February 7, 2006

"When I woke up, I tried to light a cigarette and didn't understand why it wouldn't stay between my lips."

Isabelle Dinoire, the woman with the face transplant, describes how she discovered half of her face had been chewed off by her dog:
"That's when I saw the pool of blood and the dog beside it."

Ms. Dinoire said she went to look at herself in a mirror and "couldn't believe what I was seeing — it was too horrible."

Her lips were gone, along with her chin and much of her nose, leaving her teeth and part of her lower jawbone exposed, her doctors said....

Ms. Dinoire's doctors said it would be months before they would know how much motor control she would develop in the transplanted part of her face. But Ms. Dinoire said that "being able to show emotions through my face" was already the best thing about her transplant and that she hoped to eventually be able to smile and grimace.
Ah, to grimace again! I hope you appreciate your ability to grimace. Go on, celebrate life. Do some good grimacing today!
She said the transplant had been a long ordeal, but that "in the end, I never really suffered."

She defended her decision to resume smoking within weeks of the transplant, something remarked upon by the news media.

"Anyway, I never stopped smoking," she said, adding that she regrets only the trouble the news of her smoking caused.
Oh, give the woman a break. She's entitled to her pleasures as she defines them. This is a person who, on awakening from a deep unconscious state with her face chewed off, did not notice that something had gone horribly wrong but that she needed a smoke. That is some serious devotion to smoking.

15 comments:

Dave said...

And a devotion to lung cancer as well.

Or is that too judgmental a thing to say?

SteveR said...

The lesson here is to always feed the dog before you plan on being unconscious.

me said...

I once read that a woman said, "When I quit smoking, I lost my only friend." Yes, some people are serious cigarette devotees.

AJD said...

You left out the sleeping pills that explain how she could have her face chewed off and not notice, let alone wake up. Those are some serious sleeping pills.

MadisonMan said...

Or is that too judgmental a thing to say?

Well, did you grimace when you said it? She can smoke away, in my opinion, as long as I don't have to smell it. Everyone does things that are unhealthy...some vices are just more visible than others.

Ann Althouse said...

Dave: You should consider whether I was being judgmental in saying leave her alone. Perhaps I'm saying that in her case, trying to live a long time and avoid cancer is a small matter. But here you are, trying to entice us into being judgmental about you being judgmental. I'm not going to fall down that rat hole.

LetMeSpellItOutForYou said...

Concerned Citizen: that could also be one helluva smoking habit.

Freeman Hunt said...

Is anyone else awed by how cool it is that man can transplant a face? That is so cool.

Simon Kenton said...

Smoking makes it difficult to heal, and will destroy the skin of the new face. Perhaps the question here is the extent to which the collective we want to pay to palliate obvious self-destruction?

PatCA said...

Well, Simon, she flirted with suicide and her donor accomplished the act, so self-destruction is sort of off the table here.

Best of luck to her. It's just another body part that's being transplanted, right? What's the big deal? Just another opportunity for people to condemn her for whatever societal piety she seems to be violating.

miklos rosza said...

In the early 60s film "Les Yeux sans Visage" (Eyes Without a Face) a French scientist's 20-some year old daughter loses her face in a car accident. He attempts to transplant other young women's faces on to his daughter, but it never seems to work out quite right. A classic horror movie directed by Georges Franju.

jeff said...

If her smoking causes problems with the face transplant... is that a slap in the face of the family of the donor?

Drew W said...

Since I'll leap at any chance to cheapen the tone on Ms. Althouse's blog, that reference to Les Yeux Sans Visage reminded me of Hellraiser II, which was far and away the best of Clive Barker's Hellraiser series. The evil Dr. Channard, fascinated by those Hell-portal puzzle-boxes, resurrects wicked stepmother Julia Cotton, who was killed in the previous film. Her return to corporeality doesn't happen right away, and even after her bones, organs and muscles are restored, her skin is not. Still a gruesome, de-fleshed wraith, Julia asks for, and is given, a cigarette. (Anti-tobacco activists take note -- Hell apparently has joined the many localities that have enacted strict no-smoking ordinances.) Also before she regains her skin, Julia requests a glass of wine and, um, a little lovin'. You could rent it if you're curious about what happens next.

At any rate, it's nice that this French woman got her skin back without her doctors summoning any demons from the underworld -- which would probably not be covered under socialized medicine anyway.

Pogo said...

Re: "Oh, give the woman a break. She's entitled to her pleasures as she defines them."

Absolutely, Ann. As evidenced in some of the posts here, however, our current health puritansim dictates that while any behavior between adults (plus or minus consent) is permissible - or even Oscar material- smoking is a sin.

The Sin of Smoking. It's the last refuge for those who wish to moralize but find that modern relativism has reduced all actions to mere preference. But smoking, which is evil. How could she?

miklos rosza said...

Meanwhile, about two years ago Russian doctors floated the idea that taking up smoking when one is 50 or 55 might greatly aid mental acuity and fight senility... while the negative effects on the lungs and so forth would only "kill you after you're dead" (in other words, likely take more time to get you than your allotted time n earth).

But does the phrase "Russian doctors" inspire confidence? I'm not sure.