Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Other Side (Second Implant)

Evening after Cochlear Implant Surgery


I went to my local doctor for the CI surgery. I needed a physical, blood pressure (BP) check, chest x-ray, and CBCs (blood count) for anemia, kidney function, and infection. Within two hours, I got a phone call from the doc. Everything looked good. The info was faxed to Froedtert.


I got two phone calls the night before. One was from the nurse telling me not to eat anything after midnight. Did I have any questions? I should write them down.

Then soon after, I got a call from the anesthesiologist. He asked me about my BP and that I shouldn't eat anything after midnight. I talked about the nausea experience I had from the first time.

The morning of the surgery was here. For a few days before the surgery, my husband was experiencing pain in his foot. I didn’t think it got worst, but it hurt to move his foot out of bed. We may have to cancel the surgery. Oh, no.

He got up, hobbled around and said he’d try it. How would the drive be on his foot? He was the driver.

We get to the hospital around 8:30 and register. A sign language interpreter met us there. It was shadowy and I had a hard time seeing her. So I was a bit lost, trying to hear out of one ear, the one with an implant put in two years ago.

I had to verify if all info on a sheet of paper was correct and get a plastic ID wristband.

I was given a vibrating pager to let me know when my name was called. My husband said that he was going to turn around and go back home and see a doctor about his foot.

I talked with the interpreter a bit and told her about my Usher syndrome. She had little experience with it, but understood what it was.

The pager went off. I saw a nurse and didn’t know if I should give her the pager or go back to the registration desk and give it to them.

I was led to the room where I was to change into a gown and socks and get my vitals checks. I had to give them a urine sample. There were some changes from the last time I had surgery. They had a gown called “Bair Paws.” I lied down with a blanket over my legs, the gown had an air bag that blew warm air across my chest. It was puffy and warm. Right away I saw the play on words. Instead of Bear Paws it was called Bair Paws because of the forced air that was built into it. It was kind of like having an electric heating pad across my chest.

Then the nurse left. I had another nurse come in. She was putting information about me in my chart in the computer. At first, another nurse came in and told her it was not the “right shoulder” patient, but the “right cochlear implant” patient. I thought maybe the nurses would switch around, but she stayed. I felt a bit embarrassed for her.

Every time I met a health provider, he/she looked at my ID wristband and asked me to spell my name and give them my date of birth.
The nurse finished feeding info into the computer and said that Dr. F (and by no means is that his “grade”, lol. He’s a very good ENT) and his team was waiting for me.

At 10:10 a.m., I was wheeled out of the room and went down hallways and entered an elevator. I was getting “driver’s view” because the pushers were behind me. It was kind of cool.

I was wheeled into another room. There I met Dr. F. I asked him some questions about what kind of stitches they’d use. The last time it was stitches, but who knows if changed. Some got the incision glued or stapled together. I asked if my hair would be shaved. Last time I got just a little bit shaved off, but it wasn’t bad. He marked something (an X?) below my right ear so they would not make a mistake on which ear to implant. I tried to joke around a bit saying that would be something to put an implant in an ear that already had an implant. “Oh, no, there’s an implant in there.” Everyone seemed to laugh at that. I knew Dr. F was very good at what he did so I trusted him. :D
I was introduced to Dr. F's resident.
A nurse wrapped a leg thingy around each leg. It was for blood pressure checks, like for the arm, except it’s on the legs.

Then I met the anesthesiologist. He smiled and says we talked on the phone. He asked when I last ate or drank anything. I said I had some Diet Pepsi around 8 p.m. but wondered if the caffeine would have any affect on the anesthesia. He said no, then says he has to ask this question and he tries to joke that he knows he shouldn’t ask a lady how much she weighs, but he has to. I understood why. I told him that I got very nauseous the last time and was sick for a good two to three days afterwards.

He took my left hand and started working on putting an IV in it. He flicked it and taped it up. He warned me about a “mosquito bite”. It was more like a pinch. I was shown a tube (similar to toothpaste tube, I think) that would be put in the IV for nausea. (The IV was put in my left hand so that the doctors could work on the right side without it being in the way.)

Another medical student introduced himself to me and said he was going to work with Dr. F. and was that okay? I said that it is a teaching hospital so I didn't mind. (Hey, Dr. F's gotta create more good ENTs.) A teaching hospital, kind of like Grey’s Anatomy, the TV show, but without all that drama. So we were all talking about that a bit.

The interpreter left and said she’d see me after surgery. The resident told me that I would be able to keep my CI on till I was "out".

I was wheeled into the OR. I saw another gurney and asked if I was to move to it. Not yet. They had a few things to do. Then it was time to switch beds. I could feel my head go farther down, like the front part of the gurney was lower than the rest. There was a rubber thingy my head rested on. I did not remember this from the last time I had surgery, but then, I was out before going into the OR.

This rubber thingy was probably a way to keep my head in position for the surgery. Kind of like how a football rests on a football holder/placeholder for the kicker.


Next thing I know, I’m in another room with a TIGHT white gauze headband around my head. The nurse and interpreter were in the room. The nurse squeezed my arm and said that I did great. (What did I do? I don't remember a thing. LOL) Everything was fine.

I saw that my husband was in the room, too. It was about 1:45 p.m.

I realized that the “B-air Claws” gown was off and I was wearing a regular hospital gown. (Blush.)

I was given my processor for the other ear. I couldn’t keep it on the magnet. Hubby pushed the cable and coil through the headband to hold it in place. I had a hard time focusing. It was darker in the room. I relied more on what I could hear than the interpreter.

I asked Hubby how his foot was. He said he had gout. That was serious. He was walking on it better, so he must have gotten something for it.

I told the nurse I felt like throwing up. Immediately I was given a rectangular plastic container. I made lady-like noises in my throat and spit out saliva that ran down my chin. The nurse wiped my chin and I wiped some more off. I commented, “That was very dignified.” LOL.

I noticed that the socks were off and I was given them to put back on. The interpreter had another patient to see. I thanked her and she left.

I was tired and went back to sleep. When I woke up I was asked if I felt any nausea and pain. No, not really. I was able to go home. Hubby helped me get dressed and the nurse came back with discharge papers, prescriptions for pain and antibiotics, appt for the doctor to put the stitches out, and info about what to do and not to do (i.e., don’t blow your nose, keep the headband on for 48 hours, don’t get it wet, etc.)

I was put in a wheelchair and was wheeled outside, The nurse and I waited for my husband to drive up to the front. It was about 5:15 when we left the parking lot.

As I stared down the highway, in the distant horizon, I was thinking about how I may not be bimodular (one hearing aid-HA in one ear and a cochlear implant-CI in the other) but I was embarking
on another part of the highway of life, a journey to surround sound, joining the ranks of many who are part of the Bi Club (bilateral implantees).
Postscript: I have named the first CI "Pete" and said that if I ever had a second implant, it would be named "Repeat". So Pete and Repeat and I are a team.


At Thu Sep 16, 07:43:00 PM , Blogger Judy G said...

Wonderful description, Shari. I didn't know you had a blog and will watch for more posts as times goes on. I'm glad all went well. Judy Martin

At Thu Sep 16, 09:13:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

SO glad your surgery went well and you avoided the nausea, Shari -- that is awesome!

I was kind of LOL about them *calling* a (deaf) patient about to get a CI. I just asked Dave if they did that before my surgery (I could not use the phone at all, so he would have had to do the talking) but they didn't. I was also curious how long you got to wear your CI -- at what point before surgery did you have to take it off?

I sure hope your hubby is feeling better soon (that sounds very painful) and I'm glad he was there when you woke up. :)

I am so very excited for you, my newly-bi friend!! LOL



At Thu Sep 16, 10:36:00 PM , Blogger Shari said...

Thanks, Judy. :)

Wendi, I'll have to edit it in the post. I got to wear the CI up till I was out, just before surgery. :)

At Fri Sep 17, 02:40:00 AM , Blogger Becky said...

You have such a way with descriptive was almost like I was there, going through the surgery myself. ;) Well written!

So glad Repeat has joined the team...and I know that once you adjust to it all, it will bring about a whole new dimension of positive experiences for you.

Gout is miserable. My mother-in-law has bouts from time to time and it causes extreme tenderness and pain in the affected joints. There is a natural, unsweetened cherry juice (and extracts and supplements) available at the health food store which have helped her a lot. The main thing, though, is staying away from the 'trigger' foods and beverages that can cause the oxalic acid 'crystals' from building up in the joints causing that pain. Doing a bit of research on it at the health food store (they have great books for reference) might help to bring your hubby some relief.


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