Thursday, June 26, 2008

The journey continues!

This morning started out rough. I carefully printed out directions to the surgeon's office last night and left in plenty of time to get there on time this morning. When I got to the office, the parking garage there was just cavernous...I had a horrible time figuring out where to park, and then I had to look for the doc's office. My appointment was at 9:40, and I got upstairs at 9:35...right on time! Then I noticed that the door was just PLASTERED in notices, all to the effect that the surgeon had MOVED ACROSS TOWN. And this wasn't my little town, this was Nashville. Ya know, I knew they'd moved, but the card they sent me my appointment on had a new address on it and I assumed that was where they moved, ya know, so I thought I was doing it all right. Turns out that they had moved into the building that I'd been going to for two years *sigh*. He had divided his practice up between the two offices, apparently, and had just moved all of his stuff into the one office. So I had to find my car again and navigate my way back across the interstate to the other office. When I get there the parking lot that I usually park in has been designated "handicapped parking", and I don't go for the whole handicapped parking thing, so I kept driving until I found a parking garage marked "for doctor's visits". When I get inside I can find no trace of doc's office anywhere, so I asked somebody that looked like they worked there (wearing scrubs and pushing a wheelchair) and she said, "Honey, you're SO FAR from the doctor's offices! You should have parked way over there at the first right when you turned in". Of course, that was where I had originally planned to park. She did tell me how to get there..."walk allllllllllllllllllll the way down this hall, take a right, walk alllllllllllllll the way to the end of this hall, take an elevator... *sigh* I headed in that general direction. By the time I got to the doc's office it was 10:15. I surveyed the waiting room and was taken completely aback...Abbie asked me how many people were in there and I counted and there were 30 people in a room the size of my bedroom (some of them standing). I was afraid I'd have to wait and go after allllllllllllll those people but finally, my luck started to change, and they showed me in about 20 minutes after I got there.
We scheduled this appointment way back in December and it was originally supposed to be a six month post op check for my second implant. Well, the nurse takes one look at me and said "you're here to talk about your failed implant aren't you?" I told her no, that that wasn't the original reason for the visit, but that yes, while I was there, I hoped it would come up. She closed the door and about five minutes later Dr. Haynes came in. First thing he said after "How are you doing?" was, "Is that ear feeling any better?" Fact of the matter was that it wasn't...the mornings are when it bothers me the most after a night of sleeping on it, and it was pretty sore. He did a quick check of the new ear ("looks perfect, works perfect") and then moved on to the first ear. He checked it out externally as well as he could and then got a chair and sat down. He said that nothing showed on the CT as being out of the ordinary, and that all the internal testing had gone well, but based on the fact that I have pain in that ear and that I won't wear the processor because the sound is so uncomfortable, he had some options. They were: leave it in, take it out, replace it. Was I open to another surgery?
I asked him what his opinion was, and he said, "I think we should redo it. Even though we can't pinpoint an exact reason for it, sometimes just redoing the surgery fixes the problem." I wanted to kiss the man! I told him that that was what I was hoping he'd say...that that was what I had been wanting to do. The surgery is kinda rough...but honestly, what I've dealt with with this first ear will be well worth it...even if it doesn't give me better hearing, I won't have the ear and head pain anymore and will be able to sleep on that side again...ahhh!
I told him that it has given me trouble for a very long time but I didn't know it wasn't supposed to be that way until I got my second CI, which is nothing like its's perfect in every way. He said that the fact that I was doing so well with my second one and not even wearing the first one gave him an indication that there was a real problem.
Dr. Haynes sat down next to me and was so sincere and hero, people. I was worried that it would be awkward or stressful but he really made me feel very comfortable about it all. It was such a relief that he was listening and doing something about it that when I left his office I cried all the way to the car and sat there and just kinda collected myself for a few minutes afterwards. I am not counting on perfect results...I'm afraid to...but it will be better than it is now...and I'm so looking forward to that!!
I had to laugh when Dr. Justin Wittkopf, who is one of the fellowship docs in the Otolaryngology department, came in. He was at my second surgery and proudly takes credit for my having all my hair from that surgery...he was the man in charge of sterilizing the hair so that it wouldn't have to be shaved. Dr. Haynes asked him to pull up the CT scan on the computer there in the room and told him what we were up to, and Dr. Wittkopf turned around and looked at me, threw his hands up in the air, and said, "I didn't have ANYTHING TO DO WITH THAT ONE!!" I laughed at that...then while he was looking at the CT, he said, "Did he shave you with the first one?" I said that, yes, he had, and then he said, "See, when I did it, we didn't shave you!" and then Dr. Haynes said, "We didn't shave THAT MUCH!" I just got tickled watching them banter a bit and seeing how comfortable they are with the patients. It ended up being a stress-free appointment...and I have more respect for my surgeon than ever, because he took the time to really listen and to come up with a plan of action. I mentioned before that I feel intimidated sometimes by people of position...and doctors are right up there. Dr. Haynes has a list of qualifications to the moon and back...very skilled, intelligent, and well respected...and it was such a hard thing for me to do to question those qualifications in any way by asking him to re-do that ear. Today, though, his attitude was one that I didn't feel one bit intimidated...rather, I felt at ease and an equal partner in that decision...and I am so grateful to him for that.
You'd think when I ran out of ears, the CI surgeries would stop. I texted Laurie today and she answered right away, "Your journey continues"! And so it does! :)
I don't have a date yet, or insurance approval either. More on that soon :).
OK..tomorrow...California! :)

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