Drug Users Pay for This?

First the ubiquitous picture of a handsome dog to save the squeamish among you, though there really isn’t anything squeamishing in this post unless you count the picture of me later on down.  I just needed an excuse to include a picture of my running buddy.

Here’s a picture of my best friend as well.

If you aren’t up to date on my adventure in hospital, check out these posts first, in order.

Views From the Hospital
More Views From the Hospital
You Know You’re a Geek When…
The Strangeness of Being Half-connected to the Internet
Latest Hospital Update

Aug 24

Surgery day.  I managed to sleep fairly well overnight with minimal interruptions.  Patient transport came for me at 7am where I was wheeled down to pre-op and finally the operating room where I was given an anesthetic and went night night.  Several hours later I surprised the operation team by starting to wake up (and arguing with them about something I have no memory of) before they’d finished transferring me back to my bed.  I heard one of them exclaim that I was already waking up as they were wheeling me to post-op.

I spent a couple of hours in post-op while they monitored my pain level and gave me good drugs to bring it down.  My doctor came by to let me know that the operation went well with a ‘few caveats’ which sounded ominous but I didn’t ask for any details at the time.  I really just wanted to sleep.

Back in my room were some family looking both worried and relieved that I was back.  It look a lot longer than we’d hoped for me to get back to my room from the operation.  Our understanding was that the longer the operation took, the more work my doctor needed to do and more risk involved. They’d already been visited by my doctor and had more details on how the operation went and what was in store for me next but waiting is still hard.

In short the operation went fairly well.  The doctor was able to clean up my mastoid but due to still lingering inflammation wasn’t able to do all the work he’d had in mind.  He couldn’t even see or feel my ‘hearing bones’ so didn’t attempt to clean them up.  Hopefully they’re ok and my hearing will generally return as the inflammation goes down.

What he did do was remove a bunch of what’s called cholesteatoma and granulation in the mastoid but couldn’t clean up the facial nerve or inner ear as he’d hoped to do.  On the other hand he was able to do a lot of the work he’d wanted as part of what he considered the first step in the process.

I’ll be in hospital for a few more days an then on antibiotics for a couple of months while he keeps an eye on my progress.  I’m holding out a bit of hope that additional surgeries won’t be needed but he did caution me not to hope too much since he couldn’t see what was going on in the areas he couldn’t get to.

For someone who has a partial soccer ball on his head I actually feel really good.  Susan walked me around the floor a couple of times and I had a good dinner.  I’ve got no dizziness at all and my balance is good.

So, where did this problem come from?  Everyone’s been asking and it looks like the answer is that I was probably born with the cholesteatoma and at some point, maybe when I developed the ear infection earlier in the summer, it started growing.  The growth could also have been triggered by something else and been growing for some time.

For now I’m keeping my fingers crossed and hoping both that I can go home in a few days and that my hearing will return and further surgeries won’t be needed.

So… Why did I title this post as I did?

Because once I decided to try some sleep (at 11pm) despite not being tired, I found that as soon as I closed my eyes, I immediately started dreaming dreams that seemed more real than reality.  This was really unsettling and had me briefly questioning my own sanity.  Had I died, was I dreaming that I was alive and dreaming that I hadn’t made it out of surgery?  I managed to convince myself that I really was ok and in my hospital room but the first few hours of attempted sleep were a roller-coaster of bizarre dreams.  I can’t imagine why drug users would pay for this experience.

While I was finishing writing this (at 6am) my doctor came by to check on me and was surprised to find me sitting up in bed watching a movie (The Two Towers) and typing on the laptop when he’d expected me to be fast asleep.  He took the ball off my head and liked how my ear looks.  I can keep it off until I want to sleep or move about a lot.

I’m hoping for some Indian food for lunch.  Can’t wait.  Even with the bit of lingering pain in my ear from the surgery I feel better than I have in more than a month.

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Author: Michael Harrison

Husband, Programmer, Irish dancer, tinkerer, astronomer, layabout (as much as possible)

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