Why Surgery Recovery in Costa Rica?


CheTica Ranch

I truly believe that where you choose to recover and how long you spend recovering is JUST as important as choosing your surgeries and your doctors. I stayed at CheTica Ranch, a surgery recovery facility near San Jose, Costa Rica. My daily cost included room, meals, wifi, telephone, nursing care, laundry, and transportation.

I chose CheTica Ranch surgical recovery facility because it offered everything I needed -- follow-up care (changing bandages, shots, healthy food, sanitary conditions, experience), internet access, transportation, privacy, and an ideal setting to go through this transition. That does not mean that there are not other excellent places to stay. Just not for me.

After I looked at each room, I asked Ruben to pick the one that would be best for my husband and me. Two beds a must! Refrigerator, microwave, water dispenser, CD/DVD/TV player, coffee pot, internet access. Fincho will light your wood-burning fireplace for you every night. All this, including an electric blanket and a space heater -- it was the rainy season while I was there.

You won’t be bored. Several cable TV channels are in English. You can access the internet wirelessly if you have your own laptop or use one of the computers in the dining hall. Calling home is also free and easy on the Ranch’s Vonage line. They have a 400+ DVD library, books, magazines. Ruben and Lorena can recommend places to visit in town or more extensive local outings if you feel strong enough. My husband loved the coffee plantation and volcano tour.

Frances greeted me early my first day and was there to care for me upon my return. She gave me a monster anti-biotic shot every day and she was as gentle as she could be. She showered me for a week, changed dressings, called doctors, arranged outings, advised on better support garments (one I actually like), and generally comforted and reassured -- even taking my wine glass away from me one celebratory night because of those antibiotics. Tough/gentle love.

Personally, I liked having my own separate cottage. I had privacy if I wanted it, but I could go to the dining hall to be with others. My DVD bothered no one else and theirs didn’t bother me. Mykonos is at the top of the stairs, the highest and longest hike of any cottage, and I wanted that. It was part of my commitment to walk as much as I could and heal as fast as I could. Five other cottages are on the same level as the dining hall and driveway, if walking is a problem for you.

Transportation to and from the airport as well as to every doctor appointment is free. Conversations with Erik and Juan Carlos (Lorena’s brothers) made those pleasant journeys that helped me appreciate Costa Rica even more.

Magda’s magic massages will heal you spiritually and physically. Not to be gross, but you would rather have her massage fluids from you than wear a compression garment for extra months. After an hour in her hands, my swelling would decrease and I would be at peace. Back home, the closest thing to what she does is called therapeutic lymphatic massage and nobody in Oklahoma does one (and if they did, I could not afford it).

The food is incredible, three tasty healthy low fat low salt meals. Soups to die for! See if Lorena will share her recipes. With a lapband, I was afraid that much would be inedible, too gummy, pasta, etc. The only meal that didn’t work for me was the American style hamburgers and fries offered as a treat and Carla cooked me a wonderful chicken filet with grilled veggies. Fresh pineapple juice every morning, perfect fruits and avocados, and gallo pinto (my new favorite breakfast). Ruben’s Sunday barbecues -- Argentine sausage, chicken, steak, pork, and baguettes flown in from Paris -- are legendary for good reason. My blood sugars were almost too low.

Because I had such extensive surgery (and am a slow-healing diabetic), I was there a month. It is a courtesy to tip those who have served you well when you get ready to leave. I considered it an honor.

I’m sure everyone else has equally great stories to tell about other places. I was happier out there with the flowers, horses, cows, birds, dogs, cat, capuchin monkeys (at least one weekend). Notice I said nothing about scenery. Anyone who has stayed here will remember the Eagle’s Nest fondly, a covered wooden swing where you can view what seems to be Creation itself. The view will give you a peace that will help you heal. It is an extraordinarily quiet, spiritual place. A real retreat. In every sense of the word.

Lorena and Ruben also have a FaceBook page -- Recovery Center CheTica.

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