Thursday, March 26, 2009

Recovery From Going Bilateral...

I have been awful about updating my blog but I'm a busy bilateral bee. I got my stitches taken out on Saint Patty’s Day at some gosh awful time of 7:45 in the morning. The doctor said everything looks great. As I mentioned in my other post that when I was in the recovery room, the doctor said something about a hole in my head but I was a little preoccupied with organizing a manhunt for my Blackberry to care about a little hole in my head. I was concerned about it later on.

As I was getting the stitches ripped out of my head, the subject of the hole happened to come up. The area where the surgeon wanted to create a bed to put my implant in was thin and in doing so small part of the Dura Mater which is the covering of the brain had a hole in it and some cerebrospinal fluid leaked out. The surgeon had to patch that up. It is a similar to when they implant a baby because their skull is thin and pliable. First, I was a little freaked out because I was envisioning this implant sitting right on top of my brain but it is actually sitting on mostly skull except for a small portion of Dura Mater. That makes me feel a little better. I had to ask if I had to take any extra caution in activities and he told me to use common sense - right.

After the question and answer session with my surgeon, I preceded right back home to take a much needed shower. I admit that with this surgery, I was not as strict with the doctor’s orders as I was the last time. Day three, I decided to throw caution to the wind and slather the incision up with Neosporin and hire a cheap shampoo girl (Mom) to wash my hair. Afterwards, I dried the incision thoroughly with Hydrogen Peroxide and applied a layer of Neosporin. I guess I should put a half hearted disclaimer here: If this influences you to blatantly disregard your doctor’s orders, I am or this blog in no way shape or form responsible for your actions.

Now with the legalities out of the way, I wanted to create a post specifically to compare and contrast my left ear which was my first implant and my right ear which is the newest addition to magnetville. I revisited my surgery posts for my left ear. A wave of nostalgia came over me but I'm over it already. :)

Here goes.

Recovery room:

LEFT: When I woke up in the recovery room, I was in a good amount of pain. I felt as if my head got ran over by a Mack truck. The nurses were quick to shoot my IV up with some pain relievers. God bless them. It took a little while to come around from the anesthesia. I was under for three and half hours because my doctor had some issues getting the last electrode in but finally got the bugger in.

RIGHT: This time, I woke up with very little pain. I was able to wake up quicker since my surgery was only two and half hours. I was up and around within a half hour. The surgeon had no problem getting all the electrodes and the only issue were the leaking brain juice.


LEFT: I parked my big ol’ butt on a recliner for a week. There was no way, no how I could lie down. When I tried to lay flat in my bed, I experienced the sensation of a spinning vortex. So the recliner it was for me.

RIGHT: The first night, I slept on an incline but by morning, I was sleeping flat on my back on a pillow and have continued to do so.

Pain pills:

LEFT: I was given the generic form of Vicodin that I was instructed to take two every four hours as needed. Well, I needed the whole damn bottle because I felt as if I got into a car accident with the aches and pains. I was a pill popping freak with this surgery.

RIGHT: This time around, I got the good stuff - Percoset which did the trick beautifully. Strictly for pain management - one in the morning and one at night for five days then I switched over to Tylenol gelcaps. One bad side effect of Percoset is constipation so try to increase your daily intake of fiber while popping the perks. :) Words of wisdom.

Metallic Taste Disturbance:

LEFT: I didn't get this side effect the first time and anytime I read that someone suffered from it, my reaction was always the same - dude, that sucks.

RIGHT: What goes around, comes around and it rolled around on day four, I went to take a sip of coffee that I had slumberly prepared that morning and as it coated my taste buds, a distinct copper flavor was detected in the right hemisphere of my tongue. Much to my dismay, I went on a coffee hiatus. It took about a week and a half for that to go away and for that next week and half, I found out what the headless horseman felt like but I lost four pounds. :)

Day of Doom: Day Three

LEFT: When day three rolled around, I was feeling pretty crappy.

RIGHT: When day three rolled around, I was feeling so good that I went back to work on day four which I will now admit was a very stupid move because I was so drained just sitting there. I resumed my right to recovery at home on day five with all the Food Network I could watch.


LEFT: The only time that I experienced dizziness was when I laid down and I tried very hard not to do that!

RIGHT: Nothing at all :)


LEFT: I remember getting the cotton ball feeling with this ear for about two weeks.

RIGHT: The only time I experience the sensation of fullness is when I bend over.

Jaw pain:

LEFT: My jaw was tender but I could eat a hamburger without cringing in pain.

RIGHT: This time around was ouch. the jaw tenderness was bumped up a couple of notches. I couldn't yawn without flinching. Since opening my jaw anymore than an inch caused me to wince in pain, food preparation was a fiasco. Everything had to be in extra small bites.


LEFT: It was the fattest ear that I have ever seen in my life.

RIGHT: If I had any swelling, I couldn't tell and neither could anyone else. By the third day, curiosity got the best of me because I wanted to see whether the magnet from my processor could find the implant. It had no problem attaching itself.


LEFT: The top of my ear felt as if it had been anesthetized for three months. It took about three months for me to get feeling back into my ear. I could not sleep on for three weeks. In fact, the day of my activation was the day I was able to sleep on it.

RIGHT: Considering that I am two and half weeks post surgery, it is still numb but I can sleep on it now!


LEFT: Before the surgery, I had a major case of tinnitus that sounded like a train going around my head. After the surgery, I woke up to complete quiet. It was so pleasant to have that turned off. :) I did experience short episodes of tinnitus but after activation, it was gone.

RIGHT: I had some minor tinnitus before the surgery. After the surgery, it was like a different album was playing. Now, I don't hear much of anything except on occasions. I expect it to be less than noticeable when I get turned on.

Nose blowing.

LEFT: I don't even want to recount the anguish I went through when I just attempted to blow my nose with this surgery. I was truly paralyzed in pain.

RIGHT: Considering the painful experience I had with the left ear, I didn't want to take any chances. I decided to follow doctors orders on this and wait the two weeks before I attempt to blow my nose. The result was snot and a slight ear pop. :)

Neck stiffness:

LEFT: My neck was a little stiff but not near as stiff as the right ear.

RIGHT: My neck was stiff for about two weeks until I could move my neck side to side with no problems.


LEFT: I looked like I got kicked in the side of the face by a mule. It wasn't pretty.

RIGHT: I think I had a slight discoloration on my temple. Other then that, I looked good.


LEFT: I was popping so many pills that knocked me out that I was having cat naps every two hours.

RIGHT: I was tired but not to the state of nap time. :)


LEFT: I didn't dare to drive until the sixth day. I cherished the fact that I had a driver license.

RIGHT: I was driving by day three despite the stiffness I had in my neck.

In conclusion, my right ear surgery and recovery went much smoother then the first one. It was so drastically different. Here I am two and half weeks post surgery and I am back to work full time. I went back to the gym doing light work outs. My incision is healing quite nicely. It really has been a super simple recovery. My activation is a week from today - April 2nd at 2pm.

The only gripe I have about this surgery is finding out that I am not as thick headed as I thought I was.


Jeff said...

Hi Abbie! Glad to read that No.2 is going so well. One week to activation, right?! Have fun!

Candy said...

Cool. I really liked how you compared both surgeries. Gave me an in depth into what to expect should I ever decide to dive in. The brain juice part got me all icky.

Paula Rosenthal said...

Sorry to hear about the hole! Does it ever close?

Loved this post that illustrates how different surgeries can be. My two were very different as well. The first one I was so dizzy I held onto walls and felt like I was walking on a tilt like in the Batman movies. The second I wasn't dizzy but I was lightheaded for several days.

So glad you are on the mend! Can't wait to read about your activation. :)

Cyborg Queen said...

woooooot! :-) I had pretty much the exact experience you did...san brain juice. The differences between my right and left was like night and day! Even though I had the same surgeon, same hospital, etc. I think because I told my surgeon my woes with my neck, throat (due to Endotracheal tube being too big), and nausea. She changed from Propofol (white juice that flows in your veins to induce sedation), to gas. That's why I was able to recover a lot faster.

I'm looking forward to hear your activation day!