If you are a football fan, have you noticed lately how many more players sport dreadlocks under their helmets. You watch the player on the team you are rooting against run with the ball and you can’t help but think, someone ought to grab that guy by his hair and tackle him. That would be the last time he wears dreadlocks hanging out of his helmet.

Note: Nothing against dreadlocks directly. I love Jamaicia. Every time I go, I buy another Bob Marley t-shirt. I own 5 of them now.

Now my hair as it tends to do starts growing a little on the long side. I just don’t like going to the barber. And I am very busy so it is hard to find time. In winter at least I can wear a snow cap and keep my hair tucked up under it, although if I am not carefull there are some clumps that hang down by my ears.

So we go to a call for an old woman who has fallen out of bed and been on the floor in her urine all night. She doesn’t appear to be hurt, but she is a big woman, who in addition to suffering from some dementia, is also almost completely deaf. To get her up, we put her on a board, tie one strap around and then plan to lift her up to her feet to see how she does standing. Normally I always take the head. I have to lift, but I also get to avoid a panicked, urine soaked patient from grabbing me as the board comes up to the standing position. Unfortunately today, my preceptee is running the call and he is in the head position and I can’t figure out a way to switch places without tipping off the reason why. So I’m stuck on one side.

We lift her up. I am watching her body to make certain she doesn’t slide too much in my direction. She reaches out. She grabs my hair — a handful right by my ear and she starts to pull. I scream. I scream! I swear! I cuss! She is deaf and has dementia and has no idea she is pulling the hair out of my head. I can’t grab her hand because I’m holding her and the board. She is finally standing now and I grab her wrist and she is still holding on to my hair for dear life, while my partners try to pry her fingers loose.

Only when they turn her head so she can see what she is holding does she let go. She says nothing. She smiles at me and then leans forward and kisses me. Her eyes twinkle.


My next day off. Here’s how its going to go. I walk into the barber’s and sit in the chair. I pull off my hat. “Use the razor,” I’ll say. “Short all over — just make it look nice.”

My apologies to all you dreadlocked football players. I guess I got payback for my hurtful thoughts.


  • AlisonH says:

    If you’ve got six inches of length, you can donate it to Locks of Love for cancer patients… Just a thought. Sorry about the hair grabbing! (Ouch!)

  • Stretcher Jockey says:

    When I was a rookie EMT in the early 90’s and I still had a full head of hair, I wore it “fashionably” long. Until that day I had a similar experience as yours with this sweet, little old Alzheimers pt. who had the strength of a pit bull’s jaws in her hand. As soon as I got off I remedied that situation with a trip to the Barber and I’ve never let my hair grow out since. I can definitely empathize. Stay safe.SJ

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