Day 3…

Today was much more difficult.  I think the narcotics helped me feel quite good on Saturday but am now trying to get off of them…taking only extra strength Tylenol.  Physically – I feel run down and emotionally it is hard living in a silent world when everyone else close to me is in a hearing world.  We will make it through these 3 weeks and in the long run it will be well worth it.

To go to work tomorrow?  I’ll wait to see how I feel in the morning.  Good night y’all

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Surgery Complete!

An outline of what happened on Friday the 22nd.

We left our hotel and arrived at St. Mary’s Hospital (associated with the Mayo) for our check-in at 10 am.  Surgery was tentatively scheduled for Noon but the Dr. said that was tentative.  We learned he was operating on his 3rd patient of the day at 10:30 am and that I was next!  Not too long of a wait…so we thought.  Finally being summoned to pre-op at 3:30 we prayed with my Mom and Dad.  Karin was able to come with me to pre-op to help interpret for me Smile.  At 4:15 – they wheeled me into the operating room and transferred me to a not-so-comfortable bed.  The first question they asked me: “What are we doing to you today?”  Um…I hope you know! I understood it as a security question – but still kind of funny at the moment.  Within a few minutes they put the gas mask on me and I said a quick prayer for the surgical team (6 people) as I drifted off.

Apparently surgery started at 4:50 and I was in the recovery room by 6:30.  Slowly waking up Dr. Driscoll gave me the thumbs up!  Another Dr. explained (from what I could lip-read) that insertion of the electrode into the cochlea went very well and no complications were encountered – Thank you Lord!! 

At this point my head was bound in a bandage and I was feeling just a little sore from the breathing tube and the hole they drilled in my head.  At 7:00 – I was rejoined with Karin, Anna, Mom, and Dad.  We quickly decided that we’ll be staying overnight due to how late it had become.  That was a good decision as it allowed me some good rest and to be cared for by the staff before coming home.  Karin went back to the hotel room with Anna and my parents drove home.

I slept fairly well through the night – waking every couple hours for a bathroom visit.  They gave me a couple Percocet pills to help with the pain.   Initially the pain without narcotics was about a 4.5 but this morning it was closer to a 3…very manageable.  The pain from the surgery is mostly from the 2 inch incision they made…a strong dull pain.  The stitches they used will dissolve over time so nothing needs to be removed!

Karin says they barely had to shave any hair off but that you can see the incision.  We took some video this morning in the courtyard at the hospital for you all to see.  It isn’t gruesome…don’t worry! 

The Day After…


So – we are now back home and waiting for the kids to return from Grandma Feig’s home.  So many of you have been fervently praying, helping, encouraging us in so many ways.  Thank you for standing with us in this incredible journey.  I am so thankful to God for this opportunity.  He has given the abilities and means for this surgery to take place.

From your new bionic friend.

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A day of tests

Today’s visit at the Mayo went very well. The extensive vertigo testing showed that my balance fits the surgery perfectly! Basically my left (deaf) ear performed very well for balance but my right ear (to be implanted) wasn’t as good. This is a positive because the surgery can cause balance issues. With my left ear (non implanted ear) being the better of the two, it provides a stronger balance system in case the surgery upsets the balance in my right ear. Here is a snapshot of the test apparatus:

This is NOT an electric chair

If  you want – read up on how our balance system works.  It is amazing!  What an awesome Creator we have!

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The Implant…What it will look like

Many have asked what it will look like. Here is a good link from the Mayo on how it will look on the outside…and inside:  What it looks like

And one other visual:How it looks...


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CI Video…my Doctor from the Mayo

This is Dr. Driscoll discussing the Cochlear Implant.  Very informative.

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CI at the Mayo!

I don’t promise to be entertaining or even grammatically correct in this blog…simply factual for those that are interested in the process…and for my children to read about it later in life. 🙂

We have decided to move forward with the Cochlear Implant at the Mayo Clinic with surgery scheduled for Friday July 22nd; just under 2 weeks away!  Tonight I am researching about the supposed increased risks of meningitis for those that receive a Cochlear Implant.  My doctor at the Mayo and the Dr. at the U of MN both mentioned I should get it.  My findings are directing me otherwise.  This articlefrom the American Academy of Otolaryngology states that the vaccine does not eliminate the risk of meningitis.  Also read that getting the vaccine can increase your risk of getting menigitis!  Go figure…  Leaning towards not vaccinating…

So on to better things…  Here is a basic outline of the process for a cochlear implant:

  1. Choose a Doctor and Manufacturer (I have chosen the Mayo Clinic and Cochlear America’s Nucleus 5 processor and implant)
  2. Schedule and have surgery to implant the internal device.   There is an internal device and external device.  The internal device is surgically implanted and looks like this

    CI Internal Device

    CI Internal Device

  3. Now I have about three weeks for my ear to heal after surgery.  During this time I will be completely deaf!  At the three week point I will receive the external device and have it turned on or “activated.”  Here is what the external device looks like:

    CI - External Device

    CI - External Device

  4. The Activation is a process and will require a series of visits to the Mayo where they will be tweaking my new bionic ear in hopes of improving my hearing over time.
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The Cochlear Implant Decision

I should have started blogging awhile ago about this but I was delaying because I wanted to somehow link this up with Facebook.  I have now somewhat accomplished that (hopefully it works)!  You can now post comments via your Facebook login.  Go ahead – give it a try!

So – now on to the Cochlear Implant.

As you may or may not know I have had a hearing loss my entire life.  It is termed a “Progressive Sensorineural” hearing loss; one that involves the inner ear (cochlea) and has been steadily declining since inception (basically since my birth).  My parents “discovered” my hearing loss when I was about 3 years old and since that time it has been declining to the point now where hearing aids have reached their helpful limits.  It is either time to go deaf (remove the hearing aids) or try something radically different (the cochlear implant).

We have chosen the latter mainly based on the fact that I live in the hearing world and want to continue that life-style.  The deaf world isn’t a bad world, but is one that I have not been integrated with and would require countless things to change.

More about this decision in the next post…

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