My 1st, 2nd and 3rd helmet

February 13, 2009

While in the RCA I witnessed patients with various kinds of helmets. I didn’t ask why they were wearing these helmets but later I found that it was necessary because the neurosurgeons had permanently removed their bone-flaps. During my last surgery my bone-flap was infected and consequently the neurosurgeon my bone-flap. On the 25th of November (the day before my release) I was therefore asked to pay the “Plastermaster” (gipsmeester) of the VU a visit for a “helmet”. 

I learned that the kind of helmet depended on the hospital. Some hospitals let you choose from many colours and offer many kinds of materials. In the VU-hospital you can choose between plaster and plaster. Of course I chose plaster (blue). I was asked to sit on a bed while the “plaster-master” busied himself with the tools and tricks of his trade. He first pulled a kind of over-sized sock over my head, then he put a knot in it before pulling it again over my face (that resulted in two layers of “sock”). Fortunately the sock was not of tightly woven material as I suffer from claustrophobia. He then he cut holes for my ears and eyes and finally he wrapped my head with blue plaster tape. My head was then released and he started to trim the edges of the helmet. Voilá! There was my helmet. He promised us that we could come back any time for adjustments.

Two weeks ago it was time to go back. The blue plaster tape was not sticking to the helmet but to my hair instead and the helmet (to be worn day and night) had started to smell peculiar. So we went back to the plaster-master in the VU to ask for a new helmet. We were initially send home with some tape. Monling tried to stick it to cover the edges of the helmet but the result was that my helmet only became more sticky. The next day we went back and we asked for a new helmet (the 2nd). The helmet making process was repeated resulting in a comfortable but rather pompous looking helmet.

Today we went therefore back with the old helmets asking for a new one. This resulted in a 3rd helmet which was better than the 2nd (although the 1st one was the best). While I was sitting on a chair surrounded by the plaster master and his assistant was Monling taking pictures of me. When the plaster master discovered that Monling was taking pictures he told her that he didn’t want to be recognizable. Apparently just that week their picture was taken without permission and published on the Internet. It was my first experience with someone who didn’t like to be photographed.

I put below a picture (from left to right: helmet I, helmet II and helmet III). dsc05470-cropped1



  1. Wat een verhaal!
    Nog even en je krijgt een spiderman outfitje ;)
    Ben blij te lezen (althans die indruk krijg ik) dat het een stuk beter met je gaat.

  2. Amazing what they can do these days – the helmet may not be particularly attractive but at least it serves it’s function.
    Your attitude is inspirational. I am sure it why you are doing so well in your recovery.

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