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Preston Hale - Rotator Cuff Testimonial

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Pancreas in place, kidneys secure, and liver intact after my international tour in medical conquest. About six months ago I fell while snowboarding, re injuring a sensitive shoulder to a greater degree. The weeks following were debilitating and depressing as my training abilities were compromised, and personal workouts seemed degenerative. Misery, in short— a half-year of study, I learned of options, of failures, and of success, in pursuit of a solution to a painful result of a testosterone-laced miscalculation.

Snowboarding has always held a place in my heart. It remains an undefined sliver, a dream as much a hobby, adjacent in homage to a skateboarding past, but never congruent in skill. Perhaps because my hilltop aspirations came years after my plywood mastery (mediocrity at best), or maybe limits should simply not be pushed, in pressure of cousin-comfort from a different terrain; obviously not for the unprepared, and in my case— uninsured.

My misguided failure of a modest obstacle left me complete with a jacked ankle,and a scraped face– which of course was my first complication to inspect. It wasn’t as bad as I perceived, once I found a mirror, however it did prove a useful distraction, at least for an hour or two. Counting foreign fingers in humor of everyone’s M.D., and smiling back stares from curious crowds, both seemed pleasant when I finally made the attempt of raising my right arm… I knew immediately what I had done; I tore one of my rotator cuff tendons— an injury that does not heal without a surgical procedure. This would not have been such a scary revelation if I had health insurance, but by lack thereof, fear immediately sank in.

The next two weeks I spent in self-debate; I considered whether to buy an insurance plan and wait for a safe day to announce my pain, or submit myself to the hands of public healthcare at the local county hospital. After conversations with family, friends, and colleagues, I decided (against my conservative values) to bite the bullet of shame and sign up for a free government healthcare program(an Obama-care program). With the help of a friend I was enrolled quickly, and within a month I finally had an appointment with an orthopedic. The doctor agreed that I must have damaged my rotator cuff, and referred me for an MRI, pending the approval of the program in which I relied.

The MRI was denied, not promptly, nor informatively. It took weeks of waiting and an embarrassed phone call to realize I was screwed, back to square one, and no longer equipped with option A. Since I was evaluated by a physician for a specific ailment, insurance was out of the question, unless I wanted to wait six months for having a pre-existing condition, and pay a healthy premium in said wait. There I was, two and a half months in, no improvement in my shoulder, and no idea what to do, so alas— I search the internet.

“Cheap surgery” and “surgery abroad” were some of the keywords that led me to obscure websites, short in information, but intriguing none the less. I submitted two inquiries that night, and by the next day I began receiving phone calls from one Robert Page of MedToGo International. I didn’t answer the calls at first, nor did I return the voice mails. I knew that his website mentioned Mexico as part of the biz, and I wasn’t pleased. I was terrified of Mexico; I did not want to go there, but finally I answered the phone and gave him a chance to speak.

Robert alleviated my fear of Mexico, at least within the Vallarta region. He convinced me that media sensationalism unfairly accounts insular violence to the country at large, and that tourism police have actually maintained a safe haven for vacationers— relaxing and rehabbing alike. He quick-quoted a price I could live with, one I could save for, and with a finish-line finally gleaming in sight, I made a commitment to another program, this one just distant in finance and flight.

Three months later, with the help of a true friend Jay Koch and his loan of grand proportion, I boarded a plane en route to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Arrival was certainly a shock, in culture and institute. The airport itself was confusing,and had it not been for the furious flock or eager experienced explorers, I might never have found my guide— the knowledgeable Alfred Greig. Alfred escorted me to the doctor’s office to see his brother, Dr. Max Greig, and during the drive gave me a crash-course in survival, including plenty of reason to tone down, if not turn off, my apprehension.

Dr.Greig was exactly what I hoped for, a trilingual Mexican native of Canadian and German decent. Doc laid out the game-plan, examined my shoulder for ideas. and took my MRI CD for homework. At his office I was pleasured to meet the innovative mastermind behind MedToGo, Robert page and his lovely girl friendSepe (whose full name bested my memory).

Robert went above and beyond normal business hospitality, giving me a tour of downtown Vallarta’s boardwalk, and treating me to tastes of domestic drink and fine cuisine. For awhile I forgot about my surgery completely, and instead focused on a place I’d never seen, but once thought I knew. Mexico isn’t here as I saw in my head; it isn’t a place I envy, and even in four days I find myself a tad homesick, but it isn’t either, the place I feared with ignorant presumption.Vallarta is a hungry place, old in age but young in spirit. I can only wish that with restructure, through government, community, or both, that ambition can lead to opportunity, and through diligence and prosperity, create a class fluidity like we have in our nation above.

Surgery went well. My memory is foggy, but from Robert’s details I conclude my experience was positive. Apparently I asked how much my liver was going to be sold for, shortly before passing into the altered abyss of anesthesia. Upon waking, I asked the nurse in my best attempt at Spanish, “Where is Jesus Christ?” in tasteless fashion of a joker in dark humor (this I do remember). All together Dr. Greig repaired my supraspinatus tendon, shaved a bone spur off my acromion, and removed arthritis from my A.C. joint. The procedure, flight, lodging, preoperative testing, and other expenses totaled around $6,350, about one-third of the cheapest procedure I found near home.

Here I am six months from the day of my snowboarding mishap on February 26th, 2012,sitting in a resort hotel room on the pacific beach, impatiently awaiting my return flight. My shoulder is fixed thanks to a lucky internet search find, an innovative company, and a leap of faith. I find myself changed, improved maybe,something in realizing that closed doors don’t always protect, but some timesdeter the welcome. I have nothing but compliments for the hospitality of MedToGo, the treatment at the hospital, and the performance of the Greig brothers. I’m not advocating a distrust in our unparalleled healthcare system,nor am I a proponent of transnational fund transfers in spite of high costs; in a pickle, in a stagnant situation bordering desperation, I document an option,my method of repair, a story in plight of a long anticipated recovery.

-Preston Hale 08/26/12

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