Today was my much anticipated second appointment at Jefferson regarding my cochlear implant surgery. I didn’t meet with my surgeon, Dr. Wilcox, like I initially thought I would. Instead I met with an audiologist and some other staff people and got some more tests done, more information on the implant, ordered the implant, and scheduled my surgery.
The first thing we did was go over my questionnaire and my mom’s regarding our expectations with the implant. We were really on the right page with realizing the implant will make a big difference, but it’s a process. I won’t get all of the hearing all at once. It will take time to train my ear and my mind to process the new sounds. Our expectations were very realistic.
The audiologist also showed me what the implant will look like and explained how it works and what it comes with. Here are some pictures I took.
The white thing to the left is the processor. It will go behind my ear like my hearing aids do now and then the circle thing is the external magnet that goes onto my head and connects with the internal magnet. The back thing is the battery. The other white thing is a charging station with the batteries. The clear thing is the actual magnet that will be implanted in my head.
Here are some batteries that are being charged. It comes with rechargeable batteries. There are smaller ones that last up to 12 hours and bigger ones 16. I chose the bigger ones because I’d rather have it last longer than have it smaller.
After she was finished talking we did a ton of hearing tests 99%of which were with my hearing aids to see how well the hearing aids work for me now and to try to determine which ear to implant (I’m just getting the implant in one ear now). We started off with just some sounds and I had to raise my hand whenever I heard the sounds. Then I had some words I had to repeat, which of course I messed up pretty good lol. Even with hearing aids my clarity is horrendous. Then I had some sentences to repeat. Some of the sentences were weird. One was about a monkey learning sign language lol. I did better with the sentences but still struggled. Sometimes I could only pick out some words from the sentences. I did so-so. But when she added background noise I couldn’t get hardly any of them. When she mixed it with male and female voices plus background noises it was nearly impossible, especially for the female voice. I have really horrendous hearing when it comes to high-frequency sounds…
The MRI and CT Scans came back fine too. So there was nothing to prevent me from surgery. And with my test results it was pretty easy to see I was a strong candidate and that my hearing aids weren’t helping all too much. Right after these tests we went ahead and ordered the parts and scheduled the surgery.
My implant is going to be the Advanced Bionics Naida CI Q70. One of the cool things with the cochlear implant is that unlike my hearing aids, it comes in several colors. I got to choose. Here’s a picture of all of the colors to choose from:
I picked the red one with a black cord (the cord comes in either white, black, or beige. I thought black would go the best.). Of course the color I picked has been discontinued. It’s not a big deal but they did tell me there’s a chance that if I ever need my processor to be replaced the replacement may be a different color and it may not match the battery or head piece anymore. Definitely not a big deal. To be honest, it would kind of be cool to have multiple colors lol. I’m definitely not one for being discreet. I’m proud of my implant and I want to stand out!
I also had a couple choices for my package. I could get either backup batteries/accessories, a remote, or bluetooth thing. The bluetooth would really only work if my other hearing aid was Phonak, which it’s not. I can always buy a remote on my own, too. I thought the backups was the best deal and most practical so I went with that.
They also asked me which ear I wanted to have implanted. They said most of the time people choose their worst ear, but for me both of my ears are pretty much exactly the same so it really wouldn’t matter. For awhile my left ear was my worst ear. Something told me to just go with that one, so I did.
I had a little more paperwork to go through and appointments to schedule too. I got a script for a meningitis shot. Dr. Wilcox said previously that he never heard of anyone ever actually getting meningitis from a cochlear implant, but there is an increased risk so it is recommended. I will also have to meet with them once more prior to surgery. I think it’s mainly to meet with the people who will do the anesthesia to make sure there won’t be any problems with that. Then I get my surgery. Then within 10 days I have to go for a checkup and to have the stitches removed. Then I go back a little later to make sure the processor works. About 1 month after my surgery I’ll go and get activated.
The recovery doesn’t sound like it will be too bad. A little annoying, but not bad. The surgery is outpatient. It should take around 3-4 hours and then I get to go home most likely. I’m supposed to be out of work for like 2 days minimum. I can’t have anything touch the stitches/implanted area. I won’t be able to watch my hair for 10 days after my surgery. That will drive me nuts lol. Hooray for greasy and disgusting hair? haha. I warned my boyfriend about this. He claims I’m always beautiful to him. We’ll see if his opinion changes if he sees me on like day 09 hahaha.
So here’s the time line so far:
- November 12th – Pre-surgery meeting. Meeting with anesthesia team?
- November 17th – SURGERY DAY!!!!
- November 25th – Stitches come out
- TBA – Testing of processor/parts
- TBA (Will be 1 month after surgery so around December 17th) Activation Day!
So my surgery is in less than 12 days now. I’m surprised that they were able to schedule it so soon, but very happy and excited! A little nervous but more excited than anything else.
I am now going to work to prepare for my surgery. I’ve been going crazy making sure I stay healthy. I have been washing my hands to kill germs so often that they permanently smell of soap and have become red and dried out from constant washing. I have also been eating Airbourne tablets like candy. Hooray for Vitamin C! Larry and I were talking about going to a Tenth Avenue North show this weekend but I told him I didn’t think it would be a good idea to be around so many people in a small environment. Instead I told him to surprise me with a fun, romantic weekend especially since after my surgery I won’t have hearing in my implanted ear and won’t want to do much of anything for a month until I am healed and activated. We’ll see what he comes up with. 😉
One small negative is that I won’t be able to hear well on Thanksgiving, but it’s fine. I’ll definitely be incredibly thankful on the holiday. God has given me a great gift and truly blessed me!
I will be activated by Christmas though. What an awesome Christmas gift! One of my friends pointed out that I’ll truly be able to hear “the sounds of Christmas” this year. I’d also like to see The Nutcracker Ballet if anyone is still performing it before Christmas. Ballet music is often very soft and not something I can hear, so it would be cool and exciting to see if I can hear it after getting my implant. Also, I have a heck of a hard time pronouncing the word “ballet”. It always comes out as “bellet” for me mainly because I don’t hear much of a difference in those two pronunciations. I’d be thrilled if I could just hear the proper way to say the word well enough to pronounce it right haha.
Everything with my surgery has been and is continuing to happen so quickly. I am so excited about it all! I can’t wait to open this chapter of my life and experience more of the hearing world!