* What a relief!

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!

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* What did you say?

Do you find yourself continuously asking students, “What did you say?”  If you are asking that in response to a smart-mouthed remark, well, all you are doing is drawing attention to inappropriate behavior.  For some kids, especially those with articulation problems, asking that can make them feel self-conscious.  Ditto for shy kids who were uncertain about saying something the first time.  BUT, if you simply cannot hear those high frequency sounds, join the club.  My Hearing Loss Club.

An assistant and I both suffered permanent hearing loss from checking a student’s hearing aid without the muffler effect of a stethoset.  Our ears rang for a year-and-a half until the district hired a hearing specialist.  My own hearing aids were marvelously effective.  Now I could hear a certain rascal say, “Don’t worry!  She can’t hear us!”

Sadly, I suffer from eustachian tube dysfunction, joining approximately 5% of Americans (and 4% worldwide) with an interminable popped ear effect.  I always take antihistamines.  I can’t fly without steroids.  I often have fluid stuck behind my eardrum.  I’ve had numerous tubes and lancings and ruptures.  My ear now rings without cessation.  The good news is that a new treatment is available, inserting a balloon to stretch that sucker open.  My procedure has been scheduled!  I’ll need yet another tube because of fluid but I’m excited about the possibilities!

What did you say?

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