I was slender until my abusive marriage when I...
I was slender until my abusive marriage when I gained a tremendous amount of weight. I've kept it off for 14 years and have been carrying around this excess skin. Finally will rid of this constant reminder of the torture. So scared and nervous though.
I chose Dr. Ortega because he has over 25 years experience & unlike the other 5 doctors I interviewed, he uses assistants so I wouldn't be under for long. Also, his office staff has been very efficient & knowledgable.
1 day before
Took these the day before the surgery.
First follow up
Just saw Dr. Ortega today for my first follow up after surgery. I walked to the office from the hotel (slowly). I'm feeling strong. He said I'm doing well & recovering according to plan. He said I didn't have pads as I should have between my skin & my tubes. I was a little irritated so now that will be better. Walked back to the hotel feeling even stronger. But I did have to take a nap after. He told me I will need smaller compression garments for the next 6 months.
Lower Body Lift with Butt Enhancements
I was given a quote for $7000 for a lower body lift prior to coming down to Miami from New Jersey. The coordinators told me to show up at 10am to see the doctor which I did. Karla, my coordinator, came in to meet me but the first thing she said was it will be $2000 extra for your butt. I said I met with several other plastic surgeons that said adding the fat to the buttocks during the process is included and expected for women. I waited another 2 hours before the doctor came in. Meanwhile several people would randomly open the door and peek in. It was quite disturbing. The doctor came & said adding the fat is routine for women but it's an extra procedure. Why did they wait till I flew down & they basically had me hostage to tell me this?
The staff is nice but extremely disorganized. That might have been the issue as to why I wasn't told.
Post-op, I'm having issues & they can't get their act together to even call me back.
6 days post-op
I took some more pics today & thought I'd share some things that helped me get through. The pain wasn't so bad from day 1. I didn't think I needed pain meds but I took them the first 2 days just in case. I did have a bit of chest congestion that hurt very badly when I tried to cough it out. I'm trying to have little or no salt but plenty of water. I was constipated but then started having a cup of prune juice with every meal. Then I didn't have to push out a bowel movement. I was so happy every time I actually pooped. Sorry for being gross but if you've ever been constipated, you understand. The biggest help was walking though, but not too much. I get tired quickly, so I walked for 10 minutes several times a day.
Now, I'm 6 days post-op & still feeling pain on my right side. I took picks & looks like the closure on the hoses looks odd. My fluids are draining between 25-45ml in each drain so maybe they'll come out soon-I hope.
Day 7 Don't sneeze
I just sneezed & the pain was unbelievable. So sharp and it didn't subside right away. It's not like coughing where I can control it. OMG, I have to make sure I don't do that again.
I am still bleeding from my right hip. I looked at it to make sure it's not infected then covered it back up. I'm using maxi-pads to cover the area just to make sure it doesn't get infected & there's a cushion between the wound & undergarment. It hurts a little less now. The pads really work to reduce skin irritation. They've been making me feel better.
Bad news today. 10 days post-op
Well, I have an infection in a small section of the incision. I don't think it's a large issue but Dr. Ortega wants to make sure I'm ok. So I have to take antibiotics & as a precaution, I might have to stay in Miami longer. Tubes still in.
12 days post op last visit
I had an appointment today at 8am today to have the doctor remove my tubes. I'm flying back home today. That's why they gave me an early appointment. I asked for the first available. When I showed up, I found a woman's husband sitting in the waiting area. No one was at the front desk. They had arrived at 6:30am for a mommy makeover. So she was just about to go into surgery. WTF!!! Why do I have an 8am appointment then? Someone in scrubs came out & said "are you here for the Dr Ortega?" He put me in a room & said "the doctor is heading into surgery so he has to see you now or else it will be a very long time". He didn't give me a gown or anything. The doctor rushed in. He said the problem was that his nurse didn't show up today. But I had an appointment with him not his nurse. I told him I had questions. He said he didn't have time for a list of questions. I worry too much & I'm fine. He said people don't think he cares because he doesn't spend time after surgery but he does care. The issue is that people are fine & progressing fine & no need to spend time with them.
So if you have post-surgical questions about anything: when do tubes come out? Wound care? Hygiene? Things to watch out for post surgery... Ask before. He will not give you time after.
I do not want to tell you not to go to him because I look good and he is reasonably priced but to get this combination, something has to give.
In the hospital with the infection from hell
Last I saw Dr Ortega was 12 days post surgery. I said the infection looks worse. He said it's not as red any more. But I was seeing the stitches opening up more. When he removed the drains, I nearly fainted & fell on him, but in his words "you look great. You worry too much." Well, a week later, I'm in the hospital from that infection. During the past week, he was on vacation as all people do. I called & emailed concerns to his office. There is no coverage while he's gone.
He did call me when he returned from vacation & told me to go to the ER. He suspected a pulmonary embolism but testing ruled that out. It was the infection that I was bleeding from on day 2 (he said bleeding was normal and didn't look at it), fever on day 3 (called the emergency # & was told fever was not high enough to worry); office visit day 4 (looked at pic I sent of high swollen right buttock but did not examine me), email day 7 (no response); visit day 9, visit day 10 (finally wrote anti-biotic), visit day 12 (first time he actually looked at the infection in person & gave me care instructions). I took the antibiotics and followed the wound care instructions religiously. The infection has grown & now I'm in the hospital on IV antibiotics.