The Saga of the Ear, Pt 3

Some of you wanted gross-out pictures from the inside of my head so here you go.

First is the required non-squeamishy picture, not of my dog this time but rather a picture of a tasty sangria that I can’t have right now.  Not that I would anyway since it’s 3am when I’m writing this but if it were 3pm I still couldn’t have one with the meds I’m on.

Go on, just look at that frosty glass and tasty, tasty liquid.  You know you want one.

Excellent.  Now that you’re all soothed, here come the crime-scene photos.

I’ve got descriptions of most of the areas you see here but since the doctor wasn’t annotating these pictures as he went, I’ve forgotten most of the details.  Sorry.  I’m sure you could Google for any missing details on the areas you’re about to see.

Just look at that.  That tasty, tasty brain.  Oh, sorry.  I forgot.  Zombies don’t use computers.  Never mind.  Forget that last part.

As always, click on the pictures to see a larger version.

Mastoid, ear canal and a bit of brain

So here we have the ear canal in the upper left, a bunch of scar tissue either from the last surgery or general trauma from what my head’s been going through, all sorts of mastoidy bits like a facial nerve and blood vessel (those are parts that I don’t have pointers for).

Where’s the brain? See that dark spot near the middle of the picture?  That spot is on part of it.  You can see it more clearly in the next picture where the doctor was poking at it with sharp metal sticks!

Mastoid, ear canal and a bit of brain. Stop poking at it!

It’s almost like they were cats playing with a mouse.  Hey! look how it twitches when I poke it with this sharp stick!

They probably didn’t actually play with my brain like that.  I would have, which is one reason I’m not a surgeon.

As it turned out there wasn’t much cholesteatoma waiting for them and after cleaning out the scar tissue and using a laser (and they didn’t get pictures of that!) to clean off one of my hearing bones they set to work cutting another hole in my head so they could lift my brain out and put it into a pan while they worked.

Alright I’m kidding about that last part.  They did use retractors to get my brain out of the way so they could work on the repairs from above. My brain.  Always getting in the way.

Mastoid, ear canal and now the brain has been moved away so that work can be done on the hole in Michael’s head.

The retractors are the metal colored objects in the upper right and the material in between is part of my brain.  I had thought they’d be cutting a small hole but apparently their sense of ‘small’ is different from mine.  Looks to me like they cut a 2′ x 2′ square out of my skull.

That’s one of the holes near the middle of the picture.  If you look closer at the previous pictures you’ll get a sense of which parts were brain.  That hole is about the size of a dime or penny.

There were several holes they had to repair, one of which is just above the main hole (look for a tiny dark dot NNW of the main hole), with another two that can’t be seen in the photo.

The rebuilt the hole with bone cement, a chip of bone and muscle taken from other parts of my head and some plastic.  Technically I now have an implant.

I’m going to have an altered sense of taste for a few days because of the work done near the facial nerve.  I’ve experienced that some already when eating Mac N Cheese the first night home and it tasted terrible to me but so far most foods taste normal enough.

In about a month I should be able to resume ‘normal activities’ though I’ll definitely check with the doctor before doing any high jumping.

If you want to see the other posts from the series click on the ear problem tag.

Now that I have this out of my system I’ll see if I can get back to sleep.

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Michael Harrison

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

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