Surgery Box

March 7, 2020

 

I met with my cochlear implant surgeon this week and received what I’ve billed “The Surgery Box.” The box contains all I need to be prepared for getting cut open, apparently. The surgeon was the 11th appointment I’ve had on this journey so far (not counting the 3 ear infection appointments). The health plan is really getting a workout this year.
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My first appointment was with the somber audiologist, who confirmed that my hearing had in fact taken a dump (technical term).
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She sent me to an Ear Nose and Throat doctor who was called a surgeon. I thought that meant he was the one who would do the implant. But no. I was going on and on about implants and this doctor just looked in my ear and said, “I don’t see any abnormalities.”
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Which meant I had to go to my hearing aid audiologist so that she could check my left hearing aid and fit me with an aid for my right (deaf) ear. I’m so deaf that her machine kept shutting down, because the settings I required were so far past the limits they have in place to avoid blowing out someone’s ear with a volume that’s too loud. She was very frustrated and kept mumbling, “You’re deaf! They don’t need a hearing aid to know you are deaf!”
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Next up I went for a 2 hour appt with the cochlear implant audiologist. We talked about the implant and what to expect and all that. I went into one of the padded booths and she tested my hearing with hearing aids to confirm that my hearing is shit.
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With that confirmation we were off and running. Next I had to contact three people who have implants and ask them questions. Samantha McKinney met up with me and answered questions for hours. We’d never met before. She was very kind to take the time to meet up and talk hearing impairment for hours. What an exciting way to spend an afternoon.
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Then I had to get a Psych evaluation. An implant is much different than a hearing aid. You don’t just turn it on and hear. It’s a long process of re-teaching your brain how to hear. It can be very straining from a psychological standpoint, because you really want to hear and it’s a really long process that is not always smooth. So, they do the psych appointment to gauge whether you are aware of what you are getting into and seem to have the ability to tackle the challenge. You also take a multiple choice psych evaluation to see if you are crazypants.
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Then I had to get a meningitis vaccination, because that is a risk of the surgery. But it was actually a pneumonia vaccination that was ordered, which confused the nurses and I almost ended getting two vaccinations. Overall that was not the best appointment to go to when I had an ear infection and was unable to hear anything. Needles were coming at me from all directions and I had no idea what they were.
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Next, I got a CAT scan to see what things looked like in my broken ear.
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Then I went to the implant audiologist again to confirm I wasn’t crazypants and that the CAT scan looked good. Turns out the CAT scan found some extra bone-type growth in my ear, which would explain why I suddenly lost my hearing after pregnancy. I already had hearing loss, then the pregnancy brought on a growth that gave me more hearing loss. So I have ALL THE HEARING LOSSES. Be jealous.
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That growth required an MRI so that the surgeon could get a better look at my ear to see if there was a viable way to insert the implant.
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Turns out there is. So I met with the surgeon and got my Surgery Box.
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And that brings us up to present day.
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Surgery in a couple weeks.
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Sorry if I’m driving you all crazypants with the details.
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#adventuresinhearingimpairment #cochlearimplant #crazypants

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Dawn is a mom, writer, and designer from Sacramento, CA. She is tired.

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