“Dr. Randolph, please don’t cut more hair than you have to,” the worried owner said as she left her Sophie for surgery.
On the surface this might sound like a very superficial request. After all, it’s only hair, and it will grow back. It always does.
On the other hand, I think back to the last time I had to cut Martha’s hair for laboratory testing. At the time I was too busy with sedating her, drawing the samples and preparing the samples for the lab to think much about the hair on the floor.
Over the next few weeks, however, I would occasionally catch a glimpse of the short-haired area on her neck. It stood out because her undercoat is silver-grey and a stark contrast to her shiny blackness.
I came to realize that it bothered me because it reminded me of her mortality. She wasn’t going to live forever. She was already getting old. She has a form of kidney disease. One day she wouldn’t be with us anymore. And that’s enough to make anyone sad.
It’s not about the hair, itself. It’s about how much I love her and can’t yet begin to think about her not being around.
See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.