Several weeks after my evaluation (Part 2), I received an email from the audiologist saying that I was scheduled for a CT scan of the skull followed by an appointment with the doctor. (A CT scan is a special X-ray that produces cross-sectional images of a part of the body.) This meant more waiting, but at least it seemed like good news. It seemed to me that ordering the scan meant that the doctor thought that I was medically fit for the surgery.
I emailed my audiologist asking if I would be scheduled for surgery at that appointment or if there were any more “hoops” that I would need to jump through. She replied that I should expect to receive a date for surgery at the time of the CT scan and that she thought I was finished “hoop jumping.”
As we drove to the clinic for the CT scan, I endured jokes by Joy and my daughter Amy about what the CT scan would find in my skull—no brains, but a big empty space. Of course, the real purpose of the scan was to examine both the cochlea and adjacent mastoid bones and provide guidance for the surgeon to install the implant.
The scan took just a few minutes. Then, at the surgeon’s office, a resident told us that the surgery was scheduled in seven weeks. He explained some of the hospital procedures and the operation. I might have to remain overnight after the surgery, depending on how I felt and reacted. Because cochlear implantation requires anesthesia and may disturb fluids in the inner ear, some patients feel dizzy and nauseous for a while after the procedure. This typically resolves quickly.
We then talked with the surgeon. I had expected him to recommend that I have the left ear implanted because the audiogram showed that I have a greater hearing loss in that ear. To my surprise, he recommended an implant in the right ear. Although my left ear did have a greater loss, the word and sentence recognition tests indicated that my right ear had better clarity (and better sentence understanding) than the left. He recommended that we implant the right ear.
A week after surgery I was to return for a post-op checkup. About a month later would be turn-on day when the audiologist would hook me up and turn on my cochlear implant.
Bruce Sloane, M.S., M.A.