Longform

Growing Pains

Page 6 of 6

During the time leading up to the surgery, Rains's moods swung back and forth from anxiety to hope. There were the warnings of possible infections and other unlikely complications. "Dr. Safford said it was possible that some of the fat wouldn't take and he'd need to retouch it," Glen recalls. But there was also that hope of one to two inches in additional length and a 30 to 50 percent increase in mass.

Anything more than that would just be greedy. Besides, says Glen, "If you go much higher than that, Dr. Safford told me it gets to looking grotesque and it won't work properly."

On the day of the operation--September 13, 1995--Rains and his wife drove to the Aurora Outpatient Surgical Center. He was given general anesthesia. He woke up a couple of hours later feeling hung over and sore. Kathy stopped at McDonald's on the way home and bought him two milkshakes.

When Glen got home, "I was worried because of the swelling and the bruising," says Kathy. "Boy, it was not just unsightly. It was blue." Safford's office told them such an appearance was common after the operation, and Kathy calmed down. "But then," she adds, "the infections started."

Post-surgery infections are hardly unheard of. Still, one of the most commonly reported complications of penile-enhancement procedures is penile infections, and Glen's seemed particularly bad.

Within three days, Glen's penis was in such rough shape that he had to return to Safford's office, where he was given antibiotics. He came in each day after that for nearly a week. On the weekend, one of Safford's assistants went to the Rainses' home to administer the shots.

The infection lasted nearly three weeks, Glen and Kathy say. They requested that Glen be sent to a hospital, they add, but Safford advised against it. Even after Glen's fever finally retreated, there were problems. For instance, Kathy says, "sexually, he was totally incapacitated. There was just no way. It was too painful for him. But it was also worrisome for me."

Worse, Glen's penis remained misshapen. Most studies recommend patients wait at least three months for the injected fat to settle. Even then, though, when Glen looked down, he was disappointed. "It worked okay, but cosmetically, it didn't look correct," he says. "It's constricted in the middle where the fat didn't take. It's like a bicycle tube you're putting a patch on, and then it bulges in one place and is smaller in another."

Although his penis had undoubtedly gotten larger--Glen estimates a one-inch length gain and a 30 percent girth increase where the fat injections did stay put--"it was not what I expected," he says.

Glen felt his business with Safford wasn't over. Speaking from his garage, he finds an analogy: "If I goof somebody's engine up when I work on it, I have to stand behind my work. I'll repair it."

Touch-up work on enhanced penises is not uncommon, and some of Glen's member probably could have been repaired (although his long infection likely left some permanent scars). But over the next several months, relations between Safford's office and the Rainses deteriorated into emotional shouting matches and threats of legal action--the sort of thing medical-malpractice insurers fear most from the penilely enhanced. Glen and Kathy admit that, on occasion, they were aggressive, loud and demanding, a result of their frustration. Today they are not on speaking terms with Safford.

Meanwhile, on his own, Glen went in search of a repair shop. He returned to the source. Harold Reed, considered the founder of penile enhancement, still works in Miami, where a portion of his business is now surgery done to repair the unsatisfactory work of other doctors.

Reed told Glen that to smooth out the bulges, divots and cysts remaining on his penis would cost between $3,900 and $6,000. That's not including plane fare to Florida, three nights in a hotel (Reed's clinic will provide bus service between the hotel and the clinic) and other expenses.

It's a lot of money, but Glen has begun to save. Kathy explains: "It would be like if you had this really huge nose, and you went in for surgery and it came out worse than before. Psychologically, it can mess with you real bad. And with Glen, sometimes that happens.

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Eric Dexheimer
Contact: Eric Dexheimer