Facelifts and So Forth
What To Consider When Considering Cosmetic Surgery.
Anxious and waiting—and possibly oozing beneath the mummified bandages—in the private clinic of a plastic surgeon's office spotlighted by fluorescent lights ...
Me: The swelling isn't that bad.
Marilyn: I don't know. I have no one to compare it to. I don't know anyone who's had a facelift done.
Me: Oh, you do. You just don't know that you do. I've seen a few. This ain't bad, I promise.
Marilyn: That's encouraging!
The surgeon comes in, and I take a close look at him to see if he's had any "work" done, as if it might reflect on his ability. Of course it doesn't unless he's operating on himself, and that would really worry me.
I'm thinking about this while he's jabbering away about stitching, staples, bandages, painkillers and drainage tubes ...
I ask, Wait. What? Did you just say drainage tubes?
I whip out my camera.
My friend says, No Facebook.
I answer, Of course not.
I should mention that it's my friend in the patient's chair, not me. I'm just the designated driver. But I'm a curious chaperone. And who knows when I may want to go under the knife—again (see boob job chapter in my memoir)!
The doc cuts away the blood-stained gauze and gingerly unravels the mummyesque headpiece.
You looked like Mother Teresa with that scarf over you.
I'll be Marilyn in a week, she says and laughs. Oh, don't make me laugh. It hurts.
The way she holds her cheeks makes me laugh, and then we both start laughing. I feel bad, but this whole scene is kinda comical.
This makes me want to get something done, I say. It's been a long time. Maybe a knee lift. How do they do those? I'm not sure if I'm asking the surgeon or my friend, New Marilyn.
New Marilyn innocently clarifies, She's lost a lot of weight so she has elephant knees.
We both laugh.
The doc continues unraveling and says something about liposuction, which is ridonkulous because that would only add to the problem. To remove wrinkles, one needs to lift and snip or fill and fill again—duh. Maybe I should become a surgeon.
Meanwhile, New Marilyn is asking him to be careful around her ears (with the scissors) lest she look like Van Gogh instead of Miss Monroe.
The last layer of crusty gauze is removed, revealing stitching around her ears with metal staples behind them and white, plastic tubing poking out nearby.
Are those the drainage tubes? Cool. I'm busy snapping photos with my iPhone.
Wait, let me switch to video!
Oh, you don't want to do that, he says and pulls them out before I can change my iPhone settings.
Some people get queasy looking at blood. Not me. Nope. If he'd have let me, I'd have volunteered to assist. Bodily grossness has never wigged me out. Call me weird.
When he finishes dabbing ointment on the incision areas and adding new bandages, he gives instruction: Sleep elevated. Put a pillow under the fitted sheet to keep from rolling over. Remove bandages in two days. A light shower is okay but no shampoo and conditioner. I'll see you in a week for a follow-up.
I make a mental note of the instructions in case my friend is experiencing any lingering after-effects from the anesthesia.
The doctor leaves and an age-unidentifiable assistant comes in.
She repeats the instructions and adds, After these bandages come off, you'll wear this one 24/7 for a week.
New Marilyn interjects: Can I wear it 24/7 except while I'm working? I go back to work next week.
The assistant says, That should be fine.
When we get back to New Marilyn's apartment, I volunteer to help her with laundry because it's in a common room down the hall, and she still looks like a mummified Mother T. But while I'm busy setting up my iPad to get some work done (er, this blog), she disappears with her hamper.
I have extreme focus when I'm working, and it's only because of luck that I hear her yelling my name from somewhere in the building.
I exit the apartment—which is fortunately ground level near the lobby—and call out, Where are you?
Outside! she yells back, laughing.
I dart down the hall to the lobby, which has a locked exterior door plus a secured interior lobby area with locked gate. She stands on the locked side of the gate with hamper in arm and hijab on head, cheeks puffed out from smiling within its confinement.
I took the wrong keys. I had to go all the way around the building. Good thing I don't stand out in this neighbourhood, she says and laughs, then, Oh, don't make me laugh! It hurts.
Oh my God, I wish I could write about this. I laugh.
Why not? she offers, Go ahead!
What have I (re-)learned? If it feels good, do it. If it's going to take a week of oozing to feel better about yourself, ooze away. But for the love of vanity, let your friend do your laundry—she's seen worse.
Homework: Research "knee lift procedures." Or maybe I'll just visit the cheese sammich place next door until said saggy knees plump back up naturally. Hmm, cheese? Mmmm, cheese.
P.S. I'd like to acknowledge another friend—Daisy Duke, unnamed in the shenannnagin blog—who most kindly drove our New Marilyn to the clinic early the day of surgery, collected meds, picked up New Marilyn, and loaned me her (Daisy's) car to take our friend (Marilyn) to the day-after follow-up appointment. This is the same friend who loaned me her car without hesitation to get to my family a few weeks ago. Love you, thank you, xo!
P.P.S. I'm taking this stuff called Thrive, which is super awesome in that I'm pretty sure it's the cause of said weight-loss (and energy gain) with, like, no extra effort, but I didn't want to share my success story until it had been a month and I'd sustained wrinkly knees (due to rapid weight loss, people!) with no-jitters energy. I haven't grown seven new toes and don't have "coke nose", but then maybe you want to try it out for yourself, anyway. If you do, here's the link.