Almost Cyborg

Well, I am almost there as far as being cyborg. The Cochlear Nucleus 5 has been implanted into the right side of my skull.

First off, I’ll say this:
If they tell you this surgery is “easy”… smack em down. Hard.

It is not easy. I am now 1 week post surgery, and still suffering pain in the right side of my head. The surgery itself was horrendous.

It is NOT minor surgery. It is a horrid joke that the surgery is treated as outpatient. My ass should have been resting in a hospital bed for 3 nights after the surgery, MINIMUM.

My surgery was scheduled for 1pm. I arrived at 11am, and was immediately shuttled into the back for prep. Popped into a  gown, belongings in a plastic bag for several hours keeping.

I had no questions before this. I got wheeled into the back after downing a shot of a very very very bad tasting anti-nauesea med… laid on a table for 5 minutes or so, saw the gas mask set down in front of me… and started drifting off.

Next thing I know, I wake up. It’s 10 fricking pm, and I have no idea where the hell I am, or how the hell I got there. My mouth tastes like vomit and bile. I know I’m in the hospital, and just had the cochlear done, but I have no idea why I’m in a room with little fighter planes on the wall. I croak out “Dad! Dad!” but he’s not there. I see my phone and page him. “Where are you??” (he left about 8pm because I was still zonked out. apparently drifting in and out, a period I have absolutely no freaking memory of).

My neck hurts horribly. I reach over and feel the right side of my neck, and it’s like a python running down the right side of my neck (I was told this is because my neck was left free hanging for 3 hours of surgery). My neck is STILL sore, and there’s bruising.

If find the remote. Look up at the TV. It’s blurry… I don’t have my glasses on. I try to put them on, but there’s a large cup over the right side of my head, and tape running around my head. I have no idea when or how it got there. I can make out that the Tigers game is on… and they’re losing, of course.

I push for the nurse comes in. She explains my dad left awhile ago. I ask for food. I am starving. Haven’t eaten in over 24 hours. There’s no food at this hour, but she can get me something… she brings me a choice of sandiwches, and the only one that looks remotely edible is a turkey on white bread. It tasted like sponge.I talked with the nurse for awhile. I was still unstable emotionally… and pored out a ton of stuff, wondering “why did I do this to myself?” (“so you can hear again!”). She was very understanding.

I need more food. They start bringing me popsicles… Sprite… and crackers.I play with the iPad… good, I have Internet there. I take a pic of myself and post it to Facebook.

I cannot fall asleep. I’ve been asleep all day, man. I watch a string of “Restaurant:Impossible” episodes (I think it’s funny that he lives in the same neighborhood as my aunt and uncle) and I finally drift off around 3am, I think… then I’m woken just before 7am by a Dr I do not recognize poking me like a 10 year old checking to see if that Squirrel is really dead. Can’t hear em, of course.

I gather that he’s checking on my condition, and going over what I need to know to be released from the hospital today.

Now, I haven’t slept very much that evening, and I’m now in horrible throbbing pain. My right ear hurts, which I explained (“that’s normal”), my neck hurt terribly (“… you neck was left free hanging for 3 hours”) my throat was incredibly sore (“…that’s because there was a breathing tube down your throat and you threw up.”) A set of rules I must follow. Do not cough with mouth closed. Do NOT sneeze with mouth closed. Do NOT bend over. Do NOT lift anything over 10 lbs.

9:30am, my Dad arrives, and 10am we’re out the door. 10:30am I’m home at my dad’s house…

within an hour or so, I start to find my ENTIRE. BODY. HURTS. I mean, head to toe. I have this terrible need to cough, but cannot. It hurts too damn much to cough. I can barely get up and move. I mean, total absolute paralyzing pain. I’m like “what the hell did they do to me? No one told me to expect THIS…” My chest feels like I must have died on the table and they did manual CPR to revive me. It hurts to breathe. The only thing I want to do is inhale popsicles like oxygen. But I can’t, cause I am prying myself up with force of will every 30 minutes to pee.

I start to notice my senses are seriously messed up. I ate some fruit, cherries or grapes… and it smelled like raw meat. It rained on Friday or Saturday (maybe both) and it smelled like an old dusty vacuum bag being opened up. The smell stuff has mostly passed, but my sense of smell feels “dulled” from normal. As does my sense of taste, which is seriously messed up. It’s like… my sense of taste was once a nice 12″ plate, and it’s now only a 3″ plate. Sweet stuff tastes good, but it also tastes salty? I made steak tonight, and it had no real flavor (my dad assured me it was extremely tasty steak). The A1 sauce I used on the steak tasted… well, not like A1, but more like congealed diesel fuel would taste with a touch of lemon.

Over the next few days, the pain starts to subside. By Sunday, I’m feeling much less sore. By Monday, almost gone. Tuesday, I was back to work. I worked for 4 hours before the pain started to cause me to be unable to concentrate. I mean, it’s dull and numb a bit, but it also hurts. At times, it’s like piloting starship Michael instead of being myself. I’m a tiny little man in my left eyeball, steering the ship… getting input from systems, but somethings wrong with the wiring.

On the plus side, my leg isn’t bother me much, if at all!

Addendum: As of Friday, 9/14, I’m feeling much more normal. Still feels like I’m healing from getting whacked behind the ear with a baseball bat, but otherwise, my life is normalizing again. I did not need to take a nap. I’ll work a normal week next week, and post again after my follow up appointment on Monday.

I’m wondering… when they connect the processor, what if I don’t hear reality, but instead, hear the internet? Can I train Web Mind?  (READ WWW: WAKE, WWW: WATCH and WWW: WONDER by Robert J. Sawyer! 🙂


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