Thursday, January 27, 2022

I Can See Clearly Now



My confession: I am a surgery wimp.

It would require an absolutely essential, life-threatening situation, not in the realm of “cosmetic,” before I would lie down and allow some white-coated, individual with a degree to use a knife to remove, repair, or adjust my body parts. I’m not sure which is more frightening – being unconscious or being unconscious while someone works on my body. I’m not that much of a control freak that I need to watch and give instructions, but a little knowledge is a very dangerous thing, and one cannot help but observe and worry about some of the unfortunate results when things go awry.

I assure you I am not contemplating plastic surgery. Gravity isn’t kind to us as we age, but how many tight-skinned, shiny-faced women with 50-year old faces and necks accompanied by hands and knees that scream, “I’m over 70!” at the very least, have you noticed? Why would anyone want to resemble Joan Rivers who freely confesses to and boasts about the many nips and tucks she has had – and to what avail?

Facial enhancement isn’t restricted to women; often men appear looking so well-rested and refreshed you finally realize the bags from under their eyes have been unpacked and some neck and cheek tightening has been performed.

As years go by, I find my mother staring back at me from the mirror. She was not a fan of adjusting the body or face she came with and her favorite recommendation to people who did, was to inhale deeply, lift and shift, giving the offending parts a different name in their new location. I wonder how she’d feel if I wound my pony tail like a rotor rooter in order to pull all the loose facial skin to the top of my head. I haven’t experimented with this theory yet, as I’m not sure where my nose would travel or if I could grow hair on the excess skin or just tuck it under a hat.

When one ophthalmologist recommended cataract removal and an astigmatism repair recently, I blithely agreed but went home to think about it. That was a dangerous move, especially when doctor #2 commented, “It isn’t urgent.” That was all I needed to hear; I canceled the surgery. And then I thought about it some more. I am already permanently sight-deficient in one eye and he wanted to repair the ‘good’ one. There are no guarantees – if he messed up I’d have to change my entire lifestyle. I thought of what I would no longer be able to do, and above all, the loss of independence. My second thoughts had me questioning why I go to this doctor if I don’t trust his judgement? Breathe deeply and try to make an intelligent decision.

Every time I weighed the odds the scale tipped against taking action. And then I began to notice how difficult reading was unless I used a spotlight. A few months later, I had a second consultation with both doctors and before I wavered I booked the surgery for three days after I returned from a long holiday.  Miraculously, I didn’t obsess about it while away, and when I left home at 5 a.m. for 6:30 surgery, I was more resigned than a nervous wreck. I had a few moments of doubt and a lot of bruises following the stubborn anesthetist’s repeated efforts to stab a vein while ignoring my suggestion of a location which finally worked on his seventh attempt. Twenty minutes later Chicken Little was wheeled out, handed a glass of water and accompanied to the car which took me home.

After the dilation wore off the next day, I could see, in more ways than one, that the surgery was a success. I would have appreciated being met with a brass band or a drum roll at the very least, but the surgeon’s promise of even better vision in 30 days was more than adequate.

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