Earpocalypse Update

The Health Pug

I expected to be more visible during this process. The plans of mice and men, etc. First off, I want to thank David for jumping onto the blog and letting folks know how the initial phase of things went, and for Michelle who kept people abreast of developments on Facebook.

Essentially, the surgery had complications. The cholesteatoma had actually grown to completely cover two of the three inner ear bones and part of the third, requiring a complete reconstruction of my inner ear and ear drum. Thankfully, I still didn’t need the radical procedure which involved bone saws like my right ear. Despite the complications, though, it was expected that I would wake up, get checked out, and be dismissed after an hour or so to go home.

Instead, as soon as I opened my eyes, the room titled and I immediately became violently nauseous before passing out again. This happened a few times, so I was kept overnight for observation. I vaguely remember one point where David and Michelle briefly appeared, but they tell me they stayed for several hours. Sometime in the middle of the night I was able to open my eyes without being nauseous and start keeping down liquids. The next day, the doctor came to look at me, and I was able to sit up and even walk to the bathroom without nausea, but not without vertigo. He said that I would be more comfortable at home to deal with the vertigo and dismissed me.

Now, I was surprised to learn that “vertigo” and “nausea” were distinct concepts. For me, they really have never been — if I’m getting dizzy, I’m also getting nauseous. And yet, it was true — while the ride home was a fun-filled exploration in the various kinds of vertigo one can get in a car, I didn’t actually get nauseous, and I haven’t been since. However, every time I move my head or stand up, I feel like I’m standing on the deck of a ship, albiet a ship that is in steadily calmer waters from day to day.

However, here it is nearly a week later, and I still have vertigo. For a couple of days, I couldn’t walk too far without listing and nearly falling over. Now I can handle short tasks by myself (sitting up to eat or type this blog, making myself a drink, taking a shower), but I’m easily exhausted. Around Thursday I stopped falling asleep at random after such tasks, but everything still exhausts me. Watching television is about the only activity that doesn’t take anything out of me — even reading a Beast Wars graphic novel that John The Great so wonderfully sent me took several days, because I just had to take it in several chunks. I’ve only been able to tackle my email since yesterday. Puck has been doing an excellent job in being a health pug. He has sat with my on the couch and made sure that I stayed put and don’t overexert myself. So, my recovery is going slower than expected — I have a follow-up appointment with my doctor this Tuesday, but I don’t think I’ll be heading back to work from it like I previously expected.

But I have watched a lot of Batman: The Animated Series and Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. So there’s that.

As for my hearing, I honestly can’t say. A couple of days ago I was pretty impressed that I didn’t have to turn the volume up too high on the TV and was able to hear what David and Michelle were saying pretty well. Last night it was harder, though. From what I recall of my surgery in 2005, there was a lot of this up and down of hearing, so it’s too early to tell.

Am I frustrated? Sure. I had hoped at this point to be able to just focus on my hearing. I didn’t want to have to plan around being able to walk to the kitchen or strategically decide my reading time. But the support from my family, my friends, and my coworkers has been nothing short of amazing, and it has helped me every day. So while I haven’t been physically able to say so, I do want to thank all of you for every supportive tweet, every inquiring email, every helpful text. It really does help.

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