Monday, February 11, 2008

Well, I Asked For It!

I had pretty much made up my mind to go forward with the cochlear implant in December, but I decided to make my final decision during the annual trip to Carmel that my wife, I, and the little yellow Lab take every New Year's. The time in Carmel is marvelous to clear the cobwebs, eliminate the thousand pressing details of this modern life and just focus on what's really critical. During that time it was clear to me that moving forward with this device, my hearing, and my life, was the right thing to do.

When I got in to Kaiser in early January to schedule the surgery, they told me they were booked up for the next three months, and to come back in February to see what was available. I can't say I was shocked, as I've read on the various mailing lists and discussion groups about people waiting very long times, sometimes six months and more, for the surgery, but I have to admit I was crestfallen. Perhaps I whined a little, but I would never admit it.

As February approached, I grew concerned that someone would beat me to the punch, grab the next available date for surgery, and I'd be pushed back even further, so I complained to my audiologist, to my wife, to my surgeon, even to poor little Andy who, being a Labrador, was extremely sympathetic. Labs are good that way. My surgeon wrote back and told me if I had any difficulty, just to talk with her that day because she would be in.

So I was there, waiting, in the waiting room, very first day of February, practically as soon as the doors opened. I did it for rock concerts when I was a kid; certainly I can do it cochlear implant surgery (and, I'd be guaranteed front-and-center seating!) I figured best case would be May sometime, but I was steeling myself to be pushed off again. I figured, maybe a pediatric case showed up (it's very important children are implanted early so they can develop language), maybe someone deafer than me. But I'd do all I could. You can't win the game if you don't play.

So finally, called into the office where they schedule surgery. The young lady asked my name, looked at the schedule, and said "How does February 12th sound?"

My heart almost stopped. I was so anxious to get this done, to have this chance to hear again, to be further along this journey, and so sure that I would have to wait, wait, wait. When she said February 12th, I was so happy! Calmly, I said, "That would work just fine," took my paperwork, and got out of there.

I was singing all the way home. (You never want to hear a deaf man sing.)

Today I went in for my pre-operative appointment. Apparently the wonderful people at ENT 296, Kaiser Santa Clara, had huddled together and figured out a way to make it happen soon for me. Above and beyond. These people are great.

Anyway, door just opened, wife is home, time to do family stuff, and go to sleep; at this time tomorrow I'll have some transistors *inside* me. Can't lift more than five pounds for two weeks; great excuse to slack off those weight training sessions at the Y. Family calls.


Cyborg Queen said...

Enjoy the process! Having your wife wait on you hand and foot only last for a short time. :-)

Take it easy for the first couple days, and enjoy the meds. :-)

People love pictures, so be sure to post some!

I got my surgery one week after I saw my surgeon, and I was shocked that I was even able to get surgery that quick!

I was activated on 2/1/2008, so read up on my blog if you're interested.

Ruminator said...

I'm a stranger to you, but we have definite similarities. I'd also made the decision around December that I would eventually be implanted, and my surgery date is Feb. 29. It looks like today is the day you'll be at the hospital, and perhaps you are being operated on this very minute as I type. Eerie!

Anyway, I noticed your comment on CI Hear - Yahoo that you weren't sure how much you'd delve into blogging and share your experiences online, but I just wanted to encourage that you do so. Your writing style is entertaining, and the ability to express your thoughts and feelings and receive feedback from others with simliar experiences is really nice to have. So, keep writing!

- Steve

Erica said...

Tom, Just wanted to let you know I am thinking of you. Won't it be cool when we can Skype together? Good luck! And take it easy! No moving computer systems around, understand!

Erica said...

Glad to hear you are home Tom!