My first night of sleep after the operation took some planning, the goodie bag I had received included a blow-up travel cushion and a cloth sheet to cover my pillow. The back of my head was bandaged but I still needed to treat it with care, and of course the cushion was so that I didn’t disturb the delicately implanted hairs at the front of my head.
Now, I’ll be honest, I found this uncomfortable. I’m not used to sleeping on my back, and got a bit of a crick in my neck. Nothing major, nothing painful – an inconvenience more than anything. I was advised to sleep like this for about a week. I got used it. The far bigger concern for me was how my head and face were looking when I woke up.
Here’s the thing. They told me that I’d experience swelling. I knew it was going to happen. I’d even seen photos of post-transplant patients with swelling. But it really bothered me when I saw it on my own face. Like, I got quite upset about it. I dunno why. I appreciate that’s a bit wimpy of me, and it only lasted a matter of days, but still it got me down.
Each day for about four days, I looked different, as the swelling moved from my forehead, to my eyebrow area, to my cheeks, and then my jowls. It’s not as though I looked like Frank Sidebottom – the swelling wasn’t huge and it moved down the face – so when one area swelled up, the previous area calmed down. After five or six days it was pretty much all gone.
Personally, that was the worst part of the whole process for me. Again, it wasn’t painful, but emotionally/psychologically it affected me. But – and this is a big but – I was constantly on to KSL asking if it was normal. I was a bit neurotic about it, sending them pictures everyday. They were very calming and reassuring and told me it was all fine. That really helped.
I think this is important. I know some people go abroad, to places like Turkey, to get hair transplants on the cheap. That’s their prerogative and good luck to them. Personally I think it’s a bit risky to go somewhere that doesn’t necessarily adhere to stringent UK medical practice but I am sure there are reputable and disreputable companies everywhere.