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BBHQ Boomer Essays:

Under the Knife – Part 1

Our Boomer-In-Charge at BBHQ, Hershel Chicowitz, writes about boomer memories and current events... from a boomer’s perspective. He is sometimes funny, sometimes provocative, some-
times a little of each. We hope you get a kick out of our Boomer Essays.

I take a jaundiced view toward any plastic surgery. I always thought that if I were a female and were not particularly.... well-endowed, I would focus on my personality or my singing talents. I would never be so shallow as to consider “breast augmentation” surgery.

At five-foot seven inches I have always considered my only physical shortcoming to be my height... actually, my lack thereof. Fortunately the plastic surgeons have never come up with a “height job,” or I might have had to put my moral stand to the test long ago.

This essay is available in its entirety to all visitors. Enjoy!

This is the first of a 3-part series of essays focusing on extending youth via the scalpel. Prefering anonymity, our writer has asked us to refer to him as Harvey Chickelman. Harvey’s saga should resonate with every boomer concerned about the ravages of aging. (And that would include all of us, would it not?) Put yourself in Harvey’s place. (Or maybe you’ve already been there.) At the end of this week’s episode we’ll ask for your sage input.

My father was a surgeon. During WWII and for 20 years thereafter, he performed surgery. He cut up people for a living. It paid the bills; all the bills. During all that time, he never lost a patient.

I ate McDonald’s french fries, wore U.S. Keds, and bought Monkees albums using blood money.... money extracted from patients with dozens of stitches holding their bodies together.

All right... maybe that’s a little over the top; but you get the idea.

I should be very grateful.

I am.

Still... despite its rewards, my father thought of surgery as a last resort. It is what you did when you absolutely had to; when there was no other choice. Surgery involves doing unnatural things to the body. There are risks involved in every surgery; EVERY surgery. There is no need to take unnecessary risks. (That attitude may explain why he drove a Ford Comet rather than a Cadillac Eldorado.)

That is what I was taught; that is what I believe. It sure makes sense to me.

Given that, I take a jaundiced view toward any plastic surgery. I always thought that if I were a female and were not particularly.... well-endowed, I would focus on my personality or my singing talents. I would never be so shallow as to consider “breast augmentation” surgery.

At five-foot seven inches I have always considered my only physical shortcoming to be my height... actually, my lack thereof. Fortunately the plastic surgeons have never come up with a “height job,” or I might have had to put my moral stand to the test long ago.

So I was more-or-less comfortable with myself... until I had a regular eye exam a couple years ago. The optometrist mentioned that I have what he called ptosis; my right eyelid droops over my eye. So does the left, but not as much. It does not affect my vision, so there is no harm.

No harm, huh?

But since that day, every time I look in the mirror, all I see is my right eyelid drooping. It drives me nuts! It makes me look old and defeated.

How many attractive and eligible women have turned their heads in disgust at the sight of my drooping eyelid? How many opportunities for nubile bliss have I missed as a result?

Boggles the mind, does it not?

Enter the wonderful world of bletharoplasty: cosmetic eyelid surgery. Bletharoplasty is one of the most common cosmetic procedures performed... hundreds of thousands of times each year. Eighty-five percent of the patients are women... but that means that 15 percent are men — I think. The surgeon snips some of the excess skin off your upper and/or lower eyelids, stitches up the remains, and bingo — years roll off your face.

It all seems so simple and benign.

The Devil is in the Details

There are only a couple of things that bother me. OK, there is only one thing that really bothers me: the anesthesia. This surgery requires a general anesthesia, a complete knock out.

Now, I know that may not seem like a big deal to you, but it does to me. I have never spent a day in a hospital. My body is a model of natural purity – exactly as Mother Nature and Colonel Sanders intended it. The most serious medical procedure I have ever had to endure was a tooth extraction. And I was wide awake the entire time for that.

Then there is my father. Remember: “no other choice” Does bletharoplasty fall into the category of “no other choice”? I don’t think so. If he knew I was considering this foolish whim of vanity, he would come down here and wring my neck.

And he’s been dead for a quarter century.

OK, so I am a low risk patient. I am extremely healthy. I am reducing my risk by having only my upper lids fixed. But still... I am placing my life in the hands of a nameless, faceless (though I hope highly trained... and heavily insured) anesthesiologist.

All for the sake of drooping eyelids. Does this make sense to you?

The surgeon’s fee for the upper eyelid surgery is $3,000; it is $5,000 for both upper and lower — payable in advance. (You can find a cheaper surgeon, but cheap is not what I am going for here.) The day-surgery hospital fee is estimated to be about $1,800, but only if I survive the anesthesia. (I suppose they would be willing to negotiate a compromise if I do not... not that I will care.)

If I do survive the anesthesia, recovery time is three to six weeks. Complications are few and generally minimal.

Generally.

Nubile bliss is not guaranteed.

It’ll make me feel better; it’ll probably make me look better. But it costs a lot of money.

For the same money, I could get a full body massage every week for a year. And a full body massage involves no anesthesia, but does offer possible ancillary benefits.

It is expensive, but I do have the funds. Besides, if it were $49.95, would I feel better about it? (Thank goodness Walmart does not offer bletharoplasty... yet.)

It is a low risk procedure, minimally invasive... but it is surgery.


Our brave but anonymous writer has put his fate not in the anesthesiologist... not yet... but rather, in you. Should he or shouldn’t he? You decide. Harvey has agreed to abide by your collective wisdom. If you say thumbs up, he will agree to undergo this life-altering surgery... and report back to us. If you vote no, he may never have another date again, but he will not take the risk of an agitated or incompetent anesthesiologist. No pain; no gain.

No, you carry no responsibility one way or the other.... except in your own heart. But that is a matter between you and your conscience.

Send Harvey a message. Should he or shouldn’t he?

[You can still comment (below); but the polls have closed. This election is over.]

The saga continues here

A BBHQ Pop Quiz: What famous singer had a hit with the classic “Christmas Song” — “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” — 1946, 1953, and 1961? (first and last name)

Your final answer is....




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