View Full Version : Ugh Hospital stay damaged my hair

February 3rd, 2012, 08:52 PM
Sorry, I feel the need to rant to some people who could understand (my loved ones listen with some bemusement to all of this, but they just don't really get it).

About two weeks ago I ended up in the hospital for about a week. Unfortunatly that one week seems to have undone all the good changes I made to my hair since last August.

I was unconcious for two days and while I arrived at the hospital with my hair tied back, someone must of thought it would be a good idea to undo it and it was loose for the first 3 days (not good because for the two days I was unconcious they were trying to wake me up, I'd wake up a bit, struggle, and I suspect make a lot of the tangles I ended up getting).

The third day I was awake but I don't quite remember it that well but I know two nurses washed my hair for me. My boyfriend went and brought them some of my shampoo and conditioner, but I do remember that they were quite rough. They did not detangle my hair before hand, and since they washed it while I was still in bed, it invovled a lot of piling it and scrunching it on top of my head. They then braided it, and looped the length (I was about an inch away from waist length) up inside of itself. I don't know how it held together because they did not use anything to secure it.

Now fast forward a few days. I was too weak to do much other than sleep and complain that I wanted to go home. Also because of the nature of my hospitalization I was not allowed to shower as I needed constant supervision. Well my night nurse took some pity on me (I couldn't sleep there so I tended to be up all night) and took me out of the ICU to a shower at 4 am one day. I had forgotten that they had braided my hair, so I started to wash it and it was all tangeled up. I was really weak but I managed to finger comb it out somewhat (I had to do it quickly because I was told not to take to long). I did not have anything to tie it back with, but the next day I did finally get a ponytail holder and was able to throw it up in a bun.

Unfortunatly for me I was too weak to do anything for several more days. When I got home I eventually showered again and it took several hours, and I had to straighten my hair with a flat iron to get out all the tangles (not the best thing for already damaged hair I know, but my Mom wanted to flat iron my hair for me as something special and I literally could not detangle it while my hair was in it's natural texture, I was actually making it worse).

Throughout all of this my ends have taken a huge hit. Above I mentioned I was about an inch away from waist, I'm now about an inch above that. The ends just keep breaking off. It hasn't stopped, despite me being able to go back to my regular routine. I think I'm going to have to trim off an inch or two to just manage all this damage. Basically I will have lost pretty much all the growth I have managed to get for the past few months. :(

I've been reading over other posts about being in the hospital. I think if this happens again I will definatly try to keep my hair tied back into some braids or one french braid, and won't allow them to wash my hair while I'm still in bed. I read other suggustions saying to keep it oiled but I don't believe the hospitals here would allow me to do that. Anyone else have some ideas? I think I may teach my boyfriend how to braid my hair so he can do it for me if I'm ever that weak again (while I was in the hospital they also found I had viral pneumonia and a collasped lung which really drained all my stregth out of me).

February 3rd, 2012, 09:06 PM
Oh my gosh!! I'm so sorry, for your hair AND the fact that you had to go through the hospital stay in the first place. I've managed to avoid the place myself, so I don't have much advice, but I think it'd be really sweet if you were able to teach your BF to take care of your hair :) Best wishes for your health and for your hair to get back to normal!! :flower:

February 3rd, 2012, 09:08 PM
Goodness, it sounds like you've been through the wars; I hope you're on the mend now. :grouphug:

If worst comes to worst, a trim of an inch or two will grow back in a few months, and you'll be at waist before you know it. :)

For if it happens again, give this thread (http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=61633) a look. It's rather harrowing read, but she came up with some great suggestions.

February 4th, 2012, 06:10 AM
I'm sorry your hair is damaged but what is more important is you made it through a health crisis. I hope you get well soon.

February 4th, 2012, 07:03 AM
Oh I am so sorry you had to go through that, it really sounds awful! I hope you and your hair recovers soon!! :grouphug:

Celtic Morla
February 4th, 2012, 07:44 AM
I feel for you I have been there and done that and my hair took a brunt. If you can teach your BF to braid I would have him try out the micornesian braid -after doing it on my DD I think it would be th eone thing that would do well in hospital because it it tight to your head! Definately get your BF to help you care for your hair and pamper you so this can't happen again, it's easy to see why women used to get their hair cut during illness years ago because without someone to help it salmost impossibel to take care of!

I hope you are feeling better!

February 4th, 2012, 07:56 AM
The fact that you're well enough to complain is good! Being unconscious for two days is a terrible sign, and I'm sure your family must have been worried sick about you.

If (horror of horrors) there's a chance of something similar happening again, talk with your mom and partner. Chances are your hair is much easier to detangle when it's soaked in conditioner. If they know this, they can bug the nurses to let *them* wash your hair. Then they can soak it in conditioner, rinse it out, and get it in nice twin braids until you're properly well again. Then it will be easy to do scalp washes on you if it's necessary. They'll feel better because they have an easy way to help you, and the nurses will be much easier to terrorize. (most hospital nursing staff ought to be in mild terror of the patient's family sticking their noses into everything anyway... helps prevent medical errors like the patient getting the wrong medication)

I've mostly been on the family end of things, and it's never fun at all. My sister and mom have mostly been the ones hospitalized, and they assure me being locked up in a hospital is much worse.

February 4th, 2012, 08:28 AM
For your damaged/breaking ends I would suggest a deep conditioning treatment - whatever oils you have on hand mixed with conditioner and coiled up on your head, cover with a shower cap and then a towel to hold in your body heat. Leave it on for an hour or so. Getting a towel hot in the dryer before using it helps. Then wash as usual. Good luck and get healthy!

February 4th, 2012, 08:50 AM
Thank you everyone. I have been deep conditioning, and I think next week (when my Mom has left and my Dad is back to work, so I will be alone most of the day and not expected to go out) I'll do some longer deep conditions. I've been S&Ding everyday but it doesn't seem to be helping so I will probably have to trim off at least two inches.

As for the micronesian braid, I'd have to learn that one myself before I tried to teach it to my boyfriend. I'm not the best braider in the world (my fingers get all confused and I always mess up somewhere and don't notice until I'm done) but that really doesn't matter when one is in the hospital. I know my family asked the nurses to do my hair as they know it means a lot to me, and I don't really have the heart to tell them that the nurses just damaged it and I would have rather been left a greaseball. Perhaps when we are farther away from the whole situations.

My boyfriends mother did a good job of terrorizing the nurses and doctors the first few days I was there. Every decision was questioned. It makes my Dad laugh to think about it. I personally don't like to terrorize the nurses too much since one of my best friends is a nurse (and works in the same hospital I was in, unfortunatly in a different ward or she would have been there checking up on the nurses I did have all the time).

I am also feeling (physically) a lot better. When I started complaining about things last week (I told off my mom because I was sick of watching ghost shows on TV) my Dad laughed and said I'm back and I must be feeling better (typically I am quite outspoken, but after the hospital I just went along with whatever someone wanted to do/eat/watch). Emotionally I'm still down (I was in the hospital after a suicide attempt actually) but I am safe and I have plan to get better. Focusing on my hair rehab this week will also give me a task to accomplish as I can't actually go anywhere (public transit strike), and it will be the first time I'm actually left alone for more than 15 minutes.

February 4th, 2012, 08:53 AM
Sweetie - prayers for your well being and hugs being sent your way!

February 4th, 2012, 08:54 AM
Great to hear your feeling better, and when you do your deep conditioning treatments try a mix of mustard oil and vo5 repair and protect, it saved my hair! Hope you continue to feel better.

February 4th, 2012, 08:56 AM
O my dear. What a horror to go through. Take very good care of yourself and stay well.

I went through this a few years back. I lost 2 years of growth plus there was massive fall out, maybe due to the drugs I had. I have since instructed my husband and daughter how to deal with my hair if this happens again.

I had to cut of many inches (maybe 5) to get the damage gone. My illness was life threatening, as it sounds like yours was, and I used the whole experience as an opportunity to start fresh with many things in my life. Cutting my hair was like a ritual starting me in that direction.

Good luck, and be well.

February 4th, 2012, 08:58 AM
Oh, My - I just read why you were in the hospital. Be kind to yourself and absorb all the love that is surrounding you now. Please take care.

February 4th, 2012, 09:08 AM
Get some spray in detangler and wet your hair with it and work out the tangles and get a wide tooth comb work them out. After your hair is tangle free a trim will be in order to get the health of your hair back. After that oil and monistat to get it your original length.

February 4th, 2012, 09:24 AM
Oh gosh, thank goodness you're alright. I'm sorry your hair took a hit, but at least it will grow back. Yes, it's frustrating to have to go through all that growing again, but at least you're alright.


February 4th, 2012, 09:31 AM
Firstly :grouphug: I'm so sorry you felt so low that this was the only option. I am so glad that you did not succeed and that you are ok and have family and a partner that love you and are there for you.
Secondly your hair, as others have suggested, deep conditioning, pamper and baby the ends, then braid it and leave it.
Stay strong sweetie. 

February 4th, 2012, 03:44 PM
*HUG* Oof! Hospitals and hair damage, sounds like a really, really sucky couple of weeks. Here is hoping you heal quickly and your hair grows back just as fast.

February 5th, 2012, 11:57 AM
That sounds like a horrendous experience, and it sucks that after you got through all that you had some damage to your hair. I'm just glad you're better though.

February 5th, 2012, 01:39 PM
Fox's shea butter cream-the best thing I ever did for my ends.


Big hugs to you! :)

February 5th, 2012, 03:11 PM
I echo what others have said. Definitely wish you a quick recovery for both your health and your hair.

February 5th, 2012, 03:13 PM
Your health is more important than your hair right now--with a little extra pampering it'll come back fine. If you end up needing a small trim for the ends, it's not such a bad thing and will grow back quickly. But you need to take care of yourself, and I'm glad you have a good support system to help you through all this.

Cara Heather
February 5th, 2012, 07:55 PM
:grouphug: and a :blossom: for you. Many prayers for your health and hair health.

February 5th, 2012, 08:48 PM
I'm so sorry you had such a dreadful time! But, I am thankful you are so much better!! Your hair will be all right, thank goodness! Try not to worry about it, and just take care of yourself! :flower:

February 5th, 2012, 08:51 PM
One thing to be ready for - a major shed. Mine always does that after I am majorly sick. Try a protein treatment, then an SMT overnight, see if that helps. However, most important is for you to get better!

February 6th, 2012, 10:42 AM
Thank you everyone. I've been soaking my hair with conditioner, and the ends are slowly getting a bit more moisturized (I do need a good protein treatment, unfortunatly most of my hair supplies are at my apartment and I'm staying at my fathers, and telling my boyfriend exactly what I want him to bring over doesn't seem to translate well for hair care things). Looking at it closely I will probably minimally have to cut off two inches, though three would probably be better. Not going to do anything until the weekend at least. I wish I could do an SMT, but I'm allergic to aloe so that wouldn't work, and honey grosses me out.

I know it is a little weird to be worried about my hair while going through all of this, but honestly it gives me something else to think about when all the reasons behind why I did what I did all the time. Also I've been generally taking great pains with my appearance as I used to really take pride in it and I let that part of me go. I honestly liked being vain as it ws something I did for myself, which I would like to reclaim that part of me. I am prepared for a big shed, but I already shed a lot so I doubt I'll notice a great difference (last summer I had a particularily rough time akin to this one but never got the expected shed). Part of me is tempted to use this as a chance to chop it all off and grow out better quality hair, and hopefully I would notice the upcoming big shed a lot less. I don't think I could handle short hair though, but the idea of it is tempting.

February 6th, 2012, 11:31 AM
It's common to want to make drastic appearance changes when we're stressed. I know for me, when the depression from my Seasonal Affective Disorder starts to strike, I'm much more likely to think dyeing my hair is a good idea... especially reddish colors that don't really suit me.

It's a way of controlling something, and that can be really helpful when you feel helpless.

But if you're used to long hair and really enjoy it, it might be more productive to buy a new lipstick or a crazy eyeshadow color and wait a few weeks to see if the drastic hair change still feels appealing.

There's also nothing wrong with wanting to appear pretty to yourself. That's not vanity, it's good sense. You've got to live in your body, so you might as well take good care of it and have it be a pleasant and useful body. To me, vanity is placing more importance on how other people view you and your body, and putting no importance on the things that matter most to you. So for me, wearing high heeled shoes and putting a great deal of effort into learning to walk gracefully in them... that'd be vanity. I've got some bone deformities in my legs and feet, and wearing high heels is very painful. And while I think high heeled shoes are pretty on other people, I don't think they're pretty on me, because my bones are precious to me and I don't want to damage them more than they already are. But wearing adorable ballerina flats is not vain, it's wearing a shoe that works for me and I think is pretty.

February 6th, 2012, 11:39 AM
I just wanna send my thoughts that you ended up OK and survived what happened to you. I had a friend in coma and they shaved a big part of her hair off due to surgery. I can imagine it's not a pleasant thought that someone else is handling your body/hair whilst being unconscious but still happy they do their job to keep someone alive. Your hair will make a speedy recovery, just like your body.

February 6th, 2012, 12:17 PM
Nothing else to add but it all sounds horrible. I hope your hair and health quickly recover!

February 12th, 2012, 06:09 PM
I just came across this thread and wanted to let you know my heart goes out to you. I understand what you mean about your hair being something you can focus on aside from the other struggles. I am sending positive vibes to you, and I hope you heal inside as well as your hair!

February 12th, 2012, 06:35 PM
I am so sorry to hear you were ill. I spent two weeks in ICU and had to have my hair washed while laying flat. It took a few weeks of care to get it back in shape. I pray you and your hair a quick recovery

February 12th, 2012, 07:26 PM
(((hugs))))!! I had viral pnemonia when I was a kid and people have NO idea how draining it is. I was lucky my lung didn't collapse, but ugh!!

My suggestion to you would be to have some sort of leave in conditioner or balm that your boyfriend or mom could use to smooth your hair down and put it into 2 braids. That way, you won't get tangles or they will be easier to get out as the dimethicone in the products give hair more slip.

Maybe make a 'hospital hair' kit--put some snag free hair ties, comb, shampoo and leave in conditioner so you can just zip it shut and put some instructions for family to follow?

I hope you start to feel better really soon!