Attempting to turn back the hands of time

Posted On 01 Aug 2013

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by Jean McCamy

I suspect all of us “of a certain age” sometimes hear the siren call of turning back the hands of time, and fantasize about having a nip here and a tuck there. However, considering Medicare’s unreasonable reluctance to pay for us to feel good about ourselves, few of us follow through on those fantasies.

After a little procedure to remove a basil cell on my upper lip, I have definitely abandoned any ideas I might have had about cosmetic surgery. My body would refuse to cooperate.

Following my surgery, I could hardly wait to start using the magic cream the plastic surgeon gave me that was going to make the scar disappear. At the prescribed two weeks post-op, I slathered it on (well, not really; it says just a thin coating) and waited for the miracle to begin. Instead, my lip swelled up to twice its normal size and turned bright red.

Yep, I am one of the rare people who is allergic to silicone. I don’t know why I was surprised. The same thing happened when I tried a topical cortisone ointment, and the use of any kind of medical patches leaves me looking like a patchwork quilt when I remove them. So, I just sighed and waited for the swelling and redness to disappear and the healing to begin. Instead, hard red lumps popped up.

“Umm,” said the surgeon, “looks like you’re allergic to the sutures, too. I’ll make a note not to use that kind if I ever work on you again.”

They had removed the external sutures and my body was supposed to absorb the little ones inside. It didn’t. Instead, they are slowly working themselves out, one by one.

I guess there won’t be any turning back the hands of time for me. That old clock’ll just keep on ticking.
—Jean McCamy is a Wake Forest artist.