Getting the go-ahead

Arrived at RNTNE hospital with minutes to spare for the appointment at 10.30am with the consultant “and Panel” (I had two letters telling me the appointment was at 10.30am). Checked in with the cochlear implant office and the lady looked bewildered. Said the consultant is not there on Monday morning and I must have it wrong. I produced a letter and she apologised profusely and said appointment was for 1.30pm. What a good thing I didn’t plan to do a clinic in the afternoon but booked the whole day off.

I had my Sony Reader with me and a very good book to read. The coffee shop is pleasant and very reasonable too. Quite nice to sit and read for three hours, uninterrupted.

The Panel turned out to be just the consultant who was fighting with his computer which was not cooperating. No one else was there. Apparently they had a multi-disciplinary meeting last week.

Anyway, all is to go ahead for the stereo implant, probably end February, early March. Admission 7.30am on day of operation, overnight stay afterwards, home following day. Review in 1-2 weeks, soluble sutures, switch on about 4 weeks when all swelling has gone down. So no hearing at all for four weeks. Lovely for me but a pain for everyone else!  Getting my attention will be fun, currently I turn towards noise.

Long list of possible complications like infection, facial nerve palsy, altered taste  etc. I wanted to say yeah yeah yeah, just get on with it will you. Incisions behind each ear and one on top of my head, not an alice band incision as we thought. (My kids quite amused by the thought of the surgeons folding my face down and then not putting it back on straight!  Nice people my kids).

Only hiccough was the incidental finding on the MRI of a meningioma, left frontal lobe which needs to be checked out by a neurologist. Initially they have asked a neurologist to have a look at the pictures. Hopefully he will say it’s fine to just do another MRI in a year (apparently you can do certain types of MRI after a cochlear implant).  I am not too bothered but have not told all my kids as they might freak out. I don’t have any neurological symptoms and I assume a growing tumour would have caused some personality change or something (I am just as crazy as I was before, no change there, and certainly no weight loss etc.)  The consultant didn’t seem too concerned and I certainly wasn’t worried once I clarified that he had said meningioma and not acoustic neuroma.

I only had a couple of questions like why three months before you can colour your hair (he says that’s old-fashioned advice, the manufacturers were worried hair colour would get in the implant (!!!)

Most of my other questions were for the CI office, like please can most appointments be on a Tuesday which is my day off, please can they check which stethoscope will be compatible with the Neurelec Saphyr processor, and how often will I have to go up after switched on – initially weekly!

I was then sent to pre-op assessment – complete waste of time as I have done all the bloods, ECG etc and vaccinations. Lots of questions that have already been covered like what meds I take and do I have asthma, heart disease etc. Got handed a packet of wet wipes and instructions to wipe various bits of my anatomy the day before and on the day of the op.

So a whole day in London when an email would have sufficed!!  Well I suppose he had to discuss it in person, especially the MRI result.

I am delighted it’s going ahead and that they are going to do the stereo. Hopefully sooner rather than later, but because there will be an audience I imagine they all have to book their time slots. I just hope I get lots of notice so I can organise a locum etc., and not let clinics get booked up in advance.


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