Thursday, October 18, 2012

Day 0: William's Perspective

William here, letting you know about my experience the day Rebecca received her implant.

Before we left the house that morning, I was looking for a book to read. I knew I was going to spend some time waiting. I wanted to read my Book Club book for October, but it was not available at the library yet. So I took a look at our bookshelf where we keep all the library books we have checked out -- all the books that are not for Emily, at least -- and settled on Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference.

Even though the title of the book is referring to something completely unrelated, I can't help but call attention to the fact that a cochlear implant is a little thing that can make a big difference.

While Rebecca and I were waiting before going in to pre-op, I told her that I would have brought my computer instead of a book had I known there was free WiFi at the hospital.

We were both in high spirits. We were confident that everything would go according to plan. There was no doubt in our minds. We were doing the right thing.

A nurse appeared and marched us back to the pre-op area. It's a good thing we're married because I was there while Rebecca changed into the hospital gown. Rebecca asked me to take plenty of pictures and I promised not to accidentally post any on the Internet.

Rebecca mentioned I was telling stories about when I was a Boy Scout, but I don't recall what prompted those. Eventually the nurses came to roll Rebecca away so I gave her one more kiss and found my way back to the lobby.

For about an hour and a half I divided my time between reading The Tipping Point, snacking on peanut M&M's Rebecca's mother kindly gave me, and trying not to be distracted by Food Network on the big screen on the other side of the lobby.

After he completed the surgery, Dr. Slater came to the lobby to tell me about how it went. Contrary to what Rebecca wrote earlier, I think Dr. Slater told me that Rebecca's cochlear malformation actually put her at less risk for dizziness. Other than that, it was a textbook procedure skillfully performed by an experienced surgeon.

Dr. Slater told me I had to wait a little longer and a nurse would come get me when Rebecca woke up. I used that time to report the good news on Facebook. That was the moment when I started to feel emotional about this whole thing. This was when I really accepted the fact that our lives just changed dramatically. This was my tipping point.

People who know me know that I rarely express strong emotion outwardly. Joy, sadness, surprise, anger, excitement -- I show these emotions very rarely. But after I learned that Rebecca's surgery went well, I was definitely feeling a mixture of emotion. There was joy that the procedure went well, but sadness at what I knew was going to be a slow and probably frustrating recovery while Rebecca learns to hear with the implant. There was some fear of not really knowing what the next few days and months would hold.

But mostly I was happy, and proud of Rebecca for having the courage to take a step into the silence so she can eventually hear better.

Dr. Slater told me a nurse would come get me in about thirty minutes when Rebecca started to wake up, so I waited some more. I eventually got to go back to see Rebecca. The hospital staff wasted no time in giving us instructions and shuffling us out to the car and on our way home. The drive home was quiet while I'm sure Rebecca focused all her attention on not honking in my car.

We got home and got Rebecca in bed and I think I spent most of the rest of the day camped out in our bedroom with my computer, telecommuting and waiting for Rebecca to wake up and ask me for anything.


  1. William, you are awesome. I am so glad that Rebecca has you by her side. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

  2. Oh William, you have me all teary-eyed! You are definitely not the type to wear your emotions on your sleeves, but I love the emotion in this post. You are both incredibly brave for going through this and I admire you both!