Dangerously low white blood cell counts were a frequent result of Libby’s new chemotherapy treatment and she went through a lot of sterile surgical masks and latex gloves during those periods trying to avoid infections.
During the times when Libby’s white blood cell counts were low she had a strict no kissing policy which could have worked to reduce the chances of infection except for the fact that she would forget several times a day about her rule, kiss me, and then somehow blame me because I didn’t resist.
When a Valentine’s party at church coincided with a low white blood cell count period I decided to “accessorize” a few of her sterile masks with some red plastic lips so I could give her a Valentine’s kiss. In addition I “upgraded” her diamond ring with such a large stone that Libby had to wear it on her arm (see picture below).
One of the more uncomfortable side effects of Libby’s chemotherapy and estrogen suppressants were the frequent concentrated hot flashes, often as many as thirty or more each hour. Those hot flashes coupled with some dramatic mood swings and occasional outbursts brought on by the steroids kept things interesting around our house.
We were on our way home one evening after having been out to dinner with some friends when Libby had a hot flash and snatched the wig off her head and flung it into the backseat with one hand while adjusting the truck’s air conditioning vents with the other hand. As Libby allowed the cool air from the truck’s AC to flow over her now bald head, a puzzled look came over her face as she looked over at me and asked a little too harshly, “What?”
The scene just struck me as being funny and being the supportive-sensitive guy that I am, I started to laugh at our situation, I said, “I was just thinking about what would happen if we were to have a wreck because I am really taking a risk right now, driving around at night, in the rain, with a bald headed woman on steroids!
Libby started to laugh and said, ” Can’t you just hear the paramedic saying to his partner as they pulled up on the wreck, ‘Hey Bill, something must have hit this poor woman in the head and scalped her, I found her hair in the back seat'” Libby could not stop laughing and continued to laugh so hard that tears rolled down her face.
Then Libby remembered a line from the movie Hook where Dustin Hoffman played the part of Captain Hook and Peter Pan was played by Robin Williams when, near the end of last big fight scene, Peter Pan takes his sword and lifts the long black flowing wig off of the head of a bald Captain Hook. With his wig held high above his head, and the lost boys mocking him, Captain Hook’s plea was “Please Peter… give me my dignity”.
I noticed the tears were still rolling down Libby’s face but there had been a subtle change in her countenance as Libby said, “The reason that I don’t want anyone to see me without my wig is because I am afraid people will react to me the same way they reacted to Captain Hook in that movie, they looked at him different after that, it transformed his image completely”.
When I told this story in my Caring Bridge post after Valentines Day 2013 I included this post note: So, if you are ever driving along some night and come upon a wreck involving an F250, an old guy and an unconscious, good lucking bald girl, please stop and put Libby’s hair back on to “give her dignity back” before we are both taken to the hospital by the confused paramedics.