- HEALTH TRACKER
Before & After
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Surgery Day 5/16
We were picked up from the San Diego Airport by a woman name Martha. She was picking up other people as well. A man and woman, who were not weight loss patients, and another weight loss patient(Griselda-whom I had met on VerticalSleeveTalk), but her flight had been delayed, so we had to leave without her, and they said another driver would be waiting on her. I had gotten a text from Griselda, and knew what was going on and why she was running late, and she wasn't going to be that much later, but Martha made a call to Dr Kelly and they wanted us to come on because it would put the schedule behind, and he wanted to go ahead and get started with one of us I guess. I was a little disappointed, because I was looking forward to meeting my sleeve sister, but I also didn't want a problem with them getting us all done on that day and making me have to postpone my surgery another day or something. I would have to meet Griselda later at the hospital. We went right through the border with no problem. We stopped so the driver could speak to someone but we didn't have to show our passport to enter Mexico, just on our return to the States. Martha drove pretty fast, I don't think they had speed limits, because everyone seemed to be driving that way. I had read about this on the forums, so it wasn't really a shock to me. She pulled over and we met another guy named Alex who was going to take us the rest of the way to the hospital, because the other people were going to their hotel. We pulled up to the hospital and it was very nice and modern looking to me. This surprised me, because I had read that the hospital was older, but clean. I found it nice, but not a huge hospital like in the US. I have found a pic of the hospital that I will upload, but I took it off a website, I did not take the pic personally, but it's definitely a pic of the Florence Hospital. Trish was outside the hospital waiting on me, and greeted me with a hello and a hug. We went in and signed in, then we were taken to our rooms. This is when we were told something had changed and the companion of the patient no longer got to eat for free, as we had been told before our arrival. This wasn't a huge problem, because the things my sis saw when she would go in did not look appetizing to her, but I have seen many people mention that the food is good. It's just healthy vegan or vegetarian style from what I was told. She does not like healthy or vegan haha. So she ordered a pizza the one night and another time my sleevesister Meepmeep17's husband was going out to get a bite and offered to bring her back something. That was very nice, because she didn't' want to go out walking around, not knowing much about the area. The hospital did have a security guard in the parking lot, but she still didn't want to get too far away from the hospital. We didn't know till later that she could special order other things from the cafeteria, but all worked out ok.
The room was not fancy but nice, clean, and had a full size bed for my sister, and a nice bathroom. It had a recliner and a cabinet thing for us to use to put clothes and stuff in. I also have a few pics of the room and bathroom. We were getting settled into the room, and a lady brought in another form to fill out, but luckily it wasn't very long, so we got that out of the way. Things were moving along pretty fast, they brought me a clean gown, and I was thinking, ugh, cuz I hate those things. Now I gotta worry about mooning everyone. Then a young girl started working on putting an IV in my hand. She looked a little worried and I thought omg, either I have bad veins or she has no idea what she's doing. After a few sticks with no luck, I gave my sis a nervous look and she immediately realized I was beginning to freak out, so she asked her if she was having problems. Well, the other young girl noticed and quickly got my other hand, and got it in the first try. Well, she immediately became my favorite nurse, she didn't speak english but always understood my needs immediately. I really enjoyed her care and her personality, and we became friends and joked and laughed a lot. Again, after reading the forums, I knew there would be some people who would speak limited english, but I also knew that they all do pretty good with understanding the main concerns, such as pain, nausea, etc. There's always someone available that can translate if a problem comes up they are not aware of or they just don't understand. I have also seen on some forums where people have made up a "cheat sheet" of common words and phrases that we might need as a patient in Mexico, so if you are concerned, I recommend finding this, printing it out, and taking it with you. I had zero problems with getting them to understand anything I needed.
After a short while, Dr Kelly came in and shook my hand and sat down to talk to us, asking me if I had any questions about the procedure. I asked him a few questions, but my mind was going blank. I had planned on having a really intelligent conversation about the sleeve and kinda show off all the research I had done to impress him, but I was getting a little scared and nervous, knowing my surgery was getting closer and closer, so I asked for something for my nerves and received it right away. After that, I did a lot better while waiting for my turn. Blood was drawn for my blood test. Then I was taken to a different room for an X-ray of my chest. Then I had an EKG with the cardiologist, who was very nice and friendly. They put these tight white support stockings on my legs. Even when they came to get me to take me to the operating room, I was surprised at how well I was handling things. They came and transferred me to another rolling bed, rolled me down the hall, and to a nice spacious room, with a lot of medical equipment in it. They then transferred me to the operating table and I was beginning to wonder if we were playing musical beds lol. I was looking around and seeing a lot of different faces, but not Dr Kelly. I briefly got a little nervous because I wasn't expecting to see so many people there. I thought maybe the Dr, the Anesthisiologist, and a couple more people. I think there were at least 10 people there. I was hoping I was in the right room and would receive the correct procedure haha. It's funny what all pops in your head when you are nervous and dealing with anxiety. That's the last thing I remember, then woke up in my room. I remember feeling a little bad from the gas, weird pain but not actual pain pain. More like discomfort. and the first thing that popped into my head was WALK, because I had read everyone on the weight loss forums say how important it was to relieve gas and prevent blood clots. So I started trying to get up out of the bed, while saying over and over, I gotta walk, I gotta walk!!! My sister was there and she said wait, you can't walk yet. I did get up once, but realized I was too woozy and dizzy to walk just yet. So I sat on the edge of my bed and was leaning over on the bed one way onto my face, belching, then I would turn the other way and do the same, trying to relieve the gas. It was pretty bad, but seemed to be the only real pain or discomfort I felt. Once they hooked me up to the IV I felt immediate relief. My sis asked what all meds were in the IV, they said pain med, anti-nausea, acid reducer, antibiotic, and something to help eliminate gas. The anti-nausea must have worked cause I never had any and I didn't ever throw up. I was very worried about not getting to walk to prevent blood clots, but I am a worrier and have a lot of anxiety about everything. My sister said it took me a while to wake up from anesthesia. She said the anesthisiologist was tapping me on my arm pretty firmly, trying to wake me up and I said "Owwww stop it"!!!! I have no recollection of that lol. I am so glad I didn't cuss anyone out!! She said I also kept pulling the oxygen mask off my face, that I didn't like it. I was also complaining about my mouth being very dry, so they brought me a cup of ice. It was 3pm when I left my room to go to surgery, and Dr Kelly was back in my room at 4pm telling my sister I was in recovery and everything went great. I was back in my room at about 4:20. The rest of the evening and night I spent in and out of sleep and the nurses came every few hrs to put meds in my IV. They must have had a schedule for this, and never let me be in pain , so I was very pleased that I wasn't constantly having to beg for meds or assistance from the nurses. The only time I requested assistance, was to go to the bathroom cuz I didn't know what to do with the IV pole thing. They always unhooked it for me so I didn't have to drag it around. A couple of the nurses didn't speak very good english, but we had no trouble communicating with them, they understood exactly what I wanted or needed, which was a relief and very reassuring. It seems like I was in and out of sleep from the nurses coming in to do things.
I slept pretty good but had to kinda sleep on my right side, because the left side with the drain was slightly tender and hurt more, only if I tried to lay on it. I remember waking up a couple of times to go to the bathroom and I also remember them coming periodically to put more meds in my IV. They kept me plenty of ice to keep my mouth moist. When I woke up they told me I could get a shower, and I was kinda concerned about my bandages, but I went ahead and did it, and it made me feel better. A nurse came and removed the old bandages, cleaned up my incisions, sprayed this antiseptic stuff on and rebandaged them again. They had changed my bedding while I was in the shower. Housekeeping came in a couple times a day also. At this point I didn't seem to have as much gas pain, and the only other discomfort I felt was like I had done a lot of sit ups. The drain wasn't that bad, I was dreading it so much, but it just had a little bulb thing to catch excess fluid drainage, and they emptied it periodically. It wasn't that heavy and didn't pull too bad. On the gown thing, I ended up asking for a second gown and putting it on backwards, which sort of worked as a robe, and covered my booty, so I was much more comfortable with it like this, and didn't even end up putting on the jammies I had taken with me. I needed them at the hotel, however. I was so happy and grateful to be sleeved and feeling decent, and well honestly being alive lol, with no complications. I walked the halls a little while and got comments from a nurse at the nurses station on how well I was doing. The halls were clean and there didn't seem to be as much hustle and bustle as there is in a bigger hospital, but I actually liked that. It was much more personal. I probably would have been fine by myself there, but I was very happy my sister was able to travel there with me, she kept me company and it was reassuring to have her there. I got to meet my sleeve sisters, Griselda and MeepMeep17. They seemed to be doing well too. MeepMeep17 had a problem with nausea and throwing up, until they figured out it was a med that wasn't agreeing with her, so they switched meds, and she was doing a lot better, so we all talked and got to know each other. Even though I wasn't able to eat or drink anything yet, it really didn't bother me, I didn't seem hungry, and the ice kept me from feeling thirsty. My sister made the comment numerous times that I looked better after surgery than I did before. I guess I was well hydrated from the IV fluids. Dr Kelly came by to check on me, as well as Trish. I felt so happy and in a good mood because I had waited so long to be sleeved, and now i finally was. It was like a dream come true for me, and since I wasn't in too much pain, I did not have even a moment of regret or buyers remorse, like others I have read about. I felt very lucky and grateful that I was having a good experience, with no pain or nausea so far.
Woke up feeling pretty good. I was advised to get a shower, this time dressing in reg clothes instead of my lovely hospital attire, because today is the day we get discharged and transported to another hospital for our leak test. So after getting my bandages changed and incisions cleaned, we organized things to get ready to leave. Dr Kelly came by to remove the drain. I had a little anxiety about this, even though I've read a million posts about it not being bad, just kind of weird feeling. But Dr Kelly put me at ease. He told me he wanted me to take a deep breath and hold it, as he pulled it out very quickly! It sounds horrible, but it did not hurt at all. I didn't feel anything but relieve actually. This is when I realized that the feeling of discomfort I had described as feeling like I had done a lot of sit ups, was actually from the drain. Once it was gone, I didn't feel any pain or discomfort at all, so I was happy to have it gone!! We said our goodbyes to the nurses. Diane or Dylin (sp?), the nurse that had become my favorite, was talking to me as I was getting ready to go, she said next time she saw me, I would be (charades by making a movement in an hourglass/brickhouse figure with her hands lol!!!) I took my picture with her, despite hating my pic to be taken, and we hugged goodbye. We got all our stuff together and I rolled my bag to the front lobby of the hospital. We were going to take more than one vehicle since there was 3 of us patients, and we each had a companion with us. So we all loaded up in an SUV and headed on to the hospital where the leak test would take place, and my sis and the other companions would follow. This is when we saw what I suppose would be the more poverty type area, but it was no different for me than going to say the Birmingham AL downtown area which has a lot of poverty areas also. But I never saw any type of dangerous activity, just different. When we would stop at redlights, people were walking around cleaning windshields, and even offering to replace your windshield wiper blades. It was pretty interesting to what things were like.
After a good little drive, we arrived at the other hospital. The Hospital Angeles. It was a good bit bigger. It was very nice and clean. It was kinda fancy and state of the art. It was actually nicer than any hospital I had ever been in the US. We didn't really have to wait long at all, and we all 3 went back to the radiology dept. We took turns standing on a platform in front of the huge Xray machine, received a little bit of a clear liquid in a cup. I was told to take a drink, and it was pretty nasty tasting but not thick. I didn't gag or throw up like I had feared. Of course I was afraid to take a big drink due to knowing it was probably foul tasting, but also because I had not had anything to drink yet, so I wasn't sure how big of a sip to drink. They told me to take another drink, and I thought, omg, I am gonna make it a really big drink so I wouldn't have to do it again. It was pretty gross and I waited to see how my sleeve was gonna react and figured I would be spewing any minute. But I didn't throw up and I was so thankful they didn't ask me to drink any more!! I looked over and could see my sleeve on this screen, and it seemed to look ok. It was pretty small and I could see the liquid moving through it slowly. Then the other 2 patients took their turns. We were all cleared, with no leaks, and I was very relieved and happy about that!! The guys in that dept were very sweet to us and cute too! lol. I don't think I've ever been in and out of a drs office or hospital for something like that, in such a short time, and that was with 3 of us having leak tests. I was very impressed, because where I live, it's nothing to sit and wait for 3 hrs just to get out of a waiting room. We got back out to the waiting room area, and waited on Dr Kelly for a few minutes to do some things, then he came out and we went out to the main lobby where our families were waiting. Now it's time to head to the Hotel!! I am curious to see what the hotel would be like, since the Lucerna was booked up, we were going to a different one. It was called Hacienda Del Rio, and I was very pleasantly surprised. It was very nice, and as soon as we walked into the lobby, a bellboy guy brought us all waters. Yay, our first drink, and it was yummy. And I usually cannot even drink water haha. We got all the paperwork set up, and just signed, because the cost was included in what we paid Dr Kelly. The rooms were very nice. We got settled in, and was ready for some broth, so we went to the restaurant at the hotel. Trish spoke to Ismael there and let him know we were patients, and only needed the broth. Man, that broth was so delicious!! Way better than the canned kind I had been having pre-op. I had problems connecting to the internet on my laptop and a guy came to our room and worked a good while getting it set up and working properly. I kept saying it was ok, I didn't have to have it. But he would not leave until it was working properly. Everyone seemed to really go out of their way to make us comfortable, and satisfied with our stay. Trish brought us our paperwork, Xrays, medicines, Jello, and Gatorade. I got some pain meds, acid reducer, antibiotics, gauze, antiseptic spray. We spent a lot of time visiting with my sleeve sisters. I was feeling pretty good and almost like on a high because I was so happy to be sleeved. I had waited for this for so long. I was disappointed that we had made plans to leave the next day to get home because I was having such a good time hanging out and staying in the nice hotel. The next day they were going to the shopping area, and I was curious about seeing that area, but I didn't really plan on doing much shopping anyway so I guess it's fine we missed it. Trish came to visit that evening, and said Dr Kelly was on his way. I was kinda surprised cause they had already been to the hotel and got us registered and all settled in. I was thinking man, they're job just doesn't end lol. He arrived and had his young son with him, dressed casually, and they came in to check on us. He sat down, and we all talked and laughed for a while, he never acted like he was in a hurry to leave us, and we talked about various things, like the fast drivers lol. And my post op care. And where we were from and about the recent Tornado breakout in Alabama that took so many lives, like almost 300. He and Trish were very nice, and down to earth. They seemed to really enjoy our company and conversation, never once treating us like we were just part of his job. A good while later when they decided to go home, Dr Kelly and Trish both gave me and my sister hugs goodbye. I felt like I now had a couple of good friends in Mexico, and I knew for certain in my heart that Dr Kelly is a very caring man who genuinely enjoys making such a big difference in peoples lives and changing their health for the better. After they left, we enjoyed relaxing, and I was so surprised again, that I was so happy, content, and not feeling any pain. The meds they gave us weren't the strong kind, and I went ahead and took it before bed with my other meds, just in case. I knew i wanted to keep a good nights sleep at the hotel and I didn't want pain or anything waking me up tonight. I don't think I woke up one time, I got a really good nights sleep. I felt very safe and secure and the bed was way more comfortable than the hospital bed, and no drain in my tummy, so I am sure that made a difference.
So after a good nights sleep, we wake up pretty early cause we know we have to drive to the airport and get through the border, and we had no idea what to expect or how long that would take. A gentleman picked us up in a van, and along with everyone else, he was super nice and very friendly and he actually spoke good english. We took some pics of the Marina we passed by. It was pretty. We got to the place where everyone was lined up to cross the border, and he stopped the van. About the time we decided we might wanna look around at what was available to purchase, the line started moving, so we jumped in the van, pulled up and got out of the van. We went inside a building, a lot of people were in there, but it was like we were in the express lane. I figured because they do this all the time with transporting patients back and forth, it is a pretty quick and simple process. We showed someone our passports and went out a different door and our driver was there waiting on us. Then we were on our way to the airport. The whole border crossing thing probably took 35-45 mins, maybe a little less. We arrived at the San Diego Airport and said our goodbyes to the driver, gave him a tip, and went inside to wait on our flight to board. I was a lot less afraid of flying on the way home, and more relaxed. I didn't have any problems walking around the airport, it seemed like everything was close by and organized. My sister was so impressed with Dr Kelly and Trish and the whole process. She couldn't get over how well I was doing and how good I could get around 3 days after surgery. I am very pleased with my sleeve so far, no problems or complications!! And I had such a wonderful time in MX, and getting to meet Dr Kelly and Trish was so great. They are truly what everyone says they are, good, caring, spiritual people who want to make our experience there as comfortable as they can. If I had any doubts about this, Trish proved during an incident while we were at the Hotel, that she really does go above and beyond the call of duty. My sleeve sisters companions, one hubby and one brother, went to get something to eat. When they did not return from having dinner, my sleeve sisters became worried. Of course we became more and more concerned as time went on, because hours had passed with no word from either of them. The ladies had already called home to family and even checked on credit card records to see if/when/where anything might have been charged to give us a clue as to where they were. Trish came to the hotel, after already spending a great deal of time with us that day, and took my sleeve sisters to look for their companions. It all turned out well, the guys showed up while they were out looking for them. They had decided to go shopping, then to a movie, and could not call back due to no cell phone signal. Then they got a little turned around cuz it had began to get dark, so finally took a taxi back to the hotel. Everything turned out fine, but I am very glad I went thru a Coordinator that is right there in Tijuana MX. Once you are released from the hospital, anything more they do for us while we are at the Hotel is just a bonus. Trish proved to be a true angel, and she deserves a lot of credit for being a wonderful, caring person. I keep in touch with her now on a regular basis, and hope that if my sister decides to go back and get sleeved later, that I get to see Dr Kelly and Trish again. Hopefully I will lose a lot of weight between now and then, and Dr Kelly can see what a difference he has made in my life. Besides the weight loss and improvement in my mobility, my diabetes seems to be gone or in remission. I am just thrilled about that, it was the one of the main reasons I decided to finally get the sleeve. He is my hero, and Trish is my angel.
If you have any questions, or would like Trish and Dr Kellys contact info, please message me your name and e-mail address where info can be sent to you on current pricing and available dates. Good luck on your weight loss journey!!! :)