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PATIENT STORY: Deborah, Part Two: Portland woman describes the day she got plastic surgery.

(Note from Dr. David Magilke:  In my practice I’ve noticed that prospective patients are very curious about the actual experience of any surgery or procedure  they’re considering undergoing. My patient Deborah Sayler (that’s her real name) has agreed to share her experience on my blog.  We performed a facelift on Deborah in our surgical suite on June 7, 2010.  This series of five blog entries describes Deborah’s decision-making process, her surgical experience, and her recovery.  The pieces were written by journalist Margie Boule. This is the second of five entries.)

“I had a wonderful sensation of tiny, cool, white bubbles all over my head.”

Monday morning, June 7, Deborah woke up before her alarm clock buzzed.

I didn’t really have butterflies. I was excited, I was looking forward to it. I had such confidence in David and his skill.”

Deborah walked into the office that morning “and they’re in their beautiful green scrubs. Green is my favorite color.”

Deborah’s “before” pictures had been taken the previous Friday.

“They asked me if I wanted anything to relax.  In this case I really didn’t feel I needed it,” Deborah says.

Dr. Magilke and Deborah confirmed what would be done.  “He pulls out a marker, and marks my neck, and then we’re heading to the operating room.”

The moment they walked through the door, Deborah says, “is when I started getting nervous.” Kelly, Dr. Magilke’s nurse, was right by Deborah’s side.  “I said, ‘Okay, the reality is here now.’ And Kelly reassured me. I said, ‘I’m confident. I just always  get a little teary when I’m about to go under anesthesia.’ And she was very reassuring. She made me feel very comfortable.”

The night before, Kelly and the anesthesiologist who would be present throughout Deborah’s surgery each had called Deborah at home.  Deborah felt no questions had gone unanswered.

The moment the anesthesia began to flow through a needle inserted into Deborah’s hand, “I started to get very relaxed and go into the twilight anesthetic.  It’s where you’re not awake, but you’re not completely under.  If they ask you a question you’re able to respond.

“I had a wonderful sensation of tiny, cool, white bubbles all over my head.”

At one point during the surgery, “I felt Kelly touch my arm and say, ‘Are you okay?’ I said, ‘I’m in the Matrix.  Did you see that movie?  You never know if you’re in the Matrix, but that’s where I am.”

She felt no pain.  “You don’t know you’re being operated on.  But it’s the strangest thing: I remember the conversation.

“I remembered that the last time I looked at a clock it was 8:20.  The next time I looked at the clock, it was 11:35.”

Deborah says “it was the best anesthesia I’ve ever had.  When you come out of it, you do come out of it quickly.” She did not have “the horrible nausea I’ve had coming out of regular anesthesia.  Instead, I was totally ravenous.”

After she ate a second packet of crackers, Deborah was given a mirror.

“Here I am in a turban thing.  I was like a character in one of the those Star Wars movies, those nasty little warriors with huge gauze-wrapped heads.  I said, ‘Oh. That’s a pretty large turban.’ I hadn’t expected it to be that large. But when you have that type of surgery, you want that type of tight compression, because it feels good.”

Deborah changed into a nightshirt she’d brought for the ride home.  She had an appointment to be checked the following afternoon.

They started to leave the room and I said, ‘Get back here.’ And I gave them all a hug. And then I came home.”

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