19 August 2009

A success

Now for the gory bits. Careful - they're in the next paragraphs
Saw the CochDoc today and my recent operation was pronounced a success.

Here's what they did
The bones in my skull near the left ear are affected by radiotherapy. It's called necrosis and the bone is rotting. This means that there is a great risk to having a cochlear implant on the left side, if they'd even do it. The fix is to remove the dying bone and clean the area up so that the implant won't fail.
In the course of that operation they also removed the ear canal, the drum, inoperative anyway, and other parts of the ear mechanism including two of the three minute bones. The third bone was left to avoid risking any balance I may have remaining in that ear.
Once that was cleaned out, a fat graft was taken from my gut, laughingly called a tummy-tuck by the wags, and any space created in the ear filled to avoid infection.
Also they left a plastic tab which the CochDoc can use, kind of like a post-it note - "Sign here--------->"

The operation was performed under a general anaesthetic. Because of my radiotherapy experience I have fibrous tissue in my throat, which makes it stiff. When you're under a GA they want to keep you breathing so you breathe thru a tube which normally they pass down your throat [I was asleep] Apparently my neck is too stiff and my jaw won't open far enough so they passed the tube down my throat via the nose and thus avoided the bruising of last time. [Link]

The operation went longer than they expected and was more challenging than they expected. However they did prevail and the CochDoc did make the 'successful' pronouncement today.

I was able to have a shower after not having one for a week. It was a good one, like when you've come back from travelling and you just want to get clean. Some wag suggested I might have had a celebratory piss in the shower to celebrate! [Decorum was upheld, don't worry]

What does this all mean?
It means I'll be able to get my left ear wet for the first time in about 4 years, that means I can swim without any earplugs for the first time in 7.5 years!
It means that my second cochlear implant can go ahead - I'll be able to have more stereoscopic sound, hopefully I'll be able to discern direction. It may lead to better discernment of sound generally so I can hear you at the coffee shop or just walking down the street - at the moment everything comes to me thru one ear at the same time. Noise covers everything.

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