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Costa Rica Part II

View of San José from the Museum of Jade

Image via Wikipedia

Part II: Costa Rica Will Make You Beautiful

Except for she of the blotchy face, I haven’t run into any plastic surgery patients at La Sabana, but Deedee met lots of them at her dentist’s office. It turns out that they don’t stay in the same hotels as we do, but in upscale recovery centers staffed by medical personnel.

(Photo: Central San Jose)

We Go For a Consultation

Deedee’s been thinking of having “work done” to remove a few acne scars and evidence of having lived 64 years. EJ is curious to hear what improvements a plastic surgeon might advise for her face; I can’t see how it can possibly be improved. My own visage is an aging wreck, but even if I could afford it, I don’t think I’d go under the knife for vanity’s sake. Still, no way would I pass up this opportunity to gather material on the topic. Thus, the three of us set off , taking our lives in our hands on the insanely busy streets and wide avenues of San José (Costa Rican traffic, I kid you not, has the right-of-way over pedestrians).

Walk-ins are welcome at the clinic recommended by Deedee’s dental compadres. Located in a swanky, pristine office building stuck in between the more typical ramshackle houses and businesses in CR, the practice is run by a mother-son team. Stacked on the waiting room table are dozens of Marie Clare magazines whose glossy covers show women with deep luscious cleavage. Cynic that I am, I can’t help but think they’ve been strategically placed as a lure or advertising gimmick.

Deedee is seen by the son part of the surgical team, who, like almost all young Tico men, is utterly gorgeous. I get stuck with the madre. Dr.Lieberman (yes, she’s Jewish; there’s a sizable contingent of Costa Rican Jews; while riding through the countryside I even spotted a synagogue), is around my age (65), and has a face that’d frighten Queen Victoria’s horses. Gravity has attacked her with a vengeance: she’s a walking commercial of what lies ahead for women who don’t take immediate surgical action, with her sagging jowls and skin discolorations.

I’ve come prepared with questions so she’ll believe I’m for real, and ask about liposuction for my several chins. She shakes her head sadly and tells me she can do it, but I won’t be happy with the result: “You need a facelift,” she baldly states. What about just getting rid of these lines? I ask, pointing to the space above my upper lip, which collapsed, as I knew it would, after all the upper teeth were removed. Again, Dr. L. says she could fill in the lines with metacril  for a mere $450, but insists, growing visibly impatient, “You need a facelift.” To lighten things up, I laugh and say I’m that hideous? Instead of laughing, though, Dr. L. sneers. “Do you feel bad?” she asks, her voice devoid of compassion.Well, yeah, a little. Her sneer deepens and she shrugs her shoulders as if to say, “Sorry, lady, I’m just being honest: you look like holy hell.”

If I were the kind of woman whose satisfactions and sense of purpose depended on my beauty, the kind who cared more about my looks than my brains and other facts of life, I surely would’ve been devastated. Since I am not, I was pissed off. I’m outta here! I throw Dr. L. a dirty look, open the door, and knock on the office next to hers to tell DeeDee  I’m leaving; to my surprise her face is being injected with something or other, despite my advice and her earlier decision to do nothing right now, as it’s an hour before her dental appointment. I don’t know what happened to EJ, but I have to get away from this place and that cold nasty bitch of a “doctor”.

Later on I learn that EJ, like Deedee, was seen by the charming male half of the surgical team, who pointed out wrinkles she didn’t even know she had, “here, and here, and here.” She too apparently needs a facelift. She says she got “a bad vibe” from the place as soon as she walked in. As for Deedee’s treatment, I can discern no difference in her face other than a bit of puffiness in the cheeks.

Facelift = $3000
Recovery time: 12 days, with stitches removed from several locations, at intervals.

Walking In the Rain Forest

Coming Soon:

Part III: In Search of Pura Vida


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