My Space, Your Space

I went to see my favorite general practitioner this morning to seek help for the furry banana slug that continues to grow on my tongue.  I simply can’t bear to eat another bowl of yogurt or swish another bizarre concoction in the hopes of defeating the yeast-itude.  You could practically brew beer in me.  New answer to the “What do you do?” question – I’m a micro brewery!

I called just this morning hoping they might be able to squeeze me in this afternoon.  Instead the receptionist said, “How about now?”

I looked down at my pajamas, felt my hair and confirmed it was standing straight up and replied, “How about ten minutes?”

I grabbed some relatively clean clothes off the bedroom floor, found a bra in the bathroom, and threw on a quick coat of mascara.  My hair taunted me in the bathroom mirror.  It’s greasy matted state really accentuated my stark white bald patches.  Mothers, lock up your sons.  Yee-oww-za.  I gave the matted mess a good tousle then did my best Donald Trump impression as I pulled pieces strategically into place to minimize patchiness.

I grabbed my scripts and dashed out the door, nearly knocking over a neighbor on the stoop.  As I flew through the door of the Doctor’s office, the receptionist lept from her seat and clapped her hands.  “You look FANTASTIC!” she screamed from behind her sliding glass window into the waiting room.

Internet, I most certainly did NOT look fantastic.  I was scraping a chunk of food off my shirt as she continued to gleefully comment on my appearance.  The entire waiting room looked at me with confusion.  I could read their minds:  This girl?  This girl looks fantastic?  The one wearing two different flip flops?  With mascara under her nose?  Maybe she’s “special”.

This situation qualifies as one of the marks in the plus column for cancer.  Well maybe not the public humiliation part, but rather the part where the bar against which your physical appearance is measured has been lowered…to the ground…maybe even subterranean.  If you manage to wear actual clothes (not sweats or pj’s) and walk upright without holding on to someone or something, they oooh and awww like you’re Julia Roberts dressed for the red carpet.  Frankly, I like the lack of pressure.  I suspect it might get old at some point, but I’m still riding it out.

“Um, thanks,” I nervously replied.

She slapped her hand against the glass with frightening force and slid the window open.  Before I knew what was happening, her hands were in my hair.


As I self-consciously scanned the room, I saw an older man lean around a partition in the waiting area to try and get a better look at this “fantastic” looking woman.  He looked at the lady beside him, shrugged, and slid back from the edge of his seat, disappearing again behind the partition.  Oh how I wanted to hide behind that partition.

Why was she still playing with my hair?  How do you politely withdraw another person’s hands from the top of your head?  Something in my face must have divulged my discomfort and she snapped back to her professional self.

“Address, insurance, phone, all the same?”

I nodded, but only slightly.  No need drawing attention back to the hair.

“Have a seat, he’ll be with you shortly.”

I slunk away to a relatively private corner of the waiting room, far away from the partition hider.  After a brief time, I was escorted back to an exam room and given the usual pokes and prods.  I settled in to wait for the doc.

Moments later, he cruised by my exam room on his way to see another patient.  As he passed he exclaimed, “Is that THE Elly Lonon? Cancer Survivor extraordinaire?”

“Um, hi.  I guess that’s me.”

He swooped into the room, gave me a big wet smooch on each cheek and said, “I’ll be back in a moment.”  He moved one step towards the door, spun around, and ran his hands on my head squealing, “You’ve got hair!!”

Now, I’ve never experienced the “joy” of walking around with a fetus feasting on my innards and looking like I’ve strapped a watermelon to my midsection, but I think I might now be able to empathize with pregnant ladies and belly rubbing.  I’ve read countless times how disturbing it is for these women to have strangers approach and assault them.

To be fair, I don’t feel terribly protective of my hair – I’m not really worried about anyone hurting or damaging these patchy (and disappointingly gray) curls.  I am, however, very particular about my personal space.  I have to know you pretty damn well to be ok with you putting a hand on my shoulder.  Running your fingers through my weird newborn baby hair is definitely outside of my comfort zone.  At least buy me a drink first.