Dr. Kevin, & Brother Mark,
Around the years 1999-2001 I was very busy running a family owned small market/convenience store along with my partner wife Doris. We had 2 young children entering school age who were with us all the time. We were lucky to have access at the store to a small efficiency apt/room which we took advantage of. At the same time (1998) We had bought a unfinished Cape cod style home in Montague. My life back then was juggling business, family matters, getting kids to school, and a small amount of time completing the 2 unfinished bedrooms plus a bathroom on the second floor of the home. The driveway was rough, so during the same time period by hand I not only reshaped it (slowly over time), but added a retaining wall along the sides (over 200' length, and 2-3' ht.). Digging the ditch required going down 3-4' Inevitably I hit and had to remove good size rock. Mind you this was all by hand using a digging bar and shovel with a wheelbarrow. Around 2002 at the store my wife noticed and mentioned a slight bump above my belly button. I felt no discomfort and hadn't even noticed it. I took it for granted not doing anything but continuing my extremely busy life. The upstairs was completed, the driveway finished. I added a Gazebo, plus built a shed which I finished around 2010. I put in a new walkway with pavers, finishing that in 2011. All along this ten year time frame, my bump slowly got bigger, and was more prominent in the winter months with more food and less activity. I had gotten into the habit of using my back hand with the other hand squeezing into place my guts. During the summer months of 2012 of which my work in the yard was light, this habit increased to the point of having to do it throughout the day. Even the simple task of planting shrubs on my knees was interrupted by constantly performing this procedure on myself. By September of 2012, I started feeling tenderness and soreness doing this. I knew all along that I had a Hernia. I had done research on line, reading throughout this period that if the hernia did not affect you, you could live with it. Also read about the potential threat of organ strangulation by not addressing the matter. I was at this point by the end of summer 2012.
Due to the steep price of insurance in N.J., we as a family did not have it. The business was sold in 2006, I was laid off in the financial collapse of 2008, and our area is still experiencing a lack of jobs. Yes I am still unemployed as this is written, hustling for occasional 1 day jobs, living off retirement that has been started too soon. Still in 2012 I needed to address my Hernia. Checking on line in the Newton N.J. area, The local Hospital, and affiliated surgeons were quoting prices ranging between $7,500 to $12,000. Talking to others who had the procedure were telling me theirs cost $9,000 to $10,000. While on line, and being uninsured, I could not help but to see on the search page 'No Insurance Surgery'. Further clicks opened the facts about 'No Insurance Surgery'. I of course did a search on Google for not only the practice, but the surgeon as well. Even watching the news videos done by 'News 8' out of Las Vegas. You tube videos of other patients were also viewed. I was pretty impressed at the lack of negative views concerning Dr. Petersen. I made the next step of filling out on line the information necessary for a call back from the Doctor. He did respond the following morning and after his 'to the point' questions, determined that I probably did have a 'Supra-umbilical Hernia'. After a few more personal health questions, Dr. Petersen felt I would be a good candidate, but would have to pass Preoperational tests the day before the actual operation. Dr. Petersen quoted a price of $5,500 which included skilled nursing care post-operation. This included pick up and drop off at the hotel, plus a 24 hour monitoring period. After further price checking, I figured I could do the Surgery, Airfare, Hotel costs, and meals for around $6,300. Far less than N.J. The other factor that was important to me was that Dr. Kevin Petersen was against the use of mesh in his practice. Having some Anatomy & Physiology in my background, and believing in a healthier lifestyle, I myself was attracted to a non mesh procedure. The you tube videos posted concerning mesh use were common sense to me. I was sold, and scheduled a surgery date. I did this first, and then had to convince my wife as she was not sold on this. She did not like the idea of me traveling far for the surgery "Isn't Las Vegas the sin city"? etc. She was also afraid of me going under anesthesia as her father lost a sister back in 1962 from a reaction to the application of anesthesia. Still she knew and agreed that I needed to get repaired so I had her consent.
Being an old Hang glider pilot, and having the love of flying, I looked forward to my flight. Even at 58, I vied for a window seat on the Southwest flight and had a beautiful day for flying. The one stop in Phoenix added to the experience. On arrival in Las Vegas, I stuck a dollar in the first slot machine and promptly won $5. I quit while I was ahead. I rented a car for one day to get me to the Pre-op and was on my way to the hotel. The car rental was less than $30. for 24 hours.
I spent that Sunday afternoon I arrived visiting a family with the same surname as myself. I had discovered a couple of years before that there was a 'Mannion Middle School' in Henderson Nevada. I contacted the school looking to see if I could purchase Sweat shirts, or T Shirts for my family. I then received an email from 'Terry & Jack Mannion' the individuals who the school is named after. I decided to surprise visit them that Sunday I arrived and it couldn't have been a better day. I was received with open arms, followed by an afternoon chit chat, topped off with The Mannion's insisting on taking me out to dinner. Terry is convinced that her husband and I are related. Truly an enjoyable and fulfilling day. They were Great. I settled back in my room late to rest up for the next day. Monday I traveled to 'No Insurance Surgery' for my Interview with Dr. Petersen and my Pre-op. I was impressed with the medical building and offices. Procedures were done in a total of three offices including the 'No Insurance Surgery' office. I passed. I had walked six miles three times a week for three weeks prior to my trip because I wanted to be in the best shape I could. After the Pre-op and turning in the car, I spent the afternoon walking the strip as I enjoy observing the sights and people other than the gambling scene. I followed the guidelines and even quit eating and drinking before the recommended time. I have the ability to skip a meal. I went to sleep around eight and was up around Three Thirty in the morning. I can also wake myself up early without an alarm clock if I need to. The nurse had called the evening before and i assured her I would be waiting outside the McDonalds on the Strip at four thirty. After my shower, I was out there at the agreed time, and she pulled up right on time and we were off to the Surgical center. We arrived at the center at a quarter to five, and I couldn't help but notice that there was a news crew setting up to do a live news cast. We waited outside until the five o'clock opening time and I went in. Imagine my surprise when I noticed the live broadcast I just walked past being viewed on the surgical centers TV. At the time I was not sure but had a suspicion what the story was on. Turns out Dr. Petersen through his foundation was doing some half a dozen procedures that day for individuals not being able to afford it themselves but were severely affected from the effects of having a Hernia. Some of these were men with families unable to work due to their situation. Quite commendable Dr. Petersen! I was scheduled first that day. After a quick check of my vitals, and a weigh in, I was given a disposable electric razor sent to a private room to disrobe and to pre shave the incision area. I then walked into the Operating room which consisted of about a half dozen stations set up. I couldn't help noticing how cool it was in there. I proceeded to lay on the hospital style operating table. I was covered with what felt like a warmed blanket, and the prep crew went to work. I remember the IV being inserted and talking to the Anesthesiologist. Dr. Petersen came in and greeted me asking me if I was ready and if I had any concerns. I was more than anxious. I Had no fear nor concerns. We were ready. I can remember the Anesthesiologist saying I might feel a little bit cool fluids running through the IV. I Did. I mentioned to him that I thought this was a minor operation. He stated that it is an operation none the less, and cannot be taken lightly. I thought now I would slowly get drowsy as I went under. I was wrong. It was a light switch that went off. The next thing I experienced was dreaming. I was actually being coaxed back to consciousness with Dr. Petersen at the foot of the operating table asking how I was. What I thought was maybe five minutes was closer to three quarters of an hour. Didn't feel anything. No pain, nothing. I was ready to jump off the table. Of course they didn't allow that to happen. After about a fifteen minute rest, and talking to the nurses. My nurse arrived to help me to the car and back to the hotel. I felt no ill effects, and didn't even think I needed any help to get in the car, but the nurse was insistent and I followed orders. Dr. Petersen said I could walk slightly that afternoon but to take it easy. No steps. Well after arriving back at the hotel and falling right to sleep for an hour or so. I awoke, assured the Nurse I was fine, she left and I watched some TV. I called a friend back in N.J. to wish him a Happy Birthday. By early afternoon, and still feeling no effects except for the bandage I decided to go for a little walk. I actually did a slow walk up and down the Strip just being careful not to get too close to people as not to get a accidental elbow. While walking, I noticed crowds were gathering along the Strip. After an inquiry with a couple of them, I was informed that Shania Twain was to arrive on horseback within the hour. I just slowly kept up my walk as I am not one to be 'Star Struck'. I did have to climb over a couple of walkways which transverse the Strip. I did so slowly remembering the advice of Dr. Petersen. After about a 15 minute walk each way, I was about back to the hotel. At the same time Shania Twain had her arrival with plenty of Horses around. Where I was at the moment offered a better view than many who had lined the streets for hours. I thought that was pretty neat. At this point I was still feeling no effects. I was back into my room where I rested some more and watched TV before the nurse came to visit. At around the same time her Supervisor also appeared. I hadn't taken my Trac-Fone with me for my walk as I am still not a slave to a cell phone. Not knowing they would be calling, and when I did not answer, set off alarm bells for them. They we're quite relieved to see me just fine, Which I was. When they left, I walked down are tried soma Las Vegas style Chinese food. I really hadn't eaten all day and the hunger was setting in. It was an early night and I was up quite early the next day. Dr. Petersen said the next day could bring the feeling that I had been hit by A Mack Truck. I felt nothing. I did the recommended prescription walked down to the McDonalds for a coffee and an Egg McMuffin before the nurse would be coming to pick me up for my post operation check up with the doctor. That visit went well, and Dr. Petersen cleared me to fly home the next day. I still had zero ill effects from the operation. I had lunch with the Nurse who was from N.Y. herself. Signed off on her forms. Went for another decent walk in the afternoon. Settled back to the room. Made a couple of wellness calls back home. Did another walk with dinner (cheap) on the Strip. Got to bed early as I had To get the shuttle at 6 AM for the Airport. Got up that Thursday morning with me not feeling any different as if I had been to the Dentist. As a matter of fact, I fear going to the Dentist. Now that can be painful. I informed Southwest Airlines of my recent surgery which prompted them to give me a pass to be able to board first. On approach to Phoenix something happened that never happened to me before. Just as we were about to touch down the pilot revved up the engines instantly getting my attention and proceeded to take off instead of landing. As we were ascending, I looked Down to see another Southwest plane just taking off. The pilot went on the P.A. stating that he had been ordered to do a go around. We landed without incidence, but were then informed that the aircraft had an issue and we would have to change planes and be quick about it. I was assured that I would be getting to load first and retain my seat. That did not happen. We had to fast walk for the flight which I did not want to do. Also had to stand in line, and not get the same treatment as in Vegas. The plane had a A/C issue which made it uncomfortably warm for the first hour of the flight. I was not feeling as great as I did. But I was fine when we finally landed in Newark. My treatment instantly sparked a complaint from me to Southwest airlines. A complaint in which they investigated. They came back with a 1 way credit to San Antonio the following month of which I visited my Godmother Aunt. On arrival home on the fifteenth of November, and in the days that followed, my recovery was without incidence. I don't think I could have felt better. I did take it easy through the end of the year. I never finished even half of the prescribed painkillers. The following day after I got home, my wife and I drove up to Fredonia NY to get my son home from college. It is 352 miles one way. She drove there, and half way back. She couldn't do more so I did drive a couple of hundred of miles for her. This was three days after the operation, and I had already stopped taking the pain pills. That weekend was a restful one. Now looking back, even my wife feels that this was the best thing we could do. The worst thing was the flight back. 'No Insurance Surgery' more than lived up to my best expectations. With the 'no mesh' surgery, and with no insurance, I can't see why anyone would take a different direction. Anyone I come across that is in the same situation as I was, is informed of Dr. Petersen, and 'No Insurance Surgery'. I mean I couldn't be more happy and satisfied. No more pulling in of my insides. Am back to working in the yard. Although I am getting older, I do not push myself to the extent that I once did. I know I am at fault for my original injury. I can't think of anything negative about my experience with 'No Insurance Surgery'. I kind of felt it was like an adventure. I made the best of it. Southwest giving me a one way pass even smoothed out the fact that I was yelled at by a flight attendant on the ground in Phoenix. She, (and he) couldn't tell that I had just had an operation, They just didn't follow Protocol. You don't even have to ask if the money was well spent. Even though it took over a year and a half to pay off, it was more than well spent. If I hit the Lottery, Dr. Petersen and his wife's foundation will be helped out, along with Doctors Without Borders. I know a good man when I meet one. Men who unselfishly help their fellow man need to be recognized. Even though I was probably the only one to have to pay that day, I have absolutely no regrets. Please keep this testimonial in its full content, but feel free to take excerpts out to use as you feel fit. I have donated to you a couple of hours of my time because it is warranted. God Bless and keep up the good work.
November 18, 2014 >
P.S. Bet your glad you reached the end of this letter. It Says a lot