An extended recovery

My surgery is over! It went well, or so they told me hours later, after I woke up.

Kevin, Christina and I showed up at the hospital at 11 after several “jokes” on my part about making a frozen pizza before we left (I was starving by 9, breakfast person that I unfortunately am). The hospital staff wasn’t messing around, and had me in a hideous green hospital gown by 11:20, and I was out cold 20 minutes later.

I had a little trouble coming out of the anesthesia for some reason, so my recovery time was about three hours longer than anyone planned. Christina said she was sure I’d have to stay at the hospital for the night. Instead, they brought me home to discover the effects of the anesthesia had not quite vacated, made evident by my immediate tears after realizing I’d accidentally deleted a text from someone before getting a chance to read it. Lesson learned: do not give the recently-anesthetized girl her cell phone.

I was so lucky to have Christina and Kevin there that day. It had to have been a long day of waiting around for them, but they never complained. In the days after the surgery, Kevin took wonderful care of me. The anesthesia, as I said, left me an emotional puddle, and a puddle who wanted to argue and cry and complain about everything tasting like chalk dust and not being allowed to drink a beer with everyone else. I fought with Kevin about the most trivial things. If you think a tear-streaked girl with a bloody, white dome velcroed to her ear and an elastic band around her head can look or sound at all dignified in a tense conversation, you are mistaken. But he didn’t laugh at me. He listened to me and said comforting, magical things back to me to calm me down. These are the times when you really see who a person is, and he saw me at my worst while I had the benefit of seeing him at his best. It’s hardly fair, but we are a stronger couple for it. I only hope I would be as kind and patient with him if our situations were reversed.

The surgery, as I described before in a previous entry, was the “good” version. I said before that I wasn’t going to know which surgery went down until after it was over, and I was relieved to be told that I’d had what is called the “walls up” version. That means I still have the option to get the titanium ear parts in 6-12 months. That is, however, on the condition that the eardrum they built me from my own ear cartilage doesn’t do the same thing my old, original eardrum did. If the pattern starts to repeat itself, I will have to do the scarier, “walls down” surgery after all, the one that could adversely affect my hearing.

Which is strange to say, because today, over a week after the surgery, I can’t hear out of the ear they operated on, my by far better ear. For days now I’ve been relying on my worse ear and struggling to get by in conversations. To be honest, I’m pretty depressed about it, but all I can do is wait for the situation to resolve itself. It’s at least easier to hear on my right (bad) side with my new, stronger-powered hearing aid in, but I can’t use my left hearing aid because that ear is still so torn up. I have to walk around with a cotton ball in it because it’s draining (very gross), and there are at least two sets of stitches in it that I can feel when I poke around in there, which I’m pretty sure I’m not supposed to do.

I freaked out when I first realized I couldn’t hear, and while I am still very perturbed by the fact that that hasn’t changed, we’re guessing it’s just that there’s so much swelling inside that we can’t see, and it’s what’s stopping sound from getting to my eardrum. Kevin and Christina remind me that the doctor said the surgery went as well as it possibly could have, and that can’t mean that a result of it is that I’m now deaf in my better ear. He probably would have felt obligated to mention that if it was the case. I just really wish it would hurry up and heal so I’d know it for sure.

I have a follow-up appointment a week from Wednesday. Things still taste kind of strange, possibly because of the pain medication I’m taking. The pain gets easier to deal with every day, but I look forward to not relying on the medication and being able to sleep through the whole night without waking up in pain. The first couple of nights were pretty rough, but now it’s just kind of a nightly annoyance – waking up with my head throbbing, taking a pill, and going back to sleep a few minutes later. So it goes every four hours: a jolt of pain; a pill; and then a slight return to normal sleep. Or at least what “normal” means for me this week.

Thanks for everyone’s thoughtful well-wishes. My aunt and uncle sent me a box of baked goods from Pattycake Bakery in Columbus, so I’ve been kept in quality desserts in the mean time.

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