Archive for September, 2010

10 years and counting

Ten years ago today at two o’clock in the afternoon I said, “I will.”

No matter how many premarital classes you take, however many books you read, or even videos you watch on the subject, you will never in a lifetime be prepared for a lifetime of marriage. It takes so much more than just preparing oneself for the event.

I have chosen every day when I wake up in the morning to love my husband. It’s not a gushy lovey-dovey feeling that I feel, but a decision that I make each day. We’ve both hit our 30’s and, let’s face it, neither of us are getting any younger (or any skinnier). So it’s not about appearances either. It’s a decision.

And I today is a day that I take time to remember why I still make the decision that I made so many years ago. I look back at the ten years behind us and I wonder if they’re the very hardest we’ll face. I remember asking my husband a few weeks before our wedding if he was sure about us. Was he prepared to marry someone who might be hearing impaired?

And he was absolute. Yes.

I see these last ten years in my head. There’s been a gradual path I had taken toward depression and isolation, with so much of it being unintended and even unknowing. I can’t count the times I’ve taken things out on him and not even realized I was lashing out in pain and anger toward something I barely recognized was happening to me. But he stuck.

From day one to day three thousand six hundred fifty two, he’s been absolute in his willingness to work though all this mess of what my life was for so long. He held me when I cried, watched the kids when I needed a soak in the tub, and listened when I tried to verbally make sense of things. Emotionally, spiritually, and physically he’s done everything in his power to be understanding of what I’ve faced when no one should have to face it.

To my husband- I love you more today that I did ten years ago. I love you for the boy I married, but much more for the man you’ve become. I can’t thank you enough for all the times you have understood me and been here for me when I needed you most. I am so excited about what the next ten years will hold for us, and I look forward to every one of your hilarious antics, your crazy wisecracks, and just you being you.

This time around I plan to hear every word of it.

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Stitch Removal Celebration Postponed

Today was my first post-operative appointment after receiving my left Cochlear Implant on Monday, a week ago, and to my dismay it was really only a formal check-up. I guess I just figured that if I had to sit in the doc’s office for a couple hours, that it would be for a purpose. Ha!

I’m kidding (a little). After sitting in the waiting room a short millennium (I think they must teach doctors to make patients wait in med-school), I was ushered into the exam room. Now I do have to say that I’ve been in many offices where I’m made to wait in the lobby, and then again (for the same length of time) in the exam room. I’m at least fortunate my doc will enter the room within about five minutes of me being seated.

I think he asked me how I was doing, but it was really so short I hardly remember. He leaned my chair back to get an eye-level view of my ear, and I pulled my hair (what’s left of it) to the right so that he could clearly see how beautifully it’s healed. I mean seriously, I’m not even disgusted anymore by it and when my husband looked at it this morning, he said several of the stitches were even loose. Imagine that!

But my doc pushed with his pointer finger on the side of my head, took a long look (ok maybe a short look) and said that it was simply not ready for the stitches to come out. In fact, he said he didn’t know if they could come out in two weeks. Better make it three weeks just to be sure.

WHAT?!? I was certain that my very serious look behind my ear this morning in the mirror was enough to confirm that they are definitely ready to come out. And my husband totally backed me…

My next appointment is a full three weeks away, set on October 14th. My mom and I were talking today (she met me at the office to watch the kiddos), and since absolutely nothing happened today, I’m a little paranoid that I won’t have my processor activated on the 14th. In most cases the processor is activated at six weeks post-op and October 14th will certainly not be six weeks. I’m just hoping that the appointment isn’t just for stitch removal. That would kinda suck. Ok, that would REALLY suck.

So in the next few days I plan on getting info about my next appointment. I’ll fill you in as I get details.

Day 7

On Monday, my post-op instructions were to wait a full five days after my surgery date to wash my hair. To a woman, five days is an eternity! I mean seriously, if I plan on going somewhere with friends or family, I have to wash my hair that same day and preferably a few hours before going out. That’s what women do.

But then again, most women don’t have surgery on their ears either.

Because I knew I had to go FIVE full days (or until Saturday evening) without washing my hair, I was very careful to not be out in the nearly hundred degree weather outside, or even to produce any type of bodily perspiration for the length of time I had to keep my head dry.

I actually even went beyond the call of duty and kept my hair up in a freaky-looking half-shaved-head ponytail the whole five days. The reason for THAT was because I want my stitches out on Tuesday, during my first post-op doctor’s appointment. My theory is that if I keep my hair away from the incision, it also keeps the natural oils and eventual dirty hair off the incision too (although I DID put my hair down to go into a store once, but that was so weak-stomached people didn’t faint from seeing my nasty looking three inch stitched up gash in the side of my head). So far, my incision has healed very nicely with no irritation, so my theory tends to be proving fact.

You wondering if I’ve been tempted to wear my hair up and see how many people run to the nearest trash can? Very very tempted.

Although last night was technically the official time for me to hair-wash, I was just so crazy tired from watching my soon-to-be-3yr-old daughter and 4yr old son that I didn’t have any energy left after finally getting them to bed. At about 10pm, I popped a hydrocodone and two Tylenol and headed straight to bed (I can technically take two hydrocodone, but I don’t like to sleep like the dead and one just doesn’t kill the pain enough to sleep yet).

First thing on my agenda this morning was what? Wash my hair!! I was so excited to finally feel clean that I could barely contain myself. I walked somewhat slowly (or as fast as I could move at this point) to my shower and turned it to a lukewarm temperature. I didn’t want it too warm in case my incision was really sensitive. My shower head has good water pressure, so I was a little concerned if it would hurt, but it turns out that my head is still too numb to feel the water anyway. But it felt goooood!

Using my quads to squat and pick up the shampoo (I still can’t bend over or my head swims and I’m afraid I’ll hit the floor), I put a good amount in my hand and gently massaged it into my hair. And here comes MUCH trouble. I tipped my head back and lo and behold, my head swims so fast, I’m grabbing at the sides of the shower to stay upright. Maybe I should have planned this out a little better, but darn-it if I don’t want my hair clean! I finally compromised by placing my right hand on the back of my head, about in the middle, and let my head fall back ever-so-slightly with it’s weight supported by my hand. Accomplishment! Or sort of anyway. I never got around to the conditioner. My head was spinning pretty fast that I figured I’d get out while I was ahead. At least my hair is clean!

So maybe I’ve bored you with my not-so-fascinating story of washing my hair, but it gives you an idea of my everyday accomplishments. I feel like I can stand here and either bemoan the fact that I can’t bend over, or I can celebrate the fact that I have about 30% neck mobility now (when I look right/left) and I can somewhat wash my hair.

I choose the positive!

And after all, my countdown stands at 25 days until my processor is activated! I remind myself (and my half-shaved head of hair) that all of this is definitely worth it.

Day 3

Day three equals Wednesday.

Wednesday morning I woke up feeling much better than I had felt so far. I was still doing ab workouts, using my hands to lift my head from the pillow, but I noticed I didn’t have to rest as much.

I felt somewhat energized when I woke up, and I decided to make pancakes for the kids (which happens to be their favorite breakfast food). I slowly made my way around the kitchen, pulling everything out that I needed, but after measuring and mixing all the dry ingredients, I suddenly realized that there was no way I could finish the batter. The more I stood up, the more I felt completely disoriented. I tried to move slow to counterbalance the affect, but I just couldn’t get rid of the dizzy feeling that seemed to overwhelm me.

I sat down for a few minutes and put on some cartoons for the kids, and switched gears. My husband helped me make toast for the kids and I was able to put a few tablespoons of cream of wheat in a pan and stand long enough to make it over the stove. After fixing their bowls with a little butter, sugar, and cream of wheat, I stuck the pan in the sink and sat down again.

I understood now that I could stand for a few minutes at a time before the dizziness would set in and I would inevitably have to sit down again. But I was at least able to put away all the ingredients of my pancake attempt and clean up a little.

My mom came over at about 9:30 that morning and loaded the dishwasher for me, which is still something that I have yet to be able to do. Any task requiring me to bend over or move my head from a stationary position is very difficult. I’ve learned to brush my teeth by holding my forehead in my hand while I bend over to spit. Too much info? Sorry.

I was prescribed Valium by my doctor for dizzyness and mid-morning I was so dizzy that I took half of one, only to nearly fall over after it took affect. While my mom was at the house, I was able to sleep it off. For pain, I’ve been surprised at being able to survive on Tylenol, rather than the Hydrocodone I was prescribed for pain. Prescriptions just tend to knock me out.

In all, I actually felt better Wednesday, but the dizziness was what kept me from being as active as I would have liked. That evening my husband took the kids with him to work on some things at our church, and I was able to take a warm bath (without getting my head wet) and lay down most of the evening. It certainly helped me feel better.

Day 2 Post-op

Every day post-op has been different for me. Whatever my head was numbed with gradually decreases little by little in different areas, so every day something feels better and something different might ache.

Day two, Tuesday, wasn’t as fuzzy as the first day. I slept most of the first day, obviously recovering from the anesthesia, and wasn’t as coherent as I was on the second day. But by day two, I realized that it wasn’t really sharp pains that I felt as much as it was soreness. The entire left side of my neck felt a lot like it did many years ago when I had a car accident and totaled my car. It’s kind of like when you really pull a muscle and it aches so bad that you do everything possible to refrain from using that muscle. I guess you can describe it as pain, but for me it just felt like it was incredibly sore.

I rested as much as possible, still going back and forth between laying down and sitting upright, and was gradually able to sit up in much longer increments. When I walked around, I could never turn my head, only my entire body, because of the soreness. Walking very slowly was also required of me because any sudden movement caused a wave of dizziness. More often than not on both day one and two, I would hold on to a chair or the wall as I walked, just to be sure I wouldn’t fall.

My mom had taken my kids home with her the day before my surgery, and she brought them back home on day two. She stayed most of the day and left in enough time to pick up my dad from work. I was to keep my kids for only about an hour and a half by myself, which I really thought I could do. Big mistake!

I sat on the couch for a while and played cars with my son, read a book or two to my daughter, and finally put on a movie for the two of them to watch so that I could lay my head down for a brief reprieve. What I didn’t expect was to fall asleep. I realized that I slept for a solid half hour before I had someone here with me. I had not taken any prescription grade medications in the hours preceding the time I would keep the kids myself, so I was surprised, appalled, and a little shaken up that I had fallen asleep.

Needless to say, my mom came back to help me on day three to be sure I didn’t do that again!

Day 1 Post-op

Before surgery, I had this idea in my head that sitting around post-op meant that I’d be able to get my taxes done, read a lot of books, watch a lot of movies, and pretty much pitter-patter around the house.

What on EARTH was I thinking? I hardly know.

Day 1 was the most difficult for me. I distinctly remember waking from surgery and looking directly at the clock in front of me, which read one thirty-five. I was pretty numb, obviously from anesthesia, and couldn’t feel anything from head to toe. This will be a cinch, right? Ha!

Within the hour, I gradually regained use of my brain and I realized I was in a great deal of pain, and a whole lotta naseau. I was given ice chips, which eased the naseau, and pain meds, but I still don’t know what medication they were giving me for pain at the hospital. Needless to say, it didn’t help one iota. By three o’clock, my husband was helping me into the truck for the drive home, and we were both wondering why we brought a vehicle that needed new tires. One rough ride and very long 45 minutes home!

After grinding about a centimeter off my teeth on the drive, we finally made it, and I went straight to bed. This is where I found things very very difficult.

Laying down is not an easy task. I guess I never realized that all my ear muscles are tied to my neck muscles, but people they ARE. Leaning back to lay on my pillow required a vast deal of concentration and strong stomach muscles. I do not have a six pack of abs, nor have I ever had one, so this was quite the challenge. I ended up placing both hands behind my head to support my head/neck and ever-so-slowly using my abdominal muscles to ease myself back onto the pillow. I would later learn (when my ab muscles couldn’t stand anymore workout) that it’s easier to hold the right side of my head with my right and/or left hand and ease myself down on the right side (left ear is surgical ear, so I can’t lay on that side yet).

After resting a while, I was able to munch on some friench fries and take one of my prescribed pain medications to ease a great deal of the pain. I still wish I’d asked what pain meds I got at the hospital, because even after two doses there, it did nothing to ease my pain that one dose did at home. Kinda weird.

For the rest of that first day, I did pretty much nothing. It was so hard to keep my head upright, so I went in spurts of laying down for an hour, and sitting up for about half an hour. I’m not one to enjoy laying around a lot, so it’s been hard to really make myself rest this off and not do much. But that seems to be the key to a quick recovery thus far.

Needless to say, my tax deadline of October 14th is still looming, since mine are obviously not done yet.

Came to My Rescue

If there’s ever a song that I feel describes my life, it would be this one.

As I entered surgery this morning, I definitely thank my husband and my mom for pushing DARS to finally schedule this, but more than that I know that God had his hand in this from the very beginning.

My whole life was turned upside down from the day I realized I was losing my hearing as a teenager. I remember prayer after prayer from that day on, consumed with my quest for healing. Or for an answer. My spiritual life has been tested, beyond limits I thought possible, but with as much as I’ve seen in my life, I could never question the actual existence if God.
I feel akin to a man named Job from the Old Testament. He had everything imaginable in life, only to have it vanish in an instant. He was broken, but never doubtful of God. Those all around him offered explanations of why he had lost so much, whether from sinning, from his own arrogance, pride, or so many other reasons, yet Job denied them all. He had looked at his life and knew that although he might have not been perfect, he had walked according to those laws God had commanded and could not, for his life, understand why so much had been taken from him.

And after Job questioned God, God answered. He asked Job if Job was there when the world was created, if Job had done the incredible things that God had, and if Job understood the things that God did. In a response, so adequately put, Job answered God this, “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know…My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.”

And I realize that this is me. I had prayed for so long for my answer, wondering why all this happened, only to realize that it’s something I cannot understand. But the great thing is that God remembered my prayers and He came to my rescue when I needed Him most.

My husband got me an ipod for my 30th birthday today and although my schedule may be busy hearing so many new things on the day that my processor is activated, I know without fail that this song will be first on my playlist, and the first song I will hear again. Somehow thank you just doesn’t seem adequate to describe my appreciation to Him who rescued me.

Falling on my knees in worship
Giving all I am to seek Your face
Lord all I am is Yours

My whole life
I place in Your hands
God of Mercy
Humbled I bow down
In Your presence at Your throne

I called You answered
And You came to my rescue and I
I wanna be where You are

~Hillsong United

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