Being the plastic surgeon’s girlfriend, turned employee, turned wife has generated some humorous episodes in my life. Here are some of those episodes. I will update this page as I recall and experience more!
He’s Not My Dad
Sitting in an airport one day, Paul was busy with his usual New York Times crossword puzzle. I noticed these two young ladies sitting across from us giggling and staring. When Paul stood up to throw away his completed puzzle, one of them leaned over to me and said, “We think your dad is cute.” I replied, “Uh, he’s not my dad, but he is a plastic surgeon.” Poor chics appeared rather confused with my response.
He’s A Married Man!
Maintaining a professional relationship in the office can often be a challenge. I guess we were pulling it off rather well. During office visits with a patient, we would engage in small talk about the wildlife of our neighborhood of which we both resided. She was a fabulous gal.
One evening after work, Paul and I decided to have dinner at a local restaurant. Apparently this patient had spied us as we entered the restaurant. While we were seated she approached us, but it wasn’t to say ‘hello.’ She aggressively addressed me with, “What are you doing here? He’s a married man!”
She stormed away from us before we could respond. Assumption is the mother of all . . . . .
Stupid Chics Give Me Migraines
It’s no secret I suffer from chronic migraine. People who suffer from this disease will go to great lengths for a cure, and I am no exception. Paul and I were invited to a dinner party one evening at a good friend’s house. Also in attendance was a neuro-surgeon, my husband the plastic surgeon, our friend who owns a medical device company, and an internal medicine physician and his date who was a personal trainer. All of the physicians sitting at the table knew of my treatment past and had engaged in assisting me with my care.
Over the course of dinner, many medical subjects were discussed as expected. One of those subjects turned to a new experimental treatment believed to help migraine. The neuro-surgeon was discussing trying it on me to see if it would help. When out of nowhere the personal trainer decides she has my cure by saying, “If you would let me train you at the gym I can cure you of your migraines.”
You could’ve heard a pin drop.
Ken Made the Barbie Doll
I got involved with the local acting scene as a teenager and soon thereafter into modeling. Dating Paul in the beginning introduced me to a different snooty crowd than the local artist scene I had known. One evening I met Paul at a local hot-spot restaurant for dinner with another couple. Paul and the other couple were in the bar portion side of the restaurant having drinks awaiting my arrival. Paul had this big glow on his face as I entered. He proceeded to tell me the rumor he had just been told by the other couple.
Rumor going around about me was that when Paul and I first started dating, I was this swine nosed ugly duckling and he had been doing all this surgery on me to mold me into this Barbie doll. Paul was tickled pink over the story, I was rather mortified by the ignorance of the rumor mill, more like the jealous bar hags you see all over town hustling for a drink.
I cannot imagine I am the only plastic surgeon’s wife who has lost a few friends due to plastic fantastic marital bliss. We’ve all lost some friends either for their derogatory opinions about cosmetic surgery, much like being friend’s with opposing political views, or we’ve lost friends due to the story I am about to share.
My birthday, St. Patrick’s Day, has gifted me with some delightful and not-so-delightful gifts of green. Last year was a little more green than I could have ever imagined, but I didn’t receive a tangible item of the color green. A long time friend’s phone number showed on my caller ID. Having not heard from her in over a year, I was at first delighted to hear from her. Thinking she was calling to wish me happiness on my birthday, I engaged in conversation by inquiring about her family and other mutual friends since we live several states apart. Realizing she was antsy to carry the conversation I surrendered the platform. She stated she was single, not dating anyone, and really wanted to come for that breast augmentation she had always wanted. Problem was, she was broke, didn’t have any credit, and insisted on having the procedure on a specific Friday merely weeks away. When I discussed the cost of the procedure, she proclaimed, “I can’t afford anything right now, so I will have the procedure and make payments to Paul when I get the money.” I was shocked by her boldness to think my husband would “loan” her the money and proceed to demand she have the surgery on a specific date. In my best Southern manner, I made it clear to her that that date was already booked by paying patients, and that it was unethical for surgeons to be bankers. I extended her the best of luck to save the money and looked forward to having this conversation when she was in a better financial condition. She seemed to have not heard a word I said.
For the next few days, I was enamored with numerous text messages wanting to know if she was scheduled for surgery on her requested date. I responded back that he was already booked (because he really was booked). My honesty wasn’t well respected by my “friend,” as she asked me to move another patient to another date so she could have her surgery on that day. In my disgust, I promptly asked her if she had enough money to cover the cost of the implants, operating room and anesthesia costs as these are made payable the day of surgery to the respected parties. No, she responded with “tell Paul I will pay him back when I get the money.”
For the next week, I ignored her text messages and phone calls. I guess she got the message. About two months later, I noticed she posted several photos of her recent wedding. I am certain she stated she was “single” months earlier. I am also certain I didn’t receive an invitation to her wedding.
I don’t talk about my sex life with employees – DUH!
Working in an office full of women can have challenges in general. Add a plastic surgeon’s wife to that mix and said women will find no limits to their behavior.
It’s no secret I have been targeted by employees in the past and make no mistake, I am not delusional to think it will ever end. The position of the wife in almost any office is that of the overseeing owl or watch dog. And that was definitely my first duty.
As spouses working in the same building, much less same office, a certain degree of professionalism must exist especially when it comes to our private lives. As a Southern Lady, I have been raised to keep certain aspects of life private, so to engage in sex talk to others is not my norm under any circumstance much less with employees. We had one employee in particular several years ago who would openly discuss her sex life with others whether they engaged in the subject or not. She didn’t care. Sex talk was her platform and she was proud of it. Sticking to my private and professional habits, I wouldn’t partake in her conversations, and I would discourage such talk on “my clock.”
She never caught on to discussion professionalism in our office. Apparently the other employees engaged in the topic, but knew to do so away from my ear shot. One day I entered my office after lunch to find a box addressed to me delivered by UPS. Since I often receive goods related to our business I innocently opened the box. The office was noticeably quite as I opened my drawer to pull out my scissors to cut the packaging tape. Half way through getting into the well packaged box, I could hear all of my employees giggling in the other room. Once in the box I knew what the humor was about: They had arranged for a box of over 100 free samples of personal lubricant to be delivered to me.
I quietly closed the box, stashed it in a drawer and made no mention of it. A few days later said sex-talk employee inquired if I had used my “gift.” I stated to her that most bosses would have fired her for such an unprofessional action. She stated she was merely “trying to help” my sex life indicating I needed the help. I responded to her that “assumption is the mother of all ___ ups.”
She doesn’t work for us anymore.
“I fear she may try to hurt you”
Catchy title here but those are the actual words a patient’s boyfriend said me one day when he popped into the office unannounced. Yes, a patient’s boyfriend came to our office to warn me about his girlfriend.
Said patient had some cosmetic procedures performed by my handsome husband. Her visits became more and more frequent for additional ancillary procedures more often requiring her to disrobe in order to model her most recent Victoria’s Secret purchase. Physicians never enter a patient’s exam room without a chaperone especially in this industry. Had Paul entered her exam room without his nurse in tow, this patient might have delighted in the opportunity. Paul was suspicious of this patient’s “forward” behavior and maintained a more professional atmosphere than usual by having more than one chaperone. Running out of cosmetic excuses, the patient began to call the office desiring to have “personal” phone calls with the doctor. When that didn’t happen, I guess she became desperate.
One day her boyfriend appeared at our office insisting to speak with me. In Paul’s office, he proceeded to tell me that I needed to “beware” and “be careful” because his girlfriend had recently been told by her psychic that “Paul was her soul mate and that he would pursue her relentlessly.” The problem: I was in her way. This fella was truly concerned for my safety. He seriously feared his girlfriend would try to harm me in order to take my place. Paul and I were confused as to why her boyfriend knew of this information? Needless to say, their relationship went on the rocks.
Nothing happened. Or shall I say, nothing has happened to date of writing this blog entry.
My Name is not Paula
At the time of writing this blog entry, Paul and I have been together over 15 years. It still amazes me how many people we know socially or professionally who still don’t know my name but they remember the name alliteration of the letter “P”, so they choose the closest choice which is always “Paula.” Really people?
This isn’t my first time to deal with my name. As a child, elementary students bullied me by calling me “Peter Pam.” As a seven year old it hurt at first. My artist mother made a brilliant solution with a hand painted shirt she had me wear to school one day with a picture of Tinker Bell. My classmates moved on to another student and the “Tinker Bell” nickname never caught on. As an adult, I still struggle with being preferably called “Pamela” as opposed to the lazy abbreviated “Pam.” Add a husband with the name of Paul and people just give up on the dingy blonde irrelevant wife’s name that appears to not matter as much as the prestigious plastic surgeon’s name.
Recently, a marketing account executive we had been doing business with for nearly a year called the office and asked to speak with “Paula.” Take note we had exchanged dozen of emails and spoken by phone numerous times prior to this current communication. The phone call was already an attempt to maintain our business relationship. Not so anymore. I realized we were just another account and lack of attention to detail, such as my name, might reflect elsewhere in this business relationship.
For the record, I prefer to be called Pamela. Dang, I went to college for this?
Don’t try to sale a Plastic Surgeon’s Wife Skincare unless you are Dr. Obagi Himself
My position in the office includes helping out with all aspects of the office including answering the phone. One day a lady called wanting to schedule an appointment with Dr. Howard, but not as a patient. She had an unknown skincare line she wanted to introduce to him. In my professional manner I requested she “snail mail or email some information regarding the products and if he is interested he will let you know as his schedule is currently booked.” Mortified by my response, she insisted on knowing “Dr. Howard’s wife’s phone number.” I informed her I was not at liberty to give out such information (I suppose for the sake of this conversation my name could easily be Paula). She further stated in a catty tone of voice, “If his wife used my skincare I know he would want to sale it in his office.” I told her she was welcome to drop off some literature regarding her skincare line for Dr. Howard’s review. She responded by demanding to know “his wife’s name.” Not knowing the wife had been on the phone with her the entire time, I told her his wife’s name is “Jessica” (the name of my deceased Pomeranian). She responded in an even more shocked manner calling out “JESSICA?” As if she didn’t like his wife’s name, or the name of our dog for that matter.
Moral of the story, if you act that disrespectful on the phone, you will get shut down by the wife, or Paula.
Pamela: The Boob Model by Marriage
When you are married to a surgeon of any specialty, it is hard to get away on vacations due to their surgery schedules and arranging for “call-coverage” of those patients while you are away. It is not ethical for surgeons to operate on folks, then leave town. To plan a get-away, the office schedule is usually cut off for surgeries a week or more before the physician is actually gone.
It’s no secret I have breast implants and have had them for over 20 years. They changed my life. I inherited my grandmother’s tiny frame from the waist up, and my grandfather’s bold frame from the hips down. I felt like a pear until I got implants to give me more of an hour-glass figure. It helps that I had a great plastic surgeon to do them, who would later become the love of my life. What’s that guy’s name? It starts with a ‘P.’
Proud of his work, and proud of his wife too I suppose, I have had a few moments in public where ladies would inquire about breast augmentation and I would become the available model for the moment. One such incidence occurred in all places, a swimsuit store in Florida while we were on vacation. Unfortunately, my implants missed the vacation memo.
I had picked out a few bikinis to try on while in this store. Yes, with Paul’s help. From the dressing room I could hear someone recognize and identify Paul. This lady had several friends with her. I proceeded to try on my selections and chose one to show off to Paul for approval. As I opened my dressing room door, there stood Paul and a crowd of sorority sisters all “wanting” boobs. I was expected to model off the swimsuit to Paul, while all those chics just wanted to check out his work of art.
On another unexpected modeling moment, having an in-house breast implant model became very convenient on a few occasions. Those occasions usually involve a new patient in one of the office exam rooms interested in breast augmentation, and Paul would holler out the door for me, “Pamela, come here and bring your boobs with you.” Makes for a great Facebook status, don’t you think?
I don’t mind being the boob model amongst us girls and in a professional office environment, but I had to draw the line when a husband wanted to touch and squeeze my implants so he could see how they “feel.” Nope, not gonna happen.
Bad Patient Reviews Because the Doctor Declined a Coffee Date
Yes, it’s true. Anyone can give a doctor a bad review for no good reason. In this case, it was a very happy facelift patient with a beautiful result. The review came after she asked Paul to meet her for coffee. He declined stating he was “flattered, but spoken for.” He rarely wears his wedding band due to having to take it off so much from the surgical gloves. He has decided it better to leave it at home than lose it. There might not be enough roses on the planet if he did.
One day I was out and about running errands. I dropped by the office to deliver office supplies and saw this nice lady. We exchanged the usual “it’s good to see you” pleasantries. She stated how she didn’t know we were married and found it wonderful that we worked together. Months later I discovered on one of those notorious physician review sites a bad review specifically aimed at “that unprofessional and snooty blonde who wasn’t wearing her uniform.” That has been the only bogus negative review I have ever been able to get removed from those crazy review sites.
Eye Doctor Can’t See
A friend requested I go with them to their yearly eye appointment. Waiting in the exam room filled with advertisements for cosmetic procedures, the doctor comes in to perform the official vision exam. He suggests to my friend they have a blepharoplasty (cosmetic eyelid surgery). My friend states they have a surgeon for that procedure when they get ready, as she points to me further indicating I had already had blepharoplasty by Dr. Howard. The eye doctor glances over at me, scoots his rolling exam chair closer to evaluate my eyes and states:
“Yeah, he put some scars on you. You ought to let me fix that. I can do it here in the office.” This doctor touts himself as being an “expert.” He’s an ophthalmologist, not even a general surgeon.
New Year’s Eve Date
Early on in our relationship and after Paul conned me into working for him. Yes, we were actually living together before I worked for him, not the other way around. Paul had this lovely patient who was the wife of a prominent surgeon. She had seen Paul for some procedures over the years so he knew her well. One New Year’s Eve, she and her husband attended the same bash. While at the ball which was also a fundraiser with a silent auction, she spied us. While Paul was in conversation with friends and I was a few paces away bidding on an auction item, she flew over to me like a flying monkey, put her hand on my shoulder to swing me around to her and shouted, “how long has THIS been going on?” She knew me from the office, but didn’t know about our relationship – apparently. Paul dashed over to attend the situation and she proceeded to speak to him like I was the other woman and we just got red-handed. Her husband came over apologizing for her behavior while pulling her away from my “circle.” His excuse was she had a little too much to drink before the midnight bell. Paul scooted me away to the other side of the room horrified by her behavior. Other observers of the dramatic event came over to tell us she must have some sort of crush on her plastic surgeon as rumors were rabid around town of her not-so-marital bliss.