Grandma Dies From A Boob Job
The Professor hangs his head. In the dim glow of the hospital’s nighttime fluorescents, elbows on knees, he’s torn over what weighs more: his head or his heart? Eyes closed. Head down. He drifts off.
A click of foreign heels interrupts his momentary slumber. His downward gaze opens to the sight of red pumps against the white tile of the hospital floor. Confused by this incongruous scene, his bloodshot eyes turn up to take in a female figure in a long white lab coat, indicating that she, too, has the rank of Doctor. She stands before him, with the white coat falling slightly open, enough to reveal her black pencil skirt with white silk blouse tucked in at her tiny waist. Her long mahogany curls are barely reigned in to reveal a natural beauty with minimal makeup. The long lashes framing her deep brown eyes barely hold back a watershed of tears.
As he is considering whether she is mirage brought on by exhaustion, a dream in a much deeper slumber than he should be enjoying during a night on call, or a sweet gift from God in his current hell known as “residency”, her glossy lips part as tears stain her cheeks, and he hears her voice for the first time, “Doctor Professor, what happened to my grandma? I want to see her.”
Startled from his reverie, The Professor shoots to standing. Her grandmother was the source of his heavy heart--at least for the moment. People are not supposed to die at the BTH (Best Teaching Hospital), especially from cosmetic procedures. Yet, her grandmother would surely be a casualty of her own vanity combined with sepsis.
Unsure of how to respond, he noted that she carried no stethoscope. This white coat was a researcher, not a physician,. He carefully chose his words so as to not insult her intelligence, yet give her the tools to explain it to her family.
At the moment, her grandmother lay critically ill in ICU: endotracheal tube breathing for her, norepinephrine sustaining her blood pressure, and intravenous antibiotics in a war with flesh-eating bacteria. Her serum lactic acid level, a by-product of metabolism and gauge of progression of sepsis, was incredibly high. She was on the brink of death.
“I will have to prepare you for what you will see, Doctor....?” he hesitated to learn the name of this mysterious dark beauty.
“Doctor Yoga, from Biophysical Research,” she replied impatiently.
“Your grandmother came to the BTH Plastic Surgery Department to exchange her worn out normal saline breast implants from the 1970’s for newer ones in a simple ‘enhancement’ procedure. Her JP drain was in place to remove the serosanguinous fluids and allow her to heal. Unfortunately, she developed necrotizing fasciitis, a severe skin infection from flesh eating bacteria. The streptococcus then invaded her bloodstream and her internal organs were destroyed. She has suffered heart failure, kidney failure, and now is comatose from severe sepsis with little hope of meaningful survival. Dr. Yoga, I am so sorry.” The Professor fought back his own tears as his head pounded from emotions mixed with lack of sleep and too much caffeine.
“Thank you, Doctor Professor. I’d like you to take me to her,” Doctor Yoga spoke with ironic composure. The moisture in her eyes had receded during the scientific explanation.
This mysterious woman glided behind The Professor to the foot of her grandmother’s bed. She planted her pumps firmly into the floor, straightened her posture with a deep breath, raised her arms palms down over her grandmother’s feet and closed her eyes. The Professor watched in silence, mesmerized. After a few minutes, Doctor Yoga moved to the bedside. She took her grandmother’s hand gently with one hand, and placed the other on the old woman’s forehead. Another deep breath. Minutes of silence.
A sense of peace pervaded the room, allowing emotions to resurface for The Professor. Doctor Yoga calmly removed her hands, kissed her grandmother’s cheek, and left the room.
In the hallway, she said, “Thank you, Doctor Professor,” and turned to leave.
“Wait,” he called after her, confused. “What happened in there?” was all he could get out. He was intrigued by her calm demeanor, silence, and apparent peacefulness in the shadow of death of a loved one.
“My grandmother is not the body hooked up to the life preserving machines and tubes,” she explained. “Her essence is already gone, and you are treating what we perceive as the physical remains.”
She continued, “Grammy, at 88, held on to the illusion of the physical body, and the human faults of chasing youth and immortality. She is now freed of those constraints.”
This explanation was too much to digest at 3am, after 22 hours of wakefulness. The Professor blinked his swollen sleep-deprived hazel eyes blankly.
“Everything is composed of atoms, which are 99.999% empty space. Imagine a penny in the middle of a football stadium. Proportionally speaking, the penny is like the nucleus of an atom and the nosebleed seats are the electron cloud. Most of the stadium is empty, but there are fans in the nosebleed seats who are constantly moving to get a better view.
Our bodies are composed of atoms: constantly shifting and changing shape. It is our essence that remains constant and holds the shape. Humans try to exert control over the natural engineering of their bodies because of fear of death, fear of the unknown.
Grammy could have simply had her implants removed, and been left with sagging breasts of an 88 year old woman. But she desired a more youthful look, and requested the more risky enhancement procedure. She is now free of her desires, and I am at peace because you see, Doctor Professor, I recognize the underlying nature of reality: breasts don’t exist.”
His mind had wandered and she had caught him staring at the bit of skin showing above the top button of her shirt. She smiled, “Nice meeting you, Doctor Professor. Your reputation precedes you. I look forward to seeing you again under circumstances that don’t include sleep deprivation.” Doctor Yoga looked deeply into his eyes, and the burning, bloodshot irritation was soothed to a glow of desire.
“And thank you for serving,” she called over her shoulder as she disappeared into the elevator.
These patient stories are inspired by real medical encounters. However names have been changed and location is fictional. Dr. Gutierrez shares these stories from his experience to entertain, inspire, and educate the public on the nature of reality.