Monday, October 03, 2005

The Hospital Chronicles Part IX: A Voluntary Experience

OK, for those few of you in the blogosphere that have been following these chronicles, this is the end of them. And yes, there was a Hospital Chronicles Part XIII, but I've chosen not to blog about it. As AJ said on his blog recently, "Some stories are not for mass consumption." I think I'll leave it at that and get on with this story...

For this episode, we will fast forward approximately ten years from the ski crash incident to last year, in September. Since this was the first time ever that my presence at the hospital was planned, it felt a bit strange. Of course, since it was me, there were bound to be some bureaucratic snafus, and this time was no exception. I showed up at 1:30, and they complained that I was due there a half hour earlier, even though they had called to confirm my "show time" was 1:30.

Also, I had arranged for a friend to drive me home after my surgery, but the anesthesiologist was all worried about me spending the night alone in my apartment, so I called and left her a message not to worry about picking me up, that I'd be spending the night at the hospital. Then my surgeon found out I had arranged for a ride and got mad at the anesthesiologist and told them I *didn't* need to spend the night at the hospital...but I found out all this after my surgery, when I'd already told my friend not to come pick me up. After yelling at the post-op nurse and calling my surgeon via his office, I did end up spending the night there, although I didn't really need to other than the fact I wasn't supposed to drive after general anesthesia.

The general anesthesia was kind of strange, I remember someone saying, OK, you're going to feel a bit drowsy! And then BOOM, the recovery room. I didn't have any "groggy" feeling at all when I woke up, perhaps due to being mad about the communication mix-up over my staying the night there.

I went into the hospital to get surgery to correct a condition known as otosclerosis that I inherited from my father, who had inherited it from his father. Some gifts keep on giving! The surgery I had done was known as a stapendectomy which involves replacing one of the bones of the inner ear with a man-made substitute. The old bone in my case was removed with a laser. I'm not sure how it was done when my father had his surgery, but I think the laser is a relatively recent development. In my grandfather's day, the surgery didn't exist.

The bone involved (known as the stapes bone) is really tiny; as an example, depending on how big your monitor is, the last character in this sentence is probably bigger than the actual bone was: |

In my case, the surgery went very well, and I now have normal hearing at spoken frequencies in my right ear. A lot of people at work have noticed the difference, although nobody said anything about me being hard of hearing until I said I was getting the surgery done. I guess everyone was being polite. I have thought about getting my other ear done, but the condition isn't as bad in that ear so I'll probably wait a while before I do that. While this surgery has a very good success rate (over 95%) there is some risk involved (any time someone points a laser at your inner ear, I guess that's inevitable.)

This concludes the Hospital Chronicles, leaving me in a quandary as to what I'll blog about next. However, I'm sure I'll think of something soon. Until next time, stay safe, everyone.


Thimbelle said...

I was glad to see that your surgery was a success - my dad lost his hearing in Korea, and he suffered through multiple surgeries all through my childhood. Several of those tiny little bones were damaged on his left side, and both eardrums had holes that needed repair.

Sadly, my dad passed away in 1990, but not before he had finally found a doctor who had managed to give him about 75% of his hearing back.

You know, my DH, The Wrench works in aviation too... I can't believe that you don't have some stories to tell to help fill your blog...

T. :)

Chuck said...

Thanks Thimbelle. I was very glad the surgery was a success also. :) I still have some high frequency loss so I've been thinking about trying a hearing aid to see if I notice any big difference. But being able to hear spoken conversation without straining to determine what was said is very nice.

AJ Gentile said...

Chuck, just say the word and the Egg will only play music that you can hear! ;-)

Chuck said...

Lots of bass, AJ. And no Mariah Carey.