Hello everyone *waving* I have been researching...
I have been researching for over a year and preparing for liposuction/liposculpture. I have made the decision to travel to the Dominican Republic since I can make a vacation out of the time, time to arrive and relax at a hotel prior to surgery, time to get a ride to the procedure, time to heal, time to come home. I've had consultations with dr's here in the US and have been very disappointed in not only their reviews, but also their prices for the same procedures. I am not trying to get cheap plastic surgery, however, I cannot bring myself to pay ridiculously more for the same services. One doctor wanted $5,000...per area! I need two areas lipo'ed.
Fast forward to now, I have decided to go with Dr. Augustina Baez. Yes, I know her pictures and reviews arent numerous, but she is less used, so therefore, she is the right doctor for me. One: her customer service has been amazing and has answered all of my questions without making me feel brushed off. Two: Although I am in awe of Dr. Yily and and Dr. Duran's work, I am not looking for a tiny waist and a large booty. I am seeking a natural-looking body that is in my comfort level. The women who get this type of liposculture look absolutely amazing though and everyone should get what makes them happiest with their own bodies.
During my contact with Dr. Baez, I think I may schedule mid- December or just after New Years. I am beginning this journey with a skeptical, worried husband who is supportive, but concerned. I hope that being on Real Self will help me educate him, pack for my journey, arrange for a nice hotel arrange for a respectable Recovery House, and meet a few sx-buddies along the way.
I worked with Jazmine Navarro from Bella Vita to square things away and now I am booked with Dr. Baez on now about to book my flight, and wait to hear from Jazmine about recovery houses and hotels to chill in.
So my to-do list is as such:
1. Book flights
2. Purchase items for travel and recovery
3. Buy snacks like dried fruit (good for healing)
4. Book hotel
5. Book recovery house
It's actually going to happen! Damn.
Too much information! Info Overload.
It just got real!
DO NOT SMOKE!
Beginning to gather my medical travel supplies.
Date Set, Confirmed, 50% Packed, and patiently waiting
Leaving for DR in 4 Days!
Snacks and more
I am a new woman! Back from DR and still recovering.
My Liposculpture in Dominican Republic with Dr. Baez
Flight to DR! On my way to Santo Domingo, MiniTour of DR, Real Recovery Armonia, and Meeting Dr. Baez
Get this, whenever a plane lands without incident in the DR and flying from DR, the passengers burst out into applause. I guess to say thank you for a great landing or thank god we landed without incident. Either way, it was great! I read on Real Self that the airport in DR was rundown, but in my opinion it was a smart looking airport in the Caribbean. I have been to worse airports in Hawaii. They had up to date technology and getting the visa and changing money were a breeze. The only issues I had was: #1-Everyone thought I was Dominicana, so that took some finagling. #2-There was a rude DR TSA agent who apparently didn't like me for some reason or she just had a bad attitude that day. She very loudly said to me "OUTSIDE" when I had my landing card and passport together, meaning put the landing card on the outside of the passport. However, in the USA, you typically store it inside the passport near your typed credentials. The men around her were fine, and I just shot her a look and slowly smiled at her, stared her down and walked away. My look said everything and the responses from the men with her let me know that I had put her in her place.
Upon arrival I met up with Jose Brito, who kept staring at me funny. When I introduced myself, he said "I thought you were Asian". Really, lol. Jose is a really nice guy and very friendly. I met another lady who was scheduled to see Dr. Duran. Once we got our bags into the car, Jose took us on a fabulous tour of DR and we even got to stop at a local restaurant and also see a few apartments that were for rent for a future visit. I was staying at Real Recovery Armonia, and Jose had me out so late that the owner of the place called Jose out of concern. The other lady was staying at the Shakey Italian Apts near the beach.
On my ride to the recovery house, walking around and meeting people, I was listening to some disturbing news about a doctor that sees 16 patients a day, and some others. Since I understand Spanish very well, my mouth fell open! The other young lady that was with me had a friend that was coming the very next day and I found out that this doctor was her doctor. I cannot imagine any physician doing 16 surgeries a day! Each surgery takes between 3-6 hours, so how in the world is this doctor in any shape to work each day like this? Suppose you are the last one for the day? My mind reeled. That's why I liked Dr. Baez. 2 people a day......max. The people then began to discuss the merits of each doctor and which doctors to avoid. I would have pooped my pants if my doctor was listed in the chat. They asked me who my doctor was in English and I replied in Spanish "Dr. Baez". They were very happy that she was my doctor and that she was very good and very nice. They spoke very highly of her and said they girls come out looking very natural with nice bodies. Actually, whenever I mentioned to anyone that Dr. Baez was my doctor, the asker seems to be very happy with my choice. Dr. Baez has a lot of respect at the Recovery House, Clinic, and with the nurses in general. Whew! The lady that was with me contacted her friend and began to attempt to reschedule with another doctor. I get wanting to go to a particular doctor, but my health comes first. There is no way I would risk going to an assembly line cosmetic surgeon. I also overheard about a major altercation between patients in the recovery house I was staying in and I was told if I wanted to rebook somewhere else, please let them know. By the time I arrived, the patients had since left and the rest of my stay at Real Recovery Armonia was peaceful.
Another thing I found out about Dr. Baez is that she one only one other doctor are a member of a particular organization in the DR. It is a very prestige organization and the other member is the relative of one of the board of directors. Another check for Baez.
We finally arrive to the Recovery House and meet everyone. My companion and I were pretty lucky, we were put onto a private floor designated for couples, husbands/wives, etc. The floor we were on was the 9th floor and we were a couple of floors about that. Although I love the decor on the 9th floor, it was not the floor for me. It was very busy and there were 14 patients roaming around everywhere in various stages of pain, plenty of medical nudity, and recovery. The upper floor was quiet, peaceful, with dark wooden features, and only one other couple. We had a double room and were immediately accommodated with our luggage, and a cool beverage. and asked what we wanted for lunch. We got settled, and I was told that I would be leaving to see Dr. Baez within the hour.
My checklists: Information regarding Dr. Baez
Australia Fragoso Baez, MD
Instituto Cirugía Especializada, Av. Bolivar 208, Suite 405, Gazcue. Distrito Nacional. 10205 Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Phone: 809-890-8143 809-689-9342
1. She does not speak English perfectly, but talks socially to you in English. However, she will only speak in Spanish regarding medical information and questions. She will have an assistant with her, either her husband or her brother-in-law.
2. Dr. Baez's office is very small, yet has modern touches. It works for her and is very comfortable. She is in a fairly decent facility and although it isn't glossy, it is definitely medically sound.
3. She uses Jose Brito for transport for her clients.
4. She is very serious about the lab results. If you can hold off smoking for 2 weeks, do. Do not even think of having nicotine in your system. You really need to be in good health dealing with Dr Baez.
5. She provides most post op scripts for free. I had to purchase Heparin and pain medicine once I returned back to the recovery house. It was about $30.
6. She provides a pass for the airport, so that you can have a wheelchair assist.
7. She will send you home with your drain and stitches if she feels it is not ready to come out. She will insist that you send her pictures of updates of your surgical area and drain amounts. She will not remove the drain if you produce more that 50cc of fluid (blood, fat, etc) in the drain well in a day.
8. Patient First will remove your stitches and drain if you have to travel with them.
9. She is very caring and affectionate. If this puts you off, then Dr. Baez is not the right Dr. for you.
10. The surgical facility has everything in house. Labs, EKG, Surgical procedures, and more.
11. From beginning to end, Dr. Baez was professional and consistent.
Dr. Australia Fragoso Báez is a plastic surgeon in Dominican Republic, she has written several scientific articles and has been a speaker at several national and international conferences, as well as being a regular attendee to academic activities of the principal societies and federations that rule plastic surgery in Latin America. Dr. Fragoso has experience performing all plastic and reconstructive procedures but especially in liposuction (body contouring), abdominoplasty, buttock augmentation, breast reduction and augmentation.
Australia Fragoso Baez is an MD graduated with honors (Cum Laude) from the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (UASD), she joined National Residence of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery (RENACIP) at Hospital Salvador B. Gautier of Dominican Social Security Institute (IDSS) in Dominican Republic where she was chief resident and had an international rotation at Institute of Reconstructive Surgery Dr. Guerrerosantos in Guadalajara, Mexico. She participated in the competition for residents of the Ibero American Federation of Plastic Surgery (FILACP) where she won second place before concluding her residence. She belongs to the main institutions ruling the practice of medicine as member of the Dominican Medical College (CMD), Dominican Society of Surgery, Dominican Society of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery (SODOCIPRE), FILACP and International Confederation for Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery (IPRAS).
Affiliations: CMD, SODOCIPRE, FILACP, IPRAS.
My Checklists: How to prepare and what to bring to the DR
SUPPLIES, FACTS, GUIDANCE PRE OP AND POST OP
Trip Insurance: insuremytrip.com
Ask for Wheelchair Service Stateside
Label your drugs for TSA and customs
Supplies for traveling to DR
____fanny pack or waist pouch to carry passport
____Cash for surgery
____$10 for your entry fee once you arrive to SDQ airport
____ID & medications
____Books, Laptop, Headphones for entertainment
____Rolled towel or travel pillow
____Compression socks - a must for flying after surgery!
____Heating pad -after surgery
____Water filter bottle - I used a Brita filter bottle
____Extra Pillow and Cover
____Sun dresses, maxi or button up dress.
____Flats sneakers or shoes, flip flops or slip on shoes.
____Faja & backup faja to put on when 1st stage is being washed.
____Spanx or corset (I brought my squeem, and Dr. Baez loved it)
____Large T-shirts (forget it. use 2x-3x button-up mens shirts instead)
____Wife Beaters (I only got through 5 of them
____Robe with zipper front (I brought one with pockets and I am glad I did. Indispensable! Plus the drain fits into the pocket so you won't have to carry it around.
____travel size tooth brush, tooth paste, mouth wash, mints (after surgery my mouth was dry)
____Cotton Balls and Q tips (your recovery house nurse will be happy you have these handy)
____Hair products & Brushes (after surgery, my hair was the last thing I thought of. I pulled my hair on the top of my head in a loose bun and called it a day. I could barely lift my arms to do my hair)
____scarf for your hair, comfy hat or hair tie
____Baby wipes (Bring scented and unscented. Also, I added some liquefied Dr. Bronners Lavender Soap to the pack. It was perfect to 'wash' with)
____Body Lotion (it was hard to apply after surgery, use spray lotion or make your own spray lotion)
____Deodorant (spray deodorant was a must, it was painful to roll on regular deodorant)
____Dog training pads for bed (NO! NO! NO! Do not use these, get ones for humans. The dog ones come with a special urine scent
____Lipo foam board or Maxi pads (i brought 4 packs of pads, I am so glad I did! They really helped buffer the pain and pinching of the faja)
____waterproof bed covers (king, queen, twin) (my recovery house had a regular mattress, not a medical mattress and I was uncomfortable lying on it. I brought a plastic mattress pad and covered the mattress upon my arrival. I brought a queen and a twin as backup.
____female urinal (DO NOT TRAVEL WITH OUT THIS, SEE REVIEW!)
____Hooks for drains (brilliant idea, I used metal clips to hook onto my pockets and and inside of my dresses/robe. It was great to be handsfree and not have to carry the drain everywhere. Also, you have to walk around in public and it was great to hide it for privacy.
____Thermometer (bring just in case you temp spikes after surgery)
____scar healing strips and waterproof assorted bandages
____Anti itch cream
____Triple antibiotic ointment
____Various sized gauze & Waterproof tape
____Alcohol (a necessity. I put mine in a spray bottle and used it to sanitize the bathroom, toilet, hands, and any surface I could.
____Antibacterial soap (I had to wash with it the evening before and the morning before my surgery)
____Disinfectant spray & Disinfectant wipes (a must!)
____PILL ORGANIZER (I kept my vitamins in here and took them everyday before and after surgery)
Medications to bring
Medications you will either receive or get a prescription for
-HEPARIN - an injection
Food & Drinks I brought with me
____Coconut Water powder - coconut and coconut water is very healing. add to your bottled waters
____Juice boxes - I brought kid size juice boxes
____Liquid vitamin drinks
____Plastic cutlery - (really came in handy)
____Roll of paper towels - (really came in handy!)
Vitamins to begin taking now and afterwards:
____Arnica Montana tablets
Other Important things to bring:
-Emergency contact list (JUST IN CASE) should be left with your nurse.
-Call your credit/debit card company prior to travel or your card may be blocked from use
- Bring emergency "Monkey-money" $200-400
-Most recovery houses have wifi- if you dont have an international cellphone: download the following apps: Whatsapp, Tango, Skype, Google Voice, Viber. I used mostly Tango and Google Voice for communications.
-NOT DRINK, NOT WASH, NOT CONSUME WATER after surgery. It is not Potable and can cause an infection or make you sick.
-Tip money....services are being offered be kind and take care of the people that are taking care of you show your appreciation when they are doing a Good job. US dollars work fine.
Labs and Recovery House
I arrived for labs and was pretty nervous. It is rumored that Dr. Baez will not perform surgery if you are not at the epitome of health. After meeting her and getting her design plan for my body, I was sent with her husband for bloodwork, urine, EKG, and a pretty thorough assessment. Regarding bloodwork, you will have to take an HIV test that is mandated by the government. I had to fill out a separate form and sign away a bunch of stuff in order to take this test. After leaving Dr. Baez’s office, we went to a lab area that was pretty open. I met with the phlebotomist who was a nice, jovial lady. When I asked her how she was doing, she said “I am black, fat and happy!” And she really was! She made the blood drawing somewhat of an event and we enjoyed a couple of good laughs. She speaks very little English, but really tried out what she knows on me. She then grabs a cup and loudly says “Goo PEE PEE!” It was a demand and she promptly marched me to the bathroom. Afterwards I was led to the EKG room and meet with a very nice gentleman who was the technician (his English is good). I passed with flying colors. Afterwards, Dr. Baez’s husband (he had loosened up considerably at this point) chatted with us, we signed more papers, and he told us what time to arrive in the morning. Then we were driven back to the recovery house.
Real Recovery Armonia
Although I listed some things above about this place, I will add more some more later, but here are some quick tidbits.
Real Recovery Armonia- Quick Pros
Everyone is very nice. I loved the floor we were on. The food was delicious. The place was cleaned constantly. Air conditioner, TV, Cable all worked nicely. Good outdoor views all around. Fresh juice and snacks whenever we wanted them. Caretakers were on hand and very attentive. Once I felt better, the walk around the neighborhood was nice. The Fajete store is across the way. Mayra the owner is quite nice and checks in on you. Ruth is the masseuse and her daughters Ruth, a nurse and Estelle, an assistant work there also. There is Eboni who cleans and Kenia who started working there for the first time. Flacca is the cook, and Luisa was another nurse who is fun and a hoot! All of these ladies made our stay remarkable. Ruth is very knowledgeable and on top of everything. She is also on top of making sure you take your meds. Her plus is that she knows where you can get your hair done (Dominican blow-out) for $8 bucks! I would invite these ladies to my room and we would chat and hang out. I even had shared coffee, tea, and chocolate with them on their down time. Kenia was eager to learn new English words and Luisa loves to hang out. Everyone had a story and it was great to hear about their kids, families, husbands, schooling, and their lives. The staff was wonderful.
Real Recovery Armonia- Quick Cons
I would have preferred medical mattresses. The hot water was out for a day, but was promptly fixed (thanks Kenia!) The bathroom had no proper window curtain, only a sheer, so it made taking a shower a peepshow to the people outside. The massage room I was put in had no privacy, I had to request that the windows be covered as there were girls there that thought it was appropriate to watch me in the nude! It would have been nice if the wi-fi worked in the sitting area (it doesnt), it only works in your room. The whole floor lacked lightbulbs and we had to request light at night once it got dark. Also, although the sheets and pillows were clean, they were spotted with the secretions (blood, etc) of other patients. Although they were washed, it weirded me out to have to sleep on them. My suggestions are to bring your own pillow cases and use towels to cover the spots.
Day of Surgery: The day started slow then it was over and happened so fast
7am: Upon arrival, we went to the same area where I had my EKG.. We filled out some more paperwork, then we went up stairs to the surgical floor. There I met the inpatient nurse and I was placed in a sketchy-looking room with 3 beds that had dilapidated curtains separating them….which was a little scary. I saw all this old medical equipment and my companion said “it’s not too late to back out”. I mean, it looked like a cold war mental hospital. I have to put my american-isms aside and just accept that I would be fine...as I was looking at the quilt that had holes in it and the floor with stained and rusty and the medical equipment looked like 3 world issued. I was hoping that that was not where I was going to be recovering, nor where the actual surgery would be taking place.
At about an hour after my arrival, Dr. Baez breezed in with her usual greeting and walked in with her cheery wonderful self and I felt at ease then. If she wasn't nervous about where I was sitting, then neither will I be. She uses the words and phrases “My Baby” often and it thought it was cute. She did however insist that my companion be taking to my recovery room immediately with my things. He came back and said the room was very nice, and felt better about my status. As I was changing, I had to keep the hospital curtain closed at the seam. I guess they are used to women walking around the hospital in various stages of undress, The doctor saw that I was uncomfortable with the male doctors walking around and she stopped what she was doing, and closed the curtains for me and said I'm sorry let me help.
At about 8am, Dr. Baez began to examine me and mark me up with a dark blue market, and then took photos. She's very thorough, as I mentioned before and took pictures from every angle. My body was marked in extreme detail and she even traced with her fingers the trajectory of what she planned to do. At about 8:30am, in walks another nurse and she handed me famous blue pill and a glass of water. She then proceeded to insert my IV. Good lord why do these always hurt?! I have never had an IV that did not hurt while being inserted. After the pill, about 10 mins later, a wheelchair was brought in and everything became a semi blur not too long after that. I remember being wheeled into an operating room, which in my semi- drugged state, the room was clean, and although not too modern, I remember saying to myself that I was confident that it would work efficiently. I remember seeing doctor Baez in a hat and goggles, I remember sitting on the operating table, I remember being laid back and that's it. Out!
Previously, I was so afraid of waking up on the operating table based on what others had said and that surpassed any fears about any thing else about the surgery. But, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. The anesthesiologist fully prepared me and detailed that I would not be totally knocked out, just sleepy. He also explained the epidural block. And in all honesty, I was actually glad that I was able to wake up during the surgery because it let me know that I was alive. He said that I would be on my back for the first part of the surgery, then they would turn me on my side and then completely over. I probably would not wake up until I was completely turned over where I would feel movement like I was being shaken awake. he said at that moment, they would be lipo'ing my back. Well, it happened almost exactly the way that he said. At some point someone put a face mask over my face and then I didnt wake up until the jostling. I guess I said something and Dr Baez was right there. Everything time I woke up, she made it a point to make sure that I saw her face or heard her voice, which was much appreciated, especially after reading stories how other patients woke up and their doctor is nowhere to be seen or they saw someone else’s face.
I woke two more times. Once when I felt some pain pressure in my back, then I was knocked out and the last time when they were putting me into a fajete. I felt myself being lifted and in my groggy state wheeled into a recovery room
Food at Real Recovery Armonia
You will be asked what you want to eat and they will customize it for you. Let them know what you like and don't like and inform them of any allergies also. They were happy to make substitutions. Flacca is the main cook and as tall and thin as she is, that woman can cook soooooo good!
By far Dr. Baez is one of the best doctors I have had the pleasure to visit. I felt taken care of the moment I arrived, to the moment I left. Her bedside manner is impeccable and she has a great sense of humor. I love that she is knowledgeable and personable. I also love the fact that she not only enjoys creating natural body shapes on women, she is very picky about who she selects as a patient and cares about your overall pre-health "before" she operates. She doesn't just take anyone, so that was a big selling point to me.