If anyone is questioning what to do, Gastric Sleeve surgery is the right decision! I went down May 1st to have the Gastric Sleeve done. I truly enjoyed every aspect of the entire experience. (Well maybe not right after surgery but I'll get to that:) A little background about me....I'm 33 years old and have been a paramedic for my adult life. I would consider myself very observant, cautious but not paranoid and with a long medical background. I also had never left the country until this trip. I read every word of the information provided by BeLiteWeight and felt as though they had their bases covered.
On the day of travel it was difficult not to eat or drink. When I landed in El Paso and turned on my phone I already had a voicemail from the driver who was scheduled to drive my aunt and I to Juarez. My driver, Hector, an older man, was polite, answered all my questions and was a good driver. Prior to leaving home I had looked at the multiple routes that would possibly be take to the actual hospital. Going over the border was super easy! The route was no different than anywhere else I would travel in the US. I was extremely alert or anything out of the ordinary. I found none. Hector advised that because of the road construction he would take a slightly different route. My ears perked up at that but I trusted in the info I had. There was NOTHING out of the ordinary. In fact, working in as a paramedic at night in a big city can be scarier! I arrived at the hospital and the driver walked us in (it's exactly like the pictures). They bring you into a lobby where no one else is and you sit and wait for them to come down. It was very relaxing and the couches were nice. The hospital was IMMACULATE! I am a huge nut when it comes to cleanliness and it is cleaner than any of the hospitals I have ever been in.
Dr. Calderon came down around 15 minutes after we got there. Went for a chest xray, then up to my room. Again, the cleanliness was amazing. Every single person I spoke to was so nice. Yes, many nurses did not speak English but we got by. There was always someone who did speak English not far away. As a medical professional in the Northeast we have top of the line everything. The floor was not what I would call "advanced" but the procedures (IV, ekg) were done with obvious experience and the IV done in an aseptic technique. I was slightly nervous about the "older" equipment used on the floor They came up to get me about two or so hours after I arrived. I wasn't nervous I was ready! (And hungry!)
The doctors both came up prior to surgery to talk and answer questions. They checked on me each day.
Once in the pro-op area I saw that everything was state of the art, as you would see in the US. They gave me something to relax in pre op and I really don't remember a whole lot! I remember going into the operating room and looking at every single thing. Sterile areas were sterile, non sterile areas were clean. They put me on the bed, told me they don't use catheters (Thank goodness!) and that was it!. The surgery is less than an hour and then I was in post op. I slept for about an hour (I’m told). Here is the truth.....When I woke up in the post op room (same as the pre-op room) I felt as though I was suffocating due to the gas in my stomach. I know immediately what it was but still it was scary. I calmed down immediately and they let me hang my feet over the side of the bed for a minute. Then I was fine! You may have a completely different experience but I assure you the gas is the worst. I felt really no pain when I awakened.
I went back up to my room and took a little nap. I didn't sleep a whole lot because I was so nauseous. The gas makes you burp which can make you nauseous and I threw up....a lot! But it wasn't bad I promise. I am not going to lie to you but those 12 hours were the worst. But I had just has surgery! The docs came in and assured me I was going to be feeling better as time went on. I was up and moving after 2 hours. They wanted me in bed but I don't always follow the rules! I walked and burped, and walked and burped....and burped some more! Each hour I felt better. I kept walking which was not fun because of the nausea. I am prone to nausea, though. Buy the next morning I was having great hours and then an hour of nausea. I stopped taking the pain medication because I don't know if that was making me nauseous. My surgery was Wednesday at about 5 pm. By Thursday 5 pm I was off the pain meds, walking around and feeling pretty awesome. They allowed my ice chips that morning. I was never so happy to have ice chips. In the afternoon I was given Tea, broth and Jello... the chamomile tea was amazing ( I now drink it all the time) an the broth was good. It was weird eating barely anything but I wasn't hungry! The staff is amazing. I enjoyed talking to, or trying to talk to every single person and when I rang the bell someone was there within two minutes. They were very attentive and truly professional.
Thursday night they gave me a sleeping pill and when I woke Friday I was ready to come home, pack my stuff and be on my way. I have never been so happy with a decision in my life. Even after the surgery. I never once had the thought of "did I make a mistake." I am still so excited! The drive back is was a regular cab, the driver was very used to doing it so I wasn't worried. The time over the border was an hour and a half. That was the worst part of the entire trip!!! It can take longer, depending on when you go. I was concerned about the travel because I had a 12 hour total flight home, with a layover. I was worried that I would not be comfortable. I wasn’t. I was exhausted but not at all uncomfortable.
Procedure: Gastric Sleeve / Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy
Surgeons: The surgical team of Dr. Jose Rodriguez-Villarreal, M.D., F.A.C.S.