Category Archives: October 26, 2013

My second day after surgery…

The surgery was two days ago, Friday. To date I’ve relayed how things went on the day of my surgery, including coming home. Well, it’s Sunday morning so I thought I’d fill you in on how I’ve been feeling since surgery. Again, the operative word is feeling.

The first night I didn’t sleep that well which isn’t surprising. I must say though, I haven’t been in very much pain. From time-to-time I feel a dull throbbing sensation on the side of my head (you know, the area of the scalp directly behind my right ear that was shaved and cleaned; where an incision was made in the skin behind my ear and where the Doctor drilled into the mastoid bone, creating a pocket for the receiver/stimulator, and then into the inner ear where the electrode array was inserted into the cochlea – yeah, that area).

Perhaps the reason I’m not feeling a lot of pain is because I’ve stayed on top of it with pain medication and have taken it as prescribed. Since people tend to get addicted to pain medication (not me of course) Roxanne suggested that I begin tapering off and only take it when it becomes “intolerable.” Which brings us to an interesting subject called “pain threshold.” You see, Roxanne and I have very different opinions about my pain threshold. I say I have a rather high pain threshold while she says I have a very low pain threshold. She reminds me from-time-to-time about an incident several years ago where I thought I broke several bones in my ankle only to find out when going to the emergency room that, I in fact, “almost had a Level-1 sprain.” Roxanne will never let that one down. I ignore her mental jabs.

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Hanging out with Roxanne

I spent most of yesterday (Saturday) at the house hanging out in the Den reading (as best a groggy mind could), visiting with the kids, and watching the puppy chew whatever came in close proximity to her mouth. I went outside a couple of times to take in the fresh air; a beautiful fall day here in Mid Missouri. Toward the end of the day I went with Roxanne in the Mini Van to pick up our son at the mall where he was at a children’s theatre practice. Yes, I still had that big Princess Leia bun on the side of my head so I stayed in the van. I didn’t want to scare the kids at the mall even if it is close to Halloween.

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Marie and Abby keeping me company

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Emily making sure Papa is doing OK

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Roxanne showing Ethan her new riding hat

I haven’t experienced any dizziness, nausea or other major side effects that might occur after surgery. I’ve read that some people lose their sense of taste, experience ear numbness and other things I don’t remember right now. I am experiencing ringing in the ear (tinnitus) which I understand might happen after surgery and should go away over time. I am now used to this ringing / roaring sound because over the past couple of years it has been rather pervasive and, at times, quite loud and very distracting. I’ll spare you the history of my hearing loss progression and ringing / tinnitus and save it for another post.

Last night Roxanne removed the head dressing. I figured all of my hair under the bun would have been shaved away for the surgery but lo-and-behold only a small area was actually shaved. Note: all blogs about cochlear implant surgeries have before-and-after pictures; therefore, I felt compelled to follow suit and provide an obligatory photo of my head with mere flesh wound. If you see closely you can discern the gray hair which miraculously appeared after surgery (I was blonde-headed before surgery). 🙂

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Nice job Doc!

We ended the day by watching the beginning of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. As majestic a movie without sound as with… I fell asleep before Frodo even left the shire…

I’m here typing away early Sunday afternoon. Another fitful night’s sleep behind me and another beautiful day ahead here in Columbia. I think we’ll take the puppy to the park so it can chew up some trees. I haven’t taken any pain medication since 5 AM and am feeling just… wait… maybe I need to take one pill now before going to the park. Although my pain threshold is very high, who knows how long we’ll be gone…?

Surgery is a Success!

Surgery Day: Roxanne and I get to the hospital yesterday (Friday) morning and staff efficiently process me through admissions, to changing into a trendy hospital gown, to asking questions (aided by Roxanne since I can somehow partially read her mind, along with lip reading), to signing forms that clearly state that I understand the unlikely dangers that I may encounter as a result of this surgery.

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Saying farewell to my hearing aid

One key thing to post for posterity is the information relayed by the nurse when Roxanne and I were waiting in the pre-op room.  And I quote, “you are not allowed to do any chores, housework or dishes for four months… and that is four 31-day months.” Well, being the stickler I am for following orders (when they suit me) I looked at Roxanne and said, “did you hear that?” She gave me one of those “ha ha ha” smiles knowing that the nurse must have been kidding. Then comes in the anesthesiologist and asks questions, etc. and finishes off by saying quite clearly and closely that, “you are not allowed to do any chores, housework or dishes for four months… and that is four 31-day months.” I smiled at Roxanne and she smiled back in a less than convincing way.

Finally the Doctor comes in and explains what will happen and also asks me important questions such as, “now which ear do you want the cochlear implant in?” I tell him and he proceeds to mark my right ear. I know it is protocol but I still thought it was amusing. the Doctor finishes off by asking if I had any other questions and I told him no. He looked at me and said, “are you ready?” I replied, “yes. Are you ready?” 🙂 As he walks out the door he turns around and says, “you are not allowed to do any chores, housework or dishes for four months… and that is four 31-day months.” I laugh and say to Roxanne, “see, final confirmation!” We understood that the nurse, anesthesiologist and Doctor were just trying to break the tension before surgery but what they don’t know that Roxanne and I do know is that I will be milking that quote for the next four weeks…

Off to operating room. No pictures thank you. If you want to see gory cochlear implant operations just Google them – there are more than enough images and YouTube videos out there showing the operation in gritty detail.

Well, the surgery… heck, I don’t know how the surgery went! They gave me general anesthetic and before I knew it I was waking up in the post-op room and feeling quite good! The nurse wheeled me back to the recovery room where Roxanne was waiting for me.  She told me later that I was acting silly and kept talking… I’ll leave that for her to tell… At any rate the nurse asked if I needed anything. I told her I was VERY thirsty! Oh, by the way I was reading her lips since I am now completely deaf (I’ve been deaf in my left ear since age five and now with the operation I can no longer hear anything in my right ear – but that’s OK because I couldn’t hear hardly anything anyway). Back to present – the nurse brought me a cup of apple juice with crushed ice and I must say that it was without a doubt the best tasting apple juice – EVER.

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Best Apple Juice EVER

Yep, as you can see from the photo I have a “Princess Leah” bun on my right ear. What became of the other bun I don’t know but I suspect Jabba the Hutt had something to do with it… (I am still on pain killers as I write this blog and feel just fine…).

I don’t really remember the rest of the day too well. The operation was three hours long and we left the hospital around 4:00 PM in keeping with it being an outpatient procedure; which was OK by me since I was feeling just fine. Roxanne drove me home. My youngest daughter Emily was out in the front yard playing with our new puppy (yes, we got a new nine-week old puppy two days before my surgery in keeping with our insane household mentality that merits a post for another day…). I went right upstairs to the bedroom, hopped into bed and smiled at Roxanne – she is the best. After school, my middle daughter Abby came in followed by my son Ethan. My oldest daughter, Marie, is at college now but will be coming over to see me this weekend!

My first posts have been rather long. fear not, all my posts won’t be this wordy (I hope…). Over the next three weeks my head will be healing and then on November 12th the audiologist will “turn on” the cochlear implant. In the meantime I will regale you with stories that led up to getting this operation. One final picture below of me here in my Den this morning. Note: I am pointing to my glasses. Specifically, I am pointing to the part of my glasses where I removed the bow (or arm) because the “Princess Leah” bun is too big!

Sans bow

Sans bow

Finally, thanks for all the well-wishes and positive vibe messages sent my way. I am really blessed to have such wonderful family, relatives and friends!