halo brace


A halo brace is a traction device used to stabilize the head and neck after a cervical fracture or dislocation. It is comprised of a circular piece adhered to the skull with four pins, which is attached with rods to a vest. It is the nurse’s responsibility to ensure that the device doesn’t become loosened so that stability isn’t compromised. One major objective of nursing care for a patient with a halo is promotion of skin integrity. The pin sites should be carefully monitored and some hospitals’ policies include prophylactic use of betadine or antibiotic ointment application to the sites. The interior of the vest has a removable sheep skin liner which should be changed once a week or as needed. The skin inside the vest should be kept clean and dry to prevent pressure ulcers from forming. Respiratory function should be monitored every 2-4 hours due to pressure on the diaphragm and the patient may prefer small, frequent meals to reduce pressure on the stomach. 

Patients in a halo traction can’t move their head from side to side, often a hand mirror is provided to increase peripheral vision. A wrench must be taped to the vest at all times in case the device must be removed to perform CPR. 

Rachel McAdams wears a (modified) halo brace as the character Regina George in the movie Mean Girls

When I was eight
I would walk up to my mother
My short curly hair in a frizzy halo around my head
With my somewhat crooked smile
And ask her if I would be pretty

She would smile
Pat my hair down
Bop me on my nose
And say with a honey sweet voice
Not to worry about it

When I was 13 I hated my body
My thighs too big, boobs not big enough
Mornings would be spent stuffing my bra
Denying myself the right to breakfast
I didn’t dare insinuate that I was skinny enough to deserve it

By 15 I was covered in different peroxides
My teeth held together by metal braces
My face a collage of different flaws
So I painted it like it was a portrait
Just so I could cringe less when I looked in the mirror

When I was 18 I learned that nobody would love me
The way I should love myself
And a weight was lifted off my shoulders
Because somewhere in between the frizzy halo and metal braces
I was taught to hate myself

But this is not just about me
This is about the girls who will go home crying
Because they weren’t deemed pretty enough
And all the people who will sway home tonight in a drunken trance
Because a stranger didn’t think they’re suitably screwable

This about the world we’ve created for ourselves
Haunted by models and mirrors
Our own reflections a prison
Our flaws become metal bars
Our insecurities are our chains

When my daughter walks up to me some years from now
Whatever her hair looks like
No matter her crooked smile
And asks me if she will be pretty
I will smile, look her in the eye, and say no

You will never be just pretty

You will be pretty intelligent, pretty talented
You will be pretty gifted, pretty kind
But no daughter of mine will be confined
By some shallow five letters

—  My friend, my queen, THE Jinan Abu-Farhah

Okay, so this isn’t the most flattering photo in the universe, but I wanted to share something I found kind of interesting.

Before the decompressive craniectomy, I had no grey hair at all. I now have four distinct spots in a sort of circle around my head. You can see one of them in the middle of this photo (the other grey-looking spot is actually just my cowlick, my hair is so short you can see my scalp through it).

If I am going to go grey in my early thirties, at least it’s due to an awesome conversation-starter, right? XD