Saturday, April 17, 2010

A "Cosmetic" Procedure?

It's fairly common knowledge that I'm among the least appearance-obsessed people around. I mean, I'm hygienic, natch, and I can and do dress up (and do my hair and all that crap) if I have to, but I'm a lot more comfortable teaching in sneakers or clogs than in Jimmy Choos, you know?

So I got a stye in my left eye in late December. For those of you that don't know, a stye is defined as, "Inflammation of one or more sebaceous glands of an eyelid." If you're really interested in the inner workings of a stye, check out WebMD's take on the subject.

There isn't a great deal of photographic evidence of the horrible thing, but you can sort of see it here in this picture (it's the ugly red bump on the lower lid of my left eye):

Anyway, I've been going to the stye specialist (yes, they do in fact exist ... what a creepy job, though) for months now, and it was a pretty frustratrating experience. First he said, "Use warm compresses every four hours." I'd already been doing that. "I'll give you an antibiotic cream." My primary care doctor had already given me the one he was going to prescribe. "Okay, here's the most aggressive treatment: oral antiobiotics twice a day, antibiotic eye drop #1 four times a day, antibiotic eye drop #2 twice a day, and antibiotic eye drop #3 once a day. And warm compresses four times a day." I said that was fine, let's just get rid of this freaking thing so I can not look stupid and wear my contacts again and so on. Plus, styes hurt.

Anyway, I went back and saw him twice after that at two to three week intervals to point out that "the most aggressive treatment" wasn't doing jack. He said I needed to give it time. I don't know, maybe I'm impatient, but four months seems like a lot of time to me.

I reached the end of my rope yesterday, and I think the doctor realized it. He finally just removed the damn thing:

I share this story with you (and I'm leaving out the gory details, believe me ... let's just say that lidocaine doesn't work well for me ...) not because I got to look like a pirate or because I think that having a stye removed is exciting in the least. It's not even to prove that point that many doctors are really arrogant--I mean, I actually LIKED the doctor yesterday, mostly because he actually DID something about the problem but also because he was wearing a Red Sox tie, which made him seem more like a person than a robot.

No, what got me steaming mad was this stupid eye technician who said to me, "You do realize this is just a cosmetic procedure, right? It's like having plastic surgery?"

Oh! My! God! I was STEAMING!!!!!!!!!!! How is having a freaking BACTERIAL INFECTION that has been "treated aggressively" for FOUR MONTHS at all akin to, like, Heidi Montag?

At what point does something become a "cosmetic procedure"? Does stye removal fall under that category? Botox (which I've never done because, as previously stated, I am one of the least appearance-obsessed people in existence)? Where does "medically necessary" become "elective"?