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Re-Implanted

Posted Dec 02 2008 3:06am 1 Comment
Well… It’s done.

I’m now reimplanted. I have a crazy new hairstyle, and a lovely big scar. Cochlear Implant operations done these days are very different to the ones they did 15 years ago when I first had mine done. The incisions are much much smaller – a quarter of the size. Unfortunately though, on me, they had to open the original incision and do the same scar otherwise it could have cut off the blood supply to the flap.


Hope this doesn't put you off your dinner!

I was nervous right up to the time they put me under . That took a while as my veins are difficult and as per usual they spent a bit of time looking for one. I vaguely remember just quietly going to sleep. I don’t remember anything else until l what seemed like late afternoon (by the light) when I have a vague recollection of someone telling me that everything went well. I woke up again when it was dark and thought perhaps I was hungry, then knew nothing until morning.

I woke up to pain and got a blue pill. I felt vaguely dizzy – not quite right. The nurse told me that I had to get up and have a wash . I don’t think she was nurse at all. I think she was Hitler dressed up as nurse. She told me I had to be gone by 10am as they needed the bed for the next patient. While I had a wash – she just pulled my hospital gown off. Grabbed my bra, swung it round me lasso style and did it up. Then she grabbed my tshirt and put it on me while I was heading back to bed.

My surgeon came round at 8.30am and told me the operation was successful with 17 electrodes in. Wow – that was way more than I was expecting and very good news. We discussed the possibility of me going to North Shore hospital rather than home, but decided on home.

After he had gone the nurse pulled down the blankets and put my skirt on me. I kid you not – she was determined for me to leave. My mother arrived. By this time I was crying with pain and really not feeling right. The surgeon sent me to Remuera to have an x-ray. I barely remember getting there but was really crying with pain now. Back to the surgeon who quickly looked at the x-ray and said go home and sleep, feet up, and take panadol. Yeah right – I knew panadol wasn’t going to help much.

Got home – panadol, feet up, outstretched on couch. I still hadn’t eaten or drunk anything since 6am the previous day , and didn’t want anything. Mum fed me regular panadol and antibiotics. By 4pm I was throwing up uncontrollably, couldn’t open my eyes, couldn’t move so an ambulance was called and I was carted off to North Shore hospital. I ended up being there for two weeks, very dizzy, and very sick. The doctors think the operation or anaesthetic might have set off my ongoing vertigo problems, however thank goodness it has resolved for now and I’m back home.

Everything is healing nicely now, except my hair is growing back gray. I emailed my surgeon how I felt this was unfair, that he should have injected those blonde cells back into me. He called it divine retribution, because when he took over my case management he had no gray hairs!!!

Ever since the surgery I’ve been getting tinnitus in my ears, particularly the left one - the non implanted ear. It’s driving me nuts. Now usually tinnitus is a ‘ringing’ in one’s ear, but I have a full symphony orchestra in there. If I could request tunes, that would be good too, but no – I get lucy in the sky with diamonds for 2 hours, followed by bolero for two hours, followed by the nutcracker suite (no smart comments please) then it changes to the Tijuana brass brand, You are my Sunshine, Oom Pa pah. It’s like a CD I can’t switch off. It’s a little better today –more soloist instruments than full orchestra, but occasionally the full string section lets loose. Lucy in the Sky of Diamonds played for most of the day. It’s onto Bolero now though! Gah!

I believe this phenomena is called Musicophila and Oliver Sacks has written about it. I am going to try and get the book to read as it seems fascinating. Either that, or the surgeon misplaced his MP3 player during surgery!

Meantime – I’m totally deaf at the moment. Not one itsy bitsy little sound gets through. None. Nada. Zip. I thought it would be really hard to lipread without sound but I’ve found it much easier than I thought it would be. I rarely miss things, but I do have a Magna Doodle toy as a backup when things get tough. Strange though when I introduce it, very little communication ensues afterwards as the person talking to me becomes engrossed in drawing pictures on it!!

My ‘turn on’ or ‘switch on’ or ‘activation’ is this coming Monday so I don’t have long to wait. I wonder what I’ll hear.

Anything at all?
Squiggles of sound?
Orchestral music?
Voice?
I guess I just have to wait and see….

Watch this space!
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I REALLY enjoyed reading that. 
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