The surgery went really well. It took just under three hours to complete and my surgeon was pleased with how smoothly it went. Waking up in recovery didn’t go as smoothly. I woke up feeling like an elephant was sitting on my chest, making it difficult to breathe and my throat felt bone-dry. I remember coughing harshly when the anesthesiologist gave me my anesthetic through my breathing mask so I think that’s what caused the dryness in my throat along with the breathing tube. My feet were throbbing as my stockings were a size too small. Thankfully, I didn’t experience any pain around my ear when I woke up. However, my face felt funny. When I looked at a mirror in the hospital washroom later on, I realized that my face had swelled up quite a bit. Here’s a picture taken about 20 minutes after I woke up (see right) and a picture of me minutes before being wheeled into the OR (see left) for comparison. My face looked like a blown up balloon! Haha!
The nausea and dizziness didn’t hit me until the nurse offered me something to drink. At first, I felt no nausea whatsoever so I opted for some apple juice. That didn’t turn out to be such a good idea since apple juice is acidic compared to other juices. Fifteen minutes after the apple juice, my stomach started turning. I didn’t get physically sick but it did set off a bout of nausea that lasted for about three days. I couldn’t stomach anything but chicken noodle soup, toast, ginger ale and water during those three days.
The dizziness started once my hospital bed was elevated from the bed position. When I got myself off the hospital bed, I nearly toppled over and had to have the nurse hold my arm while I slowly walked to the bathroom. After that little trip, I could hardly sit in an upright position without having to immediately lie back down on the hospital bed. During the car ride home that day, I had to close my eyes the entire ride since the moving trees and cars made me even dizzier which only added to my nausea. The nurses gave me a prescription for Tylenol 3Ms to manage any pain and antibiotics which I had to take every 4 hours to prevent infection. I also received some Gravol for the nausea.
I didn’t do much the first few days following the surgery. I just slept and watched Netflix. Watching Netflix proved more difficult than I thought it would be because I couldn’t wear my glasses over my incision site which is directly behind the ear. It turns out I’m half-blind without my glasses so I couldn’t read the subtitles without being nose-to-nose with my laptop. I also couldn’t wear my CI because the bandage prevented my magnet headpiece from sticking onto my head. Nonetheless, I did manage to figure out a way to watch my beloved TV shows without either of my CI or glasses.
I was allowed to remove the head bandage the day after the surgery and was given the clear to take a shower after 72 hours. To close the incision, both dissolving stitches and staples were used. Here is a couple of pictures of the incision taken on Day 3, 5 and 10 (today).
Warning: if you are queasy around staples and blood, I suggest you don’t look at them and scroll down a few times.
Aside from some pressure headaches in the evenings and rare occasions of tinnitus (i.e. ringing in the ears), I’m almost 100% back to normal, at least physically. My emotional state has been like a roller-coaster and still continues to be, which I’ll write more about in another post as I have already taken up a lot of space with this one. Anyways, I get my staples removed on Tuesday morning. The staples pull at my skull whenever I eat or yawn which is a rather disconcerting feeling so it will be a big relief to finally get them taken out! But in all honesty, it’s been a fairly smooth and fast recovery.
Now I only have to wait eighteen days before the cochlear implant gets switched on for the first time!