Saturday, March 20, 2010

THAI-NO-PLASTY 2010: Day 3 (Kick Back)

Well, it is nigh Day 4 already, you Greenwich-mean-minded thinkers may be thinking, but I assure you that though I am posting this quite late, all pictures were taken earlier in the day, for consistency's sake.

Before I get to the visual aid portion of this evening's symposium, I want to share two anecdotes.

The first anecdote is a conversation I had with the doctor minutes before the injection of the anesthesia. I was lying on the operating table, arms by my sides, eyes closed, when the doctor, perhaps to eliminate a nervous, uncomfortable silence in the room, asked me: "Are you scared?"

I really wasn't--I would compare it, at that moment, to the dentist's chair before the scraping starts on a bi-annual visit.

And so when the doctor asked me if I was scared, I answered truthfully:

"No, I trust you."

The doctor chuckled.

"Why do you trust me?"

Now, wait a moment. I don't know if this is some sort of Thai-Hippocratic humor; and I know that as an ambassador, I am supposed to be culturally sensitive to the Oriental ways, or whatever; but perhaps the last thing you want to hear before a life-altering, potentially-lethal facial surgery is your own surgeon questioning his competence.

For weeks family and friends had been asking me this very question! "Why do you trust this doctor?" How could I trust him? I had done no research, had barely had a consultation with him, had not seen the operating room, had gotten no recommendations or heard or read any testimonials, in person or online. All I knew about this doctor, frankly, was that he advertised himself as one who performed nose jobs. That's all. I had never seen him actually perform a nose job; the before-after pictures on his website could be stock photos, and even if they weren't, every picture was of a Thai person (mostly female) getting a bigger nose, which was the opposite of what I wanted; he worked out of what looked to be a store-front converted laundromat in between an out-of-business motorcycle mechanic and a dirty Thai kitchen, just a block from one of the most unsanitary produce-and-fish markets in Chiang Mai, and across the street from a wink-wink-nudge-nudge nightclub-cum-whorehouse with an upfront sign advertising that it is "cleaned and disinfected" after each presumably splooge-filled fluid-drenched orgiastic night; and my God, he could barely form a grammatically correct sentence in English, and I was going to let this man, this mystery medicine man, take a Goddamn scalpel to my nose and I wouldn't even be asleep for the carving?? WHY DID I TRUST THIS DOCTOR???

"You have a lot of people here," I told the doctor. "That means you are good."

And then he stabbed at my nose and super-cranial regions with sharp instruments for an hour as I lay under only a blanket and with an Orthodox-Jew fucksheet over my face.

Second anecdote: I was talking to friend and fellow Heeb Kate (Hi, Kate!), and she noted something in one of my photos of the clinic that had not even caused me to blink pre-surgery. The nurse (the one running from my Godzilla nose) is barefoot, which struck her as quite odd, perhaps unsanitary, unprofessional, potentially a clue that I shouldn't be getting a rhinoplasty from these shoeless freaks.

Well, I am happy to report that neither the doctor himself nor his operating assistant were barefoot. They were both wearing bathroom slippers. I am not making this up. The doctor's slippers were white and fuzzy (like bunny slippers, but without the bunny facial features (perhaps he chopped them off)) and the nurse was wearing pink fuzzy slippers. I'm just happy that, if the surgeon who was determining my appearance for the rest of my life couldn't wear work shoes, then at least his feet were warm.

I suppose also that this is one of those moments where I'm supposed to light a doobie, or pass the apple bong, or whatever, and remark on how much Asia has changed me, and how I'm just, like, so much more at peace and less worried and more relaxed and how Asian people just get in, man, they are, like, so spiritual and so at one with the eternal Buddhist being, maaaaan.

I'm not going to do that because I hate that and anyone who ever says anything like it.

(Programming note: I will be saying this while wisely and wistfully nodding my head at every cocktail party and  job interview for the next eight years).

And now, it is Day 3, and it is picture time!

Feeling great, everyone! I don't know what it is, but every first picture of the day I take, I look as thought I have just emerged from a five-car pileup. I would also like to take this space to assure everyone that my brains have not been eaten by zombies.

I think this picture pretty well shows the unevenness of my nostrils as they exist now. The left is far, far bigger than the right, and I will also add (stop reading, booger-squeamish) that there is a large dry clod of crud, or something, just at the tip of my left nostril, next to the septum, that, under normal circumstance, I would have picked (and eaten LOLOLOLOL) days ago; and yet I cannot now, because I am under strict orders not to put my fingers in my nose. As it was in Kindergarten, so it is now. Anyway, I am pretty sure most of it is dried blood (you may remember that my left nostril bled for the first six odd hours following the surgery), but my post-operative literature also states that it may be a stray suture or stitch. So, uh, I don't want to pick that. Yeah, I'm just gonna let it stay.

Some good lighting let's you see the current state of my black eyes. I am going to downgrade my condition from Mongoloid panda bear to the cartoon dog Marmaduke. (Physical therapists consider the Mongoloid-Marmaduke downgrade to be one of the most significant steps in the rehabilitation progress).

(Recently discovered photograph from Day 1)

This picture was taken not 20 minutes ago (yes, this entry is being typed shirtless, and yes, I will be appearing on the album cover for the next Vampire Weekend LP). As you can see, I just sort of look very tired (or else I was very tired when attempting to put mascara on). I expect that by tomorrow night I will be looking quite normal, and will no longer cause street vendors to furrow their eyebrows and ask me, "What is that?" (This actually happened).

So the worry stage should be over, right? I don't look like I'm in terrible, post-2012 pain anymore?

And to anticipate a question: My nose does not yet look like it will. It is still quite swollen around the eyes, and the nostrils are still certainly misshapen. But , especially above the moustache area, I can see the results. The moustache area below my nose, for example, was always obscured by the downward curve of my nasal tip: no more. My moustache is now on full display, which is great, because, really, growing a sweet, comprehensively viewable fu manchu was what this whole hypothetically-life-shattering nose job thing was all about in the first place.

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