I said goodbye to the last of my natural hearing on June 24, 2019, when I underwent surgery for my second cochlear implant, this time for my right ear. This second surgery was almost exactly a year after my first (June 18, 2018) but I remembered it so clearly that I felt nearly at home during the entire process.
The surgery was outpatient and lasted 4.5 hours. I also spent a long time in recovery. They gave me about three bags of fluids since I was a bit dehydrated. The nurses were very helpful and made sure I was feeling well enough before heading home since, apparently, I was a little pale and nauseated. Once the waves of nausea subsided and vitals were stable, I was sent home. I was in recovery for about four hours.
I briefly saw the surgeon but have no memory of what he said. Thankfully my family was there and took notes for me. The surgery was successful, and the implant was in place. There was difficulty getting the electrode to go in and the details are a bit unclear, but the surgeon reported he was confident, so I focused on that. The surgeon also hoped he was able to preserve some of my residual hearing since he used a steroid treatment this time. If I was lucky, some of my residual hearing would remain. The healing process was easier this time. The earcup that I wore for 24 hours didn’t cause as much discomfort compared to my previous surgery on the other side. Maybe I was just tougher this time around. When I took off the earcup, I had a brief bout of dizziness, but otherwise, I didn’t experience issues with dizziness or vertigo. Initially, I reported that I didn’t have numbness, but after 48 hours, I felt a mild numbness all throughout my body. I suspected it was a typical response to all the changes going on with the healing process and all the medications I was taking. I continued on my prescribed pain medication to ensure that I slept well, so I logged many hours of restful sleep.
I’m happy to report there was no tinnitus, which was a relief. I felt a bit of sloshing around in my right ear when I laid down indicating some fluid behind my eardrum (I anticipated this would happen since this happened last time too).
The pain from the surgery itself was very manageable. The worst pain was when I was still at the hospital. I reported pain at a 5 on the pain scale and it was enough to cause a few tears but once I was given pain medication, the pain was reduced quickly and stayed at a 2 or a 3 for the rest of the day. Forty-eight hours later, the pain was minimal and only peaked briefly around a 1 or 2 when the medication started to wear off.
Overall, the recovery went smoothly and seemed much easier than last time, though much of that ease may stem from being familiar with the process. It helped a great deal to have gone through this once before.
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