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Stories on the Benefits and Hazards of Cosmetic Surgery

Stories on the Benefits and Hazards of Cosmetic Surgery

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Stories on the Benefits and Hazards of Cosmetic Surgery

169 pagine
2 ore
Jan 16, 2014


Throughout recorded history different civilizations ranging from the ancient Middle East and the Hellenistic world to the Renaissance and moderm times have admired youthful beauty. They have voiced their admiration in literature and art. The medical advances of the 20th century have enabled surgeons to safely restore the youthful facial features of aging individuals, as well as correcting the many bodily changes that accompany advancing age.

Based on his experience as a plastic surgeon over a period of more than forty years in Israel, the author has vividly described both the benefits and hazards of cosmetic surgery in several short stories.

Jan 16, 2014

Informazioni sull'autore

Joseph Weinstein was born in Montreal and completed his medical studies in Paris. He has previously published a book The White Ojibway Medicine Man and Other Stories. This book is based on his experience as a plastic surgeon over a period of forty years in Israel.

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Stories on the Benefits and Hazards of Cosmetic Surgery - Joseph Weinstein MD




Copyright © 2014 Joseph Weinstein MD.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or by any information storage retrieval system without the written permission of the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, names, incidents, organizations, and dialogue in this novel are either the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

iUniverse books may be ordered through booksellers or by contacting:

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Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any web addresses or links contained in this book may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.

Any people depicted in stock imagery provided by Thinkstock are models, and such images are being used for illustrative purposes only.

Certain stock imagery © Thinkstock.

ISBN: 978-1-4917-0540-7 (sc)

ISBN: 978-1-4917-0538-4 (hc)

ISBN: 978-1-4917-0539-1 (e)

iUniverse rev. date: 01/16/2014









The author of this collection of short stories is a Canadian-born physician who is a graduate of the Science faculty of McGill University and received his medical degree at the Sorbonne in Paris. He worked in university hospitals in Montreal for several years and spent seven years as the physician and surgeon in a mining community in northern Ontario.

He then specialized in Plastic Surgery in France and Israel where he has lived for the past forty years. This would explain the medical references in many of the stories based on the lives of different inhabitants of the Holy Land. Although the events happened years ago, he remembers the emotional experiences as if it was only yesterday.


I should perhaps begin the story by pointing out that I spend most of my waking hours in my chosen profession which is that of a plastic surgeon involved in improving the beauty of the fairer sex either by remodeling the breasts and abdomen of a younger woman after multiple pregnancies, or rejuvenating the face of a middle aged woman. I would like to emphasize that I have always sought to maintain a personal relationship with the patient over and above the purely professional one, primarily in order to rule out candidates with unrealistic expectations about the influence of the cosmetic surgery on their private lives.

It came somewhat of a surprise one day not too long ago to find Sonya, the wife of Rafael, the well known journalist and celebrated public personality with whom I had been intimately acquainted appear in my office to consult with me about the possibilities of undergoing cosmetic surgery. We had met socially on many occasions and she addressed her request to me quite cordially, almost as if I was an old friend rather than a physician and surgeon.

She was then a heavily built middle aged woman in her early fifties, whose wrinkled face, drooping cheeks, and hanging skin of the neck reflected the signs of premature aging. Sonya confided to me that she herself was not entirely dissatisfied with her appearance which she readily accepted as a natural part of the aging process in a middle aged woman. Although still an attractive woman, she intimated that she was willing to undergo extensive rejuvenating surgery of her large bosom, wide hips, and ponderous abdomen, the result of multiple pregnancies, for one reason and one reason only, namely to be more attractive to her husband.

After having successfully undergone the routine preoperative assessment which included blood tests, and x rays, I suggested that prior to coming to a final decision with regards to the surgery, it would be a good idea for her to seek the approval of her husband. She appeared to be somewhat disturbed by my request and upon hurriedly leaving my office I sensed a tone of regret in her voice. I heard nothing more from her for some time and when she finally telephoned several weeks later, it was to say that she was obliged to defer the operation to an unspecified date. She explained that her husband was very skeptical about the limited improvement that could be expected in her appearance by means of cosmetic surgery and had absolutely refused to agree to the operation which in his eyes was a waste of money. As far as he was concerned there was no justification for the enormous expense involved.

Having always had a passionate interest in intellectual affairs in the realms of art, literature and the theater, I often had the opportunity of meeting with her husband Rafael at various cultural or artistic events. As a matter of fact I recall several of our encounters to have been quite disagreeable, particularly when he blatantly employed devious means in a determined effort to impress people who crowded around him. I was often left with the impression that the air of self importance he adopted was associated with a tendency towards arrogance, a quality not uncommon amongst people who worked in the media. As a well known journalist and theater critic who had acquired the status of a celebrity, he spoke with a kind of passionate hypocrisy when he appeared on popular television talk shows where his devastating wit and cynical reflections on current cultural and artistic events were generally admired by the public at large.

Not only was he known for his erudition but he had in addition recently acquired the reputation as a reliable political analyst renowned for his ruthless disclosures which had often ruined the reputation of more than one public figure. He was particularly held in high esteem for his critical analysis of current events which was always distinguished by clarity, precision and depth. Although his words tended to have a ring of false modesty, there was little doubt in anybody’s mind that he was nobody’s fool and that his knowledge of the subject under scrutiny was firmly based. But there were times when he seemed unable to resist the tendency to transfer his thoughts in an offhand sort of manner from ridicule to tragic sympathy and then promptly back again in order to demolish with a couple of cynical allusions the proposition which his opponent had taken a quarter of an hour to build up.

He spared no important political figure from his well founded harsh opinions and there were few signs of pity for anyone in his notorious weekly column on the editorial page of one of the national newspapers where he did not hesitate to devastate weak or vulnerable personalities. He was not above pretending that the misfortunes of most people were the result of the behavior of the inept and parasitic bureaucracy towards whom he displayed contempt for their cynicism and indifference. Although he seemed to take a special delight in brutally exposing the stupid makeshift policies of petty politicians, there were times when he was not above adopting a sort of bemused tolerance towards them, an attitude that generally goes with the obligations of the profession. On the other hand one should bear in mind that the involvement of most people in feature articles was by no means that of innocuous children when they anxiously read about the political, economic and personal problems involved as a result of terrible wars, Many among the readers had a deep need to open their eyes and flee from the unsolved problems and anxious forebodings of doom. In a reaction against the general mood of cynicism people dismissed all anxiety about the future as old fashioned folly-articles appeared about the approaching end of art and science-and they looked with cynical calm on the decline of culture, morality and honesty. They no longer had any belief in a tomorrow where they could possibly be faced by pain, fear and hunger without defenses since they could no longer accept the consolations of the established religious bodies. They read many articles in the popular press and listened to many lectures but were unable to strengthen themselves against the dread of death. They moved spasmodically through life but had little to no belief in a tomorrow.

He was not known for being sparse in his praise of distinguished university professors mouthing banalities dressed up in complementary phrases. They were amongst the favorite targets of his vicious pen and he seemed to derive a distinct pleasure in ridiculing the significance of their pompous declarations. He rarely did justice to their achievements and was notorious for his demonstration of their vanity parading as modesty, not hesitating to mention of course the contrast between their outward show and inner convictions which they miraculously adapted to the subject under dispute. I recall him whispering to me during a gathering of intellectuals at a university congress; Have you ever before heard such serious words spoken with careful passion made to appear so boring and lifeless. The belief that the gift of thinking and vanity are mutually exclusive is simply an error. On the contrary, no one is more given to vanity than the intellectual.

In retrospect, he had no qualms about his being the perfect representative of a higher order of being. He was hardly more charitable towards his colleagues in the media whom he treated with a form of humorous indulgence and condescension usually bestowed on people deprived of even the most elementary intellectual qualities, not to mention occasions when he did not hesitate to display brazen contempt for their lack of basic good judgment. Amongst his victims many found his vicious attacks disconcerting, particularly on those occasions when his ironic comments could turn out to be devastating. It was hardly surprising that he had not won many friends amongst his colleagues particularly after he had described some of them as a self indulgent, illiterate group of parasites. He was also notorious for his single minded boorish behavior towards his peers at social or literary gatherings where even among those with whom he had common academic interests, many did not hesitate to voice the opinion that the praise for his scholarly achievements was not entirely justified. Never hesitating to make use of his mordant wit both as an eminent journalist and a celebrated television personality, he nevertheless dominated every social gathering to which he was invited by his brilliant critical comments on the events of the day.

Rafael was a well preserved man well over fifty years of age, always impeccably dressed, carefully groomed and shaved and generally considered to be a very attractive male. Whenever we encountered each other at one social event or another it was not long before I became aware of his attempt to project a flattering image of himself by greeting me with his usual display of a glittering self satisfied smile. Although in the eyes of most people he was no doubt essentially considered as both a philosopher and literary critic, this was only a veneer and a game intended to hide the role he coveted as a renowned author and poet. Few people were aware of the fact that as a young man he had attempted to be a serious novelist but he was now reduced to merely indulging his vanity by speaking offhandedly of the ambition he had once had of being of some consequence as an author in the literary world. Some people claimed that his verbal excesses and indignation were essentially outlets for his frustration at having been obliged to adopt the career of an overworked journalist meeting deadlines for the daily newspapers and weekly magazines. As a matter of fact I remember the evening we were sitting together in the corner of a boring social gathering quietly drinking our whisky, when he confided to me in a melancholy manner of his perpetual search for an authentic literary career which had so far turned out to have been fruitless. What really counted for me were the novels I wrote where despite the complexity of the stories, I extolled the fullness of life, of youth and beauty maturing outside of time. I began to understand that sorrow and disappointments do not only exist to distress us or to make us feel worthless but rather to bring us to a full state of maturity and enlightenment. I have often been conscious of vague stirrings within me that convinced me that when my time came I would succeed in producing some valuable work. I have always felt that the latent sources of power that lay within me were still untapped. He concluded by saying that he had a vague nagging feeling that there was something fundamental within his being that always seemed to be on the way to the target but yet somehow always loses its way.

I can still retain the memory of another evening spent in his company at a dinner party at an elegant home in Tel Aviv where a sort of intimacy slowly developed between us, although one could not call it real friendship. The atmosphere was pleasant even homely-the conversation though simple was always clever-and he appeared to be his real self emanating a friendly mockery and an odd ironic gaiety. His behavior was unusually defiant and sometimes exceedingly rude that evening and I recall him telling me as we were leaving; There are times when my boorish treatment of other people and the amusement I derive from making fun of them surprise even me.

He impressed me even then as a man who flaunted his personal charm and prestige in an attempt to impress the important people gathered around him, many of whom sought his friendship. He seemed to be deliberately cultivating a refined manner of speech in their presence by blatantly displaying his erudition and he proceeded to entertain us with weary

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