Thursday, August 6, 2015

Code Hair

When I was growing up, I thought I was the hairiest girl in the world. My two best friends were Chinese and Vietnamese, and were virtually hairless. Compared to them, I felt like an ape.

Then when I was in medical school, my best friend was Indian, and after talking with her, I decided that maybe I was just the hairiest white girl in the world.

Lately though, I've been talking to more and more women and realizing that not only am I not the hairiest white girl in the world, I'm probably about average. I really had no idea how much hair removal women go through.

Many times, we will have a woman admitted to the hospital who had some sort of significant traumatic brain injury or stroke, and because she can no longer take care of it, her facial hair gets a little bit out of control. It's not at all uncommon if the woman is elderly, but I feel much worse if the woman is in her 30s or 40s. I'm pretty sure that she wouldn't want her family and friends seeing her with a mustache and beard.

Obviously, these women have much worse problems, but at the same time, I still feel like we should do something about it. We should let these women have their dignity.

But what can we do? It's not like we're some sort of experts in hair removal. And it seems like a weird thing to even broach the topic with the patient or family. "Hey, would you like us to wax your wife's mustache?"

So generally, we just let them be hairy.


  1. Actually, Fizzy, we do trim facial hair during bathtime for just those reasons. Maybe not in every hospital, but it doesn't take much effort and makes them so much happier. Other landscaping we've had to do related to tele leads and foley care.

  2. omg I never thought to worry about this (for myself or patients) but I would be horrified to know so many people were seeing my body without basic grooming.

  3. I know a lot of things are NOT "patient care," but maybe, just perhaps, a local beauty school could have students (under supervision of course) come in to do basic hair care/hair removal on the face. (I came out of a 2-week coma and was horrified to see my hair and facial hair. I did not are about my legs and armpits, but the face!)

    I recall (dimly) my RN mother saying there were beauticians at one of her hospitals. That would be good. But the students need practice, and here is a need . . .

  4. This prompted me to talk with a girlfriend. We have promised to take care of these things if ever in this situation. Thanks Fizzy

  5. No please tell your nurses to help a gal out. It's such a blow to be in hospital and so humiliating when as a young woman you need help to go to the toilet and to shower it would be nice if my friends when visiting don't realise that I also have a lot of nasty stray bead hairs.... that grew to several centimetres! (then again, nurses probably don't need more work to do...... maybe outsource like Ms. Donna suggested?)

  6. I told my son that when I'm drooling in the nursing home, he has to come and tweezers the couple hairs on my chin...

  7. I told my son that when I'm drooling in the nursing home, he has to come and tweezers the couple hairs on my chin...

  8. An interesting thought here! Maybe not waxing, but shaving might be easier to do for patients... though I would feel weird doing it without knowing if they mind or not.

  9. It seems I'm a bit behind........

    Maybe I'm just weird but when I'm in the hospital I could give a rat's ass what I look like! Please just keep me comfortable & be sure to send someone to check on me to see that I'm comfortable every so often.

    Didn't someone get themselves in a whole heap of trouble in Baby City for suggesting Nair Hair Removal to an Antepartum Patient?