Day of the Rhino


I’ve had a rhinoplasty.

That’s nose job for those of you unfamiliar with the technical term.

It’s actually my second.

The first happened 28 years ago back in 1990.

Yep, me and nose obsession go way back.

So where does one venture to if one is thinking of changing the all important centrepiece of one’s face?

Where else but to the undisputed World Headquarters of plastic surgery – Seoul, Korea. Take it from me – this place even trumps Beverly Hills, California when it comes to image conscienceness. For the sheer number of folk in pursuit of ‘the look’ who are prepared to part with their hard-earned to achieve it this corner of the world comes out on top.

Over there plastic surgery – whether it be eyelid nip ‘n tucks, rhinos, chin implants, cheekbone sculpting or what have you – is just something you do. Sort of like Aussies and tattoos, but price-wise on a much grander scale.


Before I take you on the tour of my op, I need to share this. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt over the course of my many decades long journey regarding nose reshaping surgery it’s the importance of having realistic expectations. Every surgeon you meet in this field emphasizes this.

The dramatic transformation before and after pics which are so easily found on the internet, like the one of the woman below, are much harder to come by in ‘real life’. I should know. I’ve trolled through literally hundreds of before and afters contained in handsomely bound volumes in the waiting rooms of plastic surgeons as well as via on-line surgeon sites and I’ve never, repeat NEVER come across anything as miraculously transformed as the sheer magic that pops up on the internet. I might add too that 99% of the before pictures of these clients you’re absolutely straining to see what the problem was as they look perfectly normal, in many cases even beautiful before any modification.


The surgeon (or Photoshopper) who pulled off this miracle deserves at the very least inclusion in the Rinoplasty Hall of Fame.

When it comes to nose surgery, at least on my face, the word I’ve discovered has been important  vital for me to adopt is ‘subtle’ – as in ‘subtle improvement’ as in ‘modest improvement’. The aim is improvement not transformation, as exampled more by these patients –




Opinions on plastic surgery for cosmetic reasons range along a continua all the way from seeing it as an act of self-empowerment right through to the other end of the scale of it being a form of body dysmorphia (HERE) I regard it as a way to be more comfortable in your own skin. It’s also an aid to cease the self-loathing whenever a mirror is around and free oneself up to be the best possible version of themselves, more fortified and better equipped to handle everything life can dish up.

Now that the preachy part of this post is over, it’s time to get on with the main show. In none of these pictures am I smiling. That’s because (A) I’m not a smiler in photos at the best of times and (B) in some of the clinic photos they request deadpan (Not sure what the Korean word for ‘deadpan’ is but that was the gist of the message to me). And just remember what we spoke about… subtle!


Here I am at Brisbane Airport about to fly 8000km away to meet a guy who’s gonna take to my nose with a hammer and bone saw. And you think you’ve got problems! What am I in such deep contemplation about? Possibly whether airline food has improved since the last time I travelled or whether they’ll have any Barbra Streisand movies on offer in the in-flight entertainment. They’re flared jeans I’m wearing btw.


A little over 24 hours after that Brisbane Airport pic was taken this is me waking up shortly after the operation. This shot was taken in my private suite inside GNG Hospital located in the Gangnam-Gu district of Seoul, Sth Korea. The thumbs up was mildly ridiculous not to mention spectacuarly cheesy I know but how else is a person to pose. ’cause you’re sure not allowed to spread your face into a smile. Now that CREED 2 is out in theatres it’s a pity that they’re not going to make anymore of the ROCKY movies ’cause I could have nailed the part of one of his worse-for-wear sparring partners.

In fact, another movie reference comes to mind when I look at that post-op picture of myself. One of my all-time favourite movies if not my FAVOURITE MOVIE OF ALL TIME has always been and continues to this day to be the Clint Eastwood action pic DIRTY HARRY (1971). There’s a scene in that movie involving the villain Scorpio (played to perfection by Andy Robinson) who pays a person to beat him up. He in turn then tries to pin the blame on his arch nemesis Detective Harry Callahan played by Clint Eastwood.


Anyone without the stomach for film depictions of strong violence would be better forwarding straight past the first 60 seconds of this clip.

The recovery phase post-op consisted of me being holed up in a Korean hotel room for 10 days living on a diet of ramen noodles and nori wrapped rice triangles plus enough round-the-clock, infection fighting antibiotics to inoculate a herd of wild elephants. Oh, and can’t forget to mention the 42 Korean TV channels that played a mixture of news, crazy game shows and soaps (there was even a Korean fishing channel – lucky me!).

I’m still trying to work out whether watching that stuff night and day for the duration helped save my sanity or almost sent me over the edge. I think depending on the day it was a bit of both. It wasn’t all sacrifice and discomfort though. I never did tire of looking out our 12th floor hotel window and watching the snowflakes fall like a million buzzing white moths every morning.  That’s a memory that won’t turn cold anytime soon.

So there you have it. My face transforming Korean Odyssey. What’s that? Oh, you want to see the final result? Yeah, had a feeling you might. But before I do, remember our little chat earlier about realistic expectations? Recall me not so subtly emphasizing the word ‘subtle’.

You do?

Ok, now you get to see…


The ‘Before’ picture was taken on the morning of the operation. The ‘After’ shot, with bruising and swelling still clearly visible, was captured on Day 9 of recovery.

Bear in mind apart from aesthetic reasons I also undertook this procedure on medical grounds in order to open up blocked airways that have restricted my breathing for as far back as I can remember. If you’re straining to see the difference between the nose on the left and the one shown on the right, I understand. But trust me it’s there. An elevated bridge and more contoured volume courtesy of donated cartilage is no trick of the light.

Have I got the nose I always dreamed of having? Not by a long shot. Is it an improvement on what I had? Yes it is. After two go’s at it I now know with complete certainty a Hollywood ‘Brad Pitt’ style of nose and I are destined never to be united. Not in this lifetime anyway. The goal now, as it always has been, is to make best use of what I do have and try to find happiness in that. I’ve taken longer to learn to do this up to this point in my life than anyone I’ve ever met. The second goal is to repay the faith shown in me by my family who’ve supported me throughout the whole literal and metaphorical ‘journey’. For now it’s time to get back to the real world.

Last year brought a new car, a new house and a new blog in LOST IN SPACE FIRESIDE. I’m starting off 2019 with a new nose at a brand new work place. Funny, huh? Life is never dull (except when it is). And all these changes are SO going in the scrapbook!

P.S. Check out these before and after’s of President Obama‘s rhinoplasty. Like I say, difference-wise, subtle.

Capture w


PSS. Don’t think any of you woke up this morning thinking “Today I absolutely must see a rhinoplasty video” but in case there is anyone who did wake up feeling that way, you my friends, have just struck pay dirt. I promise it’s not real footage, just an animation. Here you go then…

PSSS. Two other funny little moments connected with this odyssey are worth mentioning here. What do you think the chances are of hopping on a flight to travel half way around the world, arriving at your snow-bound destination and then, as your standing in line to present your passport, turning around and spotting a person from your workplace who’s also standing in line?

‘Cause that’s precisely what happened the moment we arrived in Sth Korea – a country which in no way could be mistaken for the number one holiday destination of Aussies going abroad. The remote likelihood was rendered even more against- the-odds of happening when you take into account the fact that my holidays had commenced exactly one week earlier than anyone else at my place of work (or so I thought) since I had applied for and been granted one week’s special leave earlier in the year. Freaky? Just a liitle yeah.


The second noteworthy moment occured while having a consultation at my local GP’s office for an unrelated matter. This took place about a week after arriving home. There I was being examined by the female doctor, which consisted of her asking me if there was tenderness when she gently squeezed particular areas beginning with my scalp and forehead. When I could see she was about to get all hands on squeezy with my nose I had to lower the boom gate pretty fast and ask her to please back off.

I explained I’d just returned from having a rhinoplasty in Sth Korea. I then asked her if she’d ever known anyone who’d had the operation. She replied, “Where I come from… plenty!” I then said  I’d discovered Seoul, Sth Korea to be the World’s capital when it comes to plastic surgery, eclipsing even Beverly Hills, California. She replied, “Iran would outdo both of them put together!”

Looking at this video made me think she might be right.



22 thoughts on “Day of the Rhino

    • I already have entry-level skills at the didgeridoo as well as the nose harp, contrabass flute and of course the completly weird and very 1970’s theremin. I think it will be boomerang lessons next for me.

      Not sure what all that has got to do with rhinoplasty but thanks for your well wishes anyway Uncle Bryan. Looking forward to receiving more entries from THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES throughout 2019.

      And long live Spahn Ranch! (We both know that’s code that only you and I understand).


  1. Hi Glen.
    It looks like you went a round with Rambo! Ouchy!
    As long as the operation has improved your breathing – that’s the important thing. Brave you!
    All the best at your new school – will miss our chats (even though rare).
    Take care of you and family.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for your positive thoughts Robyn.
    John Rambo, Rocky and I go way back as far as admiration goes.
    I just never knew one day I’d go on a mission that would leave me looking like them.
    Oh well, the bruising only lasted about 12 days and that’s now a distant memory.


  3. Yeah, I thought your Korea trip was just a vacay. No idea, obviously, that this serious/life-altering event was happening! So happy your breathing has been improved, plus the added cherry on top of the subtle visual change.
    I can’t believe you bumped into someone you knew over there. So jolting when that kind of thing happens!
    I also had no idea about Obama. Interesting……..
    I can almost see the snow floating past your hotel window from the way you described it. It sounds magical.
    Thanks for sharing

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Never had rhinoplasty, but those knife weilders have carved out chunks internally, twice! More or less born with chronic sinusitis, I discovered the need for surgery when I applied to be aircrew in the RAF. They told me my eardrums would be blown out if I flew above 10,000 feet in an unpressurised aircraft. I’d passed all the other necessary tests, so they volunteered to drill me out. (I always referred to this as the Black and Decker job!) A couple of months after surgery, at the age of 17, I discovered food tasted wonderful: I’d had a seriously diminished sense of smell until this point.
    As it happned, by the time the surgery was complete and I’d recovered, I’d also lost interest in the RAF, so I never did become aircrew.
    And about 20 years later, I had to have the op again.
    30+ years on from that one, I live with the blockages; our NHS has better things to do with its limited resources than drill out the passages of an old man.
    You’re much younger, hope the bore out and redesign does the job for you, Glen. Looks okay, too!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. What a wonderful contribution to the discourse here Stuart.
    Black and Decker job indeed!

    I have to confess, knowing that you receive this blog each week, I’d secretly wished on a number of occasions in the past that you would put your considerable word talents to use and make a comment on these humble pages.

    Thanks so much for doing so on this occasion.
    Would really love to hear from you more reguarly on any topics on SCENIC WRITER’S SHACK you find in the future of interest.

    Sorry for the hard sell but published authors don’t stray by these parts that often!

    What you indicated about the effects of operations not necessarily lasting decades on is certainly interesting and offers a long term perspective not often heard.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Glen, I’ve noticed over the weeks that your ‘Likes’ are slowly increasing. That’s a sign more people are visiting your site (only a tiny proportion will bother with a ‘Like’, of course.
      I generally manage a ‘Like’ and a Tweet, each week when I go through the list of blogs/websites I follow. A comment obviously takes more time (my most precious commodity, as it is with all writers). But it’s a point well made. I’ll see what I can come up with in the future, as I always enjoy your posts.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. That post op photo Glen was particularly fetching. Few of us have such photo ops. I’m thinking of other poses you could have done, but I dare say you were probably not in the mood at the time.

    What I love about all this Glen is the way we could recently chat for hours over coffee with not the slightest hint you’d been under the knife. Your self control in giving nothing away is seriously commendable. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • I can admit now there was subterfuge at play that last time we had coffee together. I wanted to see if at any point you might stop mid-sentence to observe “Glen, there’s something different about you but I can’t quite put my finger on it”.

      I’m a game player from way back (in a bid to keep myself amused) so don’t think you were singled out to be the butt of some social experiment. Anyone I’ve been in contact with since I returned from Korea has been subjected to the same “Do you notice or do you not notice?” little observation test.

      Liked by 2 people

      • That is really cool Glen. I don’t mind being part of the experiment at all. I can still say I really can’t put my finger on anything different about your face, but since we do coffee every 3 months, so much can change in a space of time like that, I’m probably numbed to nuanced changes like the surgery you were under. Maybe if I saw you every day it might be different? I don’t know. Life is such a rushed affair for most of us it can be really hard to pick up subtle detail in the rush of life.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for being a sport about knowing that you were the subject of a social experiment of sorts.
        I think you’re spot on about time spans and their effect on whether subtle differences can be noted or not.


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