Visit with a plastic surgeon

I’ve thought about having plastic surgery, having my droopy shar-pei skin removed. I’ve been to see three surgeons in town and each one was different. All three are excellent doctors and board-certified.  I saw the third surgeon last week, the others over the last 2 months.

The first surgeon has a large plush looking office, very elegant and expensive looking. I was the only one in the waiting room, something I’ve never experienced at a doctor’s office.  I was ushered into a large office/exam room and interviewed by a nurse and then met the surgeon himself. He told me to pretend he had a magic wand and what would I like him to change first, second and third. I told him my arms,  inner thighs and stomach. He nodded and said he’d be back and sent in the nurse. I changed into a hospital gown and a paper g-string. He returned and a nurse watched while he re-arranged my fat and showed me what was possible. Then he told me the risks, what could go wrong and how much scarring there would be. He mentioned recovery time, the compression garments I’d have to wear and then asked if I had any questions. I asked if he could do more than one procedure at once and he said he could, he’d prefer to do just one at a time but he could do the arms and thighs at the same time. That is if I didn’t mind being incapacitated for awhile and I would need someone to help me.  He was a soft spoken man, with a gentle manner and I felt comfortable, as comfortable as I could be in an open hospital gown and paper underwear.  Then I went to talk to the business office for the nitty and gritty–how much this would cost. The answer was a lot but I expected that. I was told they offered a 20% discount if I scheduled my surgery date within 30 days. I could have the surgery any time but I had to commit to a surgery date. They did not accept insurance and the surgery was self-pay, I was given a pamphlet detailing their financing options.

The second surgeon was very practical and straightforward. He did much the same things the first surgeon did, I wore the gown but got to keep my underwear on.  Two nurses were present during my exam and I got to face a mirror and see him manipulate my shar-pei skin. It was not pretty but he showed me where the incisions would start and end.  He seemed reluctant to do the surgery, saying  it’s too soon after my bypass and asked if I was still losing weight. He recommended getting approval from my bariatric surgeon before I considered surgery and wait. His staff gave me a breakdown on the costs of the three surgeries–arms, thighs and stomach. The cost for the arms was $100 less than the first surgeon but the others were the same. They didn’t accept insurance either and gave me the same pamphlet on financing my surgery.

The third surgeon had a plush empty office like the first surgeon but had country music playing overhead. I tried not to let it prejudice me against him. The nurse who escorted me to the exam room had me watch a video on abdominoplasty. It was on Windows and I just hit the button for another video when the doctor came in. He was older than the other two surgeons and dressed in scrubs. He asked the same questions, what I wanted to do and asked about my overall health and if I had heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes. When I mentioned I was diabetic he asked how I managed it and what my sugars ran. I admitted I didn’t know my current A1C and was managing it with diet and exercise. He also thought it was too soon after my bypass to plan any surgeries but my diabetes was a bigger deterrent. Once I got to my goal weight and maintained it for about six months then I could consider plastic surgery he said. But I had to have my sugar under control and do regular monitoring, at least once a week, to see where I was before he’d agree to the surgery. After the consult I got the price list from the nurses and saw his prices were higher than the other two, especially for the abdominoplasty.

I don’t know if I will have the surgery, right now it’s a kind of pipe dream. I do think they are right about waiting at least a year and maintaining a goal weight first. That also gives me time to save up, both money and vacation time, if I decide to have any of the surgeries. Of all three surgeons I’d probably choose the second one. Mostly because he showed me where the incisions would be and he tried to talk me out of it. He also seemed the most knowledgeable and his prices were reasonable.

I went to the gym for the first time in nearly 3 weeks. I was worried I’m losing my conditioning and my butt has felt looser. This business with tornadoes, among other things, have kept me away. But once I got started it was good, I could feel the familiar rhythm of my awkward pace and was jamming along to my workout playlist, one I haven’t listened to in awhile so it sounded almost fresh. It was reassuring how easy it was to fall into the old habit and find I was still able to set my pace at 4.1. Not fast but one I’m used to doing. Though I only did 35 minutes because I’m a weenie, I was worried I might not be able to do that and I had to go to Wal-Mart and didn’t want to miss any of tonight’s game if possible. It was on TV and that happens rarely, even if it is the conference finals.

Chicago beat LA and will play Boston for the Stanley Cup. I’m sorry LA lost, I’d hoped they would win back to back cups and I don’t like Chicago. Not for any of their players or coaches but for their racist sweaters. I know that’s probably weird but there it is.