Saturday, July 28, 2007

Two seminars and paperwork sent

Well i just noticed it has been a full month since i last posted on here. Since my first post I have attended not one, but two surgury seminars. When I posted last time I had an appointment for the seminar with one of our local bariatric surgeries but after that I called the other office and they invited me to a seminar in three days! So I will talk about both seperately:

seminar 1

The first seminar I attended was one held by the bariatrics office that is part of a research university. This session was very low-key. First there was a presentation by the dietician and then another by one of the surgeons. As a teacher myself I find that I am very critical of poor speakers sooooo beware :) The dietician was not a good speaker at all! She went over her PowerPoint slides faithfully and when the audience asked questions she managed to play the game of master politicians everywhere-Do not commit, avoid a straight answer and say nothing! The surgeon did a better job of explaining the various surgical options, results etc. I was a bit disappointed in that he didn’t talk about any research. He did talk a little bit about expected results, complication possibilities and basic rates of those complications. This surgeon stated that he preferred RNY surgeries solely because they had a longer track record in the U.S. (given that I am most interested in lap band this sits uneasily with me).

I have read in other blogs that it is common to look around at fellow attendees to see where you measure up. My husband, and I were no exception. We looked around the room and found a mix of sizes in the audience-bigger, smaller, in wheel chairs, older, younger etc. Some of the questions-well as a teacher I don't like to say this but they were just plain stupid!-Why is it that people in all settings feel the need to make everything into a personal consultation for themselves?! The rest of us gain nothing from hearing the answer as to whether someone is a good candidate for surgery if he/she take 20 micrograms of coumadin. Thankfully the doctor limited the opportunity for personal questions like these by saying, “those of the kinds of questions we can address at your personal consultation.”

The dietician handed out a file of paperwork, documents to fill out and that was pretty much all to the orientation. I have gotten way more information from the web and reading research articles that I can get my hands on off the web.

The most valuable pieces of information I got from the orientation came from one sentence the doctor stated: we are now running four months from paperwork to surgery. And reading on my own in the file of paperwork about what records, and information I needed to send in to get my first appointment (they call you-you don’t call for an appointment)

Seminar 2

Well these guys were slick (almost uncomfortably so). I made this reservation first but had to wait three weeks to attend. From what I gather they hold one per month. My reminder card and telephone call came from a subcontractor company in Pennsylvania (very impersonal). The seminar, however was awesome! They had a speaker who had undergone surgery, everyone talked about research results over time. They talked about how much weight the average person loses, the long term benefits and risks related to the surgery. The number of patients treated by the clinic and the number of adverse affects (deaths, complications and everything). I really liked the seminar portion of this one. The downside however was that it appears it takes 6 months from paperwork to surgery.
The crowd at this seminar was much larger. As a result of the size or because the presentation was aimed at such a higher level of intelligence the questions asked were much more general. During the first seminar I felt like they were treating me like I was unable to understand things like statistics and results.

The decision:

So I know this is completely at odds with my seminar experiences but I am still going to go with the first site. Only because when they said 4 months I decided that sooner with the guys that don’t explain things well was better than later with an unknown. I will just grill them when i go in for the one to one meeting. I sent my paperwork off fairly quickly and it is now sitting in their office waiting for the “we will call you” moment. I called yesterday to make sure all of the paperwork had arrived and no one answered the phone or called me back after I left a message. Hmmm-do you think they take Fridays off? I bet they do! Being the U.S. consumer that I am I must say the ‘we will call you’ policy is slightly annoying but then after all of the think time the decision is made and I am now anxious to get going!