27 January 2008

The One Where I Have Ear Surgery

Four years ago, I had surgery to remove a cyst (that I'd had since birth) from my left ear.

I had it again last week.

The first time I had some goober of a plastic surgeon who looked like John Travolta, if he'd eaten John Travolta, was overly jovial and smiled his greasy little smile - a lot - and I distrusted him instantly. He had two practices - one for insurance patients in downtown San Jose and one for private patients in Palo Alto.

If only I'd known...

Apparently the "insurance" patients didn't get the same level of care as the private patients. Oh, god, at least I hope that's true. Oh, dear... Those people payed a lot of money for him to screw up their surgeries.

My surgery was a disaster. I was told, "Once it's gone, it's gone." He didn't mention that after the surgery it wasn't gone.

In the years that followed, I twice had to have someone slice open my ear as an emergency measure to relieve the pressure on the nerves in my face. One of those times I got Demerol and lost an entire day, one of those times I did not. At least once, the husband threatened to open my ear using some rubbing alcohol and a packet of razor blades. He wasn't kidding. On that occasion, I stayed up all night with a hot compress on my ear until the pus, fluid and other unidentifiable humors forced their way out through my skin and I was saved from a third impromptu surgery.

Whenever I caught cold or flu, I was terrified that I would be subjected to the pain and aggravation of that ear. I ended up with a two-year supply of Augmentin that went with me everywhere (passport, check; toothbrush, check; Augmentin, check) and with which I became so skilled in dosing myself, that I was no longer required to check in with my doc when I felt that my ear was flaring up and suspected I needed it. Sad.

This surgery is supposed to remedy all of that.

This time, my surgery was done on the NHS, where I was instructed to call the morning of my surgery to ensure that there was a bed for me (seriously) and where I was placed in a ward where the average age of my fellow patients was, roughly, Methuselah.

At the moment my ear looks like they Frankenstein'd me with parts from Alfred E. Neuman and it's as though I am hearing through an ear that's on top of my ear. My throat feels like I was intubated with with a 2-x-4 that had extra-large splinters and a grove of nails that had been cultivated for their particular brand of rusty dullness. For some bizarre reason, I'm terribly congested.

And yet, strangely, I have higher hopes for this surgery than I did for the one I had in the U.S.

I'm recovering, though I'm grumpy due to a lack of sleep (the congestion combined with sleeping on my right side are keeping me awake) and I'm looking forward to being able to tilt my head back without it feeling so heavy that it may fall off.

I'll keep you posted.

Good wishes and gifts of Häagen-Dazs vanilla bean ice cream are always welcome!


Pugwash said...

I'm glad you will be free of the terror of impromptu surgery by "the husband" who BTW is the medical man onboard ship!

Kate Schmidt said...

Yuck! I am sending happy healing thoughts to you. If I could send you a martini through the Internets, I'd do that, too!

Black Purl said...

Oooooh... a martini....

WantonWriter said...

Best wishes, Van Gogh! Feel better!