Sometimes, the people accompanying patients to the emergency department are more interesting than the patients. In this case, the patient was a middle-aged, mentally handicapped man who was brought in by his “friend” for a refill on his blood pressure meds. He was pretty much clueless and it was clear that her life was wrapped up in taking care of him, a job more made difficult by their homelessness.
She was probably about forty-five years old. In contrast to the diminutive patient, she was a large woman, tall, with big bones and heavy, coarse features. She wore slightly dirty, over-sized pants and a tee shirt. She wore no bra over her large breasts.
What made her worthy of my specific attention and a post in this blog was her hair. It was dark brown with a few streaks of gray. It was pulled back at the base of her neck where it turned into a huge single dreadlock that was flattened so it lay against the upper part of her back. She had it covered with a multi-colored cloth sack, sewn specifically for the purpose. It sheathed the hair from the upper back all the way down to the ends. When she stood, it hung well below her waist in the back. When she sat, she pulled it around to the front, coiling it in her lap. I have never seen hair like that in my life, nor have I ever seen hair cared for by sheathing it, like a sword in a scabbard.
Two other things that made her interesting to me:
As she spoke Spanish, I could tell she was not a Mexican. She told me she was from Cuba. We don’t have a lot of Cubans in our emergency department.
She had on an interesting ring, decorated with the initials CTR. When I asked about it, she said it stood for Choose the Right. She got it from a woman she had cared for in the past, who was a Mormon.
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