Blog — Notes of a Plastic Surgeon

Welcome to my blog. I am a plastic surgeon in Seattle and have been in private practice since 1991. I've seen more than a few interesting faces and cases through my years spent in the exam room, the operating room and the emergency room. And I have an opinion on just about everything relating to plastic surgery (and a lot of unrelated stuff). If you like my blog, let me know. Thanks for reading! Lisa

Category: Highly Recommended Reading


Off to college? Words of wisdom.

August 23rd, 2016 — 10:11am

A year ago I sent my twin sons off to college.  This year it will be a little easier. 

For those parents doing this for the first time and for all those lucky youngsters heading off to college, let me share this wonderful essay with you.

blog off to collegeCoping with the angst of dropping off your child at college by Kent Hickey.

From the Seattle Times, August 29, 2014.

All around the country freshmen are filling up suitcases for college. Their parents’ heads are filling up too, mostly with “remember when.”

As we prepared to send our first off to college, my mind kept revisiting all those Saturday mornings in parks when our kids were little. They loved to sneak acorns into my pockets and run away laughing as if they had pulled off some grand caper. One day I caught the eye of an older gentleman as he walked by. “Enjoy it while you can,” he said. “This passes fast.”

It has. And that first college drop-off was a big moment for all of us, especially for our daughter, though one likely eclipsed by that even bigger moment when she finally received the highly anticipated and much practiced “Dad’s Wisdom for College” talk.

I found the perfect setting a few days before departure: a car ride to the grocery store, doors locked and vehicle in motion to guard against the inevitable triggering of the daughter’s flight response.

Here it is:

“Introverts draw energy from solitude. Extroverts draw it from company. Know who you are and find your balance.

“Dads are awesome; boys are not. Always do what Dad would think is right. Never do what a boy thinks is right.

“The single most stupid thing done in college is almost always done while drunk. And, while getting high on marijuana may not necessarily lead to doing equally stupid things, it will lead to doing fewer things. Don’t be stupid.

“God has been a friend in your life every day, whether you’ve known it or not. Bring your friend to college with you and spend time with your friend every day.

“You will never really leave your home.”

It’s hard to say what the daughter took from these pearls, especially with all the other messages, often mixed, that young people hear as they prepare to head off for college:

Explore, find yourself; just make sure you earn a marketable degree that guarantees high lifetime earnings. Don’t be afraid to meet new people, but be wary given all those sexual assaults on campuses. Become a lover of learning without obsessing over grades, though they will likely decide your future.

Colleges are now keenly aware of how hard the drop-off is on my generation, the baby boomers. Upon our arrival on campus the daughter was quickly immersed in her orientation. The same experience awaited parents. I’ve never felt so nurtured, or exhausted.

There were days of parent orientation, each session starting with a “Relax, it will all be fine.” Heck, the school’s president even gave out his personal cell number, just in case we needed to chat, and I don’t even think it was fake. When did we become so needy?

My folks, who were of the World War II and Korean War generation, drove me from our home in Kalamazoo, Mich., to Marquette University in Milwaukee 35 years ago. We had one stop along the way, at the Mars Cheese Castle in Kenosha, went straight to my dorm upon arrival and quickly deposited the contents of one suitcase in my room.

Then Mom gave me a tearful hug, Dad an awkward handshake. Right after I moved in, they moved on. No dayslong orientation for them, and hardly one for me. My first lesson was given that very night by two sailors who tried to mug me when I got lost in an alley behind some dorms. I ran away and hid in a dumpster. A passing grade, if not a very courageous one.

Yes, a lot has changed, but one thing hasn’t. That drop-off moment is just really hard.

Right after the final goodbye the daughter gently slipped an acorn into my hand. I’m glad I had already said all that I wanted to say. I couldn’t talk anymore.

Kent Hickey is president of Seattle Preparatory School.

Thanks for reading!  Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder

 

Children, Highly Recommended Reading

Male journalist takes on Redbook’s Web Site. IMO male journalist wins.

October 7th, 2013 — 1:42pm

Seattle Plastic Surgeon shares Wall Street Journal Article from Saturday, Oct. 5, 1013:

Words Assured to Tick Off Any Man by Joe Queenan

Redbook’s website has just published a list of things you should never say to a man. Why not? Because they will make him go ballistic. The list includes such incendiary remarks as: “Your tummy is so cute,” “Do whatever you want,” “Do you think I actually believe you?” “You’re just like your dad” and the real, Katy-bar-the-door, no quarter-asked-and-none-given haymaker in this epic inter-gender brouhaha, “I really don’t respect you.”

[image] Illustraction by Nishant Choksi

Redbook, for whatever reason, is feeding impressionable young women totally false information about the male psyche. No man I know would go ballistic just because a woman said, “Your tummy is so cute.” Nor would he lose it if she said, “Well, you are a bit on the chubby side.” Or even “My, aren’t you the chunky little butterball!”

Men don’t care about their “tummies.” Never have. Never will. If they did, alcohol would have gone out of style a long time ago. Weenies might care about their tummies. Or hipsters. But not actual men. Besides, men do not refer to their flabby stomachs as “tummies.” They call them “beer guts.” At least Redbook could try to get the lingo right.

A deeper question is where this dubious material comes from. Who says “Your tummy is so cute” to a boyfriend, a partner, a spouse? Not any woman I’ve ever heard of. Did anyone actually poll men about this stuff? Or women?

The rest of the list is no better. Men don’t care if their partners do not believe them. They kind of expect it. Men also don’t care if you tell them to go ahead and do whatever they want. This is what men do anyway. It is also what women do. It is what everyone on the planet does.

Similarly, few men would object to being likened to their fathers. To most men, that’s actually the highest praise imaginable, unless your dad is named Joseph Stalin or Timur the Tartar. No, with the obvious exception of the confrontational “I really don’t respect you,” none of these remarks is even vaguely discombobulating.

And even if a man took exception to being told that he was not “respected,” he would not automatically go ballistic. He would write it off as an ill-advised comment uttered in the heat of battle. He would figure that it was par for the interpersonal course.

The list contained in Redbook is inane, misleading and stupid. It’s like those lists: “174 Things That Drive Women Wild in Bed,” or “Seven Things You Should Never Say to a Bisexual Pyromaniac.” The lists are compiled by amateur sociologists, office cut-ups, puckish ne’er-do-wells and editorial interns who are trying to get their assignments wrapped up before they go back to high school.

This is not to deny that there are phrases that will make men go ballistic. Oh no, there are lots of those. Here are just a few things you should never say to a man with whom you are having any kind of serious relationship.

“I spent all the money. All of it. On Josh Groban tickets.” “I was thinking of gaining 130 pounds. I’m feeling gaunt.” “No, you cannot invite Macho Man and Bennie the Blade over to our 35th anniversary party.” “You know the $5,000 from your Christmas bonus that you thought I was investing in safe, short-term bonds? I took a flier on a penny stock issued by a boiler room in Boca Raton. The company makes pocket-size defibrillators.” “Your mother could give Medusa a run for her money.” “You know the kid you thought was your firstborn son? Wrong!”

And finally: “I told the four guys from the Bronx that you are no longer interested in paying the vig. I did OK, right?”

 

Thanks for reading!  And if you don’t subscribe to the Wall Street Journal, you should.  It has some of the best journalism out there and it’s not just about money and business.  Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder

For Men Only, Highly Recommended Reading, Male Plastic Surgery, Stuff I love

I’m so sad about Nora Ephron.

June 27th, 2012 — 4:32pm

Seattle Plastic Surgeon wonders how she will survive the rest of her “aging journey” without Nora Ephron. 

I am so sad to hear of Nora Ephron’s death.   I wonder how I am going to survive the next few decades of life without having another pithy Nora Ephron book to make me laugh out loud about the adventures and misadventure of making the transition from youth to middle age to older to old.   I am hoping to hear in the next few days that Nora was finishing her book about the ultimate transition at the time of her death.  If anyone could make that funny, it would be Nora. 

I’ve enjoyed Nora’s writing for decades, but it’s really been since I became a “woman of a certain age” myself that I have truly appreciated her wonderful take on this journey of life and her wise wit (or maybe it’s witty wisdom).

I Feel Bad About My Neck and I Remember Nothing are her most recent books and I devoured both of them in one sitting.  I read I Remember Nothing on a flight from Seattle to Boston and I’m sure the dudes on either side of  me thought I was off my meds.  Can anything other than a Nora Ephron book  make flying coach, middle seat, so much fun?  I think not.

Rest in peace Nora and thank you for the laughs and tears and your amazing humor and humanity.  I’m going to load all your books onto my Kindle and read them – again. 

Lisa Lynn Sowder, M.D.

Aging Issues, Highly Recommended Reading

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