The Plastic Surgeon: Part 2

This is the second of a 2-part post. Part 1 was published Oct. 19.

“That settles that. There’s no chance in hell we’re doing conscious sedation,” I told my husband who was now holding our drowsy little boy.

He then looked at me baffled, like I’d said I was going to tapdance naked through the hospital. “Why? Why wouldn’t we?”

I often wonder how my husband and I can hear the exact same conversation or see the exact same thing and come away with a completely different version of what happened. “Oh, the nurse,” he said. “That’s just her opinion. It doesn’t sound that bad.”

Dr. George (not his real name) came back in and I explained that conscious sedation wasn’t for our son (or me). We decided on Benadryl and hoped for the best. Luckily, I come from a family of narcoleptics. We’ve fallen and stayed asleep at loud concerts, stoplights, bars, and even while holding a conversation. I hoped that my son was as sleepy as his mama.

He was. One shot and he was out. The doctor, nurse, and my husband each asked me if I wanted to leave the room. “It can be very hard for a mother to see a needle put into their child. We don’t want you to pass out.”
I squeezed that kid’s big head through a hole the size of a quarter, idiots. I think I can watch as he gets a couple of stitches, I thought to myself. “I think I’ll be fine.”

The giant needle going in and out of my son’s lip was disturbing to see, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as watching Curious “George” play plastic surgeon.

The first five stitches went in with no problem. Then suddenly, George’s hand started to shake a little. By the 10th stitch the needle barely made it to my baby’s mouth. His hand was all over the place and at the last second he plunged it into my son’s lip. He stopped, turned around, breathed heavily four or five times and continued. After 14 stitches, it was all over.

As my boy continued sleeping I asked the doctor about the flap of skin protruding from my boy’s lip. He said not to worry, the extra skin would fall off in a month.

Four years later, it’s still there.

The Plastic Surgeon: Part 1

The surgeon walked in the door looking like he’d just come from pumping iron in the hot sun. His rolled up sleeves showed off bronzed biceps that glistened with either sweat or tanning oil, and his thinning hair was gelled up on the top of late forties head. If he had walked into a bar I would have giggled with my friends, but this was no bar; I was in an emergency room holding my bloody 2-year-old son whose upper lip was split in two and partially hanging off.

George Hamilton (not his real name) put out a manicured hand, flashed a dazzling smile and said, “I’m the plastic surgeon they called in to look at your son.” He efficiently checked out my little boy who wailed, kicked and screamed during the 30 second exam. “He definitely needs stitches. And I’m definitely the one to do it.”

“I’m a little nervous about this. But you’ve done this kind of thing a million times, right?” I looked from Dr. George to my husband. “Right?”

Suddenly a cloud passed over George Hamilton’s face. His teeth even seemed to gray as he said darkly, “I don’t know anyone who’s done it a million times. A million times?? I can go out there and try to find another doctor who’s done it a million times.” He started breathing heavy and talking louder. “Do you want me to do that? Right now? Do you?”

“Uhhmmm,” I looked from my husband to the nurse who had just walked in. Both were trying not to look at me. As they searched for their happy place I said, “No.” He took a deep breath and walked out of the room.

“What the hell was that?” I asked the witnesses. “Oh,” said the nurse shaking her head and still not looking at me. “I’m sure he’s ….this is going to be fine. No problem. He’s a great plastic surgeon I’ve heard people say. Great. No problem.”

I looked at my husband. “He seemed like a nice guy,” Carl said. “What’s the problem?”

“That he seems crazy. You don’t think that was a little odd?” I asked patting my son on the back. After the large dose of pain killers, he was starting to doze off.

Dr. George came back in the room, as bright and sunny as the gold highlights streaked through his hair. “Okay, everyone, let’s talk about what we’re going to do here. First we put him under conscious sedation and then we do the stitches. Great! Any questions?”

“How do you do the conscious sedation? Is he going to feel it? How many stitches is he going to have? Will it hurt him?” I took a breath and went on. “Is he going to have a scar? Are the stitches the kind that dissolve or have to be taken out? Will he be able to…”

>Dr. George clapped his hands together and said, “Okay, great! I’ll go get everything ready and be right back.”

“But..” my voice trailed off as he left. A new nurse walked in to get a box of gloves from our room when she spotted my boy.

“Oh my God! What happened? Poor baby,” she came over for a closer look.

What did happen? I left my child and his brother at home to make the 2 hour drive to San Diego to take surfing lessons with my sister. I left him with a babysitter and drove far, far away to do something totally self indulgent; not only were we going surfing but we were going to out to dinner and maybe a movie. How could I do that!? (My sister and I are from the desert southwest for God’s sake; we shouldn’t even be in the water!)

“He fell off of his little red wagon face first onto the concrete.”  

The nurse examined him and explained the procedure. My son would receive a shot in his arm that would put him out. He would be unconscious, but his eyes would be open. “I would never do that to my child,” she said.

“Why?” I asked, startled by her frankness.

“Because they’re unconscious, but their eyes are open. They lay there unable to move and you just have to wonder; will they ever wake up? It’s terrifying. I would just give him some Benadryl and hope he sleeps through the procedure.”

I stared at her as she walked out of the room. 

Tomorrow Part 2

The Kids Are All Right

I can finally post about one of the best movies I’ve seen in many, many months. I went to a preview of the Kids Are Alright a few weeks ago and it was wonderful. Smart, funny, with real and likeable characters.

My sister said she is boycotting this film because the two main characters are lesbian, as is she, and one of them has an affair with a man. This offends her because there are not a lot of movies (or any) about female couples dealing with family life. Why does the only one have to involve an affair with a man?

I can see her point, but the lesbians in the film are Annette Bening and Julianne Moore and they are fantastic. I totally believed them as a couple in a rut that has been together for years. They have two kids from one sperm donor and the sperm donor is Mark Rufallo. He’s one of my favorite actors and he’s great as a lost, man-boy who donated sperm decades earlier because “it was more fun than giving blood.”

What I loved most about this movie was how real it was. Real about marriage (it’s hard) and real about life. Their kids are growing up and Nic (Bening) and Jules (Moore) are running out of things to talk about and ways to excite each other. Then Paul (Rufallo) walks in and he’s charming and reckless and he wakes everyone up, not always in a good way.

Speaking of real, the actresses are real and a pleasure to look at. There’s not a trace of botox or plastic surgery on either woman and they are all the more beautiful for it. They are women over 45 and they look healthy, slightly wrinkled, and amazing. I would much rather see Bening, Moore, Diane Lane or Katherine Keener looking their age in a film than Meg Ryan, who is trying to look 25, but is one surgery away from looking like Joan Rivers.

I loved everything about The Kids Are All Right and I wish more movies were this good.