Welcome to the latest phase!

I've been blogging for several years at http://www.lauraainsworth.com/, and it's great to be entering a new realm. But you'll still find tons of archive posts on plastic surgery, Botox, diet books and other hilariously depressing topics at the original site under "Laura's Diary," along with pics, videos from my shows, sound clips and more. Go over there and poke around!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Celebrity Docs Can Be Bad News

Well, did you miss me?

Perhaps you noticed – God, I hope somebody did – that my last blog entry was a few long months ago. As luck would have it, just at the time I was assessing the myriad news reports of the plastic-surgery death of Kanye West’s mother, I broke my hand. Kid you not. I slipped on a bit of nonstick cooking spray that had drifted onto the kitchen floor and, after doing a fabulous impression of Kristi Yamaguchi careening about on the ice, landed smack on my left hand with such force and at such an angle that my ring finger was turned completely around to the side. Oddly, there was no pain at all involved in this.

X-rays showed that the finger itself wasn’t broken, but there was a complicated “spiral” fracture of the metacarpal below that finger. So I had to have hand surgery, involving a long metal plate and numerous little screws, a few of which I can actually feel in the palm of my hand. Pity the person who has to stand behind me in line for the metal detector at the airport. Also, there’s now a long, red scar on the back of my hand that makes me glad I wear gloves while performing. It seems to be healing well, though; nice to know I’m a good “healer” in case I choose to go in for a facelift someday!

I found that recovery from hand surgery can really put a crimp – and even, at times, a cramp – in keyboard-related activities. Surprisingly, the pain didn’t start until after my finger had been put back in place, but then it was brutal. While I was slowly recovering the motion in my hand, so much age- and beauty-related news accumulated that I didn’t know where I’d begin. So I procrastinated, even after I was able to type, and more news piled up. You know how it is.

But let’s pick up where I left off: the sadness and horror of Donda West’s death. What a tragedy. “My mother is my everything,” Kanye West said at the time. The story of her death so dominated the celebrity tattle-shows that by now it must be “old news” to the relentlessly forward-moving press; still, a woman died under shocking circumstances, and I believe it’s not too late to weigh in:

Apparently, fame lends such an aura of infallibility to TV doctors such as Dr. Jan Adams that their patients don’t even wonder why they’re being operated on in an outpatient facility in a SHOPPING MALL. Donda West was going in for a breast reduction and a tummy tuck – increasingly common procedures but still major, major surgery – and that’s where the work was performed. AT THE MALL! Then, instead of being moved to some type of recovery facility where she could be watched, she was taken back to her room and LEFT THERE ALONE. (Pardon all the total caps; I have no other way to express in print my sheer contempt.) This was so wrong that only someone who’s been falsely told her surgery will be a breeze would ever agree to it. She certainly could have afforded the best of post-surgical care if she’d been under the impression that she needed it.

I had better surgical facilities and follow-up for the little bone in my hand than Ms. West had for her two major surgeries. And I had great confidence in my doctor, a specialist who does nothing but repair hands.

TV doctors are on TV because they’re good on TV. Never, ever give your trust to any doctor – or political candidate, but I digress -- just because he or she is telegenic. Even a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon “to the stars” isn’t necessarily any good – look at some of the stars! They look godawful! We tend to think celebrities are special people, with special abilities, but they’re not. According to “The Insider,” Dr. Adams has had 15 malpractice suits filed against him since 1998. My hunch is that the best plastic surgeon on the planet has a name known only to the lucky few who’ve been referred by word of mouth.

By the way, the “mommy makeover” -- breast surgery combined with a tummy tuck -- is rapidly gaining popularity. Women shocked at what pregnancy has done to their bodies, leaving them with sagging breasts, flabby stomachs, stretch marks and loose skin, are rushing to plastic surgeons. I haven’t had children, so I can’t write from firsthand experience, but it’s easy to understand their haste to undo the damage. Still, with all the physical, hormonal and emotional changes that take place in the months after childbirth, many doctors advise waiting on breast operations until at least three months after breastfeeding has finished, and postponing a tummy tuck until at least six months after giving birth.

Now, I’m not an A-list actress trying to schedule the birth of my child with shooting a movie in a bikini three weeks later, but this advice makes sense to me.

Of course, celebrity or not, in this age of political correctness, any time a woman considers having plastic surgery, the debate can’t ever just be about what the woman wants. Thanks to organizations such as the Boston group "Our Bodies Ourselves," it has to be about why she wants it. Is she doing it for the right reason? Columnist and mother-of-two Theresa Walsh Giarrusso, writes, “Yes, your body changes after having children. And, no, it’s not going to be the same again. But that’s OK. You’re a different person mentally and emotionally after bringing children into the world. Why shouldn’t you be different physically? Do we really need to look good enough to compete with 20-year-olds?”

Jeez, it’s not enough that we’re under societal pressure to maintain our sexual allure. We’re also under societal pressure to let go of our allure, from the very people who claim to be fighting societal pressure.

Personally, I really wouldn’t want to let it go. If I didn’t recognize my body anymore after pregnancy, I’d probably wait the recommended length of time, lose the baby weight, get super-healthy, and have the surgery. But I sure wouldn’t have it at the Mall.

Coming next: ABC News asks, “How far will Chinese women go in the pursuit of beauty?” (Hint: see below)