I survived ear surgery- what a relief!
The adventure began with 2 pre-op visits the day before. The primary focus of the 1st one was accurately saying my name and birthdate. I did that successfully multiple times- what a relief! The 2nd appointment was with representatives of the actual procedure (Eustachian tube dilation). Everyone was kind, professional, and helpful- what a relief!
The anesthesiologist made sure I could twist my head and jaw like a zombie, which I could- what a relief! The nurse told me I might wake up the next day with liquid all over my face but not to worry, because it would be blood. (Had she been consulting with the anesthesiologist?) I had no liquid of any kind- what a relief! I was given a special antibacterial soap to use twice before surgery, from “chin to toes,” in case any body parts got near my surgical site. I am unable to touch my ear with my toes- what a relief!
I was first on the surgical schedule- what a relief! My surgeon’s resident dropped by to tell me that they would be “moving a bone,” which I already knew from insurance papers that listed “nasal bone fracture.” I laughed and asked if I would still be able to sing like Barbra Streisand. He looked blank (who is Barbra Streisand and why did she refuse a nose job??) I trilled a few soprano notes off-key and he said (dubiously) I should be fine- what a relief!
They gave me hot blankets- what a relief! I was rolled to surgery and I could see their eyes smiling- what a relief! The anesthesiologist gave me some falling asleep medicine and I said, “I can feel it working. I’m falling asleep.” Then I couldn’t breathe so I choked out, “I can’t breathe!” She asked me, “What did you say?” I repeated it and tried the universal choking sign, only one hand was laden with tubes. I managed to make the sign twice with my right hand, desperate for air. I looked up at the monitors for signs that I wasn’t getting air, but without my glasses, it was too blurry. No one seemed concerned so why should I be? I knew I’d be intubated and surely they would do it quickly. They must have- what a relief!
I woke up chatty and happy, being told by a sweet nurse that I’d already been talking for 15 minutes. Apparently I didn’t say anything alarming- what a relief! In fact, I told her once again about the dream I was having. And asked her name for the trillionth time.
I discovered that smart surgeons use visual aids, as evidenced by the drawings on my ear and neck. I teach all my kiddos to use them- what a relief!