Tomorrow I will get sound and this post therefore contain a description of the rest of my experiences from the period before the sound. In the former two posts I presented the first week after the surgery and in this post I will continue where I left off.
On this day I felt that it was funny to think about that one week had passed since my surgery. Even though it had been touch I felt that the time had gone fast 🙂 I felt much better than in the first days and I started to focus more on the waiting time I had until I could get the processors and sound. I especially hoped that the time would continue to go this fast.
I noticed that I would soon run out of some of the painkillers and therefore decided that it was about time to try to cut down on the use of painkillers. I felt that my pains were not so annoying anymore. But in the afternoon I felt that it had started to hurt on my left ear and the painkillers did not help. So it was very limited how much I could reduce the use of painkillers on this day.
My tinnitus had changed to the foghorn from a ferry again on the left ear. I felt that sounds changed every day but a foghorn is definitely not nice to hear constantly – it was directly frustrating. In the afternoon I found out that some weak bass sounds could be heard on the left ear – I therefore tried to hear some music but it sounded awful. The positive thing was that it changed my tinnitus into another sound – you do after all get tired of listening to the same sounds all the time. While listening to music the only tinnitus I heard was very high frequent on both ears. But as soon as I stopped my tinnitus was back at full volume. You could that it was like choosing between the plague or cholera as I could decide to hear my tinnitus or to hear some rattling music where I could not hear much else than the bass. There is not much music that makes sense if you can only hear the bass 😉
The night was the first time where I was allowed to sleep without a raised headrest – hooray. That meant that I could lie on my sides again – that was nice but it was still difficult to find a good sleeping position as I was still sore behind my ears and no matter how I placed my head it would still push on a sore place.
On this day I experienced that my tinnitus had changed into way where all the sounds I heard was beeping – that both happened to bass and treble sounds. All sounds were turned on and off at the speed of a machine gun – it was awful and I had to take a nap after lunch simply because I got tired of all the noise.
In the morning my tinnitus was back in the old patterns – that was more relaxing than the machine gun speed from the day before. But in the evening it had returned just with some other midrange tones. It was annoying but not as much as on the day before
I felt that I had much more energy on this day – the biggest problem apart from my tinnitus was that I was very stiff in my neck.
In the evening I shortly experienced that my tinnitus was almost gone. I actually thought it would go away, but unfortunately it returned after half an hour.
This was a tough day. When I woke up I was dizzy. If I changed side or sat up I would be very dizzy for a short moment. When I decided to get up i became so dizzy that I almost felt ill – luckily I had placed a bowl next to my bed earlier in the morning.
I did not eat much for breakfast as I did not feel well. I did not feel ill but I experienced that I became dizzy every time I changed the angle of my head. During the day I started to feel better and get more appetite. I also experienced that my dizzyness was much less in the end of the day. I was only a little dizzy when looking up or down – not if I lay my head to the shoulders.
On the next day I would be going to the doctor to get my patches removed and I decided that I would tell my doctor if the dizziness was still there at that time. During the day I also spent some time to think about what was causing this dizziness. I know that some people get dizzy for a period as a side effect from the surgery but I also considered if it could be the painkillers that was to blame. In the notes on one of the painkillers I could see that dizziness could be a non-dangerous side effect on long term use. If that was the case I would expect the problem to resolve quickly as I did not need my pain killers anymore – and I knew that my balance had been working fine in the other days.
On this day I also noticed that I had kept some hearing in the high frequencies on my right ear as I could hear some high frequent sounds when coughing or if I rattled with the dishes. But I felt that I was still missing bass on this ear. I shortly tried the hearing aid on this ear and I could weakly hear my own voice but the sound was very strange as it was not all frequencies that I could hear. I could hear some low frequencies and sss-sounds but all other sounds very gone. But another thing that made it difficult to hear was that I still had tinnitus.
On my left ear I almost couldn’t hear anything – this had been the ear where I could hear something in the first days. I could not hear music on any of the ears today. In general I experienced that my ability to hear was very low in these days but that it did change up and down every day. I was very excited if I would be able to use my hearing aids in some of my last days before getting my CI processors.
I also experienced that I was getting frustrated at not being able to hear – I especially felt that it was annoying that I could no longer grab my phone and call someone to tell about how it was going.
In the morning I felt that the dizziness was almost gone and in the evening I did not feel it at all – so I was lucky not to be troubled by this anymore.
I started the day by going to the doctor who should remove my patches. In my right side the scar looked fine but in the left side the top part of the scar had not healed. It was not alarming and I was just told to clean it 2 times a day and let it get some air. In the end of the day I noticed that a nice scab had formed on the scar, so I expected that it would heal quickly. It was really nice to get the removed as they were really tight and it was itchy below them. My scalp was however a little sticky from the patches.
In the end of the day I noticed that my throat hurt a little more – I had have pain in the throat almost all the days since the surgery. The reason is that during the narcosis I was intubated to ensure my breath during the surgery. I guessed the reason why it hurt more now was that i no longer was using pain killers and that it did not hurt so much behind the ears anymore and therefore I could focus more on how the rest of my body felt.
My ability to hear on the right ear had become a little better this day – I could hear more sounds with my hearing aid but it was still very weak and there was still some parts of the sounds that was totally gone. If I tried with the hearing aid while watching TV I could hear some weak voices but it was primarily consonants like “s” that I could hear. It sounded awful and I therefore decided to not use my hearing aids. I still could not hear anything on my left ear.
The following days before Easter
As my scar in the left side had not healed when I got the patch of I had to keep making sure that it was healing correctly. It is very difficult to see behind your own ear so my solution was to take pictures of my scar every day to see how it looked. I therefore have pictures from almost all the days where I can see how the scar developed. There is not much to say about my scar except that it has graduately become more pretty even though I wished it had went much faster – the last scab felt off one week before I was going to get sound. After that I just had some red skin.
The picture on the left shows my scar four day after the patch was removed. The picture on the right is taken 3 weeks later.
On day 16 I finally got myself together and went on a bike trip – it was the first day I got some exercise since my surgery. It was a 10 km ride – it was nice but also in a totally different pace than I normally do. I just took a slow ride as I really could not ride at full speed. When I got home I felt very tired and I felt that my body was really using much energy in this period – it could not be the bike trip alone that had caused the effect that I experienced.
My tinnitus was frustrating all days and I started to wonder when it would stop. In my last days I noticed that I could overpower my tinnitus with music on one of my ears – it sounded awful but it gave me the impression that it might go away when I get my CI processors. In this period my tinnitus changed almost every day – some days I heard the foghorn and other days I heard organ music play one line from a famous danish Christmas carol in an endless loop. On afternoon I experienced that my tinnitus played a concert with multiple instruments like saxophone and strings – it sounded terrible but it was much more comfortable that the contant humming and high frequent tones. I also heard bird sounds and the sound of a radio that was set between two radio stations where you could almost hear voices without hearing what they said.
My residual hearing developed in this period. On my right ear I experienced that I got more sounds although the sound was very rattling. I primarily heard bass and some few high frequencies. On my left ear I also got more sound but it did not get to the level of my other ear – even though this was the ear that I hear most with right after the surgery. On the ear I actually experienced that I almost didn’t get the bass and that the treble sounds developed like they had on the other ear – so it was just rattle that I heard on my left ear.
I graduately hear more and more music – especially after I bought a new set of in-ear headphones that could play much louder than the ones that came with my phone. On my computer I also found an equalizer software that made it possible to add additionally 20 db to the volume of what I heard – this meant that I pushed my in-ear headphones beyond their designed max – this of course affected sound quality but I already experienced that sounds were rattling so I did not care about this – it was more important to get more volume.
The biggest problem when listening to music was that I almost only heard the bass – believe me there is a lot of music that does not make sense if you only hear the bass – it was therefore very important for me that the melody was also played in the bass.
But the biggest problem of the all was the psychological aspects in being hit on the ability to communicate. I could communicate with people by mail, Facebook and SMS but it did provide me with the same feeling of social proximity as you experience with a phone call. I was therefore really looking forwards to the Easter where I had planned a trip with my family in a holiday house.
In the Easter my parents and my siblings went to a holiday house. It was just what I needed as it was really tough to just stay alone in my apartment while I was hit on the ability to communicate. It was really nice to get out and also exercised a little while I also could experience some social situations even though I had some limitations on my ability to communicate.
I was so lucky that my ability to hear on my right ear had reached a level where I had a very limited benefit from wearing the hearing aid. That meant that I was now able to have short conversations provided that the one I talked to looked directly on me and talked loud and clear. But the sound was still strange and I really missed the upper mid range sounds. That meant that it as most easy to hear low pitch voices and that I totally had to give up when it came to understand what my siblings were saying – I actually had to turn of my hearing aid when they were talking as it felt like listening to a set of very noisy machines.
It was nice that I was able to communicate a little and get some auditory stimulation – but it was also very tough as I had to use all of my energy when I had turned on my hearing aid. But even when it was off it also felt very touch – in these situations I had to use my other senses for orienting about what happened around me. But the most tough thing was without any doubt the situations where someone was talking where I had no chance at understanding the voice (this was an issue both with and without the hearing aid). It was tough psychologically because it felt wrong to ignore what people was talking about – but I had to do it in order avoid using too much energy – but it felt straining to disconnect as I really wanted to be a part of what happened around me – even though I couldn’t.
Now it is my turn to get sound 🙂
It is with butterflies in my stomach that I have written this post as the waiting time is almost over. Tomorrow I will get my CI processors connected and I really cannot wait even though I know that it will be a tough process to get used to hearing with CI – it is not everyone that understand speech right after getting the sound connected.
But I also feel quite relieved that the waiting time is finally over as it has been really tough to go around with no sound apart from the tinnitus for a little more than a month. But I am convinced that all of it has been worth the trouble!