A few months ago, I realized that I couldn't continue to live like this and I had to do something. I made an appointment with a doctor for an evaluation and hearing test. I have always blamed my hearing loss on the fact that I am a child of the 70s, with loud music blaring through headphones, rock concerts, etc. The hearing test showed some of this ... but it was mostly a mechanical problem called Otosclerosis, a condition that causes the little resonating bones of the middle ear to deteriorate and fuse. Fused bones means that less sound from the outside world is received and transmitted. Fortunately, this is a condition that can be surgically corrected ... and yesterday was my surgery day.
This operation known is as a Stapedectomy. It's all done through the ear canal with a microscope. The doctor removes the Stapes (anvil) and replaces it with a tiny prosthetic. This is done under general anesthesia, as same-day surgery in my case, and it's quick (takes about an hour for the operation and three hours in the recover room afterward).
My daughter took this photo, when she saw that Ruby crawled up here all by herself, to snuggle and comfort her patient.
It's good to be the first surgery of the day. We had to be at the clinic at 6:30am, with surgery scheduled for 7:30, and I was out of there and headed for home at 11:30 ... where I spent the rest of the day vegging and napping.
Normal ear anatomy.
My left ear was done yesterday, because it was significantly worse than the right one. Today, I have no pain, which is a blessing. What I do have is slight trouble with my balance, a lot like a mild drunken stagger, which we expected to happen since the surgery site is so close to the inner ear. I also have a really weird feeling in my tongue, where I have reduced taste sensation and my mouth tastes like pennies, which the doctor also warned me about. (A nerve that serves the tongue runs through where the doctor was working and it can get irritated as a result.) Both of these issues should resolve themselves soon.
My follow-up appointment with the doctor is on Monday.
I can already tell that my hearing is better, and I have been promised that it will continue to improve as things heal. I really wonder what's out there that I have missed hearing. I most look forward to following conversations, and to turning off the captions on the TV.
In a few months, I get to do this all over again with my right ear ... and I can't wait!