Tag Archives: Surgery

Round Number Two!

I feel as though I’m feeling the same I did back in August of last year. Only opposite ears. It’s the physical shifts of hearing in the middle of the day. The feeling dizzy, the pain in the ears, the difficulty focusing. Its all back!

What do I mean? I’m slowly loosing hearing in my left ear now. It’s going slowly day by day. The entire reason for the creation of this blog was because I was sensing the loss of hearing in my right ear, and I wanted to document it. I wanted documentation through losing the hearing, pre-surgery, post surgery and now. I wanted people who have never been exposed to this part of life to have some kind of knowledge of something they have never known.  Never would I have thought that I would have lost my left ear to LVAS, at least not so soon!

It hasn’t even been four months and I’m fighting that uphill battle again, only with different ears. Except this time I’m losing it on my ear that I have used for everything. Losing hearing in my right ear was different than losing hearing in my left ear. In my right ear, I had always been a degree of deafness making me not able to really function using just that ear. Had I been born with both ears like my right ear, life would have been a different story. A story involving sign language, early childhood surgery’s and many other different life experiences.

I have always used my left ear in a dominate form to listen to music, talk on the phone, and hear a conversation. Heck I even sleep on my right ear just so I can have my left ear exposed just in case something happens and I might be lucky enough to hear it. Obviously most people don’t have to pick a favorite ear, the best way to relate it is to relate it to hands, you are either left or right handed.

I’m not one to sit and complain about situations. I feel that there is a reason that I have been chosen to go through these life experiences. I’m choosing to learn from them instead of mope within them.

I’m hoping that the left ear will stabilize, at least so I can have time to completely get on my feet with the newly activated cochlear implant. It is still taking a lot of time. I was told that had I not gotten activated over Christmas break like I had, this semester would have been much more difficult for me. I couldn’t agree more.

I couldn’t be more happy with the decision to have gotten the cochlear implant when I did. Now I’m hoping that I don’t keep having those sensations of hearing loss in the other ear.

Only time can tell, but everything happens for a reason and the best thing I can do is make the absolute best of any situation and learn from it.

Have a good week!

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One Week After Surgery

christmas 2007

christmas 2007 (Photo credit: paparutzi)

First… I hope everybody had a good Christmas, I did. I think I like quiet Christmas’ better!

So it has been a week since I have let a drill have its way with my right ear and I’m feeling much better. There is a lot of things different that nobody else would notice.

Since I got the surgery it hasn’t stopped hurting, but now its gotten to a dull throbbing that I can bare without having to take Tylenol everyday. My incision is now healing, and the pain has died down tremendously, so I can feel around on my head and it feels strange. I felt around on my head and the internal piece feels huge! It wraps around a lot of my right side of my skull and it seems really thick. I can also feel where they hollowed out all of the bone to insert this device.

Obviously communication with me has had a strain lately. I wasn’t aware that the 10% of hearing that I had in that ear really made that much of a difference when it came to functioning. Everything seems vastly quiet, even though I never relied on this ear. Every time my hearing aid would go dead or something, I would always take a battery from the right side with no problems. But now it is complete silence on that side, different from before. It is really hard to explain without you having already experiencing this silence weirdness. It is like this because I haven’t been activated yet (January 5th!) I am excited for the day I get to have my right side turned on.

Even when you put in ear plugs, you still hear something. And when your done being “silent”, you can just take them off. But this is something permanent. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m very excited to get activated and everything, I’m just not really digging this step of complete silence.

Although this step towards a cochlear implant isn’t the funnest step, I’m still very excited to move on and get activated. I really appreciate all of the continued support and prayers that everybody is still giving me.

I hope you guys have a good day!

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Post Surgery

An operating theatre (gynecological hospital o...

Hello ladies and gentlemen,

I am now in the period of time that is considered post surgery, pre-activation. What that means is that I cannot hear a thing out of my right ear, and I do not yet have the processor to go with the internal component. I will be receiving that January 5th. It seems as if though somebody put ear plugs in my ear, and then put duct tape over them to cover any sound going in, because now I will never hear without the processor.

So let me talk about yesterday for a little bit: After fasting for a while, I went to the hospital to have this life changing operation. When I got there, they registered me and took my blood work. To get my vain to show, the nurse gave me a rubber peanut to squeeze, and when she gave it to me she just said squeeze and release the peanut. Due to my severe state of deafness, I thought she said squeeze and release the penis. That got the day started off just right. We all laughed.

After waiting for awhile, the director of the School of Drama showed up amongst other people to show their support for me. That meant a lot to me. I was severely nervous as to how this operation was going to go. I already had an IV in me and I wasn’t sure as to how I was going to hear after the operation, let alone how much pain I was going to be in after the fact. Having all of those people there for me, and having all of the people call and text me was great and that provided the support I really needed.

After waiting two hours, I was called to go into surgery.

This was the moment I had been waiting for, the final moments with my right ear. After this surgery, I will never hear anything naturally out of my right ear again. Not that I had really been getting any sounds out of it in the past five years, it was just the permanent part of it that was hitting me. I said goodbye to everybody that was there to support me, and I went back into the Operating Room.

When I arrived into the room they laid me on the table, after undressing me. Wondering why they were undressing me, they told me it was just in case they needed access to other parts of my body during surgery.

Well that got me saying my “Hail Mary’s and Our Father’s”.

After laying down, the anesthesiologist came into the room. He asked me if I had any more questions about today’s operation. I told him no. Then he said, “Well okay Connor, The next thing you will remember is being in mid-conversation with your family”. To that I responded with, “Well uh, thanks. Merry Christmas then?” They laughed and I passed out.

He wasn’t lying, the next thing I remember is being in mid- sentence with my mom. Talking about some picture that my friend drew me, something about Pierre or something. I don’t know.

At that time, I was feeling fine. Then about five minutes later, the numbness wore off. Then the worst pain I had ever felt started to hit me. It got worse and worse and worse. I let the nurse know, and she gave me some medicine. Apparently she gave me too little of a dose, and she couldn’t do much about it without the doctors consent. So I had to foot the bill of her mistake with the immense pain I was in. It was horrendous.

I had never felt such pain in my life. Every bump in the road, every turn in the car, every step to the house, felt like a gunshot to my lower ear. It was bad. But I had been given medicine and I was for sure going to take it.

Fast forward six hours, and I’m feeling more like myself now. I’m still sore but things are much better. I had slept through the pain and now things are getting better. It literally went away through the sleep and the chocolate milkshake I had.

Next Day (Today):

I had a check up with the doctors, he removed my headdress and checked the incision. He described to me about how my surgery was a little more difficult than some others. My main artery in my neck runs up by where the implant needs to go. Which is unusual, it is supposed to be much lower, but my anatomy is apparently “weird” and it took him an extra hour to work around this artery. That freaked my family out a bit yesterday because I went way longer in surgery than normal.

So, I’m feeling better now, my head is shaved, my hair (that is left) is now clean, I’ve taken a bath (no showers until Friday) and I will keep you posted on my state of being over the next couple of days.

Thank you very much for your support and prayers, they kept me safe during the surgery when the surgeon noticed the artery!

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People Nowadays

People in this world nowadays can be surprising. I try not to take things personally when negative things happen towards my way, but sometimes it can be difficult.

Lately, there has been more and more difficulties leading up to the surgery. I’ve had some possibilities of people who once said they were going to assist with surgery (they said they would pay around $5,000), and now there is a chance they won’t. Medical bills have been adding up, bills that I believed to be covered by insurance. Now I will be having to pay them out of pocket.

I’ve also been having difficulties in classes. I’ve been having difficulties with my professors understanding what is going on with me, and it is reflecting in my grades. These are participation type grades such as “he ignores me”. I don’t blame them in any way because I cannot expect them to understand. I just wish they were more willing to work with me. I’ve also been having more difficulties with getting along with some people who are my friends here at the University. Some people are getting more and more frustrated with me because I can’t hear or understand what they are saying. I’m doing my best to work with the professors here to find out if my grades can be talked about, because I believe what has occurred to be unfair.

It has been no secret that I have been considering a different major in college. I haven’t made any major decisions because I believe that a lot of my stresses are stemming from the fact that I haven’t had the surgery yet. I will wait until spring to do so. If you would’ve asked me last night, I would’ve been out of this program tomorrow. But I thought long and hard about it and decided to not make any irrational decisions. I took what occurred personally, and I believed it to be a personal attack on me.

One thing that every person in this world must do is they must observe their own limitations. Everybody in this world has limitations, although mine may be in hearing. Others are in different areas. But what we all must do is see if these limitations are going to affect what you want to do in life, and see if you can overcome them.

But I want everybody to be aware that I have always done my absolute best in everything I can do. I have never once half-assed anything when it came to proving myself. I have always tried to be somebody that people can be proud of. I thrive on that kind of stuff. I’m sure things will improve soon, I’m just stating my observations for the past couple of weeks.

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Here We Go

Left ear cochlear implant as worn by user

Left ear cochlear implant as worn by user (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sorry about the lack of posts, I’ve been pretty busy lately with being in show and the end of the semester and stuff. But anyways here is the new one…

So new occurrences in my life, it’s starting to really seem like my hearing is still continuing to go down. It’s like my hearing changes with the weather. Everyday I feel like its gone down so low it couldn’t possibly go down any further but several days later it will surprise me again with a new record of lowness. Last night this girl was talking to me and I knew she was talking because her lips were moving, but no sound was coming out of her mouth, to me at least. I didn’t tell her because it was odd. It was really weird for me. Usually I at least hear a little noise that can be interpreted. It was very strange and a little unnerving, I would at least like to hear a little before all of my hearing is taken away in surgery.

Apparently I’ve been offending people lately too. Like somebody will be talking to me right next to me and I don’t hear them. This goes back to why I’m getting surgery. I seriously cannot hear any noises sometimes and when somebody is talking to me, it may seem like I’m paying attention but then I’ll just walk away. I’m really not trying to be that rude but it really comes across that way. This also leads to the isolation thing, people think I’m being rude so they avoid me. Then they talk about my rudeness to others and it spreads. It also looks like I’m ignoring directions backstage when somebody tells me something to do, and I don’t do it. Honestly, I’m not trying to be that way.

Another thing that’s changing is the fact that I’m not hearing intercom announcements backstage anymore. That is weird. Those things were blaring loud at first and now they are not so much. It seriously feels like somebody shoved some cotton balls in my ears and pushed me out in the real world.

I’ve always been taught that there is no point to sit and mope about circumstances that are out of my control. I’ve always been told to do the best I can with what I have and make it better. This is something that has always kept me going. This blog is purely an observation of pre-surgery symptoms that I’m experiencing.

Even though my body is going through these weird changes (gah! it sounds like I’m describing puberty) everybody still expects top performance around me. I cannot slack on my grades or I loose my scholarship, I cannot slack on my crew or my grades fail, I cannot slack on communication with friends or I have the potential to have them get very angry with me because as much as they love me, they just don’t understand, I cannot slack on any parts of my life.

I’ve chosen to make myself a mainstreamed student (meaning, I make myself part of normal society, not in the deaf society like deaf classes and sign language) and one of the downfalls is that nobody really can quite understand what it can be like to experince these events that I do on a daily basis. I don’t blame anybody by any means, and I’m very happy with my speech ability to make myself able to be a part of mainstreamed classes. It can just be difficult, just like everybody has their obstacles in life. The only difference is, is that I’ve decided to start a blog about mine!

Every time I get a chance, I thank God for the ability to speak and be a part of mainstreamed society, I thank him for the ability to get a cochlear implant, and I thank him for everything he’s given me. Even though I don’t have my hearing, I’ve been given the ability to read lips and the intelligence to get around that downfall. I’ve been provided with a great life and a great education to further my great life, I have great friends around me and I’m very thankful for it.

Even though some things don’t work out the way I would’ve wanted, there isn’t a thing I can do about it. They are completely out of my control. To waste my days on thinking and moping about it would be a waste of what I do have. At times it can seem like I don’t have much, but others it seems like I have almost too much. Be thankful for what you have because there is always somebody who has less. They might be sitting next to you in a class you have or in a restaurant your eating in.

Have a good day folks.

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Getting Closer and Closer

As I near closer and closer to the December 20th date, things are starting to hit me. I’m not trying to be dramatic by any means, but I’m trying to be mature about everything and look at this surgery the way it should be looked at.

As of today my surgery is in 21 days.

I heard my sister’s voices the way I’ve always known all my life for the last time on Thanksgiving. I heard a lot of things the way I’m used to for the last time on Thanksgiving, my families voices and such. I spent my last weekend home before surgery too.

After this surgery, things will never go back to the way they have always been, even if I want them too. This is a permanent choice I had to make, but I’m very glad and excited I made it.

I’m going to have all of my residual hearing wiped out in my right ear four days before Christmas. That’s what has to happen for the cochlear implant. The cochlear implant won’t be activated until after New Years. I will not hear anything out of the right ear for two weeks. Through Christmas Eve, Christmas, and New Years. Even with the cochlear implant activated, sound won’t be anywhere near the same, at first. Instead of listening through my ears, I’ll be listening through electrodes stimulating my nerves directly. It’s a whole new way of listening. But it’s a way that will work for me.

But it won’t work immediately.

Sure I’ll hear noises, but I won’t understand how to comprehend the noises. I’ve never really heard or understood sound out of my right ear. It will take therapy to make use of the noises. So I will be going into therapy overdrive for the three weeks left of Christmas break. I will be going to classes with the rest of the students at school. Just with some different equipment.

I’m feeling a little weird about the fact that the next time I go home, I will be going into surgery. It feels like the date jumped up on me. Back in October it seemed like this couldn’t come fast enough, now I can’t believe how quickly it came.

Don’t get me wrong at all! I’m looking forward to it, I’m ready to do this and I’m very excited. I’m just nervous as to how this is all going to turn out. It’s going to be weird hearing things out of that ear. I’ve never really understood speech out of that ear, so to hear somebody speak to me and for me to understand what was said will truly be a miracle and I’m looking forward to it everyday.

I can’t wait until I can talk on the phone out of that ear, or until I can hear my friends out of that side, or until I can actually close my eyes and rely on my ears for once. It will be great.

If anybody is wondering, this is what Google says the cochlear implant will sound like: the first one is what you hear and the second one will be what I hear.

http://www.hei.org/research/aip/decrease_channels.mp3

Hope everybody is having a good day!

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