Bridechilla: On Having Some Work Done


Thus far I have failed to provide you with any great stories about the experience that was Our Big Fat Lovely Wedding. And this is a damn disgrace, because it was filled with adventures and characters galore.

Let me start with some thoughts on the pre-wedding beauty routine.

Brides are supposed to be beauteous. This is a given. The media tells us so. If you think you can just show up all chubby and pimply-faced for THE MOST IMPORTANT DAY OF YOUR LIFE, you better think again, little miss. Because as soon as that shiny ring from your betrothed is on your finger, people are going to start asking you questions.

Top question:

“Are you excited?”

Answer: “No. I loathe the dreamy guy I agreed to marry but my father has sold me to him for quite a good price and I don’t think anyone kept their receipts. Move on, next question.”

Second most frequently asked question: “Are you nervous?”

Answer: “Your question is vague. About what, specifically, am I supposed to be nervous? Wearing a spectacular dress? Having my photo taken eight thousand times in a two hour period? The wedding night? Going on vacation after it’s all over where I don’t have to answer any of these questions? No. I am not nervous.”

And my favorite question: “What are you doing to get ready?”

FYI, the correct answer to this question is not, “Uhhh…” or “Nothing?” or “Working full-time and preparing for/rehabilitating from hip surgery?”

Being yourself is not the way a respectable woman prepares herself for marriage. The woman your fiancé proposed to is clearly not the woman he wanted to marry. A respectable woman must improve herself for marriage.

Well fine.

There are a lot of people in this world who are vehemently opposed to Botox treatments and plastic surgery. I am not one of those people.

In fact, just to show how pro-surgery I am, I decided that I would have a couple rounds of Botox in the year leading up to my wedding (I even had some work done on my hips!).

You might say it’s ridiculous that a girl in her early twenties would be going for Botox treatments, so I’ll just go ahead and scandalize you even further: I do it on the Army’s dime.

Yes, that’s right. I have Botox treatments four times a year and our tax dollars pay for it. I march my happy little ACU-patterned bottom to the first floor of the hospital on post at Fort Hood, into the neurology clinic, present my Department of Defense ID, and a few minutes later, someone returns with some vials of that expensive serum to hand over to my neurologist for him to prep for my treatment.

For the sake of full disclosure I suppose I might as well tell you that I have chronic migraines, and the Botox is used to treat said migraines. I’ve been on all kinds of prophylactics over the past couple of years, and developed a tolerance to several different medicines to treat my acute pain as well, so my neurologist told me about Botox injections. Apparently they’re a newer treatment that they’ve been trying on people who don’t respond to other therapies (ding! ding! That’s me).

I was quite skeptical.

“I’m twenty-three,” past me said. “I don’t want Botox.”

“It’s non-cosmetic,” he assured me. “It releases tension in your head and neck that could be triggering some of your headaches. Let’s do a six-month trial.”

Well, a couple years later, we’re still doing it. And, just about a month before the Big Day, it was time for another round of shots.

Let me just say that I think my neurologist is a good physician. He is an intelligent man. He cares about his patients; he is concerned about the future of medicine, distressed about the changes that have been made in the system in recent years, and working very hard at the expense of his own time and energy to counteract those negative changes.

He is a nice man.

He is also a man with a noticeable speech impediment.

“So!” he says when he sees me. “Weady for your tweatment?”

I always come weady for my tweatment. It is important to get your mind right before you have two dozen injections in your scalp, neck, and trapezius muscles.

Sometimes you even bweed a little from the head or neck. (You will get a Band-Aid if this happens, but it’s a little awkward going back to work with a bandage stuck to your neck. I am not Nelly. I do not want Band-Aids on my face without an immediately apparent reason. It doesn’t lend to my street cred in my battalion.)

My neurologist has two large dispensers for Trident; you get to choose a flavor. “Gween or bwue?”

I choose blue and enter the Matrix.

“You pwobably get too much gween in the Army,” he remarks.

You have to take two pieces of gum and chew so that he can see where he is supposed to inject your head. Once I brought my own gum because I didn’t really fancy taking the gum that everyone else shook out into their hands then dumped back into the container, but he seemed so dejected that I had provided my own supply that I decided I’d just risk my demise through public gum consumption rather than disappoint him again.

“Chew,” he says. “Stop.” I get a shot.

We never talk about the same thing during these visits. Sometimes he wants to rant about foreign policy; other times it is a re-hash of how Army medicine is slowly going down the toilet. Today he is discussing literature.

“I’m re-weeding The Count of Monte Crisco. Chew. Stop.” I get a shot. I wince. “Did that one hurt?”

“No.” Just the Crisco.

He says something very fast about another author taking inspiration from chapter nine of The Count of Monte Crisco and then winning the Nobel Prize for it.

“But there is nothing new under the sun. Except technology. That’s new. But human behavior has changed vewy little over the ages. Chew. Stop.” I get a shot.

He pauses once he finished the injections on my scalp before he begins the series on my neck and traps. “Do we do your forehead?”


“That was emphatic,” he says.

“Well I’m getting married next month,” I tell him. “I don’t really want to look surprised in all the pictures.”

“Fair enough. You’re not weally old enough to be interested in having shots in the forehead. What about your crow’s feet? Do you want me to do your crow’s feet? You have on glasses today so I can’t see if you have them. Never mind. Waise your shoulder.”

Excuse you, sir.

I do not have cwow’s feet. I am radiant (regardless of what that ignorant facialist told me about my broken capillaries. She clearly needs to make a visit to an optometrist. Although I suppose that’s what I get for seeing a facialist to become a more beauteous bride).

“When is your wedding?” he asks. “Chew. Stop.” I get a shot.

“Next month,” I say.

“The average pwice of the American wedding in 2010 was $35,000,” he informs me.

He has a lot of facts, but luckily most of his statistics and commentary do not require a response.
“Mawwiage can be good for migwaines too,” he says. “Chew chew! Stop.” I get a shot. He gets a little hyper at the last dozen injections or so. “Having your husband here will likely reduce your stwess levels. 68% of couples say it impacts their intimacy but pwobably you will be okay since you have already been together a while. Chew chew chew chew! Aaaaand stop.” I get two more shots and we’re finished.

He fills my prescription for my other migraine medicines and tells me to make my follow-up appointment.
“And don’t forget to look at chapter nine of The Count of Monte Crisco.” He types COUNT OF MONTE CRISCO CHAPTER NINE (just like that, all caps, bold type) in his notes and gives me a copy to take home.

“Happy wedding! See you after the mawwiage is complete.”

He did not ask me if I was excited, or nervous, or what I was doing to get ready. Even considering the communal gum I had to chew, the dozens of injections into my scalp, neck, and shoulders, and the giggles I had to suppress at his bizarre, unending musings and somewhat suspect recitations of statistics, I’d say it was far less painful than my usual pre-wedding encounters.

I did bweed a little from my left trap that day, but I didn’t have to worry about having the appropriate street cred since I was still only a few weeks post-op from the hip surgery. I crutched as unobtrusively as possible, white-girl-rapper-style, back to work.


  • Ellen 3 years ago

    Oh my heavens! You and your newologist (get it) totally are better than Tina Fey! Thank you!

  • Kassandra 3 years ago

    I stumbled across your blog a while ago (when looking for good books to read) and have been enjoying your posts.

    This one had me laughing until I nearly cried and seriously hoping that the neurologist I’ve been referred to for chronic migraines is as awesome as yours. (Though with a name like “Struck” how can he not be? {My doctors referral coordinator explained his name as follows: “You’ll be seeing Dr. Struck. As in “struck by lighting”.” I nearly giggled then but held it together until I hung up}).

    • 3 years ago

      Thanks Kassandra! I hope you have many entertaining neurology adventures and find some relief along the way. It can be really frustrating finding the right treatment plan so I’m rooting for you!

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