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Narcissism Can Be Dangerous To Your Derma

Updated: Aug 28, 2019

A plastic surgeon visit from years ago that certainly got under my skin!

I went to see a plastic surgeon (I'll call Dr. N) a few months ago at the Lake Forest Medical facility to get several of my moles evaluated. That was my first visit to his office. Years prior, I had gone to another dermatologist who had removed several moles. Time for several more to be evaluated and possibly removed.

For those who are unaware, some North Shore critics say that appearance and superficiality in Lake Forest and other North Shore areas are often a prerequisite for living in those communities.

But back to my office appointment. My visit to this plastic surgeon was unique and surreal. There were brochures and pictures on the walls of young, beautiful men and women. Nothing but beautiful people were displayed as most under 30. Even though he was a dermatologist, his specialty appeared to be less about skin health and more about a facile appearance.

As I waited for my name to be called, several 65 years plus affluent women with expensive designer purses appeared to want their aging skin and body to stay ageless. Perhaps they hated wrinkles more than the dandelions that appeared in their yard in the spring. I sensed we were waiting for different services.

As the nurse led me into his office, my intrigue intensified as I saw a large painting of a man's portrait on the wall. Was that the founder of the business or a famous Lake Forest resident? A few minutes later, my questions were answered.

Mind you, it wasn't a portrait anyone would miss. Quite revealing and made me wonder in a snarky manner, would Dr. N's home be decorated with mirrors in all rooms so he could regularly indulge in self-love? Also, if you were blindfolded and led into this examination room with that painting on the wall, how long would it take to deduce the facility's primary focus is cosmetic and shallow?

While I waited, I nervously tapped my feet and gazed at the painting. I was casually tempted to mention to him that perhaps there should be a caption below the painting saying, “Example of narcissism.” At the same time, my wish was for Dr. N to never get too close to a reflecting pond – drowning might wrinkle his appearance.

Enough digressing, as I mentioned earlier, my visit had to do with moles. This surgeon (a typical response by a dermatologist based on insurance coverage) recommended removing no more than three or so per visit. Considering I still had at least half a dozen to content with, I would be making at least two separate trips but not necessarily a return visit.

Toward the end of the evaluation, Dr. N glared at an earlier scar from another surgery; I suspected what he was thinking. He asked me in a condensing tone, “Who did this procedure?” I certainly did not want to say as I suspected his intent – his question had already penetrated my skin. Was he asking on my behalf or his?

He went on to say, “This surgeon did a lousy job” as I’m sitting there thinking, “I never thought the scar looked bad but if this Dr. N says so, who am I to argue.” He’s the one with all those fancy diplomas on his walls and at least one self-portrait to show he's still relevant. He said he could do much better to avoid an obvious scar. Is this a bloody skin competition among plastic surgeons on the North Shore? He may have perfected the art of skin procedures but his comments and actions indeed penetrated my skin. And worse, I was now scarred figuratively by his unprofessional comments.

No question he did a good job removing my 3 moles but at what cost? I think of style versus substance as I evaluated the office visit. He's very skilled in many aspects of skin procedures evidenced by his successful and busy dermatology business. However, his narcissism, arrogance and the lack of filtering his words was off-putting to me.


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