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How Kate Langbroek Traumatized Her Daughter

Originally published in Stellar

The other week, I did something that sent my 12-year-old daughter screaming from the room — and I did it without using the words “homework” or “piano practice”.

See, I had been to see a vampire.

I realise this sounds pretty odd. In fact, if I mull over the “let me explain” part that normally follows a columnist’s absurd claims, it still sounds odd.

A friend of mine had told me about going to see a doctor near us who did “vampire facials”.

I found this intriguing, having seen Kim Kardashian smeared with blood in a social media post a few years ago. I remember the video was pretty gruesome, and KK was bleating in pain.

It looked quite bizarre and downright traumatic. So of course, I made an appointment.

The doctor was tall and imposing and charming and Russian. And he works in the field of regenerative medicine, which (I think) is about using the body to heal itself.

It’s a pretty recent science — I think it’s related to stem cells — or whatever juju the ancient billionaires of the world are secretly using to turn up at G20 meetings with more ideas for how to fleece us. Or, more publicly, to keep up with their 35-year-old model-wives on their endless circuits of the Bahamas on their superyachts.

Anyway, at our appointment the doctor asked me what my health problem was, and when I sheepishly said I didn’t have one, but I wanted a vampire facial, he looked at me and said: “That term is subject to copyright,” then followed with: “Yes. We can do it.”

I felt a surge of excitement.

The next thing I knew, I was following the doctor into a room that had a surgical bed, and he put a needle in my arm and took out some blood.

It wasn’t a lot — enough to fill two syringes — which he put in a centrifuge and spun around until it apparently became platelet-rich plasma.

He showed me the micro-needling pen he was going to hook the blood up to, gave me a dental-block injection in my forehead, and then started the procedure.

I was lying on a bed with my eyes closed so I couldn’t see what was going on, but I could feel the apparatus buzzing across my face, and experienced an unpleasant sensation of wet, thick liquid.

On my face. In my eyes. And dripping into my ears. Then the doctor said in his rich Russian accent: “Right now, you look like roadkill. But not to worry.”

That made me laugh. So when the procedure was finished, I fished about for my phone so I could see how I looked.

Holy serial killer. I looked like a deranged, blood-smeared, matted-haired crackpot. Because of the anaesthetic, one eye was drooping, while the other was widened in alarm. It was hideous.

So, of course, I had to take a picture and send it to work. I got a message back from Sach, our producer, saying: “Everybody here screaming.”

That night, my daughter said she had heard from a friend at school who heard on the radio I had done something weird that day. She wanted to see the photo.

I refused. And refused some more. And then I showed her.

Fair to say, my sweet girl doesn’t seem to be a fan of vampires.

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