Going Under the Knife in Trujillo

When my boyfriend, Mark, told me he was going to have surgery to remove his hernia, I wasn’t too worried. After all, it is a very basic, routine operation these days, particularly in Honduras where manual labor in your job is very common. Furthermore, everyone I had spoken with has had a positive experience with the hospitals in La Ceiba. However, when he told me he was having his operation done in Trujillo, my face dropped. Despite the historic town square and Trujillo’s quaint charm, there are many parts of our small town that need a facelift. Hospital Salvador Paredes is one of the many, or so I thought at first glance.

Having gotten his blood work done and purchased his pain medication and bandages from a pharmacy (the hospital doesn’t supply them) a few days prior, I drove Mark to the hospital for 5:00AM. We were told that patients normally have to camp out overnight before having a hernia operation to ensure they do not eat or drink anything. In our case, we were lucky that Mark convinced the hospital staff it was unnecessary as he promised to follow the rules.

So there we were at 5:00AM sleepy-eyed and hanging out in the patient campground (aka the patient waiting room). Entering the room, four single cots lined the right wall and four single cots lined the left wall all divided by small night tables. There were windows across the back wall dressed in blue curtains. With just a little bit of work, the room would actually have been very agreeable. A touch of fresh white paint, some repair to the sagging curtain rod, the removal of some broken equipment and it could have passed as a room in a North American hospital. The beds were comfortable and the room was air-conditioned which is always a bonus.

After about two hours in and out of sleep, the nurse came in and told Mark it was time. As they headed away to prep, I gathered our things and expected to follow. To my horror, when I entered the hall, they had disappeared. When I asked the nurse where I could find them, she told me he was in the operating room and I couldn’t follow. So much for wishing him luck before he went under the knife! I sat nervously waiting for an hour and a half when I received a text message from the surgeon, Doctora Anastasia Mejia, informing me that everything had gone smoothly and Mark had been moved to the recovery room. Thanks to meeting Ana at Banana Beach, I had her cell number and she had mine. Minutes later, she greeted me in the hall and took me into his room. I can absolutely say in their wing of the hospital, they take cleanliness seriously, which was very reassuring. I had to suit up in booties, a gown and a hair cap to go in and see him. The room where they were monitoring him was much nicer than the waiting room. Again there were multiple beds, however the room appeared to have been recently fixed up. All of the equipment was working and there was a nurse there to keep watch.

Finally after a few hours, we moved back into the original waiting area. With pain medication, Mark was kept comfortable. Then around lunchtime, he was served chicken soup and water. He passed the test by avoiding becoming sick, which was good news! That meant we were allowed to leave that evening around 6PM instead of having to stay the night. All in all, the entire operation and experience went smoothly. Mark was extremely impressed with Ana – both with her humorous bedside manner and her skill as a surgeon. They even put the precautionary mesh in during surgery to prevent future tearing in the same area.

To sum it up, for blood work, pain killers and a bandage, the hernia operation, and what would normally be one to two nights in the hospital (depending on your condition) it cost a grand total of 1200 Lempiras…in other words, $60. And get this, the surgery itself was only 300 Lempiras = $15. While parts of the hospital look run down, the care Mark received was pretty good and the maid came into the waiting room at least five times to sweep and clean.

I would recommend the hospital for routine procedures and basic care as well…just don’t dare to use a bathroom unless it is a dire emergency. They were disgusting! I won’t even go into detail. BUT, needless to say, Mark survived surgery in Trujillo, is doing well, and would recommend having hernia surgery there.

 

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