Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Roadblock, Detour, or Speed Bump
on My Path to A Cochlear Implant?
Tuesday June 4, 2013

When we start down an unfamiliar path, we don't know what is around the next corner   We can look at a map, but there can always be the unexpected: a roadblock, a detour, or maybe just a speed bump.  This is how I have often felt with my hearing loss,   We are often ready to accept minor changes to the route, but on the route to my Cochlear Implant, I was really afraid I might have plunged off a cliff Saturday evening.  Maybe it was just the feeling of falling...

I do love to work in the yard.  I love that look of a nicely manicured lawn.  Earlier in the week I had mowed the backyard, and Saturday morning I started edging and kept at it until I ran out of the nylon cutting line.  So I set about pulling weeds and trimming bushes and trees, until I could get Ron to refill edger with cutting line.  Late that afternoon after it began to cool off, Ron got the edger back in good shape for me to finish.  While I edged, he hauled my piles from my morning efforts.  I had stepped out the gate to edge along the front side of the fence where I had been working.  Suddenly I think the cutting line wrapped around a link in the fence and threw me for a loop.  Literally.  It was that feeling of falling,,,because I was falling!  Did my life flash before my eyes?  No, my Cochlear Implant surgery flashed before my eyes. 

For the months leading up to the surgery, I have tried to be careful.  I have avoided people who were ill.  I have thought I was taking care of myself, but I was being "done in" by an edger!  As I was falling, I was hoping to land on my lower arm, but instead, came crashing down on my left elbow.  Immediately I knew I had done major damage. I didn't "hear" anything break, but I knew I broke or dislocated something in the area of my elbow.  Pain engulfed me and I began hollering for Ron, hoping he was still in the yard and would hear my cries for help.  I saw him hobbling around the corner of the house with a look of pain and fear on his face. 

It was quickly evident he could not get me up off the ground without causing further pain and damage to me, so I asked him to get someone to help or to call for an ambulance.  He said I was obviously going to have to go to the hospital, so he opted for the ambulance.  Our wait was longer than expected but eventually one arrived.  The attendants later told me that the ambulance from our area was tied up and they were sent from another area.  These two young men, Oscar and Mario (I think) took excellent care of me as we headed for Valley Regional Hospital.  Both men had a gentle, kind attitude, and were very friendly.


Quickly, I was taken to a curtained cubicle in the Emergency Room. For the next several hours, an excellent staff met most of needs in a timely manner. I say most, because although I had been offered strong pain medications in the ambulance if I needed them, I chose to wait for the ER. It was a couple of hours before I was given anything in the ER to ease the growing pain.  Thankfully our son Jeff was able to come be with us until about midnight, when I was moved to a room on the third floor.  Jeff said he had left three of his kids crying when he came to check on me, because they had wanted to come be with Grandma.

What can be nice in the hospital at midnight on a Saturday night while suffering from a broken elbow?   Meeting this precious, kind, gentle nurse, Amanda.  Every time I would meet a new hospital employee, I would have to explain my deafness and ask them to speak into my amplifier.  Amanda quickly adjusted and worked at seeing that all the staff on her shift worked hard to communicate with me.  I got less than 15 minutes sleep all night Saturday as I dealt with pain, but a wonderful staff took good care of me.  With each injection of pain killer came one for nausea, but neither injection was enough to do the job.  By Sunday morning, the nausea was pretty bad.

Sunday morning, the orthopedic surgeon arrived.  He had reviewed the x-rays by phone at home Saturday night, so we knew the elbow was broken.  (technology is great!)  Dr, Olsen explained that there were two broken bones.  The top of the smaller bone in the lower arm was broken, and a bone in the joint was broken.  I may not have this exactly right since I was highly medicated and sleep deprived. He would need to wait until Monday to do the surgery, since they did not have the new socket in stock at the hospital, and he would need it on hand in case mine could not be repaired.  We explained to him about my scheduled Cochlear Implant surgery for June 10th.  He said the decision would be up to Dr. Chang, but as far as he was concerned, he saw no problem.  I told him I was to have no aspirin products and he said he could work around that.

I was too nauseated for breakfast.  Mom came by on her way to church.  Again, the nausea kept from eating the lunch I was served (Ron was being well fed).  Later Ron went to a near-by Kentucky Fried Chicken and got me some mashed potatoes.  I just ate about three bites,  Those didn't stay with me long, so when the nurse offered a different pain medication, I was ready to switch.  The new one did a lot better on the pain and decreased the nausea.  Our good friends the Lawlers came for a refreshing visit.  Supper looked, smelled, and tasted great, but again. about three bites of mashed potatoes was my limit. 

Surgery was scheduled for Monday but no time could be given yet.  No eating or drinking after midnight didn't really matter since I was doing little of either.  When my accident happened, I had been doing a couple of hours of hot, dirty yard work.  I had not yet been cleaned up since arriving at the hospital.  Sunday evening a nurse named Alma came in to give me a bath,  That was the best news I had gotten since arriving.  The bath was given to me in bed, complete with a wonderful hair washing.  Alma gets at least two gold stars!  The only thing was that my shirt (one of my favorites) had to be cut into pieces to get it off of me, along with my bra.  After the bath, getting my nice clean body into a clean bed was a perfect way to end a rough day.  At this point I think I will wrap up this entry and continue later with the surgery.



  1. Here come the tears! So glad you had Dr Olsen. Saw him when I thought I had a rotator cuff problem. He is very caring.