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Gastric Sleeve Patients
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  1. Like
    Kindle got a reaction from LivingForGod in NOT SO HAPPY....   
    Be thankful your insurance pays anything. Mine doesn't even give me the option, so I'm self pay. I could have surgery tomorrow if the money fairy showed up tonight. But instead I've spent more than a year saving $$$ for my surgery and still have about 6 months to go, so like the others posters already said, thank God for your blessings and use the extra time preparing for your life changes.
  2. Like
    Kindle got a reaction from gamergirl in Sleevers by profession.   
    CVT certified veterinary technician for 12 years. Raft guide, ski instructor and property assessor for an environmental consulting firm in previous life (lives). Surgery in Jan and hoping to get back to my raft guide "fighting weight" ! Course my diet in those days consisted of Cliff bars, coffee and beer so hoping to be a little healthier
  3. Like
    Kindle got a reaction from gamergirl in Sleevers by profession.   
    CVT certified veterinary technician for 12 years. Raft guide, ski instructor and property assessor for an environmental consulting firm in previous life (lives). Surgery in Jan and hoping to get back to my raft guide "fighting weight" ! Course my diet in those days consisted of Cliff bars, coffee and beer so hoping to be a little healthier
  4. Like
    Kindle got a reaction from LesIsMore in Syphilis and Gonorrhea ?   
    My insurance flat out excludes any weight loss treatments for any reason. Once I read that, I immediately started looking for self pay options and am pretty settled on Dr. Ortiz in Mexico. Not scheduled till Jan (that's the only time I can take that much time off work). I'm Actually relieved to not have to jump through all the insurance hoops and stress of possibly being denied even after doing their "dance". Instead, I am in charge of my own choices and I could put all my effort into researching what is best for ME , not what some stranger thinks is best. I figure I'll re-channel my grocery and restaurant bills to my credit card bills
  5. Like
    Kindle reacted to Trixie2012 in OCC & Dr. Ariel Ortiz - My Story   
    I’ve noticed more activity on this site lately from future OCC Sleevers with Dr. Ariel Ortiz. I remember before my surgery I craved information about the OCC experience so I thought maybe it’s time I that posted my story too!
    My surgery was on Monday, July 9, 2012. Yesterday was eight months and I’m happy to say I am 14 lbs away from my goal weight! The following details are from email exchanges I had right after my surgery with another OCC Sleever. So although it’s been eight months since my surgery, the details here are from a fresh memory! Sorry if I seem to ramble at the end. I just cut and pasted from multiple emails.
    My sleeve surgery was on Monday, July 9th. My husband and I flew into San Diego on the Sunday the 8th. We arrived around 9:00 pm and were picked up outside baggage claim in a medical transport van easily identifiable with OCC and my name displayed in the passenger window.
    On the way to the hotel, the driver, Joel, played a welcome DVD from Dr. Ortiz telling us what to expect over the next few days. The drive was approximately 30 minutes long. Going through the border was a non event. Joel dropped us off at the front door the Tijuana Marriott and told us to be in the lobby the next morning at 6:40 am to be driven to OCC.
    Check in was a breeze. They had my account flagged as an OCC patient. I was given a letter explaining I was entitled to 3 free bowls of broth and 2 Popsicles per day to be served in the restaurant or via room service. We also got 3 free bottles of Water in our room per day. The room was very comfortable with a king size bed with lots of pillows. The only thing lacking in my opinion was a microwave and fridge, but I survived! (By the way, the restaurant was very nice. They had a huge buffet at breakfast and lunch. My husband loved it. We went there every day and had room service at night.)
    The next morning we went to the lobby at 6:40 and met three other women going to OCC. One plication patient, a lap band to sleeve revision and a lap band. It was a short drive to OCC, probably 10 minutes. The office looks exactly as it does in the pictures on their website. It also happens to be across the street from the police department! The driver pulled into the basement parking and stopped the van. We were met by OCC security and loaded onto an elevator that dropped us in the lobby of OCC.
    We were greeted by Ali, the concierge. It was 7:00 am by that time and they were just opening the office so we made ourselves comfortable in the reception area while Ali got situated for the day. In a matter of minutes she walked over and addressed us a group explaining that one at a time we would each meet with the nutritionist, Dr. Miranda; we would have pre-op blood work done, and we would have an EKG performed by Dr. Aurtoro. Once those three things were complete we'd be taken to our individual suites and prepared for surgery. She asked for copies of our patient information forms we had faxed in previously.
    Just as she explained, one by one we were called back to one office or another. My first meeting was with Dr. Miranda, nutritionist. My husband went back with me to be my extra set of ears! She weighed me and set my goal weight. Interesting enough it was within 2lbs of what I had been thinking would be ideal. She explained that I could be 10 lbs over or under her target and still be healthy. She went over the post op diet and provided me with a three page hand out including a calendar of the different food stages. She went over Vitamins and supplements I would need to take for life.
    I returned to the lobby. In a matter of minutes I was called back for blood work. That went very quickly. The port for my IV was also put in. I was given a pair of booties to slip over my shoes at that time.
    Next I was off for the EKG. Undressed and put on a paper robe. Dr. and nurse affixed stickers on my chest and ran the EKG. That was even quicker than the blood work. It took longer to get undressed and into the robe than it took for the actual test!
    I returned to the lobby. At some point I remember signing several consent forms. Mexican law requires that we sign them in English and Spanish. Once I was finished, my husband and I were escorted back to my suite. Dr. Martinez came by and introduced himself telling me I would be the 1st surgery of the day! He began talking about the procedure and answered any questions we had. His English was perfect and he made me feel instantly at ease. I was given a gown to dress in and mesh underwear to wear in surgery.
    Once dressed two nurses I had met earlier came in and started my IV with fluids, pain medication, anti nausea, antacid and antibiotic. I also got a shot in the leg, a blood thinner. That was a sneak attack! It hurt but only lasted a second or so. I was also fitted in white thigh high stockings and a bonnet. The nurses left for a few minutes while my husband and I chatted. I was starting to feel very relaxed when in comes the nurse to tell me they were ready for me in the ER. It was 8:00 am at this point. When I stood up I was very wobbly, the drugs had definitely kicked in! She walked me to ER where I was greeted by the anesthesiologist.
    I could hear Dr. Ortiz talking as I recognized his voice from the videos I had watched. He came over an introduced himself explaining he had been in my room chatting with my husband when he realized he hadn't even met me yet! After our brief exchange the anesthesiologist told me he was giving me something to relax. I remember saying, 'oh, I'm starting to feel good.' The next thing I remember was waking in my room where my husband was waiting. He said Dr. Ortiz and Dr. Martinez came in and said everything went great and that I had a small hiatal hernia that was fixed during the procedure.
    So! All that to answer your question.... what did my family do while I was in surgery! Once you are given a room, your family is free to hang out in there. My surgery lasted about 45 minutes; my husband says I was probably out of the room for an hour and 15 minutes. I don't remember much of that day. I was in no pain and fell in and out of sleep all day. My husband did leave for lunch at one point. There is an Applebee's on the corner by the clinic. At 4:00 pm all the guests are driven back to the Marriott. My husband stayed there over night and was driven back the clinic the next morning.
    I was checked out and on the way back to the hotel by 11:00 am Tuesday morning. I took a long nap when we got back to the room. The nurse gave me a shot of pain medicine right before I checked out so that kept me a little drowsy. After the nap my husband and I went for a walk and bought Popsicles from a street vendor. Best Popsicle I had all week! The ones at the hotel were gross to me. The rest of the day was just lounging around watching TV and napping off and on.
    I returned to the clinic on Wednesday morning to have my drain removed and to do my swallow test. Both were no big deal. Lots of people talk about how horrible the liquid you drink for the swallow test is. I barely had two drinks of a white chalky liquid that tasted like mint.
    After the trip to OCC we returned to the hotel and had lunch there. After a rest we walked to Wal-Mart and toured the shops in that area. While I felt fine pain-wise I got tired fairly easily. The walk to Wal-Mart and back had me ready for a long nap by the time we returned. I suppose we could have ventured out farther, but I really wanted to focus on my recovery and rest as much as I could knowing I would be returning to work on Monday. My husband was happy to watch TV while I was sleeping away!
    We left for home on Thursday morning. The drive back across the border took about 1.5 hours. We watched another OCC (departure) video on the way to the airport. Joel told us exactly what to expect as we went through customs. Although not as easy as coming into Mexico, crossing back into the US was not that difficult. Joel kept us informed and we just followed instructions. My flight home was a non event as I felt fine. I only had tenderness at the incision sites.
    It was very nice to have my husband with me for emotional support and to be my extra set of ears. There was a lot about the surgery day that I do not remember. He was really good at keeping me on task drinking my fluids and broth while we were still in Mexico. I was one of those people who wake up from surgery and felt no thirst or hunger. He stayed on me to make sure I was doing what I was supposed to be doing!
    While having him with me was comforting, now that I've been there, I know I could have made the trip alone. The hotel is very secure. They are very accustomed to weight loss patients and catered to us the whole trip.
    Since being home, everything has gone pretty smoothly. Dr. Ortiz sends you home with pain medication, anti nausea, antacid and antibiotics that you start taking day three while you are still in TJ. You will have a whole list of phone numbers and email addresses to use if you have any questions or issues. I returned to work on the 16th, exactly a week after surgery. My stomach was still swollen, but I had no real pain aside from a bruised feeling at the incision site.
    Feel free to ask me anything else. I craved information before my trip and found there just isn't that much on VST about Dr. Ortiz and OCC, but everything I did read was highly complementary. I will say that everything about the experience as far as the doctor's bedside manner to the condition of the clinic was EXACTLY like the photos and video on the OCC website and in their You Tube videos. I couldn't have been more pleased!
    I really liked everyone I came in contact with at OCC even though none of them ever visited me in my hotel room or took me shopping. Excellent health care was what I wanted and I believe OCC delivered!
    I had gas pain in my left shoulder the first night and on and off Tuesday. It was just a sharp occasional pain right around my shoulder blade. They swear by walking, so that's what I did every chance I got. By Wednesday morning it was gone.
    I can honestly say the gas was the worst pain I had and it wasn't even that severe. My stomach and incisions felt mostly like I had done 3,000 crunches! Pain med (Supradol) every 12 hours took care of that.
    They didn't give me any drinks after leaving OCC. I bought Gatorade at Wal-Mart, used tea bags that were in the hotel room & took powdered chicken bouillon for the plane ride. They didn't really push Protein at first; they just focused on getting your fluids in. Drinking was a challenge for me. I did find that warm liquids were much easier than cold to get down.
    Free wifi at OCC & Marriott. OCC also has a couple of desktop computers for patient use.
    The Marriott's shuttle will take you anywhere and there are also taxis on standby at the hotel. I was told $5.00 would take you practically anywhere in TJ!
    Since my husband was staying overnight at the Marriott, I had no reservations about leaving my valuables there. My room had a safe. I locked my jewelry away there when I went off to OCC. Also, the patient rooms area at OCC is secure. There are a limited number of rooms (maybe 5 or 6) with only a few people having surgery per day. The only people allowed in that area are the patients and their companions. So, unlike in a hospital, there are never random people walking through the halls.
    A couple more tips...
    The air conditioner in your hotel room will require your room key to be inserted before it turns on. The slot was near the entrance door to my room. That was a new one for me!
    The morning you check out of OCC you will need to purchase your prescriptions. I think they were around $130. Cash or visa/mc. No AmEx.
    My stats:
    Height: 5'2"
    Starting Weight: 212
    Current Weight: 154
    Goal Weight: 140

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