, especially for me. I trim my hair myself. I found out from the web site that I have curly hair type 2c, with some characteristics of 3b. I suppose there are products (or as the professionals say, Product) geared to designated types and sub-types. I wrote down the names of about a dozen recommended salons in town. Tonight after dinner L and I walked past two of them. Of course they were closed at 9pm, but I wanted a sense of the vibe. L said it was silly for me to be shopping around so carefully. It's not rocket science, he said. But it is. You read the testimonials on the site and if they are to be believed, and are not all written by the hairdressers themselves, people have had all sorts of terrible experiences with other (unnamed) hair stylists until coming to X salon. I've had my share of trouble, mostly with overzealous cutters, which is why I usually cut my own hair. The trouble, Miz P's stylist told me, is that most of the stylists practicing now came of age professionally when straight hair was in, and they don't know what to do with curly hair except straighten it. I'd had that exact experience in a neighborhood salon. I'd told the guy I wanted him to let my hair dry curly but he kept pulling on it to make it straight. I guess he just didn't know better. This narrowness of hairdresser education baffles me. I wonder if it's the same in Manhattan, where curly Jewish hair is more prevalent.

My hair is in waves almost down to my collarbone. I was planning on donating it to Locks of Love, which provides hairpieces to needy children, but then I wondered if a kid would want my salt-and-pepper hair. (Here, kid, the good news is we got you a free wig. The bad news is you'll be a 10-year-old with gray hair.) However, the web site says "Hair that is short, gray, or unsuitable for children will be separated from the ponytails and sold at fair market value to offset the cost of manufacturing. " I'm not sure what that means. I imagine nuns going blind painstakingly picking out the gray. (Nuns from the order that used to go blind from tatting lace.) The important thing is that my hair would qualify, just so it's at least 10 inches long and in a ponytail. So then that means that the first stage of my hair-shortening will require at least 10 inches off my head. At its longest, my hair is about 14 inches long (stretched out). I was thinking it might be fun to get a different hair cut every week. I would love to have a Mohawk for a week or so, as long as I didn't have to represent WRU in any public programs. I wouldn't mind, but I think WRU would. Such are the travails of the non-tenured. The first phone exchange we had when I was growing up was Mohawk. Our number was MOhawk 5-3998. (MO is 66.) L grew up in a small town and remembers picking up the phone and giving the operator the three- or four-digit phone number he wanted to be connected to. His home number was 1097. I guess exchanges became extinct when phone companies started using zero and 1 as second numbers. Too bad the early phone designers didn't link letters of the alphabet to every number on the dial.