In writing about my dad the other day, I left out perhaps the most remarkable medical occurrence of this trip. Considering the success he's had from dialysis, that's saying a lot. But I mean it. This is remarkable.
In the musical, Take Me Along, there's a song called "Sid Ol' Kid," sung by the character played by Jackie Gleason, he sings about the practical jokes he played on some the hicks back in Waterbury where he was living. One of the pranks is cutting off a few inches of a sleeping guy's cane and convincing him that he's getting taller.
Chorus: I'll bet you, Sid, you really got him going.
Sid: I told him he was 63 and growing.
Cute line, fun song. But I can top it. In real life.
My dad is bald. He's been bald as long as I've known him. He started losing his hair not terribly long after medical school. He's bald. All his life. He's bald.
When I flew to Chicago and went to the hospital, we were talking a while, when I finally had to interrupt the conversation. "I might be crazy about this," I said, "but am I right? Are you growing hair???"
Our wonderful caregiver, the angel-on-earth Elisabeth was there. Her face lit up. "I know!" she said. "I said this to Emmanuel." (Her husband, who also helps.) "I said that the doctor was growing some hair! Two months ago."
I swear. My dad is going to be 93 years old next month -- and he's growing hair! It's not just a few strands of peach fuzz. Which would be impressive enough. But he's growing hair. It's very thing and wispy, and there isn't nearly enough to cover his large bald spot. But there's a whole bunch of hair there, and it's been growing to the point that when he gets his next trim, it might not hurt to not just do the sides.
Yes, this is very bizarre.
It didn't start after the dialysis. As Elisabeth noted, she first saw it two months before that began. We have no idea what caused it. Perhaps it's a combination of some of the medications he's been taking. Perhaps it's just nature deciding to take a very, very odd course. No idea. But...gone today, hair tomorrow. If we could figure it out and bottle it, Rogaine would have a serious competitor.
My dad has two possible explanations. He says, "Either my head is shrinking, or I'm having my fourth childhood."