I was only 6 years old when my sister (8yrs) and I had our ears pinned back in 1978 during school holidays.
My father was a doctor and a colleague of his was a plastic surgeon. He also had a daughter about our age due to have the procedure too, so they booked us all in at the same time!
I remember being admitted to the hospital and all 3 of us were sharing a room, but none of us really knew what to expect or what was going to happen. I have clear memories of eating jelly beans and playing with new toys our parents gave to us as a bit of a distraction.
The day of surgery a couple of nurses came into our room to prepare us and I will never forget the moment they wanted to give me a needle in my bum – to sedate me or maybe it was the general anaesthetic, I can’t remember. I screamed so much and hid under my bed, I was so terrified! It took them ages to get me out of there and when they did, it took a few of them to hold me down so that they could administer that needle – ouch! I have vivid memories of that, my sister doesn’t recall any of this pre-op stuff, she didn’t have such a fear of needles at the time I guess.
When I woke up I realised my head was completely covered in bandages – lots of Elastoplast!! Very sore too.
After a day or two we got to go home and me and my sister looked like we had turbans on, it was pretty funny, but not. When we went out with mum, people would stare so much at us and ask mum questions and wondered if we had had some serious brain surgery. My sister recalls on one occasion an older lady stopping Mum to ask if we were in fancy dress or had we been in a terrible accident – LOL. She was always getting stopped and it was pretty annoying for her having to explain the surgery we had over and over.
My sister said we wrote the doctor a poem (ears rhymed with his name ha ha) to thank him, which we took in to our appointment to have the “turbans” removed. Had we known that was going to make us cry we may have not written him a nice poem! The amount of hair I lost from it being pulled by the sticky bandages, my hair was getting pulled out in places that weren’t protected from the Elastoplast – ouchy!! Then the doctor had to remove the stitches, that wasn’t as clear a memory as the bandage removal. Well we were rewarded with a hard lollipop and my sister clearly recalls sucking it made her ears hurt, I don’t remember the lollipop. Even funnier was that we had to walk down lots and lots of stairs on our way out and we felt like our ears were going to fall off, it felt weird.
Once we got home Mum was keen to wash our hair, of course, she would have been grossed out by the state of our hair after being in those turbans. She bought us some special apple shampoo, never forget the bottle it was so 70’s…..I actually found a picture on the internet of the bottle, we will never forget it or the smell!
The only negative from the Otoplasty surgery that both my sister and I have is some lumpy cartilage where the stitches were and the skin is thin, this gets dry sometimes and the skin falls off occasionally if it’s rubbed on anything, for me it’s my pillow. The other girl who had the surgery with us had her ears pinned back too much and I always remember she had trouble wearing glasses, not sure if she ever had that fixed.
My sister made a good point, she doesn’t recall being consulted about undertaking the surgery, it was just what Mum and Dad decided. I have no memory of our ears being super dumbo before, but from some old photos they did look like they stuck out a bit so I am grateful today that it was done.