My (Mis)Adventures with Plastic Surgery Part Three

PART THREE: The Second Surgery

And we were off—to Austin for a business conference, and then the Caribbean to learn French. I kept expecting my breathing to improve—which the doctor claimed was all part of the healing process. It never did, and then I got pregnant.

It was a moment-to-moment irritation for me. I could feel the skin of my nose flapping every time I inhaled through my nose, so I had to breathe through my mouth. I wrote imaginary emails to Dr B. in my mind daily.

I did this constantly so I didn’t feel so claustrophobic:


When I was 5 months pregnant, I made the drive out to Layton to the doctor’s office after flying from Mexico to Utah.

The doctor claimed it was just “pregnancy rhinitis” and it would likely go away after having the baby. “But it looks so beautiful,” he gushed.

I wore a nasal strip to the hospital. I didn’t want to be distracted by it. Turns out there were more pressing matters than for me to be distracted by my nose.

little family 2

Ryder was born, I was in love, but the situation with my nose hadn’t improved. Plans were made for a second surgery. Dr B. was very casual, talking like it would be very simple to fix.

At this point I should have known better. I should have done my research. I should have realized this was Utah, also known as the “fake it till you make it” state.

Well, I showed up to his office without having researched much at all about secondary rhinoplasties—partially because he had said this surgery would be a simple in-office procedure–with him telling me he was going to do a flared suture that would make it “70% better.”

Keeping up with tradition, he said, “It’s the right side, right?”

“Left,” I said.

Because I was breastfeeding, I requested a safe form of anesthetic for breastmilk.

Whatever they gave me did not work, and I was awake during the entire procedure.

Yes, I was awake during nose surgery.

My doctor knew I was awake.

He knew I was because I was crying tears of pain. And he said, “Sorry to see you cry. We don’t like to see that.” He didn’t mind enough to stop until the anesthetic set in though.

Fortunately (?) I had just given natural birth and it didn’t compare to that kind of pain, but it was a strange situation, to be unable to move or speak clearly but to feel trapped while health providers sawed, poked, and stitched me up.

I heard him sawing the hump down with a file. Probably the most painful part, I felt his nurse ineffectually poke me over and over in the ear with a syringe (because they thought they might take some ear cartilage, but changed their minds.) It seemed to last forever.  I asked, “Is it almost over?” “Almost done,” he said.

I walked out of there not breathing any better but relieved to get out.

I waited the requisite six weeks before writing him to say, “You said there would be a 70% improvement…on a good day I might say 15% and on a bad day 5%, but I am still suffering daily with this.”

I had by that time looked up flared sutures, and the studies show an average of about 9% improvement. Certainly nowhere close to 70%.

He responded and said it was hard to say because he didn’t really see a problem. The nose looked “wide open” to him. Here is a picture of what my nose looked like–clearly collapsed on the left side right? The right side is also quite narrow but at least air could pass through.


I replied: “How can you fix my breathing problem if you don’t even see a problem?”

The doctor replied: “We could do another surgery and if that failed, we could do a surgery again—the next day.”

I thought that was some kind of crazy advice. Who goes into surgery, sees if it works, and then operates again the next day?

I asked him: “How many revision surgeries have you done?”

He replied with some kind of fluff answer about how revision rhinoplasty was his FAVORITE type of surgery.

I said: “more or less than 100 surgeries?”

He said: “less.”

At that point I finally realized that, even though surgeries with this doctor were economical, they were dangerous. It was time to find a new surgeon.

Kalli Hiller

Article by Kalli Hiller

Kalli Hiller is a voluntary vagabond who, with her husband Jacob, has traveled full time for the last eight years.

Kalli has written 371 awesome articles for us.

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