Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Second Installment of my CI Journey

January 20, 2011

Here goes on the continuation of the story of my CI journey....

After deciding to go ahead with the CI surgery, my surgeon, Dr. Frank Lin of Johns Hopkins, set the surgery date on Wednesday, January 5th. I am, at that point, very anxious to get it done so I can see whether my right ear is capable of hearing sounds again. Currently, I am unable to hear music clearly in my right ear and I would like to be able to do that. But more importantly, I want to be able to hear my daughter more clearly in the future instead of having to rely on my wife to do the 'interpreting" for me. 

On Wednesday, January 5th, my wife and I drove up to Baltimore, MD for the surgery. After checking in, I went down to the waiting room with my wife for the pre-surgery prep. However, I went back up to the 6th floor to meet with the department head to explain to her why I was pissed off at the poor customer service from the front desk cashier (The person who handles the co-payments and cash payments from the public). I was really fed up with her because she was facing the computer and NOT looking at me when talking to me. I couldn't read her lips and it was so frustrating. When I asked her if she would write everything down for me because I couldn't understand her, she refused. Additionally, she kept telling me that I couldn't change my appointments with another audiologist. I finally told her that I would be speaking with her boss to which she was a bit upset but I didn't care because I didn't want another patient to have to put up with her crap day after day.

So I immediately went to her supervisor and told her the entire scenario that happened next to her office. After my meeting with her, I went back downstairs to the pre-surgery checkin area where my wife was waiting for me. She hissed at me saying that I was "late" and the nurses were waiting for me for a bit...but they laughed because my wife told them that I must have "chickened out" of the surgery, which is far from the truth here. My wife had been looking for me and gave up so she was nervous that they would reschedule my surgery, which she wouldn't be very happy about since we would have driven all the way up to Baltimore for nothing, she said to me later.

At any rate, I was escorted into the pre-surgery room where they asked me to disrobe and put on the dreaded hospital gown and, mind you, it was FRICKIN cold. A bunch of people came in droves to put in an IV of saline water in me, ask me upteeth questions and asking me where is my right ear located and so on. I thought they would never get to do the surgery with all the questioning that was going on and on ad nauseum!

When my surgeon and anesthesian came by and checked in with me and had me sign off on some forms, the nurse walked me out to the operating room...Oh shit, it was FRIGGING COLD there. I was shivering like there was no tomorrow. My first remark once I got on the table was "damn, is there any way I can get warm as Im bloody cold."....they said they were prepared for that and put a fleece type of blanket on me, which essentially did keep me warm.  Next, the anesthesiologist put a mask over my mouth and I was struggling a little to exhale what I was breathing in but got the rhythm a little bit later and soon was out cold....

Next thing I knew I was sitting up and looking at my wife groggily and asking where the hell was the food because I was HUNGRY as hell after not eating over the last 12 hours. The nurse gave me four crackers to eat...and I washed them down with some water...and demanded some more! (So sue me if you didn't like that part where I "demanded" food cuz I was very famished!)

After a two hour operation and an hour or two being in the recovery room, I was released from Johns Hopkins hospital with, in my hands, two separate prescriptions: one for Oxycodine and another for antibiotics. Now, mind you, the pain wasn't all that bad and I did never go and obtain the narcotic but I did ingest some Tylenol which helped to alleviate the aching dull pain above my right ear and right head...

On the way home, I felt nauseous, which is a side effect from the gas that I had during my surgery. So we stopped at a local McDonalds so I could grab a cheeseburger....should have gotten a second one to quench my hunger....after we left, my wife drove to meet up with a family friend of ours, Bev, who immediately named me Princess Leia since I was wearing a huge white ear cup over my right ear. I hadn't seen myself in a mirror but once I got home, I understood why she had called me that. I couldn't believe how huge that "bandage" was. I looked ridiculous and wanted it off immediately but remembered that I couldnt take it off for a few days.

While walking out of the bathroom after checking out my "bandage" in the mirror, I noticed that there was something going on with my nose. I thought my nose was dripping like I had a cold or something. So I kept wiping my nose with the back of my hand. When I turned on the light in the kitchen to grab some tissue, I was shocked to find out that there was blood on my face. I asked my wife what was going on and she thought it was because of the dryness in my nose after all that anesthesia...which was really teh cause. It stopped after about 15 mins.

I didn't go to work for the next three days and stayed home the entire weekend as I wasn't really up to going out doing things until Sunday as I felt better by then.

Right after the surgery and for about a week afterwards, I had a raging case of tinnitus, which I mentioned on Facebook. It drove me crazy for a few days but it didn't get worse but just stayed the same. As agreed with the doctor, I emailed two pictures of my ear so he could see if the ear was recovering appropriately. In the email to him, I described a few things that concerned me: my tinnitus, the migraine headaches, and the scar behind my ear (I was worried that the scar wouldn't smoothen out as it looked horrible to me in the mirror).  In his response, I relaxed more as he said that the scar would smoothen out over time and that the tinnitus was a good sign because that meant my auditory nerve was being stimulated by the implant.  The implant itself was located the near rear of my right side of my brain and you could tell by running your hand over the "bump" in the rear, which didn't hurt at all when you did so.

The activation of the implant was a month away since the doctor (and audiologist) wanted to wait until the surgery site fully healed before activating the implant. 

The activation experience, which happened four days ago will be fully discussed in the next entry below!  Hope this will keep you guys on edge still!!!  Much progress being made here!

Til then!

1 comment:

  1. Poor Sean! ORs are cold for a reason-keeps the staff cool while they are working in masks, gloves and gowns. Likely your surgeon was wearing loupes, which are special microscope-like glasses that enable him to see all the tiny things in your inner ear. Asking you the same questions over and over makes sure/double-sure/triple-sure that they are operating on the correct side (I've seen the wrong side/part happen).