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Long.... gone... by BaldBearded
David was one of my favorite clients. He was the nicest guy you could meet, always a smile, and he had great hair, everyone always said so. It was a deep, chestnut brown, with a sight wave, and it was brushed back, and touched his shoulders.
David had kept his hair this length all thought high school, and college, and now, that he was in his late 20s, and working in a creative job, he had no thoughts of ever cutting it. Luckily for David, no one in his family suffers from MPB, so he had an excellent chance of keeping it for years to come. I saw him about once every six weeks, in my salon for a shampoo, and a trim for the ends.
It was such a pleasure to wash and comb his hair, as it felt like silk. Despite the fact that all sorts of short and shaved hairstyles had recently become popular, David kept with his same style. It would fall in front of his face, in a way that was incredible sexy, and it attracted both men and women. It didn’t hurt that he had a gorgeous smile, and a personality to match.
It had been a couple of months since I had seen David, and I was a bit surprised as he had missed two appointments in a row, so it had been three months since he had been in. So I was surprised that I saw that he had made an appointment, I had figured he had maybe moved away, or was on vacation.
Normally David would come in, during the afternoon, but this time he had booked the last appointment. At 7:45 PM, the door to the salon opened, and in walked David, on crutches, his leg in a cast, his face slightly puffy and bruised, and he was wearing a knit cap, and had a short beard on his normally smoothly shaved face.
I was a bit shocked, the normally friendly and happy man, was miserable and beaten. "David, oh my god, what happened to you". David’s eyes started to tear up, "I was in a horrible car accident", he said. And I had him sit in the chair, as he told me what happened. It appears that he was the back seat passenger in a terrible drunk driving accident, and he was the only survivor. It was terrible loss, as he lost two very good friends, due to a man who was too drunk to get behind a wheel. And that was the explanation of why he was not in. He had been in the hospital for over two months recovering, and had just gotten out a couple of days ago, and wanted to get a shampoo and a trim.
I immediately got the water running in the shampoo sink, and helped David get into the chair. I was hoping that a nice warm shampoo and scalp massage would make him feel a lot better. David pulled off the knit cap, and I was shocked to see the state of his hair. His hair, that was normally so shiny, was lifeless and dull. Worse, was that there was hair in the wool cap. I placed a towel on the sink, and carefully lowered his neck onto the lip, and gingerly started to wet his hair.
Very carefully I started to work some light conditioning shampoo into his hair, and started to lather him up, and massage his scalp. To my horror, stands of his hair started coming out, and sticking to my hands. I rinsed his hair, and applied a deep conditioner, hoping that this was just some breakage due to neglect. As I worked in the conditioner, David started to tell me more about the accident, and about his friends, that he lost. I could tell that he was devastated, and still in shock. I knew that physical and emotional stress played havoc with hair, and I was hoping that David would get over it, and not loose more hair.
I rinsed out the conditioner, and applied a cream rinse, hoping to avoid more damage. I noticed that sink was not draining well, and saw that the drain was clogged with his hair. I rinsed his hair again, and sat David upright, facing the mirror. I lightly patted his hair with a dry towel, and found the widest toothed comb I could find, and started to comb his hair. What happened next, was a nightmare. Each stroke of the comb resulted in more and more hair coming out. David’s eyes widened, as he saw me pulling the hair out of the comb.
David, his voice shaking, said "Sam, what is happening to my hair?". "David, sometimes shock can cause your hair to fall out, and you have had a great shock, did you not wash your hair or comb it in the hospital"? He said that the nurses had washed his hair a couple of times, but had never said anything about it coming out. As I combed his hair, more and more came out, in large clumps. I didn’t know what to do, the more I combed, the more that came out. "Sam, stop", David yelled.
When I looked at the cape, and the floor, there were piles of hair. I looked down at his scalp, and their were now bald patches "David, I don’t know what to tell you, your hair is falling out in clumps, even if I stop combing, it will probably keep coming out". David reached from out under the cape, and ran his hand through his hair, in his hand was a huge clump of hair. He started to cry. I was not sure of what to tell him, I had seen cases of sudden Telogen Effluvium, but never this severe. I reached up with my hand, and very carefully tugged at a small tuft of hair, and it came out effortlessly.
"David, I think the only choice is to shave it all off, and hope it regrows". David was adamant that he as not shaving his head, but I knew he had no choice, as his hair was probably going to completely fall out over the next couple of days. "David, you have already lost about a third of your hair". I can put your hair in a ponytail, and you can walk out of here, but it’s not going to just stop. David had the look of resignation on his face. "OK Sam, go ahead, but no more combing, please.
I put down the comb, and turned David away from the mirror, figuring I would spare him the sight of what was left of his hair, being buzzed off. I unhooked a pair of Oster 76 clippers and attached a set of #00000 blades. I snapped on the motor, and David jumped a bit in the chair. I placed a comforting hand on his shoulders, and I started to buzz off what was left of his thinning hair. It took only a few minutes, but soon his scalp was completely bare. I decided to leave the beard, in order to give his face some balance.
"Now the shave". I turned on the hot lather machine, and hot some hot towels from the towel steamer. I lathered up his head, and decided where I would end his sideburns, and started to quickly shave his head bald. More towels, and finally I was finished. I quickly brushed the hair off his cape, and turned the chair around. David was silent, and still in shock. I will admit, his head was perfectly shaped, and the short brown beard with the shaved head was a stunning look.
"You left the beard", David said to me, as he started at his reflection in the mirror "I like it". I helped him out of the chair, and got his crutches. He limped over to the cash register, and I said that there would be no charge. I explained to him that he should wait a week or two, and then go see a Dermatologist.
Two weeks later, David came back, this time no crutches, just a slight limp. The bruises were gone, the beard was a bit longer, and there was some stubble appearing on his head. He smiled at me, and gave me a big hug. "The doctor said what you said, that it was unusual to loose this much hair at one time, but not unheard of. He said I could possibly take steroids, but that would have negative side effects. Basically, just wait. I took a look at Davids’s scalp. There was less hair than there was two weeks before, and when I brushed my hand across the stubble, small hairs were coming off in my hand. "Another shave, David asked", and I agreed. No clippers this time, I lathered David up, and shaved his head smooth. I gave his now grown-in beard a slight trim.
About six weeks later, David was back. I noticed that his head was totally smooth, and his beard and mustache had gotten quite full. David’s limp was gone, and there was even a slight smile on his face. "Are you shaving your head yourself" I asked him. No, David replied, it’s all gone. Apparently what was left of his hair had fallen out. Just a beard trim, please. I trimmed David’s beard, but left the mustache full.
Now, two years later, I see David, every six weeks, to take care of his luxuriant beard and mustache. His hair has not grown back, but he has gotten used to being bald and bearded, and happy.