Friday, June 20, 2014

The Prick of Preventative Maintenance

The walls were lilac. From top to bottom. Every inch except the baseboard, which I would say was charcoal gray. The orchids, sitting on a table in front of the window, were in shades that complimented the lilac. I hadn't even realized until I was gone that my violet Michael Kors polo and purple plaid Ben Sherman shorts were dramatic pops of color that coordinated with the walls beautifully. I should have taken a #selfie, but alas, no record of me in this room. 

The color was tranquil, calming. The perfect choice for a small doctor's office where behind a frosted glass door the impending prick of a needle to the face awaited me.

I was nervous as I sat in the waiting room filling out the patient history form, reading of the possible side effects, signing my name in acceptance of the knowledge. 

However, once behind the frosted door myself, I was excited. My nerves seemed to be pushing me forward instead of holding me back. I had been curious about this for longer than I can remember and I'd had this appointment for 2 weeks. The time was upon me. I had “come up to the lab” and was the one “on the slab.” It was my turn. I sat patiently as the nurse practitioner explained the different areas in which the Botox can be injected. I listened to her explain about some of the possible side effects, which I had already read about while sitting in the lobby. Then, being a short woman, she stepped up on the step at the end of the “slab,” her needle in hand, my face it's destination.

I should tell you that I probably didn’t really need the Botox injections. Typically no one guesses my age. And when I tell them I’m 43 the reaction is usually one of genuine surprise. My sister is often commenting about the lack of wrinkles on my face. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. The truth is, I take care of myself. Along with moisturizing, I eat a healthy diet and aside from my one cup of coffee each morning I drink nothing but water the rest of the day. Yes, yes, I imbibe in alcoholic beverages, but not to the point of excess and mostly it’s red wine anyway. Even a doctor will tell you that a glass of red wine is good for your heart. When I told the nurse practitioner my age and that most people were surprised by my number she agreed saying the I had a “baby face.” I should have coo’d, but just smiled instead. I took it as a compliment. I talked to her briefly about the lines beginning to form on my forehead and how at the end of the day they are deeper than I would like. 

Five injections later it was over. This procedure I’d been anxious about for two weeks was completed before you could make a dirty vodka martini. The needle was tiny. After the first injection I had been so surprised at its lack of sting that I had to convince myself it had actually happened. In my head I had created various possible scenarios of pain, stinging, and pressure. But the truth is, the injections didn’t really hurt. The reality came no where near the possibility I had created in my head. (Note to self: this is usually true in all aspects of life. Learn this lesson!) The nurse kindly wiped away the blood from my forehead and sent me out the door with botulinum toxin attaching to my muscle fibers, preparing to work its magic. 

I can’t lie, I was giddy with excitement. I had confronted my fear of a needle-to-the-face and the idea of “freezing” a part of me that is a hub of expression. Now I just had to wait for the final results. I was informed it would be 2-3 days for the effects to start showing themselves and 2 weeks to be fully realized. That was new information for me. You see, I was under the impression that I was going to walk out of the office with frozen?, numb?, paralyzed? muscles. I had no idea what that was even going to feel like. I mean the thought of not being able to move my forehead at all was one I couldn’t quite comprehend, but as you can see from reading this, it wasn’t enough to deter me from doing what I set out to do. I just figured I would deal with it.

Listen, I know that elective cosmetic procedures aren't for everybody. I didn't even know if they would be for me. But I'll admit it: my vanity gets the better of me. I’m not ashamed of that. And now those lines that maybe no one other than me could truly see are less visible. I see nothing wrong with maintaining my youthful appearance. It’s preventative maintenance. I’m not “frozen.” I can still express myself. And at the end of the day, stress is no longer visible on my forehead in the lines of a furrowed brow.