I would like to thank Dr. Jorge Maytorena and his staff for the courtesy and professional manner in which they handled my recent medical procedure. I elected to have the Gastric Sleeve operation after extensively researching bariatric procedures and talking with a number of people who had undergone a variety of bariatric operations.
SELF PAY or INSURANCE - After reviewing the mandatory requirements of my insurance company, I decided to pay for the procedure out of pocket. There was simply no way I could arrange my busy work schedule to meet their demands, not to mention my intolerance for superfluous bureaucracy. When I calculated the final out-of-pocket expense, the numbers made financial sense. My deductible payments alone would have exceeded half of the cost of the procedure. I also set aside money in a tax free medical savings account and will deduct the remaining amount of the surgery on my taxes. Throw in the cost in time and money associated with the dozens of medical appointments required by the insurance company and the real "out of pocket" cost for the procedure was relatively low. If you consider the money I'll save in restaurant bills alone, I be way ahead! Finally, there was the hidden cost to consider, the cost to my health by waiting another six to eight months before taking corrective action.
Even though my adult weight averaged 275 lbs, I have always been active. I worked out on the treadmill five times a week, rode my bicycle on weekends and enjoyed life. But as the years passed my weight contributed to a growing list of medical problems. I developed type II Diabetes and my blood pressure started to creep up. The joints in my legs and feet began to hurt when I exercised. My energy levels started to drop. Now, six weeks after my surgery, things have changed. I now weigh 240 lbs. and I'm well on my goal of reaching my "boot camp" weight of 210 lbs. (maybe a little more!). My blood sugar levels have gone back to normal. Just three weeks after surgery I was back on the treadmill and now I knock out two miles a day without pain. My mental acuity has never been better and I feel more "energized." As an added bonus, I don't feel hunger and food is no longer the central focus of my life. My only regret is not having this operation sooner.
Without a doubt, the decision to have any surgery is scary and doing it in a foreign country only added to my anxiety. But I did my research, choose a procedure, selected a doctor and the rest is history.
As I rode the escalator down to the baggage claim area of the San Diego airport I immediately saw my name on a sign. My luggage was collected and stowed in the back of a new mini-van. My wife and I were driven to Mexicali, a scenic trip through the rocky southwest. The pleasant conversation with our escort made the trip go by quickly. We arrived at the hospital a few hours later; I filled out a few forms and was shown to my room. The hospital was small, but neat and clean. The staff was very friendly. That evening I completed my pre-surgery examinations and got a good night’s sleep. Although I offered my wife the option of staying at a nearby hotel, she decided to sleep in my room on a cot. The next morning I had my surgery.
Everybody reacts differently to surgery. On the first day I experienced occasional bouts of discomfort from the "gas" used to inflate my abdomen, not pain, but a little bit of an ache. A friend of mine who had the same surgery, barely noticed it. It passed in few hours. I was soon up and doing laps in the hospital hallway. My only complaint was that the hospital was small and walking up and down the same halls got a little boring.
On the third day, I was driven to a local hotel arranged by the doctor's staff. I'm a frequent traveler so I know my hotels. This one was pretty nice. Finally I had some room to walk around and lots of sunshine. On the sixth day the doctor removed my drain and we were driven back to San Diego. Living in Ohio, the only flights available were the "red eyes", never my favorite. I elected to spend the night in a hotel near the airport. Now the trip was really starting to feel like a vacation. We flew home the next morning (Saturday), and I was back at work on Monday.
Although my visit and procedure went without a hitch, it was not without a few surprises. I really liked my doctor. After talking with him I felt safe and confident in his abilities. He specializes in this type of surgery and does hundreds every year. Unlike the larger US hospitals, I was kept informed at every step of the way. That was comforting, I almost felt as if I was their only patient. But the biggest surprise was that there were no hidden expenses. Three months before my operation I went to the dentist for some repair work and I'm still getting bills from him!
Having bariatric surgery is a very personal decision. You need to be diligent and do your research, I did. Based on my personal experience, I would recommend Dr. Maytorena.
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