Bared

  

“Doc, I need the name of a good plastic surgeon.” 

She was dressed primly in a matching daffodil yellow sweater set and white pants. Her make-up was done fastidiously and as always she was properly accessorized with matching shoes and purse. Her jewelry was large enough to notice but not at all garish. Tasteful and classic. 

Always. 

Even when she had fallen and broken her arm on the patio when trying to clean the leaves from her pool because the pool boy had been late.

“Why?”

“My breast. Look…”

She flashed me. Sure enough, her left breast was gone. 

Well. 

Not really gone per se. Deflated.

“Oh dear.”

“I’ll tell you what. This getting old is just terrible. One thing after another. Take my advice, Doc, don’t you ever get old…”

She shook her perfectly coifed head.

“So, you are wanting to have another implant?”

“YES!”

“You are ninety-three,” I said gently, “Surgery might not be the best option. Perhaps we could get you a prosthesis instead?” 

The reality was that she probably would not survive surgery and if she did, she would not likely live long enough to make the investment worthwhile but saying that in so many words stuck in my throat.

She understood anyway. 

And it made her angry. Maybe not so angry at me as angry at life. And death.

She was NOT interested in a prosthesis, she informed me on no uncertain terms. She wanted her breast back. I completed the referral, worried she might actually find a plastic surgeon who would agree to operate on her.

But…

Maybe life with only one breast was not really worth living for her. I don’t get to decide that, do I? She will be paying for it all herself, it is not like insurance or Medicare or anyone else would cover a single cent of it.

Then, I realized that the referral was about much more than mere vanity. It was her way of saying, “My life is not over yet…”

I wonder what I would be like at ninety-three? Probably not nearly as graceful or beautiful and I bet my clothes won’t match a bit. But chances are I will still care what my breasts look like even if I don’t actually care what they look like.

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90 thoughts on “Bared

  1. Hey Victo,

    Hmm, this post left me somewhat divided in my thoughts as it alludes to both the beauty of a life we have had and to the death we must also embrace. Thought-provoking as always, thank you.

    Death is not extinguishing the light;
    it is putting out the lamp because the dawn has come. (Rabindranath Tagore)

    And which graceful rose wouldn’t wish to retain her petals intact when turning to the morn’?

    But yet as Khalil Gibran quietly suggests…

    But I look up high to see only the light,
    And never look down to see my shadow.

    I find the accompanying photograph inspired…the metaphoric tick tock of a dandelion clock counting time on the passing of our flower’s dream.

    Namaste

    DN – 20/02/2016

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Wow. A lot to think about here. At first blush, her request seems outlandish, but when I consider further, this is a woman who is not going quietly, who is not content to fade away, and that resonates with me. Far too many elderly women are shuttled off into the shadows, effectively powerless. Retaining one’s looks & appearance is a kind of power, a way to be noticed & taken seriously, especially the way this lady has done it, with class & taste as you say. Provocative post.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. It’s funny reading the comments because my mom actually is 93. I think more than for her sagging breasts to be firm again, she would like to be able to see well. She still paints, but she can no longer read. She probably would like a young body again–who wouldn’t? She was thin nearly her entire life, and now she is extremely heavy. So many of the people she knew have died. It’s very sad. So your patient is to be admired for wanting to keep on and caring about her appearance.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I like to think if I make it to 90, I won’t care what my breasts look like. But I used to think 60 was really old, and the popular culture’s infatuation with a particular look for breasts has taken a toll. Still I hope to care less about such things as I mature.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Getting old is a normal process, but few of us can take it easily. We panic at the first sign of aging, the grey hair! I think, every stage of life has a beauty of its own. We can’t beat Nature…we can give a good fight, though… πŸ™‚ Don’t know how would I react when I grow old and begin to lose my feminine grandeurs…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I will never understand people who equate the physical with the totality of their being. It is such a small part. At 93, I will be grateful for every breath. I am grateful now! I wouldn’t give a hoot if I had three tits!

    Liked by 2 people

    • She was raised to believe appearances were everything…. Physical and social appearances. If it is how you have lived your whole life, years of conditioning, I don’t know how you turn it off, even at 93. It really was her way of still feeling alive. πŸ™‚

      Like

  7. Pingback: My Article Read (2-20-2016) – My Daily Musing

  8. That was a very thoughtful post, Victo. It made me think about a case where a 90 plus year old man wanted a penile implant and got it. I laughed raucously at the idea and the danger of the surgery but perhaps he just wanted to have intimacy with his wife or girlfriend. Who are we to judge?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. My mother in law is 96yrs old and she is starting Antibody and a weak dose of Chemo treatment on Wednesday. The Hematologist told her without treatment she only had 6months to live. The treatment could slow her Lymphoma and give her more time.The mother in law….she wants more years! No one wants to die I guess.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. PS. This lady’s about my father’s age when he broke his hip. First operation. Long, very long rehab. To start walking again. Then the prosthesis failed. Had to replace it. I pondered the need. My father couldn’t talk anymore. The close family decided to go along with the second operation. He didn’t “stay” on the op table. All went well. We took him home. He died sleeping peacefully in his armchair two evenings later… We did what we had to do… πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  11. It just goes to show…no matter how old a woman is, we still define our external beauty by those two lumps of glandular tissue. That’s all they are, yet…we are always defined by them. “Too small…” I never hear anyone say that someone’s breasts are “too big!”
    πŸ˜„

    Liked by 1 person

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