Finally!! I had a tentative surgery date as of last Friday evening but I wanted to wait until this week to say anything because it still wasn’t definite then. My doctor was on vacation last week, so my surgery was set up with the hospital but he still had to confirm that the date was good for him.
Apparently there was a cancellation and they were able to give me a surgery date of July 22. That is exactly three weeks from today! In three weeks, at this time (7:45 pm as I’m writing this), my surgery will be over. I can’t even believe that!
There’s a small, tiny chance I might even be activated before my kids have their big school events in August! I just checked and exactly 4 weeks from July 22 is August 19. On August 20 Paige goes for freshman registration (when she gets her books, ID, locker assignment, yearbook photo). On August 21, she has to go BACK to school for freshman orientation AND that is the day Eric moves into his college dorm. So if I don’t get activated on August 19, I have to put it off for a few days (and be deaf for those big events, which would be really disappointing). We’ve already decided I’ll have to take Paige for orientation while Dave stays here with Eric and they get the car packed up with all his stuff. When I get back, we’ll have to jump into the car and get him to the university, which is about an hour’s drive west of here. It’s going to be a long day!
Anyway, we’ve been playing phone tag with the hospital since Friday. First they called and it showed up on caller ID as some generic call, which Dave didn’t bother to pick up. On Saturday he was checking voice mail and realized the generic number had been the hospital – they were calling to pre-register me. They weren’t open again til Monday (yesterday) so he couldn’t call them back. On Monday he had a dentist appointment and about 5 minutes before he needed to leave, the hospital called (this time the caller ID showed the hospital’s name). He answered the phone, started to answer their questions but had to tell them that he had to stop because he had to get to the dentist.
After he got home, the hospital called again. This time it was a woman with a really heavy Indian accent and he couldn’t understand her (he has a hard time on the phone, just like I used to). He tried, but finally asked if they had a TTY number. He got that number and called back on our TTY (this way I could do most of the typing anyway). Turns out it was actually a relay call, which was really weird – I’ve never been given a TTY number that ended up being a relay call! Well, it was a comedy of errors – they said they didn’t see an appointment for me in the system and everyone was very confused. He had to end that call and call my doctor’s office. It turns out everything was under “Wendy” (which is the spelling on my birth certificate) and not “Wendi” which is the way I commonly spell my name. For some reason, when he typed Wendi on the TTY, the hospital thought he was typing “Wend(semicolon)” like: Wend;
Ha! That would be a weird name!
My doctor’s office did confirm that my appointment had been made with the hospital, and I went ahead and made an online account on the hospital’s website, where I was able to fill in my pre-registration information. I figured that would take care of it all.
So! As Dave’s talking to the doctor’s office, he makes an appointment for me to see my audiologist today. They had been asking me what colors I wanted for the CI and I was caught totally off-guard. I had no idea what to do – I thought I needed to pick just one color but it was actually one set of colors and there are 4 different colors in each set. On top of that, I forgot that I’ll be getting two CI’s and was trying to decide if I wanted different colors for each CI. I wasn’t sure what comes with the kit/set that they order and my audiologist finally suggested that I come in and pick everything out before she places the order.
Well, today just before we were going to leave (I was putting makeup on at the very last minute) the phone rings – it’s the hospital again. These people have the worst timing! For whatever reason, they are still determined to take down this pre-registration information that I’ve already given them online. They called through the relay service so Dave put the receiver on the TTY and I ran back and forth from the bathroom (as I was doing my hair and putting on makeup) to answer whatever questions he didn’t know the answer to. Well, after only a minute or two everything coming to us on the TTY was just garbled – none of it made any sense. And once again, he had to tell them we had a doctor appointment and had to go – could we call them back?
My appointment was at 2:30 and we didn’t get home til 4:30 today, which is after the pre-registration office closes. I’m sure they’ll call again tomorrow, 5 minutes before Dave needs to leave for his annual appointment at the VA hospital. 🙄 (By the way, I’m hoping he can get in to the audiology clinic tomorrow and get some information on starting the CI process for himself.)
My appointment with the audiologist was really just a casual visit and not an actual appointment (thank goodness, because those $50 co-pays are starting to add up!) It was nice to see big smiles on everyone’s faces and know they’re as excited about this surgery as I am! She pulled down the Advanced Bionics kit and first asked me what color processor I wanted. Originally I figured I’d go with the beige color, since it’s the color I’ve always had for hearing aids. But she suggested the dark sienna, which is actually a very dark gray (nearly black). I put it on and looked in the mirror and yes – it looks really good against my hair, which is very dark brown (with red highlights, thanks to hair dye). So I totally surprised myself by choosing the dark gray processor. She mentioned that I’ll be getting two processors per ear – a regular and a backup – so I could actually get one dark sienna and one beige per ear. I decided to just get the dark sienna for both. (Am I the only one who finds that color description to be a little misleading? I always think of reddish-brown when I hear “sienna” used as a color name.)
Then we got to the color sets. I already knew for sure that I wanted the Techno colors, which are marbled (red/purple, green, blue, red/blue). I was torn between the Sophista colors and Metallic colors for the second CI. There’s a lot of pictures of the Metallic colors on the AB website and in their literature, and they look awesome. I also liked the more muted (but still fun) Sophista colors, but I mentioned that I’d never seen them on a CI, just in the color chart. It turns out she had a Burgundy color cap that I was able to see! That helped me decide for sure on the Metallic, although the Sophista colors were a really close second. She said she’s going to add the Sophista colors to the order – sometimes they go ahead and process it, so it doesn’t hurt to try. But I’ll definitely have the Techno colors and the Metallic colors – yay! I’m going to wear a Techno color on one CI and a coordinating solid color on the other CI. I’ve got a plan, people. 😀
The kit comes with a lot of great stuff – a storage case with a built-in Dri-Aid, travel case, 4 batteries per CI plus a charger and travel charger, the T-Mic (I think I might be getting two of those, I’m not sure) and a Direct Connect earhook for MP3 players, etc. I tried on both the Plus and Slim powercel batteries because I was concerned the Plus might be too big. They really didn’t feel much different on my ear so I guess I have big ears! 😆 She’s ordering two Plus and two Slim powercels per CI, and suggested that I only open one of the Plus size. If it turns out to be too large and hurts my ear, I can exchange the unopened ones for Slim size instead. Very cool!
I asked if they use a facial nerve monitor during the surgery (yes) and when to expect activation. She said they wait one month, to be sure I’m completely healed and the swelling has gone down, which helps the magnet on the headpiece stay connected to the implant. When I go in for my post-op visit, to have my stitches removed, we’re supposed to schedule all of my mapping appointments. She told me who to ask for, since she’ll be on maternity leave by then. The audiologist I’ll be working with is supposedly very experienced with Advanced Bionics and bilateral implants. We’re also supposed to mention that I’ll be getting two CI’s mapped, so they need to add extra time to my appointments.
That was about it! We stopped back at the front desk to ask about my prescription for the pre-op procedures. I figured it would be easier to just pick it up since we were already there, rather than have them mail it. Now THIS I am nervous about! I have to get 3 bloodwork-related tests (CBC, basic metabolic panel, and PT/PTT), plus a chest X-ray and EKG. I’m not nervous about the tests themselves, just the actual act of having to try to talk to these people when I can’t hear anything at all. I’m bringing Dave in with me for as much as I can, but obviously he can’t be standing next to me during the chest X-ray. I started my usual worrying to him earlier this evening: “What if they walk out of the room and tell me to hold my breath while they take the X-ray? I’m not going to have any idea what to do!” Gah. I think I’m seriously more nervous about the pre-op stuff than the actual surgery.
Well, maybe not. But almost!
So…July 22nd it is! I had the date marked on my calendar in pencil, but today I went over it in pen. It’s official.