Walking into the bathroom at the medical clinic (I was with my five-year-old for his pre-kindergarten checkup), I saw a hospital tech pushing a woman in a wheelchair who has obviously just had surgery on her nose. That particular arrangement of gauze looked so familiar to me and I immediately had a flood of memories of my sinus surgery. Ignoring basic etiquette about not commenting on a fellow-sufferer’s possible reasons for seeking medical attention and in flagrant violation of her privacy, I turned to her companion and, pointing to my nose, asked, “Sinus surgery?” But right then someone flushed a toilet and I don't think the companion heard me right. She just nodded and smiled.
“Oh, man,” I said. “I had the same surgery last year.” Then I stopped. I had been going to say, "and the recovery was miserable, and I get just as many or more sinus infections since then.” Duh--not helpful, Darlene. So I just clucked my tongue and looked understanding and left.
Then I noticed on the sign in the foyer of the building that the only surgical services offered at that clinic are cosmetic. As in, she didn’t just have sinus surgery, she had a nose job.
And I had just pointed to my very flawed, very far from perfect nose and said, “I had the same thing done.”
So now I have to live with myself knowing I probably caused nightmares for some innocent, soon-to-be-beautiful woman somewhere.