Hi Friends, For those of you that are not on my Fb I thought I would give an update. I gave a play-by-play update on Fb as I was going along.
I didn’t do that because I am addicted to FB or because I really just want everyone know about my every move……I did that because I wanted to calm the nerves of all of the people around me who were nervous about my decision.
There were also some people in my feed that are considering the surgery and using the same facility that I am…so I wanted to re-assure them that I was alive & well during the process.
What is really beautiful about that process is that my intentions were to help others but in the course of it all I had such an overwhelming amount of support, love & prayers. I was really blessed. I felt great the whole time ( mostly) and above all I had such peace. I know God answered my prayers but also all of my prayer warriors. I never feel invincible. I never feel like I know everything 100% ….but I do feel/know in my heart that God is always there for me. I am always AWED & AMAZED by him and his love for me. When I woke up for the first time and I was able to absorb all of the love that was shown to me through all of my friends & family and quilt community…well I was warmed to my core and I think I healed from the heart out. Honestly.
But setting all of that aside for a moment…I want to share my experience with you.
I got a text at 4 am from the airlines stating that my flight was delayed and I was going to miss my connecting flight. Not good. So I immediately got up and booked a different flight to arrive in the window of time I needed. Rob was supposed to drive me …he couldn’t he got called into work….so I drove and He & Bryce worked out the car situation so he could pick me up…on the return trip home. I got to see Bryce…coming in and going out….He hadn’t even been away from home for a week. hehe.
Once we arrived in San Diego our driver Victor picked us up. Usually he would start to take us across the border….but another lady was coming in 90 mins later so he offered to take us around San Diego for a little tour. So we opted for that. We visited a few monuments and took a tour of the harbor. It was a great way to start our experience. We were all at ease and comfortable. Once we picked up our friend…we headed across the border. We made it to the Hyatt Place Hotel in Tijuana. Now I know everyone has this image of Tijuana that isn’t very pretty. But honestly we weren’t in the slums….we were in the big City part …it looked like any other big city. The Hyatt is always a nice hotel and looked like any Hyatt you would see in America. I know that because I have been staying at Hyatt’s for several years and because my Brother works for Hyatt hotels.
They served Beef or Roasted Chicken broth, sugar free popsicles, and sugar free jello to all of us patients ..we could have as much as we wanted within reason. Honestly I have to say it was some of the best broth I have ever had…so The Tijuana Hyatt really has the best broth. LOL Kind of funny but it is real broth. I felt that way before and after surgery.
We went to Mi Hospital early that morning had our preliminary labs, EKG and pre-op checks. Our Drive was Arturo. he was a charmer..spoke very good english and made everyone feel very comfortable. He is very good at what he does. He also plays a heroic role later in our Story that I cannot get into publicly….but he went above & beyond for one of my companions and really saved us.
1 by 1 we each went into Surgery. I was second in line…so I saw my friend who went before me come out of surgery..they were prepping me while she was coming out of her Anesthesia and in recovery. Then they cleaned & prepped the surgery room in between. After that then they wheeled me in had me lie on the table…..The Anesthesiologist said “You are young….you are the same age as me” I went out..when I woke up I was nauseous..they gave me a shot in my IV and I fell back to sleep. I woke up in my room…because I heard my friend & neighbor yelling at someone in the hall.
I was probably not in any shape to get out of bed & walk around….but her distress scared me so I got up and went to her room. There was an issue with bags. One of her bags was missing. Everyone assured us that there would be no issue with bag theft ect. while they were looking for her missing bag..they left the room. The bag magically appeared again. In the facilities defense..there was nothing missing. But it was quite unnerving. We are vulnerable as it is..and we want to know that our things are safe. So once she got settled and I thought everything was fine in my haze I went back to bed. I messaged Rob told him I was fine & that I loved him..I made it through and to update my friends.
I woke up a few hours later. I had my own room. I thought one of my friends would need to the support of our other friend a bit more than I would need…so I opted to be alone…I am pretty independent…. and I have a really high tolerance for pain. I did everything that they told me to do.
But there are some things that are kind of scary from an American Perspective.
1. I think the nurses may not really be trained nurses…like as in highly qualified people like our American nurses. The language barrier is also an issue.
They don’t understand you sometimes so when you ask for a pillow 3 times and it doesn’t come it’s frustrating. When it doesn’t finally arrive and it’s a makeshift non-pillow..it seems like you asked for nothing anyway. But I was thankful she finally brought it anyhow.
They don’t give you a pain pump that just drips constantly into your IV. They give you shots of meds in your IV every 6 hours to manage pain. Which in most cases is just not enough pain management. I did OK…but that first day & second morning they were not on time with giving those meds…and I would just lay in my bed instead of walking and what not because it was pretty painful. I wasn’t crying or complaining ( I am not a complainer) I just wasn’t going to do anything extra to help myself. That’s just how I am. If they hadn’t given me one more shot I wouldn’t never have said anything I would have just suffered. But then I heard my friend across the hall..yelling at the nurses station and raising cain because she was hurting and wanting her meds.
So we all got them..within minutes ->I could walk and start breathing exercises again.
When they give you meds..they bring in several syringes…and they give you all of these meds at once. They don’t schedule them out….which I feel is scary in itself. But they also don’t flush your Iv in-between drugs. They just stick in 1 right after another. That is scary because all of these things, then become a cocktail and if you have a reaction-> you will never know what is actually causing it. I find that a liability. ( but then again that is why surgery is cheap in Mexico…no liability) I got nauseous after the meds were administered a few times because I think all of those meds at one time is just a bit much at once. So any oral ones they gave me I just wouldn’t take because I was trying to limit those. Or if they left them I would take them a few hours after my injections…I just felt that’s to much. Especially considering I don’t take any real meds on a regular basis.
Your care all really depends on the nursing staff. We had 2 days of bad day shift nurses but our night nurses were really good. The problem is that they can’t trouble shoot. They are given instructions and that’s all they do. If you are suffering from a med..they continue to give it to you. They don’t talk to a Dr and see if there is another option you can try. So it is up to you to demand that a Dr come to see you so that you can talk to him yourself if you have an issue. So your only advocate is you.
After the first night..the only vitals that they took was blood pressure. They didn’t take my temp or check my lungs or anything after that first day. They discharged us without making sure everything was OK.
The second day they did give us a leak test. We all passed and we all got a CD with the results and video to take to our regular doctors.
But who’s to say you are getting your real test? The reason I say that is because I think most all of our chart notes were the same….and the surgeon wrote them….but in all honesty I am not sure he actually knows what’s going on beyond the operating table because they aren’t doing all of the vitals as they would in an American hospital. I am not sure I trust their charting…or hospital operations.
Now I am smart enough to know if I am running a fever and I read so much before I left that if I would have had a real issue I would have taken the necessary steps to get help. But I know not everyone is that prepared…or in tune to their bodies.
I would walk-walk-walk…breathe-breathe-breathe and rest. I was on Fb and talking in between. There were a few english channels I could watch on the Tv in my room. So that was nice.
They gave us a class at the end before they discharge us back to our hotel…to tell us what all we need to do post-op. It’s a lot to take in but they do give you papers.
One of my friends was not really in a position to be discharged and they weren’t doing anything to help her for a few reasons….but we decided to take matters in our own hands and the issue resolved. ….with help from the driver and the administrator. I ran into the administrator at the Hotel when we were dropped off and he assured me he would take care of everything and he worked with our driver to make things happen. So instead of having a day on the town shopping & sight seeing we were in our room resting and hoping that things would get better. By that evening everything was in place and all of us were on the road to healing.
I did go to the Mexican food market next door and kind of see how they operate…that was kind of fun. 🙂
I like walking around & people watching.
Saturday was a day of traveling. Rough day to say the least.
So would I do this again? YES.
The reason is because I knew I wasn’t going to an American Hospital. I knew what I was getting into. I knew that there were risks. I think this is one of those things that you know that ” You get what you pay for”. You pay a cheap price because you are getting cheap care. You have to decide if you can take that kind of risk with your own body & health. I am a healthy person..no allergies thus far in my life. I have been operated on before. I have a high tolerance for pain. I have common sense and I can’t afford 30 grand to pay for American healthcare. So it was take the risk or continue on the path I was on. Was it a risk I was willing to take..and yes. I would do it again.
If you are a person with a low pain tolerance…or you have lots of comorbidities….maybe this isn’t the route you should go. But for me overall it was a good experience. I am getting the end result that I wanted-> which was weight loss surgery. Would I want to go their for cardiac surgery? No.
I am feeling well. I am taking pain meds at night to sleep. But during the day I am perfectly fine to go without. I am taking my antibiotics and antacids ect.
I am starting a new lifestyle and it’s going to take some training.
I am excited- nervous and educating myself. The easy part is done…the hard part is going to begin. The surgery is a tool. I can screw up my tool and make it useless or I can use it the way it is supposed to be used. That’s all on me. I don’t want to have gone through all of this for nothing. So I am in training. Well almost. I am on liquids for quite some time. 🙂
I want to thank you all for praying for me along the way! The support is so comforting and valued.
I appreciate all of that more than you know!