If you're preparing for weight loss surgery in Mexico, knowing what to pack can feel really overwhelming. While you'll need some standard travel essentials, there are a lot of other items to consider bringing to ensure maximum comfort and ease for your surgery trip.
This article will help take the guesswork out of what to bring with you and provide one less thing to worry about before you leave.
Essentials for your trip include:
- Heating pad
- Ice pack
- Long phone charger (iPhone)(Android)
- Headphones (I use these)
- Slippers/slide on shoes
- Loose clothing
- Yellow mailer envelope or folder
- Bullion cubes
- Protein powder
- Sensitive skin XL bandaids
- Basic toiletries – skincare, shampoo/condition, lotion, etc
- Small pillow
- Daily medications (in original prescription bottles)
- Entertainment (book, magazine, game, tablet)
- Travel documents
Chapstick and mouth spray
Your new stomach will hold about 1.5 ounces once you come out of surgery until it heals. This means you can literally take TINY sips of water throughout the day. Combined with the icky feeling of coming out of anesthesia and not being able to drink much, your lips and mouth may be extremely dry.
Pro tip: Put the chapstick on before going into surgery! Your mouth is open during the entire surgery, and you're not awake to moisten your lips, so they can dry out rather quickly.
Long Phone Charger
If you've even been in a hospital bed before, you may have noticed just how FAR the outlets are from the bed. Get a long charging cord (at least six feet) so that you'll be able to easily charge all of your devices while you're recovering.
Bringing a pair of headphones is essential for waiting in airports or hospital waiting rooms. Being able to listen to your favorite music or watch your favorite shows can help with killing
time and coping with pre-surgery nerves. Just make sure they stay charged if you're using Bluetooth!
Slide-On Slippers and Shoes
You're going to be way too sore to bend over to put anything on your feet after surgery. Having a pair of slide-on slippers will help keep your feet warm and comfy in the hospital. Slide-on shoes will make it a LOT more comfortable to go through airport security because your belly will not be happy about you bending over and you won't have to ask anyone to help you tie your shoes.
Many states in Mexico still require masks to be worn to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Make sure to make to have a few with you because you'll likely need to wear them in the airport, hotel, and hospital.
Bullion Cubes and Protein Powder
This will be one of the things that really affirms that this is a surgery trip, and not a vacation because you won’t be able to enjoy the delicious (and cheap!) food Mexico has to offer. Since you'll be required to be on a liquid diet 2 weeks before surgery, ensuring you have nutrition while you're traveling will be imperative. Thankfully, bullion cubes and protein powder are both very travel-friendly.
If your hotel room has a coffee maker, you'll be able to heat water to drop your bullion cubes into.
Pro tip: Portion out your protein powder into baggies before you leave for easier transport.
The likelihood of you not bringing your phone is probably very small, however, it's always good to double-check you have it packed! Before you leave, it's a good idea to check with your cell phone provider about international roaming. Some carriers/plans don't require you to do anything to have your phone work in Mexico, but others may require additional fees for international service.
Most hotels will have basic toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and lotion. However, if you have sensitive skin or hygiene products that you can't live without, be sure to bring those along with you.
Ice packs work wonders for inflammation and pain reduction. A 2014 study at Emory University showed that when people were given ice packs in the first 24 hours following major abdominal surgery, they experienced less pain and needed fewer narcotics overall. Just make sure you don't put the ice pack directly on your incisions.
You're likely to experience severe gas pain after surgery, commonly in the back and shoulders. This is very normal for abdominal surgeries, but it doesn't make it any less pleasant! A heating pad can provide some relief for the gas pain, especially if it's coupled with getting up and moving around when you can.
When you're battling post-op gas pain, it's good to have as many flatulence-fighting tools as possible. Not only does it hurt, but it might smell worse than normal, and having Gas-X Strips can help reduce both the pain and the frequency of farting. Just stick one on your tongue and let it dissolve.
Sensitive Skin XL Bandaids
Your belly will have 5-6 small incisions after surgery because it's done laparoscopically. It's important to keep your wounds covered to prevent infection, and some extra large bandaids will help with this. Getting some designed for sensitive skin will help save you from painful adhesive removal. (If you're allergic to adhesive, use paper tape instead to avoid skin irritation.)
Daily Medications (In Original Packaging)
If you're on any kind of medications, make sure that you have those with you and that they are in their original packaging from the pharmacy. This will make any inspections go more smoothly. It can also be helpful to have a copy of your prescription, as well but it's not necessary.
Passport and ID
It might seem like a no-brainer, but make sure you have all of your travel documents, especially your passport and driver's license. Double and triple-check that you have them because it will be a huge hassle to get back into the US without your passport.
It's very important to let your bank or credit card company know that you're traveling to Mexico before you leave. This will prevent potential headaches when using your debit or credit card on your trip.
You'll want to bring cash with you as well. $150 – $250 should be sufficient and while you can withdraw more from an ATM, international withdrawals can come paired with a high fee. Depending on where in Mexico your surgery is, you may be able to use a mix of US dollars or Mexican pesos. It's advisable to have some of both, though the surgery centers all accept US dollars.
Large Yellow Envelope or Folder
Expect to receive a lot of different kinds of paperwork during your surgery trip. They'll be things you want to keep but probably won't have the energy or desire to go through them during your stay. Bringing a large yellow mailer or folder will make it easy to keep everything in one place for later viewing.
What else should I pack?
Most weight loss surgery patients say they over-packed their suitcases and didn't need everything they brought, but it's better to be safe than sorry! I'm an over-planner in some ways and this helped ease my anxiety before surgery.
Having weight loss surgery is no small undertaking, and international travel on top of it can add an extra layer of stress. Having a concrete checklist of the things to pack on for your weight loss surgery will help you focus on preparing mentally and physically for your upcoming procedure.