Monday, April 20, 2009

Waiting for Switch-On

My third Cochlear Implant operation finally happened 3 weeks ago on the 30th March.

Just a quick recap - I was originally implanted in March 1993, and switched on in April 1993. I had 15 years of near normal hearing with this implant (Cochlear Corp N22). This failed in June 2007. In March 2008 I was reimplanted with the new Freedom implant and switched on in April 2008. All went well for a few months, then disaster struck and my implant electrodes migrated out of the ear. A very rare occurance. I was reimplanted for the 3rd time on 30th March 2009 - and switch on is scheduled for 22 April 2009.

Funny how all my implants have happened in the month of March.

30th March has been and gone and I'm now the proud owner of another lovely scar. Once again the original 1993 incision was used - the big old fashioned C.

This was taken on my phone so the quality might not be the best!! I can't help think my surgeon should change jobs and apply for the a Hairstylist Position in Vogue!!!

Because of the same scar tissue that dogged the March 2008 implant, only 17 electrodes were able to be inserted, but that was the same as 2008, so I have high hopes that, providing the electrodes do not migrate, that I will hear very well indeed with those 17.

Unfortunately I don't know much more than this as once again I reacted to the operation and woke up with my terrible vertigo. I stayed 2 nights in the private clinic, then was sent home. 4 hours later I hadn't moved off my couch, couldn't eat, drink, and was pretty sick, so my daughter and my mother called an ambulance and had me carted off to North Shore Hospital. I was admitted and only got out on Friday. Spent most of the time with my eyes shut as the vertigo was pretty bad. Which meant communication was difficult as to 'lipread' I need to open my eyes, but when I did the world spun. A pretty miserable state.

The vertigo finally subsided and I got home on Friday, nearly 3 weeks after my operation. It's nice to be home, but I'm very weak - flat on your back in hospital does nothing for your fitness!

Since the operation, my tinnitus has been going like the energiser bunny with those Duracell batteries - going and going and going. It's been driving me nuts. I have percussion in my dead non implantable ear, and a full orchestra in my implanted ear. Trumpets, fanfares, piano, strings, voices. I go from classical, to rock, to spanish, to latin music. I have no control over it. I cannot change the pitch, or rhythm, or even the tune. Lucy in the Sky of diamonds was with me for 6 hours yesterday. Most of the time I have never heard the music before, and I can't help but feel I should be notating it for some future concert!

Today it has suddenly become quieter. Maybe it knows that once I'm switched on in 35.5 hours (not that I'm counting or anything), it will be banished forever.

Switch-on can't come fast enough now. Total silence for the last 4 months has been a trial. My lipreading has improved dramatically, but it's still tiring, and I long for my usual energy levels.

Bring on the Chipmunks - I want to be wired for sound once again!


Carol said...

That's a whopper of a scar. Good example of recycling though! (I have it on good authority that it is the original scar, re-used)
Great that you have had your op at last Robyn, and good to see that you are back home and blogging again!!!!

Michelle said...

Bless your heart! I've been thinking about you and wondering why you haven't posted lately, especially since you just had surgery. What an experience! Hope the bells and choirs dim down soon.

Anonymous said...

@Carol - yep - that's right - the original 1993 scar re-used. They had to use the original scar because if they did a new smaller incision it might cut off blood flow to the flap.

@Michelle - Thanks - yep - I had a bit of a rough ride after surgery so haven't been around. All okay now though and the bells and choirs are quietening down now all ready for switch-on tomorrow in just 15 hours (and two minutes)

Morgan said...

God, I've obviously infected you with the Twitter bug with those @ signs appearing!

Good luck with your switch on. I can't wait to find out what you can hear. I am practising my chipmonk voice! :-)

sara said...

I'm glad the vertigo has stopped. I've only suffered it once and it only lasted a few hours, but that was scary enough for me! I can't imagine it going on for days.

kim said...

I'm so glad you're feeling better! Mike did a great job keep us filled in on your progress, but I was really worried. I can't wait until you get turned on again

Loudest Mom said...

They have certainly improved the incision size...Although, I think it's a beautiful site, given the end result :) I'm so glad you are sharing your experience! I hope the third time is the charm for you!

jelly said...

Ouch. What a scar.
Best of luck on your CI journey.