About staying in Houston.. I think you can reasonably expect a 3-5 day stay in the hospital following surgery. After that, you can likely go home, however you'll have several follow up appointments with Dr. Vrabec afterwards that will require that you come to Houston at least for the day.
His office is in the Medical Center area of town, and they have deals setup with hotels within walking distance of the hospital specifically for family members of people staying in the hospital. I'd suggest that any family members staying in town with you check that out. There are also many hotels within a 10 minute drive of the hospital.
Hope this helps.
PS Hi Jan! Long time, no talk! Congrats on the new job!
Thanks, Pooter. I made an appointment with Dr. Vrabec for next Friday, the 25th. I was surprised, and happy, that I could get in that quickly.
I'm really anxious to get his opinion. If I feel comfortable with a more local surgical team, then this won't feel like something I absolutely have to do this summer. Maybe it could wait a bit, until I'm finished with my project at work and have saved a bit of money. That would ease my stress quite a bit.