Sunday, December 11, 2011



The surgery in Tijuana went fine. I was very anxious but it turned out to be better than I thought and LESS painful than I imagined. Dr. Andres Betancourt was superb and very nice. The hospital was in the middle of a shopping center which surprised us all. But the inside was clean and efficient.

Wish I could have had this done FIFTY years ago, but, alas, it wasn't available.
The hospital couldn't have been better. It was clean and efficient. The first night I spent in the hospital. The next two nights were spent in Recovery House, a renovated home set up for excellent care in the hills overlooking Tijuana.

(GORY DETAILS: [SKIP if you wish.] After full anesthesia, they put a large tube [40 fr Bougie] down into your stomach to act as a form to reduce the stomach onto. 
Dr. Betancourt
They then make five small incisions for the laproscopic instruments. One of the incisions is 1 1/2 inches long to accommodate the taking out the stomach! They then insert a light and camera, and fill the abdomen with gas to make room for the surgery. The stomach is first released from the surrounding fat and connective tissue. Cutting off 80% of the stomach is the goal of the procedure. It's done by an instrument that looks like vice-grips that seals the cut line with heat then cuts the line in the middle. Therefore, no stomach contents leak into the abdomen. They had to be very careful at the top as this is the place where most leaks occur [1%]. An overlay of sutures is followed by Titanium staples to securely close the stomach sleeve. Afterward, the incisions are sewn closed. A vessel for fluid collection is put into the abdomen. 
One Hour Post Surgery

A day later they did a barium swallow X-Ray to check for leaks. [I have a copy.] NO LEAKS!)

Copious amounts of pain killer was given to me along with antibiotics. All food (sic) was provided in small, frequent amounts. I had to drink A LOT of water. Walking, though slightly painful, was very much encouraged.

My first night in Recovery House
my roommate was a young man from Saskatchewan. He was an oil rig operator! The second night was a man from Chicago who kept me awake all night due to his loud snoring. I suspect he had bad sleep apnea.

On the second day we went shopping! What a delightful experience. We ran into Dr. Betancourt and had a very nice visit.

On the third day after surgery, they took us directly to the airplane gate in San Diego, via the hospital van.

I'm black and blue but survived the airplane trip with only mild discomfort. Mary Ann and Ted picked me up at the Baltimore airport thankfully.

Being home is nice. I'm better every day, not hungry and doing well.

The regimen from now on is only clear liquids for two weeks, then full liquids for another week, then pureed foods (baby food) for a week, then soft foods for the next week. Then on January 7th, I can eat most regular food albeit in small amounts. After 10 weeks, I can have coffee, wine and can lift things again. I want to lose 60#.

I'm looking forward to all the benefits.



Caliban said...

Marvelous report, Don. The doctor is very impressive. And Mary Ann and Ted deserve Special Commendations for their service above and beyond the call of duty. Brava and Bravo Mary Ann and Ted.

The operation sounds fascinating and I'm truly amazed you were able to walk around immediately afterward and sounded so chipper when I talked to you on the third day! I am impressed by your perseverance and fortitude. Congratulations on a successful operation.

I look forward to seeing the New Thinner You that is in your future.

Don Voth said...

Thank you Robert. Yes, Mary Ann and Ted are great!

Don Voth said...

Don, Hope you are well. What on earth would make you go to tiajuana to have bariatric surgery? You are something. Happy Holidays.


Don Voth said...

Thanks Amy. I went to Mexico because no place in the U.S. would that do the surgery because I'm not fat enough!!

Anonymous said...

WELCOME BACK. I saw your bedroom light on as I was driving by around 9 P M. last night. Just read your blog and was happy that everything exceeded your expectations. nippy this morning...stay warm! Bob

Don Voth said...

Thanks Bob. Your support throughout this process has been very welcome.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Don!!!

So glad you came thru the surgery in "good" condition. Wishing you a safe and happy road to full recovery.

All the best,


Don Voth said...

Thank you Keith!

Anonymous said...

Glad you are home and WELL! Libby

Don Voth said...

Thanks Libby. I've already lost 22#!

Ron said...

Now THAT is a PERSONAL blog! Wow Don. You have more courage than I do. I hurt just reading and watching your post op video. I hope this operation results in improvement in your health and that nice, slim body you've always wanted. You'll have the guys knocking down your door on Atlantic Street this summer, that's for sure! I hope your recovery is quick and successful. My best to you always.

Anonymous said...

Don, I am glad you are happy. Now eat well. Exercise and be right with the world. You will fell better and the only way to keep the weight off is to excercise and eat small portions. I know mny people who have had the surgey and the way they kept weighht off was to exercise and follow every regimine the doctors told them too. Good luck to you my Friend and Happy Holidays.
Love Amy

Don Voth said...

Thank you Amy. Yes, I'll watch my food and exercise!!! Thanks for your support.

Anonymous said...

Glad you're home, safe and sound. Mark

Don Voth said...

Thank you Mark. It's so good to have support! Hope to see you at Friday's dinner.

Don Voth said...

Thank you Ron. It's good to have your support.