The new idea consisted of an oculo-plastic surgeon, whom my father had operated with many times. Dr. K is the best in his specialization, and this played itself out in the absurd yet intent way he immediately grabbed my face after saying hi and turned it to the side.
Ever since that moment, Dr. K became obsessed with the side of my face, and he’d always talk to me from there. It was a bit odd how all of our conversations involved not looking at each other, but me looking straight ahead and he zeroed in at my ear. I got used to it quickly, as he is a complete genius, and as with most of them, he’s a little zany.
The other part of my father’s new idea equation involved having the best pathologist on site for the entire procedure. He is only in New Jersey one day a month. I got him for the next day that he’d be in town, and that dictated the day my surgery would be, rearranging the schedules of both my surgeon and his assistants, and in effect, other patients who needed to be seen or operated on. It really pays off to know people in the medical field.
This meant that while Dr. K was operating, the pathologist would be studying samples so my surgeon (hopefully) would be able to take out a less of my face/ear than required. I would still have to get the back of my ear removed and grafted to the side of my face (there is a problem with youth: skin is not elastic enough to stretch very far, and in my case, the area that needed to be removed was too much), but “After it eventually heals,” in the words of the brilliant Dr. K, “No one will ever know.”
I finally felt comfortable about surgery; the men made it seem like no big deal. I would stop waking up in the middle of the night crying. It also didn’t hurt that all of the lovely ladies at my previous workplace (where I was still going in to help out here and there) were extremely confident that this would be an easy surgery, and the C would be done with. Without having any family around (and by that I mean near my house), and with both of my roommates MIA, I was scared shitless. For the first time, I hated being alone and having no one to talk to. Nothing ever scares me—nothing like this anyway—and I NEVER cry, except one particular day a year. Sometimes the people you least expect to be there for you are present when you need support the most. I’ll be forever grateful to F, N, and T.
The day of surgery dawned bright and beautiful. I was up at 5am to get to my hometown by my 7am appointment. I was happy to be going home, and later, relaxed because I was given a valium to take 45 minutes before the procedure.
Both of my parents were there, and my father was allowed to come into the operating room with me. Thank the Lord for that, because this was anything but pleasant.
I don’t care what drugs anyone gives you to relax, or how many shots of novocaine you receive—when you are awake and mentally present and people are carving into your face, you will probably freak out a little bit. I’m glad my dad was there; he held my hand and I squeezed out my anxiety into it as tears silently rolled down my face.
To be continued…