Second Time Around by Trish Hubschman #DeafBlind, #CochlearImplant, #Surgery

Second Time Around by Trish Hubschman #DeafBlind, #CochlearImplant, #Surgery

Second Time Around

By Trish Hubschman

December 2023

 

Two years after I had my first disaster cochlear implant surgery in 2002, I was again headed into in the operating room, at a different hospital, with a different doctor.  The Head of the Speech and Hearing department at the first hospital referred me to Dr. Tom Roland at New York University hospital in Manhattan as a special case. Kevin called and made an appointment with Dr. Roland and Mom and I went into the city for it. Now, here I was, sitting in a surgery waiting room, wearing a hospital gown, cold and edgy. I was shivering badly. Mom and Kevin were with me. It was September 8, 2004.

“What time is it?” I asked.

There was rustling, then Mom replied, “Eleven-thirty. I’m sure the doctor will be in soon.”

I slumped back in my chair. My surgery had been scheduled for ten. Where was Dr. Roland? “I have an idea. It’s almost lunchtime. Let’s go to Caravella’s and get something to eat. We can come back another time.” Caravella’s was a  coffee shop a few blocks from the hospital. Mom and I went there when we came here.

Kevin sniffed. “You know you can’t eat before surgery,” he told me. “We’ll have something to eat later.”

I was afraid he’d say that, but I was hungry. The doctor came into the room then and extended his hand to Kevin, who hadn’t met him yet. “There was a problem with the first surgery today,’ he said. The first one had been at six a.m. He held up his hand. “Everything’s fine. We’ll be ready for you in a few minutes,” he explained to me, then left the room.

A nurse did come in. She looked frazzled. “We can’t find a wheelchair to take you into surgery. Would you be able to walk in yourself? You can lean on my arm.” she asked.

I think my mouth dropped open. “Um, sure,” I replied. I tried to get up from the chair and my knees buckled, but between Kevin and the nurse, I was able to stand eventually and walked into the operating room. I climbed onto the table, holding the back of the very revealing hospital gown. There were three or four people standing around the table. When the anesthesiologist poked the IV needle into my hand, I sat bolt upright and tried to escape, but a whole bunch of  hands eased me back down on the table. Drat. That’s the last thing I knew before all went blank.

. .

I drifted in and out of consciousness. It was more comfortable being inside me and I fought to keep my eyes closed, so I could stay there.

“Are you asleep?” a female voice asked.

I wanted to say yes, I was still asleep, but instead, slowly opened my eyes. I was very confused as I glanced around me. “What time is it?” I asked.

“Around six,” she replied. ‘You’ve been in Recovery five hours.”

My eyes widened. I tried to sit up quickly, but the dizziness and nausea were too overwhelming. I sank back down onto the pillow. Her hands were on my shoulders. “Take it easy. Calm down,” she soothed.

“Where’s Mom and Kevin?” I asked. She looked confused. “My mother and husband.” I tried again.

“They’re waiting for you in your room,” she replied.

I shook my head. That hurt too. “I don’t have a room here. I’m not staying overnight,” I protested.

“The doctor wants you to stay here tonight, so we can keep an eye on you,” she said. I wasn’t going to stay and Dr. Roland said I didn’t have to. I told her that. She patted my shoulder. “We’ll see. Now, the orderlies are going to take you back to your room.  Be a good girl, please,” she said lightly.

That’s what the two guy orderlies did. Two nurses walked beside the gurney. I was sitting up and protesting. They were laughing. I wasn’t being funny, or not trying to be, at least. I was serious here.

“How about getting into bed and resting for a little while?” one of the nurse’s said. “Would you be willing to do that?”

I had to think about it. ”Okay, but don’t try to trick me into staying here overnight.” I pointed a finger at her.

She smiled and held up her hand. “Scout’s honor.’ She helped me into the hospital bed and pulled the sheet over me.

“I’m hungry,” I announced.

The other nurse quickly turned. “I’ll see what I can get you to eat.’ She raced out of the room. The other

one left too. She went to look for the doctor. Mom came over and sat on the bed.

“Did you guys have something to eat?” I asked Mom.

“Sure did,” she replied. “Kevin took me to Carabella’s.”

My eyes widened. “Did you bring me anything back?”

Kevin had enough. He slammed down whatever he’d been reading. “Can you do what you’re told for once? Settle down and take a nap.”

I pouted. “I’m afraid I’ll fall asleep in New York City. What if you guys aren’t here when I wake up? What if you are here?” I said. “I’m worried about you guys, worried about our new dog at home, worried about if she tore the house apart.”

Mom patted my shoulder. Kevin spoke. “Let us worry about that stuff. Now, go to sleep.”

So, I did. When I woke up, it was very dark outside. that scared me. The doctor and nurse came into the room. He had signed the discharge papers and they could take me home. He gave Kevin some instructions, then told me I could get dressed. I was so excited. I started to jump out of bed. Mom was searching for the bag of clothes.

“I must have left your stuff down in the room we started out in hours ago,” Mom said.

I think I was hysterical. “You lost my clothes? Please find them. If you don’t, I’m leaving here wearing this lovely hospital gown with my bare skin butt hanging out.” That generated more laughter. I meant it.

Mom raced from the room with the nurse.

She was back fifteen minutes later with my clothes bag. The nurse was behind her. She had actually found a wheelchair, though it was broken. Kevin got up to go to reclaim the car from a garage down the street. Somehow, we managed to meet in the circle outside the front door of the hospital and Mom and I slid into the backseat.

“What time is it?” I asked.

“Probably around ten,” Mom replied. “It shouldn’t take long to get home. Lay your head on my shoulder and go to sleep.”

No matter what time of day or night it is, there’s always traffic on the Long Island Expressway. It did take a long time to get home, but we finally pulled into our own driveway. Our new dog, Hope, hadn’t ripped the house apart, but she did have to go outside. Mom put me to bed and Kevin went to get my medicine and some soup. I don’t know where he would find either at this hour. I didn’t ask. I desperately needed pain killers when I woke up in the middle of the night screaming. The surgery was on Wednesday. I went back to work the following Monday. I still couldn’t hear anything. I wouldn’t until the audiologist in the city activated the implant and fitted me with the external device. That would be in a few weeks. Right now, I had to recover from surgery.

. .

Nineteen days later, Mom and I took the train to Penn Station, then a cab to First Avenue to see the NYU  audiologist. Betsy put the external device on my left ear. It looked like a behind-the-ear hearing aid and had a magnet that went above my ear. She then turned both internal and external devices on, did the beep test to program it. She kept up a stream of banter and we had a conversation , though I didn’t even realize I was keeping up my end of it until  I heard Mom crying behind me. I turned.

“Why are you crying?” I asked Mom. I was truly confused.

“Because you’re hearing what Betsy is saying,” she replied.

We were in the city again the next day, to see Dr. Roland for a follow-up, then to Betsy’s office for another programming. Our next visit to the city was Columbus Day in October, then right before Christmas. The travelling was fun, but exhausting and Betsy was very helpful. It was all upward for three years.  I switched to a more local audiologist on Long Island after that.

I was at the Speech and Hearing Center at the hospital where I had the first disaster surgery. They didn’t have much faith in the cochlear implant. That didn’t help me any. I started going downhill at this point. In 2010, Kevin and I moved further east on Long Island and I again switched hospitals for my hearing needs.  The new audiologist had a very negative view of deaf-blind people having the CI. I got an upgrade on the external device I had, called N5, and for a time, it did seem to improve things. In 2019, we moved to Pennsylvania, Again, a new audiologist and another upgrade, N7. I liked all the audiologists, but no one did what Betsy had for my hearing. That’s what I told the latest audiologist when we moved to South Carolina in October 2023. I put in for another up[grade,N8,and we’ll see what happens from here.

To be Continued…

 

Latest Release from Trish Hubschman…

Gayle’s Tales: Tracy Gayle Mysteries

by Trish Hubschman

Copyright December 23, 2022

The book is for sale from Smashwords (e-book only) and from Amazon in e-book ($3.99), paperback ($8.50), and hardcover ($16.50).

175 pages in print.

Find full book details and more on Trish’s Website here.

 

Synopsis:

Gayle’s Tales is a collection of Tracy Gayle mystery short stories.

Everyone’s favorite couple, Tracy and Danny, are still going strong, romantically and professionally, rocking and rolling and solving crimes.

Tracy has to locate missing persons who vanished decades earlier.

She gets tangled in murder investigations she hadn’t anticipated.

She digs into a coal mining town that’s been uninhabited for 40 years and discovers secrets and skeletons.

In the end, she brings long–lost family members and friends back into each other’s arms and lives.

Through all this, she and Danny are planning their wedding extravaganza at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.

Tracy narrates her own adventures in these tales, as she does in the books.

 

Trish loves to hear from readers. Please reach out to her at:

plutzhub@gmail.com

 

 

2 Comments

  1. Trish Hubschman Reply
    January 18, 2024

    In 2002, I had a disaster C I surgery. I was afraid to try again but I knew I had to. i was completely deaf on the left side now. The Cochlear implant is a lifetime commitment but I think it’s worth it.

    1. Hi, Trish.
      I’m glad you took the plunge.
      I’m sure you’re up to whatever is on the horizon.
      Thanks for sharing your story with us.

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