women

At the consultation, the office of Haideh Hirmand, MD, was so immaculate and speckless they could have performed open-heart surgery on me on the bathroom floor. And Dr. Hirmand herself was statuesque and flawless. I pointed to her face and drooled like a toddler: “I want that! I want that!”

Description: At the consultation, the office of Haideh Hirmand, MD, was so immaculate and speckless they could have performed open-heart surgery on me on the bathroom floor.

At the consultation, the office of Haideh Hirmand, MD, was so immaculate and speckless they could have performed open-heart surgery on me on the bathroom floor.

She inspected my face the way a gemologist might scrutinize a blood diamond.

“You have heavy bags. It’s very advanced for a woman your age. I highly recommend you get this procedure as soon as you can. You also have sagging around your neck and-“

I cut her off. I didn’t want her distracted by lopsided breasts and ears in desperate need of pinning. I look her first available surgical opening.

As I confided in friends and family about the upcoming procedure – lower blepharoplasty, with a tiny bit of upper for balance – I was stunned to learn that my weary-looking eyes had been the bane of other people’s existences as well. The news was met with a unanimous response: “You must be so exited! Finally! We’ve been collecting donations for this for years! There’s enough for boobs, too!”

The more I opened up about my plans, the more people confessed to having gone under the knife themselves. Not that they were shouting it from the rooftops. The word blepharoplasty was whispered the way abortion was in the 1950s. More than half of the women I spoke to admitted to having had their eyes tweaked. And it didn’t stop there. Everything from the forehead to the vagina – vaginoplasty deserves its own essay – down to the knees. Lord Byron coined the phrase “the fatal gift of beauty”. Now, if you weren’t given it at birth, you can buy it! Or buy it back, later.

Description:  
I’m slightly embarrassed to reveal the price of such a self-indulgent act, but I do give a large portion of my income to charity

I’m slightly embarrassed to reveal the price of such a self-indulgent act, but I do give a large portion of my income to charity

On the big day, I arrived at the crack of dawn with my gay male friend Joe (who took video of my nervous presurgery babble on his iPhone) at Hirmand’s Parisian-looking Upper East Side townhouse. There was a discreet side entrance for people like Madona, some kind of Underground Railroad for the immortal celebrity, but I marched in the front door practically wearing a name tag and blaring a bullhorn. I was in complete denial about the fact that I was voluntarily (at a hefty cost of more than $7,000) having my face slashed. I’m slightly embarrassed to reveal the price of such a self-indulgent act, but I do give a large portion of my income to charity. And many people keep telling me it was money well spent. I guess like when you redo the roof? Or replace the boiler?

The anesthesiologist was a strapping man in his thirties with perfect teeth and a sun-kissed look that suggested a second home. He was so charming that I felt entirely comfortable allowing him to pierce my wrist with an IV as he regaled me with stories about his new Mercedes-Benz SL550. He explained he was going to administer a cocktail that would make me very relaxed, as if I’d had a couple glasses of wine. The syringe went into my IV line, and I fell into the deepest level of sleep. A couple glasses of wine? More like a couple gallons of chloroform.

Afterward, I remember being held up like a drunken sorority girl as a (far too attractive) nurse and my husband pulled me across the marble floor of our lobby. I’m told my first question when I awoke after surgery was “Did they shave my pubic hair?” Apparently anesthesia makes me feisty – I also tried to yank off my husband’s trousers in the elevator.

In the days that followed, I lay in my bed with blurry vision and ice packs on my eyes and listened to returns of Friends on TV. (The show still stands up, even without visuals. And in Spanish).

Every few hours the nurse handed me fistfuls of pills, including Vicodin. A lightweight like me taking one Vicondin is a bit like a puppy chewing a sheet of acid. It alleviated the pain but redered my linbs numbs, and for a new hours I believed I was Eva Longoria. Then there were prescription eye drops, arnica gel for bruising, Tylenol, bogs of frozen peas, antibiotics, and lots of gauze. My bedroom looked as if it were being readied for my last rites.

The recovery seemed endless. For the first two weeks, I was basically secluded in our apartment, not because of vanity but because my eyesight was blurry and I was physically weak. My husband was suddenly married to an 80-year-old woman in Yoko Ono sunglasses. The bruising and swelling were, in retrospect, more horrifying for my mother than they were for me. Even three months later, my eyes still felt as though they were adjusting and setting. I now believe, as with a contractor, you have to triple a surgeon’s estimated time to completion.

I decided openness was the best route to take with my kids. I explained that I’d looked sleep deprived for the last 20 years and was tired of looking tired. It was my Moby Dick. Whether or not they fully grasped what I was saying, I felt good about being honest. Even though they were confused that I chose to fix my eyes when, to them, my stomach was clearly the glaring problem.

My mother thinks plastic surgery is “for the birds”. Maybe, if their beaks have deviated septums. But in her early fifties she too had upper blepharoplasty. I called her a few days before me appointment and told her I was going under the knife in my quest to shave (or cut) years off my face. Her voice had that disparaging yet concerned tone only she can manage: “Well, I hope you have a good doctor”.

I decided to pull the gauze off the conversation. “Well, Mom, don’t forget that you had this surgery!”

There was a long pause, long enough to allow a Manhattan bus to power by.

“Well”. If such a thing is possible, her tone had grown even firmer. “That’s because I lost my peripheral vision”.

Right. So, from now on, let’s say I was legally blind. And now I see!

I won’t be doing a Million Mon March to advocate plastic surgery anything soon, but I do look better. In photos, I think I look as though I’ve been digitally refreshed – just as Beezie might have done. My face hasn’t changed a bit; it’s just that my eyes look like they’ve been at Canyon Ranch for six months. My fishmonger couldn’t put his finger on it, but he kept telling me how young I looked. Little does he know I was gutted much the way the grouper in his hand was about to be. But we live in a world of never enough. When I e-mailed a photo of myself to one of my beauty-magazine pals, he screeched with excitement, “Amazing! Don’t you love them? Now, just a little Restylane around the mounth, some Botox, and a neck-lift, and you’re good to go!”

Sight for sore eyes

Before surgery:

Description: Before surgery:

Notice the bags – and my unhappiness with them

Four hours post-op:

Description: Four hours post-op

Feeling no pain in my Vicodin cloud. I’m told I kept singing “Happy Birthday, Mr. President”

Day two:

Description: Day two

It looks like I was in Fight Club, but in cule PJs. My lids feel tight, like someone Scotch-taped them to my face.

Day four:

Description: Day four

I can finally see – and can stop listening to Telemundo

Day seven:

Description: Day seven

People think I hit the dashboard. My lower-lid stitches hare dissolved, but I still haven’t had the uppers removed

 

 

 

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