Print   |   Back
March 18, 2013
Life on Planet Kathy
Just as I Am
by Kathryn H. Kidd

I washed my hair today. Most people use that phrase, “washed my hair,” to mean they washed the 100,000 hairs that are on the average human head. When I use that phrase, I am referring to the one hair I have that is left.

Okay, that’s an exaggeration. But I am losing hair by the handful. I dread combing it because I have to clean out my brush not once, but twice, during the process. At first glance, it appears that a large rat has taken up residence in my hairbrush. Now huge colonies of hair desert my head at once, leaving me for what they must assume are greener pastures. They must be so sad to find themselves in the garbage can.

This is not an exaggeration: I have lost about two thirds of the hairs on my head, and I am quickly heading toward baldness. I asked my doctor in the hospital about it, and her answer was, “After all you’ve been through, what did you expect?”

It’s time to start buying a lot of silly hats to conceal the inevitable. Although Fluffy assures me, “It will grow back,” there is obviously going to be a period when I am as bald as a hairless cat. I do not see any earthly use for a hairless cat, unless the cat owner is severely allergic. What’s going to happen when we have a hairless Kathy?

The kitten version of a hairless cat. You just want to wrap a rug around it to conceal its nakedness.

The same thing is true with my feet. I can barely wiggle the toes on the left foot, and that’s my good foot. My right foot is about as functional as a dead mackerel. The hardest part about sliding from my wheelchair to my bed is when I have to place my feet on a rug. The right foot is likely to be napping on its side, completely oblivious to the transfer. I have to manually pick up my legs by the knees to get the feet in the right position. Even then, the right foot stubbornly refuses to obey me — even when I use naughty words to communicate my displeasure.

And then there’s my brain. People who drop in for a casual visit rave about how I’m “the old Kathy.” People who actually have to work with me are getting a different impression altogether.

I am unable to read a book or to say my prayers, because my attention span is that of a gnat. Fluffy and I celebrated Christmas on Thursday, March 14, and my addled brain decided that March 14 was Christmas for everyone. Thus I didn’t do my editorial work on Thursday, and a friend and coworker bravely picked up the slack when she realized I was AWOL. I didn’t realize my oversight until I turned on the computer on Friday, when my email box was full of queries about Thursday’s (lack of) work. Fluffy likes this predicament, because he can tell me the same joke every day, and I will laugh as though it was the first time I have heard it.

I’m hoping all these things are temporary, but the bottom line is that we just don’t know. The jury is still out. I may yet grow a full head of hair, recover my feet, and regenerate my brain — but I may not. This “temporary” Kathy may turn out to be the new Kathy. What a bummer that would be!

Or maybe not. My patriarchal blessing has a sentence that says I will have “the health, the time, and the ability” to serve God the way He wants to be served, and I firmly believe that is true. Over the years as my health started to deteriorate and I began to use a walker and then a scooter, I was able to reach other people who were using walkers and scooters — people who would never have spoken to me otherwise. The same thing will no doubt happen if I go totally bald or if I stay in a wheelchair.

One thing I’ve learned in life is that we are all tools in God’s toolbox. He has a purpose for each of us, and we were all designed to be used in different ways. We can’t all be the hammer, and we cannot all be the wrench.

Some of the tools in the toolbox don’t want to be used. They lie there in the toolbox, still shiny and new. Other tools are scuffed and worn. They may not be pretty anymore, but they have been well used, and well cared for, by the Master Carpenter.

I want to be one of the ugly tools. If the way God wants to use me is to put me in a wheelchair, bald and wearing funny hats, let Him do it. I’m just glad He’s using me. I hope that whenever there is an opportunity for me to be of service, I see the need and perform it — whatever shape I happen to be in.

Copyright © 2021 by Kathryn H. Kidd Printed from