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Switch on date

Yesterday I received confirmation of my switch on date! It is.... *drum roll* on Monday, 6th November at 10:30am. Otherwise known as the first Monday back after half term, also known as not-so-great timing since the children will go back to a supply teacher on the first day back! In my head, it was going to be during half term, the week prior to that Monday, but really, as my op was on the 5th October, the 6th of November fits the four week waiting period so can't really argue with the schedule. I also received all my follow-up appointments up to early December. Thankfully, these are all on Wednesdays, which is my PPA day so about half of them won't interfere with the teaching job.

As Ophelia continues her approach, the wind is picking up a little. The sky is still that strange half light/half shadowy apricot. Let's see what this sounds like. Seems fitting!

Day 11 Post-Op: Reflections on sound and my tips for hospital.

Today is the day that Ophelia (the storm) hits Ireland and the Western parts of the UK. It's meant to get really windy from 3pm but even now, there is a strange, apricot glow to the grey clouds that hang in the sky. Really, any minute now either Dennis Quaid or whatshisname that did Robin Hood and the Body... Ah, Kevin Costner, will appear now to announce the end of the world. Well, there is that colony of penguins that was recently hit by a catastrophic loss of life so I guess in some ways, it is the end of their world.

Yesterday, Peter and me went for a walk as I'm still feeling quite unfit. Managed 40 minutes walking and as we passed the shops I walked through a pile of leaves, deliberately kicking them up. And heard not a crinkle, a whisper or even a rustling. With my right hearing aid, if I don't think too hard, nothing sounds much different. Except, I'm having to rotate my whole body to locate sounds, to fully concentrate on speakers. My left is a black hole of n…

Day 7, the surgical check-up

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The last four days have passed in a blur of co-codamol fogginess and spontaneous naps but now it seems, the fog is clearing and today is the first day that I have not needed to sleep! Early this morning, Peter and I set off to catch a train to Manchester. Unfortunately, it was delayed which meant that once we arrived at the other end, it was a mad dash in a taxi to make our x-ray slot!

Within minutes of arriving, we were seen and my x-ray was done and dusted. After that, we made our way to the ENT department to see Mr Freeman, the frankly amazing surgeon. I was really nervous, I had it in my head that I hadn't been implanted (ridiculous), that it had been only partially inserted (a possibility I was warned about) or that there had been problems (likely, since I have malformed cochleas and had been warned of sub-optimal outcomes). No such issues! Mr Freeman revealed that all had gone perfectly and that, amazingly, they had been able to insert the longer electrode! Hooray! every poin…

Day 3...

I had my surgery on October 5th at Manchester Royal Infirmary. I was booked in for 0715 and I arrived for 0700, sat with Peter in the waiting room and listened to some music for the last time with both hearing aids. (Birdie - Wings, Maggie Rogers - Alaska) Fortunately for me, I was first on the list which meant my surgery time was between 0830 and 0900. I was a colossal wuss, and cried when leaving Peter, so much so that they had to call him back because I couldn't concentrate to answer the admission questions. 

While waiting for the surgery, we met the anaesthesiologist then the surgeon. It all seemed to happen very quickly and before I knew it, I was stood in a rather undignified hospital gown and trying to preserve my modesty while asking last minute questions about the location of the processor magnet. The surgeon was lovely and explained the surgery would take between one to two and a half hours and that all was in hand. To help him identify the correct side of the skull to dr…

Counting down....

So there I was last week, I hadn't heard anything since my pre-op, and was getting twitchy at the lack of communications. I emailed a different person, the person in charge of 'The List' and was shocked, stunned and quite excited to receive an email saying that my surgery has been booked for..... THE 5th of OCTOBER. THIS YEAR. As in.... less than a month away! Precisely 23 days. Holy crap. Oh my GOD WHAT AM I DOING?

I told my Boss the next day, they're all really supportive. Hopefully I will only be off for 2 weeks, there's a school trip the day I hope to be back so we'll see.... From looking at the dates, I would hope switch on will be in the half term but shan't find out until the day of surgery.

I've emailed a rep with Medel to ask a bunch of questions: I've copied them to here and I'll copy the reply once I've received it.

1 - So technically, the length doesn't matter, as long as it fits the cochlea. Mine is tiny, I think it's 12…

I cleared the final hurdle.

I had my pre-operative assessment in Manchester today. I had my height, weight, blood pressure checked and then blood taken. All done within 30 minutes, not the 1-2 hours listed on the letter!

This was followed by me killing time at Manchester Museum, I like checking out the critters in the vivarium. Inside the glass enclosures are beautiful little poison dart frogs and all sorts of lizards. After spotting lots of cute frogs I went back to the hospital for my final hearing test.

When I got into the testing room, I was really nervous that they were going to repeat the open set sentences discrimination test, which is awful to do. Turns out it was just a straight forward bleep test.
The lovely audiologist explained that everything was done and that it was a matter of waiting for a date. Several people currently on the wait-list are too poorly to undergo surgery so hopefully I'll get an operative slot fairly soon.

In other news, this finally grew on me, it's ridiculously catchy. :…

It's speeding up now

I met the actual surgeon, a Mr Freeman, last Wednesday to discuss my case further. It was really informative and I left feeling more confident and optimistic about the procedure and outcomes.

In short, my case can be summarised as follows:

1 - I have bilateral hypoplastic cochleas, which is essentially 'under formed' cochleas. I have three quarters of a turn as opposed to the two and a half turns typically found.
2 - My cochlea on the left side looks like a very flat number 9 in that there is a curve at one end but it is very small. Regardless, the surgeon is optimistic that an electrode array could be inserted along the cochlea's length thereby giving me a full range of pitch perception, theoretically speaking.
3 - Medel has two cochlear electrode arrays which are suitable. One which is 12mm (tiny) and the other which is 19mm. The surgeon is optimistic having looked at the scans, that the small one will fit. However, they will have a small probe they can insert to check w…