Yesterday I underwent my second cochlear implant surgery, this time on my right side. I had the left side done in December of 2013. The results from the first implant have been amazing but still have some work to do, particularly in the area of speech recognition without lip reading.
When I had my left cochlear implant activated in January of 2014, I was told that I was limited to one implant per policy. My understanding was that adults were limited to one implant and children were implanted bilaterally. Further, I was told that an implant on the right side would be an out of pocket expense.
Fast-forward to two years later to August of this year. I was in for a routine “mapping” appointment. Toward the end of the appointment, I asked a throwaway question regarding a second implant. I told the audiologist that it was my understanding that a second implant would be out of pocket and asked if there had been any changes since January of 2014. “Well, that’s an interesting question you asked, Mr. Johns.” Long story short, the Sunnybrook Hospital has recognized that there are adults who may benefit from a second implant. Among the criteria developed by them, the candidate must:
(1) be of working age;
(2) have had success with the first implant; and
(3) have no medical issues with the unimplanted side (cochlea is in good shape and no vertigo issues).
Kari, the audiologist, told me that I would be a good candidate. “Would you like me to submit your name?” My answer “Heck yeah.”
My name and medical file were apparently vetted by Sunnybrook and approved.
The right ear has been nearly profoundly deaf for most of my life. Consequently, this means that I will have to work harder with this side once the implant is activated. This is going to be more of a challenge than the left ear. I’m up for it!
Interesting side note about yesterday. It is standard post implant surgery protocol to take x rays of my skull to make sure that the implant is properly situated. I was wearing a hospital gown with my ass showing. I was still woozy from the anesthesia and I didn’t care if anyone saw my ass. After they took the x-ray of my skull, the two technicians took awhile to look over my x-ray. One technician came up to me and said “we saw something in your eye.”
Me: There’s a tube shunt in my right eye.
Technician: A tube what?
Me: A tube shunt. I’m turning into a Borg!
Yup, the x ray picked up not only the implant but also the device inside my right eyeball.
Anyway, when I got home last night, I was completely drained. Zero energy. A bit more today. I’m sure that there will be a bit more tomorrow and the day after. The worst of it is over. I just have to take it easy and let the healing process take place.
I have an appointment with the surgeon on the 12th, likely to remove the staples and the activation of the implant should be sometime in early December. No specific date yet.
As always, I look forward to getting back to teaching and training. Teaching I can do right away. The training….I will wait awhile on that. 🙂 But teaching is especially important to me and I can’t wait to get back to it.