It Started When Aunt Flow Came to Visit

Bloody Mummy

by: Erica Ehm

It Started When Aunt Flow Came to Visit

It started when Aunt Flow came to town. Then I was visited by a lady in a flowing red dress. I was riding a huge crimson wave. The problem was that Aunt Flow didn't leave (if you get my drift) and I ended up fainting in the middle of the night and being rushed to the hospital in an ambulance!

Really.  Just like that one. One minute I was a healthy mom of two. The next, I was on an IV on a stretcher with paramedics careening to the hospital.

I was shaking as they raced me to an emergency room. They covered me with hot blankets and checked my blood. Apparently my body was going into shock. The next thing I knew I was agreeing to a BLOOD TRANSFUSION—for the next 10 hours, my head swam with terrifying scenarios as four units of strangers' blood dripped into my veins. Apparently I had lost more than half of all my body's blood.

Medicine was fed to me both intravenously and via pills to stop my internal bleeding. Eventually my body reacted and I was sent home with a prescription to take just in case it happened again. Three hours later I was losing blood at an extremely rapid rate and Before the pills could work, I passed out again!

This time, after my husband called 911, both paramedics and firefighters arrived to once again stick an IV in my veins and race me back to the ER.

This time no blood transfusion was needed, just an ongoing cycle of medicine tapped into my veins. I spent another day in the emergency room until I was finally admitted. The sound of beeping machines, screams of patients in pain and harried doctors and nurses faded as I spent the night in my hospital room being monitored. Once again, Aunt Flow had left the building so I was sent home.

And then...you guessed it...it happened again. Luckily, a friend of mine was visiting so she rushed me back to the hospital AGAIN!!! Seriously? Luckily this time I was still conscious. I was admitted to Emerg for the 3rd time in 4 days. Once again my hemoglobin and blood pressure were tested and the doctor ordered another blood transfusion—this time "only" two units of blood was required.

As I lay there watching the flow of blood go from the clear plastic bag hanging on a pole next to me I wondered whose blood was now a part of me. I hoped that a dancer had shared her blood, possibly filling me with a bit of her co-ordination and stamina. An organized individual's blood may help me start systemizing my life. And of course, the blood of a teenager would be awesome to make my hemoglobin younger.

Most importantly, people I don't know shared their gift of life so I could live. I've seen the ads to give blood—you know the ones that remind us "it's in you to give." Lying there, it really struck home how important it is to donate yours if you can.

I'm still in the hospital as I write this—a week long ordeal that is hopefully wrapping up for me and my family. But I'm not sure I would still be alive if not for the rescue from the paramedics, the amazing hard work of the nurses, the insight from the doctors—and all the people who rolled up their sleeves to donate blood.

Once I'm back to my old self again, I'm paying forward the kindness by donating my blood. It's the least I can do. I'd love it if you would too. You can even make it a Valentine's Day date for you and your significant other! Visit Canadian Blood Services to find out how and where you can donate. You can even book an appointment online. 


To Dye or Not To Dye

Three Hours I'll Never Get Back

by: Erica Ehm

To Dye or Not To Dye

I knew it was "time" when my husband casually mentioned that I "may" want to visit the hairdresser. Every 2.5 months I get that rather unflattering skunk-like growth around my part that screams "Dye me!" What it's also whispering is "Time is passing," "You're starting to look your age" and "It's not time to go natural."

I started to dye my hair when I was a nineteen-year-old punk rocker. My evil plan was to look edgy. My brown hair turned rock'n roll after each awesome orange or crimson colour job. This fashion statement had little to do with altering perception of my age and all to do with attitude. So I'm used to sitting in a chair manned by an expensive colour technician, letting the hours tick by while I read out-of-date trashy style magazines.

But yesterday it bugged me. As usual, I sat with my expensive colour technician and, as per normal, we schemed on what shade we should go with. But this time, the discussion was more about covering my grey (there, I've said it), rather than the fun colour quotient. So I rebelled.

Of course I'm all about camouflaging what the years have done to me, but this time I wanted to feel like that edgy nineteen-year-old rock'n roller.

"Let's go purpley-red" I blurted out.

Expensive colour technician looked at me calmly. Clearly she's seen this kind of impulsive behavior from aging women before.

"Are you sure you want to go that route?" she asks carefully.

"Sure. Go for it. What's the worst that can happen?" I laugh like I don't have a care in the world. Cuz I was going to be a nineteen-year-old punk rocker very soon.

And so the process began. The bleaching, the foil, the painting of colour, the fumes, the waiting....and waiting....and waiting as my hair cooked. Then more painting, some washing, some more colour applied, the dryer for fifteen minutes, more washing, a quick rinse and I was done.

I headed to the mirror and started a messy blow dry—excited to see my freak flag fly. But Holy Crap. There were bright red stripes in my hair! What was I thinking? I looked like a hooker trying to hide her age—not a nineteen-year-old rock chick. How did that happen?

Expensive colour technician sees the look of panic on my face.

"Too bright?" she asks carefully.

I couldn't even speak. I was too mortified. I just nodded.

"No problem. Let's go deepen it up for you."

And so she did. She painted on more colour, I waited, she added a gloss, I waited some more, and finally, three hours later I had brownish hair with very subtle—yet playful—reddish, purplish streaks. Perfection.

Three hours and a big dent on my credit card later, I headed home. Not exactly rebellious teenager. More tortured cerebral artist deep mahogany. At that moment, my hair was a reflection of who I was. Actually, it was a reflection of who I want to be.

But in the back of my mind, I can't help but wonder if it's all worth it. Should I just "let myself go" and let my grey grow in au naturel? Would that mean I'm giving up on my beauty? Or can I make a statement that I don't have to look young to look beautiful?

As much as I'd like to be able to answer those provocative and important questions, right now I'd rather look at my gleaming eggplant-inspired hair in the mirror. For now, it was worth the three hours I'll never get back.

Do you have problem styling your hair like I do? Check out this video on how to tousle your hair! Long live messy hair!