Lipo and TT Revision - Tijuana, MX
I have been following multiple doctors as well as...
So close now and feeling very prepared
Beauty Care Recovery House - Food
In TJ now, and surgery is tomorrow
Day three at BCRH
Two+ week post-op, and very happy.
My experience in Tijuana and The Hospital
1) Arrival Day
I already posted about arrival day above, but I’ll repeat that we drove early in the morning from the Los Angeles area. The doctor’s office was very quiet on a weekday morning compared to the busy Saturday when I had my in-person consult. I’m relieved by the more quiet atmosphere. We meet with one of Dr Cardenas’ assistants and handle the business matters of the surgery. They confirm that I’m wearing compression socks, and they helped me understand that it will be easy to recognize the driver, whom I have never met, as he arrives in a blue minivan with clearly marked signage “Beauty-Enhance.” Then we check into our hotel and prepare for an early dinner out. No eating late before early morning surgery.
2) Surgery Day
I wake to an early alarm and prepare to take what may be the last shower for a few days. As planned by email and confirmed when we were at the doctor’s office the previous day, the driver will pick us up in front of the Marriott sometime between 6:15am and 6:30am. I’m even standing in front of this large, modern hotel with wet hair as I anxiously didn’t want to be there a minute past 6:15am. But this is Mexico, not Switzerland, and of course the driver isn’t there. Now it’s 6:45, there is still no driver in sight, and I’m worried. My appointment at the hospital is at 7am. My husband reminds me that I’m being overly anxious and that he’s not the least bit worried this timing. I check my phone, and I find an email that was sent 10:30pm the previous night requesting to confirm the transportation to the hospital. Ten-thirty at night, I was long asleep by then, and now I imagine I botched things by failing to respond to the email. Anxious, anxious, anxious. But not to worry – just at that moment the blue minivan arrives at almost 7am. And you know what? I was still at the hospital by 7am! All of that is to say, I was easily freaked out for no reason whatsoever and this is just the beginning of remembering that some things are a little more loose in Mexico. Right. I should know this.
3) Surgery Day, Continued
I hadn’t seen the hospital before, and I am pleasantly impressed. It’s very clean, modern, and spacious much like Dr Cardenas’ office building. Language barrier is no problem here – at least so far – and the doctor’s assistant is there with us again to walk us through the steps. There are many, many other Americans checking in for a wide variety of procedures with various doctors. My only minor regret takes place here during prep for surgery. Dr Carmina asks me if I want some fat grafting as it was complimentary to my procedure. I said, “no.” Now I wish I had had an in-person appointment with Dr Cardenas to discuss these details the day before surgery. At the moment she asked, while I’m already prepped for surgery, medical equipment monitoring things all around me, other people getting prepped on the other side of curtains..., I’m so anxious that I can barely figure out my name let alone make a life-long decision about my body. I should have trusted her on this, but I stayed with my “no.” I’ll say more about this later. Meanwhile, I get wheeled in for surgery and the anesthesiologist takes over. Later I would find myself recovering in my own private hospital room. I have had both elective and non-elective surgery, including emergency surgery in the US, and I’ve never had this much privacy, space, and quality care.
4) Staying the night at the hospital
When I went into surgery we were told that if the room I would be staying in for the night was available my husband could wait for me there during surgery. He much preferred the private room to a waiting room. However, there was a slight problem here, and it may have had something to do with language or communication problems. Many hours later, my husband starts to ask if I’m okay. He gets vague answers and not a lot of response. He asks again and wonders why I have not joined him yet or why he has not heard from the doctor. He’s told that someone will get back to him. More vague answers and more time passes, and he starts to fear there is bad news. All along, I’m actually resting and recovering in the hospital room next door!!! They had put us in different rooms! Surgery went very well, but somehow the connection between us got lost in translation. All was well once they took him to the correct room. The hospital room has a flat couch that doubles as a sleep surface and he was invited to stay the entire night with me. Here is where I noticed another small cultural influence. We declined the invitation, and I know he was looking forward to returning to the hotel where all our things remained from the previous day’s check-in. We had reserved the hotel so that he would remain in Tijuana until I was comfortably settled at Beauty Care Recovery House (BCRH). There was a sweet dismay on the face of nurses. Like, “Really? You’re not going to stay here with your wife?” They never said such a thing, of course, but you could see their confusion. I think with Mexico’s traditional focus on the family they were surprised that he sit there waiting for me all day and would leave now. Nevertheless, again all was well and communicated clearly, and he returned to the hospital early the next morning (with Starbucks coffee! :) ) to sit with me until they were ready to transfer me to BCRH.
Recevery House - some details
Dr Carmina Cardenas is an exceptionally competent and highly skilled surgeon. With doctors like her in Tijuana I cannot imagine ever having another surgery in the US. From my personal experience, (as well as observations of other patients at the recovery house), I would say that she is especially gifted with the lower portion of the female body. She also has the rare gift to understand what different individuals want from their procedures. Check out my notes and posts about my procedure with her to learn more about how she works and about my experience with doing this outside of the U.S. I highly recommend Dr. Cardenas.