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Anesthetized, and undergoing brain surgery in a twilight type of anesthesia (patient awake) I imagined I was preparing for xrays, and my doctors would want to be alerted about a curious patch of light I could see under the blue surgical drape. I was concerned that the doctors would want to block my face from the exposure to the planned X-rays.

My hands signaling to the doctors, flew over the operating table like birds disrupted from their perch to the cries of the neurosurgery team, “Oh no, don’t.” Luckily, I didn’t touch my incision. I was probably tranquilized an extra dose immediately after that, because when I woke up, the surgery was done!

I checked in with Bioengineer and Neurology team member Dr. Eric Sabelman at Kaiser Permanente Redwood City for his observation of the real situation, “We in the OR are watchful of what the patient’s hands are doing to make sure you don’t reach into the sterile field. You must have co-operated in keeping your hands still after one episode of waving them around, because otherwise they would have put handcuffs on you (not really – probably just put your arms under the blanket!)”

My DBS 2 experience will forever be branded with my beckoning sci-fi vision — a bedazzling jewel of light twinkling against the blue, a colorful tribute to the beauty of the mind.

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Physician Assistant Diana Bruce visited with me after surgery.

Notes for those having DBS Twice

  • The surgery took longer the second time because it took time for doctors to compare my old xrays and scans to the new images.
  • Thanks to Kaiser Permanente anesthesiologist Andrea Moll (in feature photo), a nausea blocker administered before anesthesia helped me sail through surgery without getting sick on the operating table. (It won’t help you with instructions like spell world backwards and count from 100 to 1 in threes.)
  • Regarding DBS 2, Dr.Sableman noted “Since the first target in the brain produced an undesirable side effect (slurring) when a test stimulus was applied, the surgeon opted to try a 2nd target 2 millimeters medial to the first site, with better results.” This is what Neurosurgeon Dr. Mark Sedrak was talking about when he said “location, location, location!”
  • A muscle relaxant worked much better on my sore neck muscles than the heavy-duty medication Oxycodone that I had relied on after the first surgery. I took the muscle relaxant and over-the-counter Tylenol for a only couple of days after surgery, and I haven’t taken anything else for pain since then!

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