On April 1st, 2015, my brother Thomas Farmakis became the first member of our family to consult a plastic surgeon. The typical North Shore plastic surgery patient is most likely a middle aged Mosman mother hoping to reinvigorate her appearance (and marriage). My brother Thomas is a ruthless, diligent fifth year Commerce/Law student and aspiring banker known neither for his vanity, nor for his ignorance.
Thomas was felled by a pimple.
Much like Mount Kilimanjaro protrudes directly from the centre of the equator, Thomas’ pimple emerged from the centre of his forehead, reaching similar heights. Vexed by the failure of his thick, $15 Vietnamese barbershop hair cut to conceal the enormous lump, Thomas did what any other person would: he popped the pimple. Only instead of squeezing it, he lanced the pimple with a rusted safety pin, releasing its sickly yellow pus and viscous fluid.
Within the hour, Thomas noticed something was wrong. His forehead had swollen up to such an extent that he could no longer read his “Conflict of Laws in Australia”, 4th ed. Horrified by his ‘Elephant Man’ appearance, he made his way to the San Hospital, where he was admitted on sight.
Thomas was hooked up to an IV and mellowed by morphine. He found hospital the hardest at meal-time, when the Evangelical, vegetarian meals could not satisfy a carnivorous, pissed off, patient. My Greek mother, bound by an intrinsic, ethnic need to feed her first born son, concealed high end take out, providing Thomas with contraband ‘Ribs and Rumps’, that he consumed between (and during) consultations with his plastic surgeon.
Questioned about the origins of his infection, a bemused stare and sauce stained mouth stated, “I assumed all safety pins in a first aid kit were sterilised”. The first aid kit in question had been purchased during the Hawke Prime Ministership.
The team of doctors at the San eventually determined that the ‘pin’ had given Tom a particularly severe case of Cellulitis. He was told that he would require surgery and facial reconstruction if the swelling did not reduce in the next couple of days. His reaction was delivered with the same monotonous tone and dead pan stare: “can I get a face lift while we’re at it?”.
Ultimately, Thomas spent four days and three nights in hospital. Fortunately, the antibiotics took effect, the swelling reduced, and Thomas didn’t need surgery. He was released to return to a lifestyle of statute memorising and macchiato sipping at Taste Café.
Image Credit: Angela Collins