by Rebecca J on 2012-10-18

So, the recovery pretty much stinks. Thereʼs no way to sugar coat this. Iʼm writing this post a week after surgery, and I canʼt say that I feel significantly better than I did a week ago. A little bit, yes, but Iʼm definitely not up to my normal routine. Recovery is slow and painful and wearing on everyoneʼs patience, especially mine. Yes, this is going to be kind of a gripe-y post, so feel free to stop here. For the sake of an accurate historical record, Iʼm going to keep writing about how this feels.

Iʼve got terrible vertigo and some mild nausea. Iʼve constantly got the feeling that Iʼm about to faint, where I get very hot and light-headed and my arms suddenly weigh 150 pounds. My right ear hurts a lot on the inside, and on the outside, my ear lobe is completely numb. I canʼt even wiggle my right ear, so there goes my one talent show-worthy trick. The right side of my tongue is numb, so I canʼt taste or feel anything on that side of my mouth. Last week, I ate a cupcake, and it felt a lot like eating a mouthful of Crisco, because I couldnʼt taste it. I spend a whole lot of time in bed, lying down, sleeping or trying to sleep. Iʼve been trying Zofran for nausea and hydrocodone for pain. Theyʼre somewhat helpful but they mostly make me sleepy. And my ear still hurts. I can only sleep on my left side, so my neck is stiff. Iʼm only wearing a hearing aid in my left ear, and thereʼs not a whole lot that I can hear. Everything sounds pretty muddled and echo-y.

As for my appearance… Oh, dear. First off, I wasnʼt able to wash my hair for five days after the surgery. No amount of dry shampoo could save that look. Bleh. When Mondayʼs shower came around, I was so excited to finally wash my hair. But taking the shower made me so dizzy that I had to spend the rest of the morning in bed. I have a bruise under my right eye from some of the surgical monitoring equipment, and my neck has bruising on the right side. Because my mouth is numb, my right lips are drooping ever so slightly. Iʼve been lounging around in pajamas because thatʼs the path of least resistance for me. When I walk, I feel like Iʼm listing slightly to the right and Iʼve perfected the shuffle/stagger walk of someone afflicted with vertigo.

So, are you imagining what this looks like? Iʼll tell you. I look like Iʼm hung over. Well, having never actually been drunk, Iʼm guessing. But I donʼt think Iʼm too far off. A few days ago, I was feeling steady enough to attempt a walk to our mailbox around the corner. Of course, as we were shuffling along, we happened to bump into our new neighbors that we havenʼt met yet. What a great first impression. I had sunglasses on, even though it wasnʼt terribly bright outside. I have bruises on my right side. I was clinging onto Williamʼs arm for dear life and shuffling away painfully slowly. When they talked to me, I had to squint and try to listen extra hard because I can only hear out of my left ear, which isnʼt much. I think I asked them to repeat a few things, which tends to knock off a few IQ points. OK, so maybe that part of it is kind of funny.

One other thing that is weird. A few days after surgery, I was reading a story to Emily. I didnʼt have my hearing aid in my left ear, for some reason. Normally, at least pre-surgery, when I didnʼt have hearing aids on, I could still hear/feel myself talking in my right ear. It was more of a vibration than a sound, but I could tell that something was there. When I was reading the story to Emily, I couldnʼt hear or feel a thing. Thatʼs when it hit me that my right earʼs natural hearing is completely gone. And in its place is an implant, a man-made marvel thatʼs supposed to make all of this misery and discomfort worthwhile.