I saw my ENT surgeon again yesterday; I’m cleared to go back to work on Monday. The vertigo was caused by a microscopic piece of bone debris, left over from the surgery, which had probably been trapped higher in my ear canal, but as the swelling went down as I healed, it fell onto the footplate of my inner ear, and irritated the cochlear nerve. (He could tell because that kind of irritant causes a very peculiar kind of vertigo, which explains why mine felt different than I’d imagined from reading explanations online.) Eventually, the bone fragment, likely smaller than a grain of sand, is absorbed or settles or breaks down further, and is no longer a problem, which is just about where I am.
Yesterday was also the last day that I had to take steroids to reduce swelling, and coincidentally was also the day I found out that medication has been the cause of the massive insomnia I’ve had since my surgery. Last night, I slept almost six hours, all in a row, for the first time in weeks, and I already feel 100% better than I have since before this all began.
I don’t go back in for another month, since at this point I should be past all of the potential problems. When I do, I’ll have a hearing test to determine how successful this surgery was. I don’t know if I still qualify as deaf, but I do know my hearing has greatly improved, even if the almost-too-much-to-take super hearing has gone away. So unless something major happens, this will be my last post on the subject until next month.
Would I do it again? Definitely! This time around, there was a lot I didn’t know, and I’d have been better prepared if I had. Plus, I had been sick just before the surgery, I spent most of my recovery time off with my nearly-teen son home all day on spring break (with my usual sitters both away on vacation), AND I ended up with a couple of “uncommon but not unheard of” side effects. Now that I know what the process really entails and what my body will need to recover, I can plan for it. I’m always better when I have a plan :)
That’s what these blog posts have been about, really: putting this information out there for other folks who are getting ready to go through the same thing, since I did extensive Googling beforehand and still didn’t know what to expect. If one other person finds these notes and had an easier time after their stapedectomy than I did, it was worth the effort of writing it all down.
At the end of the day, I think the hardest part was feeling like I was wasting all of this “free time” — time off from my day job — and not accomplishing as I should have. I knew I was getting things done in five and ten minute increments, before passing out again, but it didn’t feel like enough. I was sure that I was a giant slacker.
Until I started to make a list of what I actually gotten done, outside of the whole recovery thing. That includes keeping my family fed, dishes and laundry washed, house clean… Completely rearranged my kitchen, built a book shelf, reorganized a cabinet to be a soundproofed mini podcasting studio that I can close up out of the way… Taught my son a couple of new recipes, including a pull-apart pizza bread that he’s willing to help make, costs about $4, and he’s willing to eat instead of ordering a pizza (his favorite food) which saves us money… Fixed my bedframe, cleared out some excess stuff and donated it so it’s not in my house anymore, knitted a scarf for the coworker who gave me a gorgeous coat in February… Using my tablet, and reactivating my Pinterest account, I spent hours researching for upcoming projects and stories… Cooked a bunch in advance so I’ll go back to work with a full freezer and won’t have to worry that I’m too tired to feed us, sorted and filed several months worth of paperwork… Prepped my upcoming plotting workshop, discovered a way to make paper journaling work for me, wrote two stories and a poem and started revising a couple of older pieces… Even painted my toenails. (They are very cute.)
Just in tiny little increments. Individually, no day seemed filled with usefulness. But I kept at it, every chance I got, and it all adds up. I’m hoping that this weekend I can tackle getting Lakeside Circus caught up, and do some freelance work. Then I might feel like I actually got things done…
Looking for the rest of my posts about this surgery? I’ve assembled them all on this page.