Tuesday, September 11, 2007

One year ago today....

I woke up bright and early and hubby and I drove to Vanderbilt. I was tired and hungry (no food! no coffee!! oy!) but really excited. I knew that the surgery that I was about to have would change my life, and I was ready. Thankfully, everyone was on time that morning, and I didn't have any unnecessary waiting...I was checked in and whisked back to pre-op.
In pre-op they confiscated my hearing aid and then proceeded to talk to me and ask lots and lots of questions, which was both funny and annoying. Hubby was able to stay long enough to help me understand some of it, but they soon asked him to leave and I was at the mercy of two male nurses that I couldn't understand at all. They gave up on me pretty quickly and found a woman for me to talk to, and I could lip-read her MUCH better!! We got through the questioning, FINALLY, and they gave me a surgical cap and marked the ear to be operated on. I was astonished when an intern came in and said that they would be operating on my RIGHT ear, because that wasn't what we had been planning, so we had a bit of momentary confusion while she checked and re-checked, and finally verified that yes, we were doing the LEFT ear. *whew* Then Dr. Haynes came in just as the funny anesthesiology dude was about to put something in my IV. He looked at the fellow and said, "Don't do that! I want to talk to her a minute!" and then basically asked how I was doing, and if I was ready to go....just checking to make sure everything was OK...awwwwww :) After that little interchange he gave the go-ahead for the anesthesiologist. About one minute later they started wheeling me down the hall. I remember feeling fuzzy, half sitting up and turning to one of the nurses, and saying, "Wow! This stuff works fast!"...my very last memory.
The whole surgery was over in an hour or so...don't ask me...I don't remember it. I do remember waking up to a nice nurse beside the bed. She asked me if I wanted to get up and go to the bathroom and I told her I did. So she got me up, got me to the bathroom, and I immediately threw up. Lovely. She asked me if I wanted a Pepsi, and I did. Drank the whole thing and threw it up. At that point she asked if I wanted something for nausea, and I did. Don't remember anything after that, because it knocked me flat. I do remember waking up and her asking if I wanted to go home. I said, sure, whatever. Then I threw up again, and conked out. Woke up probably an hour later and hubby was sitting there. He told me that I could go home if I wanted to (I vaguely remembered already hearing that piece of news) and I told him, sure thing, get me up and out of here. Then I threw up again, and they gave me something for it, and I conked out...again.
Yet another hour later, I woke up, and this time hubby was ready...he had a wheelchair there for me to be shoveled into and carted out to the car. And yes, I was sick again...several times. He dropped me off at the house (the kids weren't there) and went to pick up my prescriptions. He came back bearing medicine and chocolate. The medicine, I wanted...the chocolate, no (it took several days before I was really up to eating again). I spent the next few days mostly sleeping (THANKFULLY, the nausea stopped after the first day). I didn't have a lot of pain...it was uncomfortable, but not horribly painful....I did take the pain pills, but more to help me sleep soundly then to stop pain. The top half of my ear felt like it was asleep, and it stayed that way for several weeks. I had a strong metallic taste in my mouth for several weeks, as well...strange! I had no tinnitus in the implanted ear...mainly because there weren't any hearing nerves left to kill off, I think...all gone years ago. I was HORRIBLY dizzy, though, and had to literally hold on to the walls to walk...forget about walking up and down stairs or driving. The worst of it was over in a couple of weeks, but I still had a good bit of it at activation, a month later.
A year later, I feel great. I can feel the implant under the skin...it's wild...but it doesn't bother me...I think that, aside from the first couple of weeks after surgery, I have slept on it every single night. It's a part of me now.
I am SO glad I did this. If you had asked me several months ago, I wouldn't have been able to give you the same answer, but after suddenly losing everything in my good ear this past March, it has been my lifesaver. It has given me sound that I never thought I would have in an ear that was never supposed to hear. It's far from perfect hearing but what I do have helps me so much. Most CI users report that they continue to see improvement over time...for several years....and I have that to look forward to...plus, new doors will be opened for me in November when I start the entire saga all over again!!
Happy first anniversary to my bionic ear today!! :) Any questions? I would LOVE to answer them!
Love y'all....... :)

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