Archive for January, 2011

Surgery Revision has arrived

So today, at around 2pm, I had my surgery revision for my cochlear implant. As I sit here, I’m simply astounded by the fact that I am actually sitting here, in not-so-much pain, writing about it all.

If you haven’t read about my last surgery, you might not know how difficult the initial surgery is for a cochlear implant recipient. When I think about whether or not I will eventually chose to have a second implant (after I have the life-altering experience from hearing from this first one), I really can’t say whether or not I’d want to go through that all over again. Talk about being incapacitated for a solid week. It was serious stuff.

But I’m so happy to say that this revision surgery was completely different. Today, my doctor was able to make about a 2″ incision and just move the implant a little higher up my scalp. Because the surgery was so minimally invasive, I have full neck mobility and zero problems with my balance/equilibrium. My neck is sore, and I certainly feel pain from the incision, but it’s nothing like the first surgery, when I was unable to look left or right without moving my entire body, or was in tears the first time I had to bend over to brush my teeth. I’m one happy camper as far as recovery goes.

But. There’s some not-so-great news too. I’ve chosen to focus on the positive, because it really is good, but I also feel the need to be transparent here.

When my husband and I got to the hospital, signed all the necessary paperwork, and I changed and was set up in a pre-op bed, both doctors came and talked to me for a few minutes to let me know what was gonna go down in the OR. (I’ve obviously watched too much Grey’s Anatomy if I’m saying OR instead of Operating Room). After talking/meeting with the Anesthesiologist for a few minutes, my ENT came to discuss his end of the deal. He told us that he was going to attempt to make as small an incision as possible and just move the implant up a bit. My husband asked if the implant would be tested after that, and that’s where things get a little sketchy.

After my first surgery in September, and my implant activation failed, my doctor had told us that a representative from Cochlear would be present during my surgery to test the implant. But (cue dirge-like music) my implant was not tested during surgery. When we had the chance to talk to my doc before surgery, my husband asked if the implant would be tested, and my doc said it would not. According to the doc, he has never had an implant not work properly. Granted, it would be a serious lawsuit for Cochlear if a patient received a non-working implant, but wouldn’t you want to check during surgery, just in case?

I certainly could have chosen to forgo the surgery without the Cochlear rep, but I figured the odds are greater that the implant was just placed wrong than the implant failing to work right. I mean, it’s like I’ve said before, a magnet can’t malfunction and I highly doubt that Cochlear forgot to put the magnet in the implant. So we’re out on a limb here, believing that the implant will truly work like it’s created to do. And it better!

There’s one last little tidbit of bad news. Ok, maybe “bad news” is stretching it a bit. Or maybe I’m just a little materialistic. Or maybe not.

Just before wheeling me in to surgery, the operating nurse (sorry I haven’t been paying enough attention to Grey’s Anatomy for the proper name here) came to introduce herself and take me to the OR. One look at her and I remembered her. Hair net, mouth-cover-up-thing and all, I completely recognized her as the OR nurse from the last time. Don’t get me wrong, she’s nice and all. Until she wields her razor!

I’m pretty sure my husband recognized her too, because when she asked if we had questions before she carted me off, my husband asked, nicely of course, if she could do her best to not shave more of my hair than necessary. Because really, let’s get real here, it’s not necessary to shave the portion of my hair in front of my ear. There’s not a way to tell yet how much was shaved yet, however, since my head is all wrapped up. And I do suppose that even if I was shaved bald (which I wasn’t), I’ll be happy to hear my daughter for the first time, regardless. But here’s to hoping that I have enough hair left for a ponytail!

All in all, I’m happy with the outcome today. I’m fortunate that surgery went so well, was actually less than an hour surgery-wise, and I know my future will be better because of it. I’m very optimistic that even without the Cochlear rep, this surgery will fix the problem that I had with activation. I’m already anticipating being able to hear so many sounds!
I’m not sure when my activation date is, but I certainly plan on writing about all my escapades as a hearing individual. I’m off to go recuperate (as in take some more pain meds and stick on a feel-good movie), but I will check back in with my activation date soon. And you can bet that I’ll be writing about all those new sounds I hear when that comes around!