Finally some good signs

It has been rough, not just because of the nausea and the dizziness, not being able to concentrate, but mostly because of the fear than a simple infection can leave me deaf in one ear.

I have been feeling some noise, but nothing more than what I had heard prior to the operation… however, my hearing is now officially coming back. I have been reading laying down to keep the dizziness at bay and today after answering one of Bea’s question I started to hear a weird echo of my own voice.

I had been hearing gargling and bubbling sounds, but nothing really clear… now though I do hear something, almost like a radio that is too loud and not quite tuned, but officially it seems my hearing in the operated ear is coming back.

Getting better, then getting worse

Well, the first day after the surgery it looked up. I seemed to be getting nicely off the anestesia and while I was being very careful I felt tons better. I did not feel dizzy and the soreness and oozing of my ear felt normal. Then next day I felt even more sore all over, but I decided I was well enough for a shower and that was not a good idea.

Not sure if it was the overconfidence and the movement, but I have been dizzy ever since. My balance is all out of whack and sudden movements can make me dizzy, also the pain came back. I dislike taking medicines for those symptoms, but for now I have to. So far this day has been the worse because I felt like crap since I woke up, but from what I know it should start getting better from now on… just no sudden movements and I should be ok.

The hearing is not all gone, but not coming back either. I hear some things, but its almost like it goes in and out… from what I’ve been told it should get better soon but not stabilize for a while. The other side effect is my tongue is numb on one side and I cannot taste much on it either. It was a known thing, but it still weird. Other than that I am alive and happy that this will start getting better soon.

Liars I tell ya

So I have finally totally woken up from the anesthesia but feel like I was hit by a truck. I mean I was awake an hour and a half after the operation but since then it has only been short periods of time of staying awake and then the anesthesia seems to kick back in and knock me out.

It was kind of funny before the operation the nurses and the doctor were all like, this is no big deal, you will be fine… but then the post up nurses when I was waking up started telling me how I would really feel and how I was going to be in pain and narcotics for the next couple of days!!! LIARS I TELL YA.

The pain in the ear was pretty bad, started as a 4 on their scale but quickly went to 7, but whatever they gave me worked after like 30 minutes and it has been ok since.

Yesterday was pretty miserable, the nausea sucks specially when you still feel hungry at the same time… hard to explain.

Anyway, it feels that now at 3:00 AM I have gotten rid of all the anesthesia and can finally stay awake for more than a couple of minutes. Since I could not get back to sleep again, probably too many hours of sleep by now, I checked on a project at work and decided to post. I wanted to thank everyone for all of their good wishes and my wife for being awesome taking care of me yesterday. I hope I can stay awake now and I don’t get too dizzy… so far so good.

Laser & Pistons

The anxiety had been building for a while now; the questions in my head had been trying to defeat my optimism on the drive to the appointment, but I kept on saying to myself, have faith, it will be ok. As I approached the waiting room I begin to get a little calmer and held the door open for an elderly couple that was lagging behind he on the way there. When I entered a guy in an auto shop uniform was staring at me, but I smiled and waited to see if the elderly couple wanted to talk to the receptionist first.

They sat down without talking to the lady and I went in to speak with her. She asked my name and all of my information in a now familiar tone of voice. I am at a place where most people are hard of hearing so everyone speaks a little louder with perfect enunciation. I filled in the paper work and waited while reading about how Sarah Palin has actually made enemies on her rise to political stardom. It was a welcomed distraction until my name was called.

The consultation took longer than an hour and a lot of instruments both high and low tech were used. The prognosis of the audiologist was correct, I have Otosclerosis which is going to be treated with an Stapedectomy. (See Picture here)

In very simple terms, a laser is going to blast away my stapes which will then be replaced by a state of the art piston that is made of some special memory polymer that will be attached to the existing long process of the anvil. Sounds kind of cool… unless its your head that is going to have lasers inside of it.

Overall its just a simple ambulatory procedure that the doctor seem to think it was no big deal. The potential complications are serious, but very low percentage. It is very possible that I will be going under the knife for the first ear (they cannot do both at once) next week. Recuperation time is about a month for the operation, about 4 moths to evaluate hearing results. So that is all I have at the moment.

Another piece of the puzzle

Today I saw the audiologist. I knew the news were not going to be good, but I tried my hardest not to get sick being worried about what was going to happen. She started her testing and I did was pretty scared.

The testing is lengthy and frightening because while you can hear some of the tones, some of them were barely audible and obviously some none at all. We all take things for granted in life, and now I realize how much I have taken my hearing for granted.

The idea of never hearing again has me wanting to listen to more classical music… fortunately I think I will eventually get my full hearing back.

The audiologist does not have the authority to really tell me what is wrong, but from her knowledge it seems that the problem is actually in the middle ear, more specifically my stapes. She cannot truly diagnose that I have severe tinnitus and hearing loss just yet, she can only tell me that bellow 55 decibels I hear pretty much nothing. Both ears have the same exact problem.

A whisper is around 20dB, normal conversation is around 60dB. If someone has talks with a quiet voice I cannot hear them; if someone does not have my focus when they are talking in a normal voice, I can probably not hear them either. The worse thing is that it is something that is progressive so I have to get it checked out further. Next step is a consultation with a surgeon which will happen next week, I already made an appointment.

In the mean time I could get a hearing aid and it will help me a lot, however it is $1400 – 1700 for the cheapest ones and the insurance does not cover it. I might try some really low tech cheap ones and see what those can do.

There is a high probability that it is something that can be fixed because my cochlea (inner ear) seems to be intact, but the prospect of surgery terrifies me. There are probably a lot more tests to still do and more details to be learned, but at least I have another piece of the puzzle now…

Thanks for your good thoughts, prayers and overall support, without my wife, my family and friend I would probably be having a harder time with this.