We went to Puerto Rico for vacation. Got badly sunburned. I mean, really badly. Like sun poisoning. Both me and my husband ended up with peeling skin from the sunburn (only my face and about a 1 inch wide edge of hairline, due to tzanua swimwear and head covering). 

Fast forward a few days… We are back home and it’s mikveh night. I know that prep is going to be difficult due to all the peeling skin. I’m not OCD, but this was truly a problem. So I booked a bath at the mikveh, in case I couldn’t finish in time at home. I did both bath and shower at home, but even after all that, I still had lots of peeling skin that would be problematic. 

Now I’m at the mikveh, I go into the prep room and run a bath. I take the handheld magnifying mirror to the bath, and with a washcloth and comb, I start rubbing off any remaining loose skin. The comb I used for my hairline, combing the scalp and hair. TONS more shedding skin starts coming up from my sunburned scalp. The sunburned part of my scalp is only about an inch wide at the hairline, so I work my way across the hairline with the comb, until I get all of it. Uh oh, now it’s all stuck in my wet hair. That’s a problem. 

I switch to the shower, and shampoo my hair twice. I go in front of the mirror and I see lots of yuck still in my hair. Hmmm. What to do?

Return to the bath. My plan is to lie in the water, and swish my hair around and use the comb under the water. Let’s see if that will do the trick. Darn, the water is full of yuck from my prior attempts to exfoliate. Better drain the tub and start with fresh water. 

Bath appointments are 50 mins, and it’s getting late. Tub is draining very slowly. Finally it’s drained and I start to refill. I close the stopper and start refilling. I lie down with my head under the running faucet, to help things along. Basically I’m lying down and my head is at the faucet/drain end of the tub, since that end fills up first, so I think it will be faster that way. 

I start to move my head around in the water… and I’m stuck. My hair is caught on something. I feel around, and I realize my hair is caught IN THE DRAIN. Oy. Ok, no problem, I’m sure I can tug it free, and I’ll lose an inch or two of the end of my hair. Tug. Tug harder. Nope. It’s not letting go. 

Ok, breathe, don’t panic. Feel around some more, it’s probably wound around the drain, and I can unwind it. Nope. Nothing is working. Now I’m actually wondering what I’m going to, and considering how embarrassing it will be to have to yell for the attendant. But first, I realize that the water is still filling up, and if I don’t do something, it’s going to end up deeper than my head… and I’m trapped with my head stuck to the bottom of the tub. Hmmm… before trying anything else, I better turn off the water. 

I look around above me, to reach for the water faucet handle. IT’S WAAAAAY UP OUT OF MY REACH. Oh, s**t. What now? In my mind, I can see the headline in Yeshiva World News… “Sunburned woman drowns in mikveh bath due to long hair stuck in drain”. Now I’m actually beginning to worry for real. Like, I might be in serious danger if I don’t figure a way out. Even yelling for help won’t solve the problem immediately because the door is locked and they’ll have to break into the room, which will take time. 

I resume feeling around the back of my head, trying to twist the drain plug, tug at my hair, etc. Suddenly… voila! The drain plug pops off in my hand. With all the futzing, I eventually unscrewed it from the drain, and now I can able to get up with the drain plug dangling from my hair. 

With death by drowning narrowly averted, I extricate the drain plug from my hair, and then have to deal with the resulting knots. I get back in the shower, shampoo, brush, conditioner, brush, shampoo again, brush some more, and eventually decide that I am chatzitza-free. Rub peeling face with washcloth one more time for good measure. 

Get into my towel, and press the “ready” button. Attendant comes to the door, asks if I am ready, and if everything is ok. “Baruch HaShem, all good,” I reply. If she only knew…