I had my pre-op appointment yesterday. My heart kept racing, and I was having a very difficult time calming it down, even with Dan being completely ridiculous in his attempt to distract me 😛 I think my heart kept panicking because everyone kept using the word “surgery.” Yes, that is what it is, and I’m not really sure what else they could have said (maybe procedure?) to keep me from panicking… The word just makes me panic! I got a lot of good information at the appointment however, and some of it made me feel a little better about my recovery period… but I really hate reading the risks waivers. Though, this time, there were some kind of amusing ones.
Some “highlights” from the risks waivers:
“Dizziness is common immediately after surgery due to swelling and irritation of the inner ear structures. Often, some unsteadiness will persist for a week after surgery. In rare cases, dizziness may be very prolonged.”
Oh, goody. I wonder if the dizziness from my POTS will make me deal with this better (since I’m used to it) or if the surgery will amplify the POTS dizziness. Either way, it should be interesting.
“An uncommon postoperative complication of ear surgery is temporary paralysis of the face on the side of the surgery. This can occur because the nerve controlling movement of the face passes through the middle ear and mastoid. In very rare occasions, this nerve may be injured at the time of surgery. In most cases, the nerve will recover spontaneously.”
This doesn’t sound fun, but it kind of made me giggle. Specifically the last sentence of this excerpt. I imagine a little animated nerve with a little piece taken out going “wait for it… wait for it…” then *poof* suddenly 100% better. Yeah, my brain has interesting coping mechanisms.
“If an incision behind your ear is made in order to complete your surgery the operated ear will be numb. This is usually well tolerated and can last up to 6 months before sensation returns.”
Wait… MONTHS?! Dan and I giggled quite a lot about this. When I’ve had my mouth numbed for fillings, it was kind of amusing because I kept drooling and apparently making ridiculous faces… also, have you noticed I wear glasses? I wear them on a daily basis, and I really can’t read anything without them (unless it’s REALLY big type and kind of far away because I’m far sighted). This side effect could make wearing my glasses really, well, interesting. I also think that suddenly getting feeling back after six months would be really disorienting, since I imagine you would have gotten used to not feeling your ear after that amount of time.
Of course, for the pre-op, I had a list of questions for the doctor. I didn’t have as many as I could have, since I did some research myself and because they had already given me the post-op instructions. The post-op instructions are very easy to read, and very clear. Luckily, Dr K didn’t mind all the questions, and actually seemed to appreciate that I had a list so I could get everything answered.
I did warn Dr K about my POTS, so he wouldn’t worry about my blood pressure and/or heart rate doing anything wonky. When I talk with the anesthesiologist, I’ll also need to mention it, since they’ll be the primary one monitoring those numbers. I also warned Dr K about my fibro, and the fact that I feel pain more than others. He gave me an Rx for Vicodin, and was happy I had Tramadol if I needed it. When I mentioned that after all of my previous surgeries I was instantly in pain, he said they would give me extra pain medication before waking me up. That is definitely welcome and reassuring. It could also mean that I will be even loopier upon waking up than I would have been 😛
Through my questions, it sounds as though I won’t have to worry about my Pilates therapy getting messed up. I can’t do anything that will increase pressure behind my ear, but I can do stuff as long as my head stays above (or even with) my heart and doesn’t cause me to strain. I also don’t have to worry about sleeping in any weird positions, Dr K said I can sleep however I want.
As far as my allergies were concerned, Dr K said I can continue my allergy shots. I can also use the sinus rinses to help me avoid blowing my nose, and he said I can very gently blow if I need to (and sniffling is okay). If I blow my nose though, he said to apply pressure to my left ear (push on the cotton ball) because it’ll keep the air from going up the Eustachian tube. Odd, but okay then. At least it doesn’t sound like my allergies will be flipping out on me the whole time, thankfully.
I was also given three prescriptions: antibiotic, Vicodin, and ear drops. The ear drops need to be used for three days prior to my post-op appointment. Apparently, the packing they put in my ear needs to be softened up by the ear drops, or else it won’t be able to be removed. I need to put reminders in my calendar. Don’t want to mess it up!
Even though I feel a little better, at least about recovery, I wish I wasn’t having the surgery. I’m very nervous about it, and it’s mostly unexplainable anxiety. Articulating it is very difficult, if not impossible. I keep trying to distract myself with things. Even my subconscious is trying to distract me. Last night I dreamed I was painting, a desk sized canvas, and I decided to switch from brush to using my hands. Feeling the paint on my hands like that was very calming. Yes, I enjoy getting covered in paint… provided I don’t have to go anywhere fancy! In fact, I am thinking about at least experimenting with my painting in a little while. But first, I need to try to get a few chores done. I took a Tramadol (the Botanic Gardens totally drained me), so I’m a little loopy and floaty. But off I go!!!
::superhero theme music plays, I strike a power pose::
More posts from the Great Ear Saga: The Great Ear Saga of 2015, Bawling Bean, Stay on the Drops, Cutting in Time for School, Class, Surgery, Life, Anxiety, Dan’s Post-Surgery Update, Quick Ear Update, PostOp Physical Therapy, My Post-Surgery Update, Pain Killers, Exhaustion, Life, October: PostOp and Life