Recovery Boutique

Sue spent the first few days after her face lift under the care of registered nurses at the Recovery Boutique. She describes her stay as “a pleasant blur of naps, mealtime chats at the Café and amusing myself in my room (pictured here) reading, watching TV and surfing the internet.”

Submitted by Sue Teague, Retired RN,  CosMed Patient & Guest Blogger

The following post is PART 2 in a series of blog posts by an actual patient who had a brow lift, lower eyelid lift, neck lift & face lift in Mexico.
*Click here to Read Part 1 – How I selected my plastic surgeon

Dr.  Quiroz walked in the exam room and, of course, I recognized him from his photos and exclaimed happily “You’re my Doctor!”  He sat down and chatted a few minutes—he chats easily and has a charming, confident, and attentive manner.  I give him a “10” on bedside manner and listening skills—something that I have found challenging in the physician population in general.

Based on our 5-minute chat, we agreed to change the plan slightly and do “a little more.”  He made sure I understood that after he fixes the muscles below the skin, my face would need a second treatment for my extremely sun-damaged Florida skin.  I had already planned to get some sort of treatment for my deep folds and mouth pucker and assured him that I was aware that I needed to follow-up.  The assistant brought revised paperwork to document the change in care plan.  I was surprised and impressed that Dr. Quiroz took the “Before” photos himself.

I was then guided to the Pre-Op Waiting Room for pre-op vitals where two other patients were already on beds awaiting surgery.  I noted a well-organized stainless steel and glass construction surgical complex.  Being a retired RN in a hospital setting, I was impressed that equipment was modern and the area had been designed to maximize patient safety with clean and sterile conditions.

My vitals were taken and an IV catheter was inserted.  Happily, the skin was numbed before the catheter was inserted—a nice comfort luxury.  The anesthetist identified himself and asked the usual about past reactions and allergies.  The nurse gave me an injection and that is all I recall until I woke up in the Surgical Recovery Room where I stayed the night.  I slept on and off, and with pain meds, was comfortable.  The only discomfort was bed positioning; I was not allowed to have a pillow and was required to be slightly inclined on my back to encourage drainage.

The next morning, an aide wrapped my head in a bandage and transported me to my room at the Recovery Boutique.  Attached to “me” were two long tubes attached to syringes into which fluids from the operative area passively drain.

On arrival in the Recovery Boutique, the first thing I did was ask for more pillows.  Darn!  I still cannot have a pillow!  I was tucked in by the staff attendants and instructed to purchase antibiotics and pain pills unless I had brought my own.  I had brought my own pain medication and purchased the clinic antibiotics.

I became bored with the limited TV programming, much of which I could not understand since I speak English only.  I used the wifi to amuse myself online and got up for meals in the Café public area.  The food was delicious and the Café stocked lots of snacks and beverages for between meals.   The staff attendants were very accommodating and soon learned that I wanted to mingle with others and came to fetch me at mealtimes.
Dr.  Quiroz saw me the next day to look at the incisions and remove the drains.  Removal of the drains does not hurt; it feels like prickly or fluttery sensation.  I asked him about the thick substance which coated my hair and he said the attendants would help me shampoo it out the next day.

face lift day 2

Day 2 after my face lift. You must constantly remind yourself to “Be a Robot.” It is important for the neck muscles to remain unstretched by movement.

I slept and rested on Day 2 and noticed the increased bruising on Day 3.

Despite looking like a train wreck, I felt fine, and was curious about the continuous power tool noise.  So, I grabbed my camera to go check out the preparations for the Clinic Grand Opening.  You can see some of my photos here.

The remainder of my time in the Recovery Boutique was a pleasant blur of naps, mealtime chats at the Café and amusing myself in my room reading, watching TV and surfing the internet.  While there, I was surprised to meet two young men who were having various surgeries and encouraged them to tell their stories.  The night before the Grand Opening, Joyce made the effort to visit me, which I very much appreciated knowing how tired she must have been.

I departed The Recovery Boutique on Post Op Day 4.  The ground transportation driver explained that we would not need to stop in Customs because of a new Medical Tourism lane that had recently opened up, allowing clinical transport vehicles to pause, offer passports for inspection and GO without delay!  Apparently, this special Fast Pass Lane requires clinics and doctors to “qualify” for the special clearance permissions.  What a pleasant surprise!

On Postop Day 4, I was not a pretty sight! At the airport on my way home, I tried to avoid frontal exposure to small children!

These are my Top 10 observations of my early post-surgical face and experience, which included a brow lift, lower eyelid lift, midface lift, and neck lift:

  1. You will be hideous looking and the upper face will be disportionately enlarged with swelling.  I thought my head looked “alien-like.”
  2. Your skin will feel very tight and stretched to the max.  The downside of this is a constant, low-level headache, which is the only discomfort I treated with pain meds and distraction.
  3. Red, yellow and brown bruising appeared and peaked on Days 3-4.
  4. Your skin will be swollen and have altered sensation to touch.  For me, it felt numb and gummy.  At first, I thought that some kind of surgical adhesive had been applied.  Dr. Quiroz said “no glue.”
  5. You will have skin surface irregularities; you might notice a puckers and bumps.
  6. You will lose some scalp hair.  Surgery applies some substance, like high-test mousse gel to your hair and when it dries, it feels like Chinese fried noodles.  Wash, lather, and repeat… the shower at the Recovery Boutique is SO luxurious!  I have thin, fine hair and I was somewhat distressed at the condition of my normally fragile hair.  This was an unexpected and unpleasant surprise.
  7. You must constantly remind yourself to “Be a Robot.”  It is important for the neck muscles to remain unstretched by movement.  When moving the head, be sure to turn it and the upper body as one unit.  There is a penalty if you do not obey this rule- a hematoma or seroma.  I briefly considered wearing a soft cervical collar, but in reality, found that the general neck tightness was enough of a reminder.
  8. You will sleep on your back to encourage drainage and not disturb new incisions and sutures.  The sutured area is also too tender lie on.  I found this hard at first because I use about four pillows for side sleeping, but back lying became easier and was, after all, for a good cause and temporary.  You may have some drainage on your pillows.
  9. You will be on antibiotic therapy for 14 days; the pharmacy sends ciprofloxacin (Cipro) so if you have a problem with this med or antibiotics in general, contact your surgeon ahead of your arrival.
  10. You will be in touch with your surgeon with regular follow-ups.  I am not local and departed a little earlier than Dr. Quiroz wanted me to.  Therefore, we agreed that I would send close-up digital photos of the incisions and sutures, along with front and side photos.  Dr. Quiroz would then phone me with instructions for further care.  He is not only a good surgeon; he’s a good egg!  Though not as desirable a follow-up as being there, it is good enough for an uncomplicated recuperative course and sufficient to get you to a local doctor if necessary.

NEXT >> A Look at the Healing Process, Week One after Face lift