Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Chemo Update: Putting the Hat in Hatboro

My sister Uppie has started losing her beautiful strawberry blonde hair. She's got it cut in a cute, short boy-cut so that when the serious hair loss starts to happen it won't be such a drastic change.

I've been trying to imagine what that feels like, to lose something that's been such an important element in your appearance for your whole life. It must be a little like an amputation. I imagine that she might reach up to push her hair out of her eyes, and suddenly realize it's not there anymore.

One time, a super-long time ago, I gave Uppie a really bad home perm. Why she ever let me get near her hair with harsh chemicals, I will never know. But she did, and the results were, well, freakish.

That's not what I said at the time, of course. I lied like the devil and told her the curl was youthful and springy, and that it would relax after a couple of washings, when really, it was more like a white girl's afro: brittle, damaged, and more tightly wound than a control freak at a slob convention. Poor, unsuspecting Uppie. Never trust an enthusiastic but inexperienced kid sister when it comes to your hair.

But back to the present. Today Uppie and I went shopping for wigs and head coverings. We struck out on wigs, but grand-slammed in the head covering category.

When we first walked past Pat's Hats in Hatboro, we were underwhelmed. We peered in through the dirty store-front window; the shop seemed tiny, old-fashioned, a bit dirty, and under-stocked. The sign on the door--"Back in 15 minutes"--was hastily hand-lettered, almost like an after-thought. I felt a little relieved--I was not optimistic about our chances for success. I was hoping for a more boutiquey experience.

Well. Apparently you can't judge a hat shop by its dim interior. Pat turned out to be the good will ambassador for medical hair loss. She showed us scarves, hats, turbans, beanies, caps, and one wig. She was kind, helpful, knowledgeable, professional, and compassionate. By the time we left, we had purchased two sleep caps, one bandanna-like covering, and four scarves for Uppie, and a bonus crushable straw hat for me. Oh, and a free pink-ribbon breast cancer scarf, too.

Plus, we exchanged phone numbers with Pat, and made a date to have dinner together next week. Except for the date part. And the phone number part. But my point is, we could have--she was that great.

Oh, and remember that hand-lettered sign on the door? It turned out that Pat had zipped off to help her elderly mother who had fallen and hurt herself.

Anyway, if you're in the area, and you need some help with hats or head coverings, give Pat a call. She puts the hat in Hatboro, PA.

And here's a link to a nice article about Pat and her hats:

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