Thursday, February 24, 2005

Well, there's that to look forward to, anyway.

Brian was kind enough to leave a comment on my last post which notes, "I'd be interested in reading your thoughts about what you expect to happen on March 9 and immediately after: what the doctors are preparing you for, how you're psyching yourself up (or out). Then later--again, if you're up to it--seeing how reality compares to your expectations. This seems like one of those situations where the only thing you can count on is that something surprising will happen."

And that's from someone who knows.

Well, anything for my public :)

Actually this is a very perceptive and timely suggestion on Brian's part because the last few days have been spent trying to find out exactly what kind of condition I am going to be in after the surgery and how soon I can return to work. The surgery date (March 9), as you know, is unexpectedly (but happily) close, and it caught us at work in the middle of planning a conference for March 11-13. I was to give a presentation at the conference - two actually, of an hour apiece, one Saturday morning and one Saturday afternoon - well, to hell with false modesty, the presentation is the keynote of the conference and everything else has been designed around it. So the $64,000 Question was, would I be ready to give two one-hour presentations three days after the implant surgery?

Now, that might seem ridiculous on its face but you have to remember that first, you go home the day after the surgery, and second, I'd been doing a lot of research on this and every website I found in my searches on post-CI surgery recovery said that patients can expect to be back to work "3 to 4 days" or "within a week" of the surgery. It didn't seem too unrealistic to think that I could duck into the conference, do my little hoo-ray sitting down, and duck out again.

But now that I was getting down to the real deal these "3 to 4 days" and "within a week" guesstimates sounded annoyingly vague, even given the difference between individual patients. I wanted more than just third-party ballparks. I wanted first-hand information from people who'd had the surgery.

Besides, it was occurring to me - all these sites with their "within a week"s and their "some discomfort"s were hospital implant program sites and CI implant manufacturer sites. They're the ones that pop up when you hit google looking for info. And didn't they have kind of a ... vested interest in not scaring people off and downplaying the post-op realities?

I managed to find a couple of other weblogs whose authors had already been implanted. I got back in touch with a local woman who Alain the audiologist had connected me with, who is implanted. I asked my late-deafened adults mailing list if those who'd had implants could tell me their experiences. Husband also contacted the CI Implant program in Halifax to ask for more detailed info.

Looks like I won't be doing no presentation after three days. Dr. B. usually recommends a full week off work to avoid infection. Best estimates gleaned from the collective experience of my informants is that on Saturday my throat may still be sore on the implant side (some kind of glandular issue). Swallowing and talking will hurt after the surgery and may still by Saturday. I may still have quite a lot of pain at the implant site although that varies widely from person to person. If I do, I may be taking painkillers which will make me kind of loopy.

Best of all, my head will still be bandaged and my face could be pretty awfully swollen.

The idea, you understand, is to help the delegates coming to the conference, not scare them to death.

So I am making sure my notes are ship-shape and Bristol-fitted and training my co-worker to deliver my presentation.

Turns out I'm not indispensable after all. Who knew?



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Silly Rabbit.

WE knew you were not indispensible.

6:19 p.m.  
Blogger Chris Clarke said...

Well, maybe not at work. But in general.

R, I am going to be thinking about you all day on the day.

The husband can post a one-sentence update to let us all know how you're doing, right?

12:33 a.m.  

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