"He is there not only when we cry out from the burden of sin but also when we cry out for any other reason." -Bruce D. Porter

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Cochlear Implant Surgery Day!

Friday was the big day!  Seth got his cochlear implant done.  We arrived at the hospital at 5:30 a.m. to check in.  They took us to aside and did a few routine things (temperature, O2 sats, etc.) and then after a little bit of waiting, they took us to our room in the PACU (post anesthesia care unit) where Seth would return after surgery.  A little after 7:00 a.m. we finally met with Anesthesia and the Surgeons.  The pictures below are our attempts at keeping Seth happy while we were waiting.  You can see in the clock that it is 6:35 in the morning.    It seems you do a lot of waiting at the hospital!  
The bed makes a good slide!
 At 7:49, it was time to head to surgery.  Todd got to carry Seth right into the operating room.  He was dressed up in a white jumpsuit complete with booties and a cap!  I should have gotten a picture. Oh well.  Seth is daddy's little boy right now, so it only seemed appropriate to let Seth have his favorite man take him in.  I headed to the waiting area to wait.  During the surgery, the nurse called twice to tell us how things were going.  On the second phone call, her update was that they were trying to get the cochlear in.  I just assumed that this meant they were working on it.  (After meeting with the surgeon, I finally understood why she said "trying".)  Seth had to have two procedures done.  One thing they did was to take out the tube that was in his ear and close that hole up.  We were told that you usually don't have a tube in your ear and a Cochlear Implant in the same ear. This would take approximately an hour.  And of course the other thing they did was the Cochlear Implant.  This would take approximately three hours.  So, we sat down to wait.  Todd had worked the night before and tried to get some sleep in.  He tried the waiting room couch, and then ended up in his car for a little while.  By hour five, we were thinking, wow! this is taking a little longer.  Fifteen minutes later the nurse calls and says they are finally through and that the surgeons would be up shortly to talk to us.  When they arrived, they took us to the room next door and one of the first things the surgeon told us was that Seth had an unusally anatomy.  In all of the other 149 cochlear implants that he had done, he had never seen anything like Seth's.  When the surgeon began drilling through the bone to get to the cochlea, he said normally it's like cutting through butter, but with Seth, he really had to drill, which is unusual.  He said he had to stop and double check things and think things through.  He wanted to be sure he was doing everything right.  I'm not exactly sure what is going on in Seth's ears as far as the anatomy is concerned, but he mentioned things like cochlear ossification and otosclerosis.  Both these things have to do with the irregular ways the bones in the ears can grow. (You can google both these terms to learn more about it.)  It is his opinion that this is why Seth is deaf as both these conditions cause deafness.  When we meet with him again, I will see if we can get this cleared up and have a precise diagnosis about what is going on in his ears.  We were suppose to have a genetic test done to see if this is caused by a specific gene, but there was a mix up in the vials, so it wouldn't be able to get done.  Oh well, we'll just try again another time for that.  If it is genetic, then at least he knows his children may be at risk for being deaf.  If not, than it was just one of those kooky flaws or it could be because of his prematurity as well.  Prematurity plays havoc on the eyes, why not the ears?  So, after talking with the surgeons, we got to go back to see Seth, and he was not a happy camper!  He did not like anything that was going on and kept trying to throw up.  After a little medicine to help that, he fell into a deep slumber. Below is a picture of the incision behind his ear.  Normally, his head would be all wrapped up, but Seth would have none of that, so the surgeon said not to fight him and just keep it off.

 The picture right above reminds me so much of his face after his final surgery in the NICU.  His eyes would get all puffy and that's what they did this time as well.  Below shows us finally out of the PACU and into an area where we waited until we felt ok with taking Seth home.  Of course, we didn't stay there long.  That's a perk of having a husband as a nurse!

 And this picture above is Seth with his Koala.  All cochlear implant pediatric patients get one.  The koala's head is all wrapped up like Seth's should have been.  In a few weeks when Seth has his CI activated, the koala will get his CI as well.  So cute!  Now, just to make things clear if you don't understand.  The cochlear implant is not activated right now.  Some people at church made comments that led me to think that they thought he could hear right away, but I had to correct them.  We will wait about four weeks to let everything heal.  We will then see the audiologist who will attach the outer parts of the implant, the part that goes behind his ear and attaches to the magnet that was implanted under his scalp.  Over a period of several months, we will work with Seth to adjust his implant to the right settings.  We will also be working with him to take those sounds that he hears and turn them into words.  It will take time for his brain to take all those sounds and divide them up and put meaning with it.  But at least he's had some experience with sound, so he knows words have meaning.  I can't wait for activation, but on the other hand have to prepare for the fact that it may not be just that simple.


tammy lu said...

Yay! I am so glad everything went so well. The picture with Seth and the koala is SO cute!

Matt and Denise said...

That was quite faschinating to read... Glad the surgery went well...so is it time for the CI to be activated or did that already happen and we missed it?