Botox for MY Crows Feet - How Do I Dare
Carole Nelson Receives Botox for Her Crows Feet” – I can see the headlines now - . it will give my audience something else to comment on besides how my hair looks and whether they like my glasses. The crows feet and wrinkles are all there, every one a testament to some trial faced - unless, of course, you include those fun-filled days basking on the beach. Some are tiny and crinkly surrounding my eyes like wadded-up fabric. Some are furrows, deep enough to plant seeds. When did they become so plentiful? When did they give me the appearance of someone constantly squinting into the sun? OK. So I may not look dewy-eyed anymore. But am l really ready to have the area around my eyes injected with the substance that bears the ominous medical label botulinum toxin? Luckily, its more familiar name, Botox, sounds innocuous.
For more information, I sought out a well-respected, board-certified plastic surgeon in Orlando, and asked him to explain Botox. The good doctor looks directly in my eyes, creepy though they may be. “It is a neurotoxin that paralyzes muscles, a first cousin to botulism,” he says.
I swallow, hopefully imperceptible. You mean it's the same bacteria that I have been warned of since childhood, the one that can cause anything from paralysis to death if Grandma didn't can the beans properly? I am considering facial cosmetic surgery that will paralyze the muscles in my forehead and the area around my eyes with this? An image crosses my mind: Eyes wide open, paralyzed with fear as the needle - filled with its deadly dose of Clostridium botulinus bacteria -moves ever closer. The plastic surgeon is reassuring. It is a purified form, he tells me, used in small quantities. Physicians have been using it successfully for years in relieving facial tics and spasms.
So, I ask, if my vanity wins over fears of looking bug-eyed for the rest of my life, how does all this work? Says the doctor: ''I would inject small quantities into facial wrinkles around your eyes and between your eyes (once those lines between my eyes simply made me appear to be an attentive interviewer) and in the wrinkles in your forehead (What -- those Mamie Eisenhower bangs didn't fool you'?) ''The material I inject actually paralyzes those muscles,'' he adds ''restoring a smooth appearances”. Makes sense. Wouldn't you stop crinkling if you were being held frozen by a toxic substance? The injections are relatively painless, the plastic surgeon continues, and can be administered during lunch break. No hospitalization, no recoup time. The effect lasts approximately four months.Then what, Doc? In the middle of a conversation will my face crinkle like a monster in a sci-fi thriller? Nope, he says, the effects wear off gradually.There are post-injection guidelines, though, he adds.
Do not rub your eyes, lie down or lower your head for four hours. Why? Will my chin remain paralyzed resting on my chest? No, he says. The problem with lying down or rubbing the area too quickly is that the human skeleton has small holes that blood vessels pass through, and maybe, just maybe, rubbing too vigorously will cause the Botox to absorb into those small holes. That could cause weakness of the eye musculature. Another image: My eyes, drooping from what appears to be a whopper of a hangover, but the skin around them is perfectly smooth, giving me the appearance of a somewhat younger drunk.
So, what can l expect from Botox, I ask. Is this an alternative to surgery on the eyes? Will it remove excess skin or give the appearance of, let's say, an eyebrow lift? (You've all seen them - people who look at everything with the same look of surprise as if they had put a finger in an electric socket. A kind of Joan Rivers look of perpetual awe.) Actually, I learn, Botox injections will do neither. This procedure is for crow's feet, and lines caused by overuse by the muscles; it won't erase excess folds of skin, nor will it raise eyebrows.
So assuming I like this - and I build up the courage to do it - will I have to return for more injections? Yes, he says, but look at the advantages: For several hundred dollars I get a more youthful look, mild discomfort, and no down time. Less than a month later I take the plunge - or plunger, if you will. A friend accompanies me. What if I forget the guidelines, drop my keys, and lower my head to pick them up? I want someone there to grab my hair and quickly yank my head upright. (I like to err on the side of caution).The doctor gives me some last-minute advice after the injections. ''Use the muscles injected fairly often during the next couple of hours he says.
After the procedure, I sit bolt upright for eight hours. When I lay my head on the pillow, it is with a clear conscience. I have guarded the blood vessels surrounding my eyes against a silent invader.
For five days no one, including me, seems to notice any change. I am now walking around with a first cousin of botulism taking up residence in my wrinkles and no one even notices!
Then, the first comment. ''You must be in love! '' ''No honey," I think. ''That's how I developed the wrinkles in the first place! '' There are other compliments. I look as though I have just returned from vacation. Did I get a more becoming hairdo? I simply smile. ''Botox, honey,'' I mutter to myself.
I have already made my next appointment four months from now.I will, however, continue to pass on the home- canned green beans.