How To Have Stress Free and Successful Surgery & PostOp Recovery Process In Dominican Republic.
We felt it is time to remind/guide anyone considering surgery in DR how to make this process easier on themselves.
It is true when everyone says, the process is truly individual, no two clients have same experience, and the experience is what you make of it. Big part of the experience is the understanding, and the attitude clients arrives in DR.
Here are most common misconceptions, especially for the “first timers”:
- Things are done same way as they are done in USA, Europe or Canada
- Everyone in every doctor office or clinic speaks English
- This is a “vacation” trip..there will be some “painful phase” but then the rest you will have good time
- You need build in pool, ocean view or palm tree in front of your window. As a surgery client you should not use pool before surgery not you can use it after, you will be in pain and in bed so ocean front view won’t matter. Palm trees attract bugs
- Doctors and Recovery Houses will do whatever you ask them just because you are paying for the surgery and RH stay
- Everything will be on time and you can come and go from RH or Doctors Office as you please
- Instant communication with Doctor or RH 24/7
HERE ARE FACTS:
This is the reality of having surgery in Dominican Republic. It is up to client to decide if this is something client can handle and is ready to handle. If not, that is fine, nothing wrong with that, but then client might want to consider having surgery in the area where they live or closer to home.
- Prices of surgery and postop recovery in DR are much lower than in the USA , Europe, Canada, Australia and most of other countries. Not because Doctors or service providers are less skilled or educated, but because cost of labor, insurance, facilities is much less then back home.
- Doctors’ offices and RH do not always respond to WhatsApp messages in timely manner for many reasons. To many inquiries, limited amount of staff members with English language abilities, the way they organize their time and constant flow of clients in and from doctor offices
- You will wait. The time you are told to come will ,99% of the time, not be the time you will be seen. This is just how it is done in DR. Doctors do consults in between surgeries. If you are told to be in the office 10.30 or any other time you will wait. Some RH have more influence with doctors then other for many reasons and often those clients get attention first or RH are able to pull doctor from the meeting and ask a question. The only part of the process that is on time, more/less, is surgery itself.
- Traffic in DR is whole new level of crazy. Do not MapQuest or google maps distance from RH or Airbnb to clinic and think that is it. IT IS NOT. Time of travel depends on what time of day you are going to location. What is 20 min ride 9 am or 7 pm, can be 1-hour ride between 9 am- 5 pm.
- Bring extra funds with you. Plan for unexpected. With current COVID situations as well as everchanging clinic protocols new tests and specialist might be required. Things in DR change sometimes overnight and not all are informed (especially RH) in timely manner so often not only clients are surprised but also other service providers. You need to have extra funds and in cash. Many providers do not accept any other form of payment then cash. Not everyone is after your cash. There are out of pockets expenses you will have. If you feel they are not needed, you should question and challenge them. Ask for explanation and then you can see if they are really needed and/or not.
- If you are staying in RH, remember you will be staying with other clients. Many people, many personalities, many ways to deal with pain. You WILL NOT like everyone, nor EVERYONE will like you. But try to be courteous and if there is drama (THERE IS ALWAYS DRAMA) take your self out of it. Remember it is your process your healing and your pain. You are responsible for your own attitude and view on how you like to recover. There have been great friendships formed between clients during the process, however, there have been also dislikes and clients never talked again after they left.
- When you are in the clinic waiting to pick up to go back to RH or Airbnb, you will wait. Chances are there are other clients in same or other clinics who are also needing a ride so generally drivers pick everyone up at once. If driver would go back and forth one by one, with the traffic some clients might wait hours vs 30-45 min.
- If you are staying at RH and Airbnb, its like a living organism. This will change and not work. Things happen as it happens in your own home. So rather than say “I hate this place” my AC stopped working, see how quickly the issue was address and it of was addressed.
- When staying at RH, meals are cooked for several people and RH generally try to accommodate dietary needs as well as preferences, but if you ask to have seafood and fish, or steak every day, expect to be asked to cover some of the extra expenses as some food items are VERY expensive in DR
- Many RH have rules who can come to visit, where they can go and how long they can stay. Just because you paid to stay in RH don’t expect you can disobey those rules as there are other clients to consider as well .You are healing as group and all clients deserve same consideration and safety, no one above other.
- ALL deposits are nonrefundable. If you accept losing deposit when changing doctor, then you need to accept same rule when changing RH or Airbnb.
- If you decide to leave early 99% of RH and Airbnb will not refund unused days and services as those dates could have been booked with other clients. Especially Airbnb and RH that are in high demand
- Threatening doctor’s office, Airbnb owner or RH with going on social media and “blast” them won’t help your case. Rather communicate with service provider and address your concerns and see if those can be addressed. Are they real concerns or perception? The value of online reviews have been diminished over the years as most of the reviews are of personal nature and “blasting” rather then genuine. This is unfortunate and it does not help future clients.
- SX sister is great to have, however often those relationship go bad rather quickly as you meet other clients online and then in person you realize you don’t like each other. SX Sister is great benefit and support system, however, try to get to know her more before you commit to same doctor, RH or Airbnb
- You are in Dominican Republic!!!!!!!!! It is hot, there is traffic, majority of people do not speak English, there are flies, there are dogs everywhere, kids running on streets everywhere, there are those small green harmless lizards (3-4 inches long-cute)they get in everywhere, being on time is just NOT part of local lifestyle and culture, when locals don’t understand what you ask, they will say “yes” or “ok” so ask again maybe slower, water pressure is low, power outages are common occurrence, all front and side doors are locked, there are bars on windows and doors, there are mosquitos, people try to sell you things on the street and in clinic only doctor offices have AC, most of the time common areas don’t have it or it is not sufficient
Here are benefits and downsides of AirBnb and RH:
- Benefits: Privacy, you follow your own schedule, Smaller more private environment, your own nurse, driver, cook. You can do whatever you want whenever you want. Usually high rises with nice view. You eat whatever you want. You are focus of your hired help attention. You can do laundry whenever you want .Perfect for someone who wants to be left alone, not being talked to and have their own stuff
- Downside: you need to hire your own nurse, cook and driver and hope they show up. In event of an emergency how it is handled? You need to buy your own food and hire massage therapist. There is bodily fluid leakage during massages and sleep , if you damage furniture or owner realizes there are blood stains they might have to get special cleaning and you will be charged for that even when you leave since they have your CC on file . Securing your medication from local pharmacy. You have to do your own laundry. Average per day cost is much higher than RH. On top of AirBNB cost there is food, hired help, cleaning and laundry, massage therapist etc.
- Recovery House
- Benefits: Most respectable RH are fully staffed so you don’t have to worry about hiring anyone. RH works with doctors’ offices and confirmed all appointments as well as makes sure you are there when asked to be there. In event of an emergency there are protocols in place, and it will be handled appropriately. Your laundry is washed on schedule and Faja daily as well as your bed lined are changed. In house massage room and therapist. 24/7 RH on staff. You focus on emotional and physical healing while RH handles the logistics and everything else .Average Per day cost is usually less then Airbnb
- Downside: Lack of privacy. You will share room and house with other clients. Not all clients have same personality and same ways of handling this process. Meals are served on schedule and according to preset menu or available fresh ingrediencies. When going to doctors’ appointments, usually client go as group and there might be wait for others to finish their appointment before all go back. House rules are generally strictly enforced to try to ensure same level of attention and safety for all clients. Larger area and more traffic between rooms and house areas (other clients, staff, owner etc)
If you are not ready follow below guidelines/advice , then maybe you should reconsider having surgery in DR and have it done locally:
- Go with the flow.
- Have extra amount of patience—and we mean extra
- Expect unexpected
- If staying in RH be ready to deal with all kind of personalities and backgrounds
- Be kind and respectful to staff at Dr office, clinics, and RH as you will get back what you put in
- Be kind and respectful to others (if staying in RH) as they go through same process and are handling it differently
- Make sure you understand who is responsible for what part (Doctor, clinic, RH) of your recovery process
- Be ready to deal with non-English speaking environment (there are many apps you can download to translate and some are very effective)
- Dominican Republic People are very welcoming, friendly open minded and sometimes so much willing to help it can be annoying. Part of the culture is to be nurturing. However, if you do not treat them with kindness and respect that can change as anywhere else in the world. Think of this, when you are calling customer services back home for something and you are nice and sweet you will get more attention. If you start off yelling and screaming you will be placed on hold and wait.
- DR is nothing like USA, Europe, Canada or any other country. It has its own pace, flow, speed. Time here is relative….10 am means 10ish (10am-5pm)
- There WILL BE unexpected and expected out of pocket expenses
- Just because you paid for surgery and place to stay you cannot do whatever you want
- you can leave where you are staying at any time, you are not in jail but be ready to lose unused days and services so choose wisely your service providers before sending deposits
- do not base ALL your decision on social media. If you see something negative or concerning regarding your Doctor, RH, AirBnb or any other service provider do not right away jump and change. Experiences are individual. 99% of the time when you see negative feedback regarding Doctor, RH or other service provider you will find client utilizing same services and providers at same time that is 100% satisfied and happy. If you see something concerning, ask the questions. Ask for explanation and then make your own judgement and decision based on your own opinion
- speed of communication. It is often the case you have to wait for response form service provides for couple days or more. That is not unusual. Just think of this….are you able to WhatsApp your doctor back in your home country? Probably not. So, this goes back to Patience. If you do not get responses or they are very late you might want to reconsider using that provider. Safe bet is to wait 48 hours for response.
We at Crocaribe Recovery & Spa certainly hope this was helpful. We are aware this might upset some clients, but the facts needed to be shared as part of our commitment to be fully transparent with he processes. There are three important parts of this process. Your Doctor, Your PostOp Service provider and yourself. And the most of the time the results and response clients gets is based on their approach to communication and the process. Everyone in this process wants clients to go home safe and healed so ALL in this process need to work together and even it is not easy, try to base decisions and reactions on facts not emotions or perception and follow the riles and protocols given by Doctor and RH as they are design with your well being and safe recovery in mind