Monday, October 20, 2008

I Love My Doc.

Not for the faint of heart. Seriously. Stop reading if you get queasy easily, or dislike medical stuff. 'Cus this is gross.

Some of you know I recently had abdominoplasty. I am not going to call it a "Tummy Tuck." There is nothing cute about it. Nothing. Well, not yet anyway. Not till my belly button heals, at least.

I knew I wanted/needed this for a long-time. Longer than I knew the procedure existed. However, I was always nervous about picking a doctor. I was skeptical when I went on line, and even more when I was so impressed with the first local doctor I found. I liked everything about the site, but most particularly the pictures. I appreciated that the before-and-after pics were disrobed, and the shapes of the "afters" looked natural, and pleasing. So sure, I thought I would go see this Dr. Anous.

To make a long story short, I liked everything about the place, including the people, and the explanation of why the before-and-after models were naked - something Dr. Anous mentioned before I even thought about it. He seemed warm, yet serious and professional. One thing that really stuck with me was a book in the waiting area, which was done by one of his (six) children. It was a darling interview including hand-drawn pictures; a life-story of the Doc. What resonated with me (as corny as it sounded at the time) was how the Doc wanted to be thought of by others. His response was simple: "To be a nice doctor." What a wonderful image to portray to ones children. How lovely, indeed.

So after going to only one other doctor (and getting my excess skin yanked on as if it were dead, being told I wasn't a candidate until I first had liposuction for 7K, lost some weight for 3 months, then I could have it done for another 9K) I thought I would bite the bullet and go for it.

Let me tell you. It is not like a C-section. I have not had a C-section, but I have had two people who have had C-sections and abdominoplasty, and this is what they were told. I mean, this is how they were lied to. First of all, I am guessing when I say that having a C-section is not like having your tits sewn to your knees. Just a guess.

I already have had lower-back problems almost all my life. I found out about 6 years ago that I have a pars-defect in my lower back, which is basically a crack in one of the little "wings" that comes off the vertebrae. For the last 2 or so years I have managed to keep it at bay with yoga. Amazing. No back pain whatsoever. It was the only of a gazillion things I tried that worked. So anyway, I thought tying up all those abs (that turned to jelly once they first found out I was pregnant more than 17 years ago) would really help my back as well. Just a guess. "Tighten the core" they say. CORE?! WHAT core? I have no friggin' CORE. Ugh.

So, what was I saying about "tits sewn to knees?" I knew I was going to be in trouble, but I sort of made light of my previous back pains, telling the doc I surely had it in check. I remember something about letting him know if I needed a "walker" I just give him a call. A walker?! What the hell was I going to need that for? I couldn't get off the fucking bed. For a week.

So here's the gross part... (Really, there is a mission to this madness - stay posted if you will.) You have these tubes, or "drains" that come out of your upper thighs, so that all the fluids and blood clots (and whatever that other gross stringy stuff is) can be properly expressed and not build up as toxins in your body. This even grossed me out so much that I had a hard time looking at my own stuff. This is one redeeming thing about my husband's "husbandry" if you will. He was able to deal with this, because I sure didn't like it. Anyway, the longer you take to heal, the longer these end up staying in. This is the vicious-circle thing. The more active you are, the quicker you heal, but it is SO painful to move around. On top of the normal pain, I have this horrible back-pain - debilitating, really. I get the walker. I am 11 days out and still on the walker, still with the tubes (and bulbs of puss that I have to carry around in my pockets wherever I go), and these normally come out after 4-5 days. The doc called me in anyway since they were so painful and obviously working their way towards infection, since it is basically a raw, deep hole in the leg. My biggest fear (and believe me, I heard horror stories before I even knew how bad the tubes would be) was having those tubes taken out in a long, most-painful-fucking-thing-I-have-ever-endured process. But no. And this is precisely what made me realize how much I liked this doc.

Technique. No bullshit, down-to-business-tried-and-true technique.

I am sitting there in the exam room, waiting, waiting (I was 10 minutes late so understandably had to wait a little longer) and thinking about how the hell he was going to do this. First of all, I thought he would only take out one, since it was barely draining, and incredibly painful. When I say painful, I mean if a feather would touch anywhere on the tube I would basically jump out of my skin. Anyway, Dr. Anous comes in and tells me (in his naturally terse manner) that he will take out both. "Yea!" I say, then quickly try to distract myself as he prepares to do the dead. No time to ask questions, the doc rolls over, tells me to breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out (are you kidding, when is he going to...) ZZZZIP! Whatthefuck. It's out! And that was the bad one. Oh awesome. OK, now to the second one. He rolls to the other side. "Now you are an expert, no?" He says in his warm low voice and very slight Egyptian accent. "Sure" I say. "OK. Good. Breathe in," ZZZZIP!! NO SHIT! You friggin' rock! Well, I didn't say that, but I did sort of sit there with my eyes wide open. "Now, you breathe out, no?"

Plastic surgery is not for everyone. I insist that mine was somewhere between aesthetic and reconstructive. I understand how some people think it isn't necessary. I am mostly-vegan, think green, and abhor what some people do with plastic surgery,. You won't see any people like that in Dr. Anous' books. What you will find, is a record of how this "problem solver" (as he likes to see himself) helps people deal with and fix things that they don't necessarily need to live so troubled with. It is easy enough for one person to say we should all stay "natural" and another thing entirely to live with some physical feature that causes troubled albeit hidden health troubles such as yeast infections in bellybuttons and occasionally zipping sagging skin in a zipper - that shit hurts.

One thing I do know, is that a good doctor is hard to find. Not only did Dr. Anous take me serious, have incredibly friendly and charming assistants (including his lovely wife Candy), but he showed a genuine yet reserved concern. I did have fears going into the surgery. You know, just stuff like, maybe dying under anesthesia. While lying on the surgery table, I realized one of the assistants was rubbing my left arm while the anesthesia doc prepared my injection, only to turn and realize it was the doc himself holding my hand. Now that is good bedside manner. It might not have helped if he was pacing around the surgery table with a scalpel, or even just scrubbing-up with his back towards me, but he actually held my hand and gently rubbed my arm while I completely went under.

I think my only fear that now remains, is that I said something awkward as I went under. "Iz luz yuz Dr. Anuz."


Knit in the Northwest said...

I seriously apologize if this offended anyone. What I write, is part of my alter-ego. It is mostly all truth, but for the purpose of entertaining. The last thing I want to do is offend anyone, but at the same time I don't want to curb my opinions (think personal rights) and sometimes my language gets colorful. Why else would people read about my otherwise boring life? Anyway, please accept my most humble apologies and know that I love each and every one of you, even if I do offend you and make you think I am a heathen.

Livinia Redlips said...

so...why are the before and afters naked?