Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Surgery, Part 1

Wednesday, October 10, 2012. 10-10-12. I slept pretty well on Tuesday night, all things considered.  We were up at the usual time.  William was ready first, but that's because I was taking my sweet time washing my hair. I wanted it to count, since I wouldn't be able to wash my hair for several days. I put on the comfiest clothes I could find and regretted just a little bit that I couldn't even put on a teeny bit of mascara. Surgery is hard enough without looking like a zombie. There are good reasons for asking patients not to wear makeup, but this girl likes to look nice.  Also, no food or drink after midnight on Tuesday.  So, I was kind of hungry.

We needed to be at the Hospital at Westlake Medical Center by 8. We left just after 7. I had to wake Mom up to say goodbye. The girls were still sleeping, and that was probably for the best. There might have been a lot of crying if I'd had to see them before we left.  The traffic was bad because of rush hour, compounded by fog and drizzle.  To pass the time, William listened to NPR, and I read The Woman in White. It could be the last time for a while that I'd be able to read in the car without getting motion sick.

We were both surprised when we pulled up to Westlake Medical Center. It appeared to be a large compound of medical offices, with no obvious hospital building.  After driving around for a few minutes, we noticed that one of the offices had an "Admissions" sign over the entrance.  But it didn't look much like a hospital.  William snagged a parking spot right in front and we headed in to check it out.

We found it!  It was definitely the smallest hospital that I've ever been in, but also one of the more posh.  Thank you, rich Westlake neighbors, for demanding nothing but the best.  I should mention that this hospital is one of two in the city that will do cochlear implant surgery, so hopefully that explains why we drove by at least four other hospitals on the way there.  Check in was no big deal. $100 co-pay and a signature on a release form.  They asked if I had a DNR and/or living will; I don't. But I didn't think that either of those documents would be needed for this surgery. I'll put it on my list of things to get sorted out soon.

Then we went to the lobby to wait.  There were several other people there waiting for their loved ones to come out of surgery.  We saw Dr. Slater, my surgeon, come out to talk to a woman who was waiting.  He must have been reporting on how the surgery went. I'd hoped that William would eavesdrop on their conversation, but he said that it wasn't very polite. Psssh. When my implant is connected, I plan to do a lot more eavesdropping! Maybe I'll find out that conversations are not as interesting as I imagine them to be.

Soon, we were escorted back to the pre-op room where I changed into a purple gown, purple socks, and hospital-issue underwear.  Ooh la la. We were joking about the socks being a $65,000 pair of socks, a la "My wife got a cochlear implant, and all I got was this lousy pair of socks."  We were in pre-op for at least an hour, with various staff coming to check on us. A nurse got me hooked up to an IV, which hurt a lot more than I remember it hurting with my babies. Turns out that she'd gotten a bad batch of needles from the manufacturers, and everyone had been complaining about their IV's.  Glad to know I'm not a pansy. The anesthesiologist came by to put a Scop patch behind my left ear and talk about the medications I would be receiving during surgery. Nice guy. I wish he'd been on call when Emily was born. His name was Larry, so we talked about how the name "Larry" seems to have this one decade around the 1940's and 1950's where it was extremely popular and then no one ever named their son Larry again.  William told a lot of stories about Boy Scouts. I'm sure we were driving everyone around us nuts with our chatting and laughing, but too bad!

Just their way of making absolutely certain that my right ear was being implanted.

Finally, the nurse came to take me back to the OR.  He put a relaxer into my IV. I kissed William and said, "I love you."  The last thing I remember is saying, "Wow, I can feel that relaxer kicking in."

I think this picture is so funny because I look way too happy. This was even before they got the relaxer drugs going!


  1. I am so glad to hear that things went well, at least on getting to the surgery. Dr. Slater did my ear surgery 7 years ago. He rebuilt my ear drum. It was a weird feeling for a while after the surgery. Hope that your recovery is going well.

  2. I read all of your posts today and it has been so enjoyable. Your comment about eavesdropping made me laugh out loud. Hope you're still doing well.

  3. Come on, Stephen has a cousin named Larry, and he was born in the 70's. I'm loving this blog. Keep em coming!

  4. haha random overheard conversations are not usually intelligible or interesting! but i'm sure you will enjoy hearing them when it becomes possible for you, nonetheless :) i have never been able to read in a car without getting sick, even when i was a little kid. you will probably miss that.

  5. "I'd hoped that William would eavesdrop on their conversation, but he said that it wasn't very polite."

    That's so like William. I would've done it for you.