A little personal time · cochlear implant

Waiting, surgery, and the beginnings of recovery

This last week has been a whirlwind of activity, waiting, and emotional anticipation. I am absolutely glad the hard part is all over!

Tuesday, I went to my regular doctor to get a vaccination for spinal meningitis at the request of the surgeon. One of the risks of a cochlear implant surgery is contacting that disease. When I arrived at my doctor’s, they refused to give it to me without an exam, which of course I did not have an appointment for. After some arguing, I showed them the prescription that my surgeon had given me. They half laughed at me and said ‘OH! That’s a pneumovax! We can do that, no problem!’ Of course, I was thoroughly confused. But after calling Midwest Ear Institute, they clarified that I had gotten the right thing! Apparently the pneumovax also prevents against the same bacteria that causes spinal meningitis. So. Whew. Crisis 1 averted.

On Wednesday, I went through a half hour phone call with Saint Luke’s pre-registration office. They asked all kinds of questions, including whether I had a living will. I know it’s routine to ask that sort of thing, but if I wasn’t already shaking in my boots, I sure was then! The office also said that they may put “plastic cuffs” on my legs to prevent blood clots. I had this picture of being strapped into my hospital bed to prevent me from running away! It’s really nothing more than nylon socks with a massager-like piece of equipment attached to it. It actually feels pretty good.

Thursday rolls around and I go through two more phone calls with Saint Luke’s anesthesiology pre-registration and their billing office. Both offices ask similar questions, and BOTH ask if I have a living will! I nearly turned my tail and ran at that point. Not to mention, the arm I had the pneumovax shot into had broken out into a blotchy red rash. I took some Benadryl that evening, and it was mostly gone by Friday morning.

So, it’s finally Friday. After a sleep-less Thursday night, the day of surgery has arrived. I’m a basket-case, to say the least. All the waiting and anticipation and nerves have gotten to me. If it wasn’t for Mat, my angel this week, I probably would have backed out. He was strong for me when I needed it!

Check in at the hospital was a breeze, really. And the nurses were so nice and friendly. We went through all the steps of verifying identification, urine test, etc. Then they have you undress completely and wipe down with these anti-bacterial cloths to get your body as clean as possible. I was dressed in a hospital gown and blanket. Then on go those nylon hose socks that they attach to the massager to prevent blood clots. Then in goes the IV, which was an almost incredibly pain free ordeal! I was shocked!!

Then the surgeon comes in, answers any last questions you have, and marks your ear with a sharpie. Just to be sure it’s the right one. Haha. Last thing I remember is being rolled into the OR and huffing down some oxygen.

First thing I remember after that is the sock massagers. They woke me up gently. I was back in the recovery room and it felt like no time had gone by at all. My head was bound up tight, but not in any real pain yet. I was groggy of course, and my damn glasses would not fit over the head bandage, so they were all skewed and it was hard to see. Mat gets back to the room and we spent the next hour or so waking me up. The nurses wanted me to eat something and take a couple pain pills before I left the hospital. The pain pills sat in my stomach like a couple of rocks. I managed to get dressed, but could not summon up energy to leave yet.

So we stayed for a little longer, until someone decided to cook a nasty chicken lunch somewhere on the floor. The smell was so astoundingly awful that I lost it. I puked up the applesauce and pain pills and felt IMMENSELY better. I was still nauseous though. They prescribed some anti-nausea pills along with the other prescriptions I had for pain and antibiotics. But I finally felt well enough to get the heck out of there.

It was close to 1:30 p.m. by the time we made it home. Mom was there waiting for us. It was so nice to see her! I felt off balance, walking around, but not dizzy at all. Just nauseous still. Mom stayed with me while Mat went and got the prescriptions filled. The anti-nausea pill helped a bit. But it wasn’t until the anesthesia after-effects wore off that I really felt better and could eat and take pain medicine. So Friday was really a day of hell!

And in case you’d like to see, here’s a picture of me in my lovely head wrap:

 

Today, Saturday, the head wrap came off and I felt much much better. All the pressure was gone and now I’m just left with the incision mark and tapes that hold it together. And a small patch of shaved hair 🙂 I’ve spent most of the day sleeping on the couch, a little time on the computer, and watching movies mostly. Pain is a tolerable level 3 on a scale of 1-10. It should be smooth sailing from here on out!

For those who want to know, the recovery period is two weeks. The official “switch on” date is July 18th. I’ll be back with my experiences then!

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Waiting, surgery, and the beginnings of recovery

  1. I’m glad everything went fairly well for you! Sorry about the puking, though 😦 That’s never awesome. When I had my gallbladder out last year, they put an anti-nausea medicine patch behind my ear that would work for 3 whole days. It was extremely helpful!

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