Unexpected SurgeryFast Forward 5 years. Few weeks before 2011 ended, I had some discharge in the same left ear and I promptly scheduled an appointment with my ENT. I was hopping it to be a regular infection just like previous times and a course on antibiotics would help me relieve me of my familiar pain. Thankfully, it did however I was informed this time that there existed a perforation in the tympanic membrane. That's medical speak for "hole in the ear drum" I was amused and wondered if it was all result of my previous experiences with water almost a decade back but that was history and we had to move forward. I was advised a course of antibiotics to help stop and remove infection, followed by a surgery - Tympanoplasty to fix the perforation that existed in my left ear
PrognosisThe following month after my semester exams were done with, I spent the next weeks taking second, third & fourth opinions on state of my ear. In all, it was concluded by all doctors that surgery was the only definitive treatment with a success rate of 90%. I felt disconnected from all that was happening inside my ear and from the doctors because I for one, was in no pain. My infection had been eradicated but was told that the only cure was a surgery. Without which, I had a high probability of catching it again exposing myself to the high spectrum of risks each time, should it happen.
RisksI was told to undergo Tympanoplasty & Mastoidectomy. Tympanoplasty is surgery to reconst the ear-drum while Mastoidectomy is surgery to remove cells in the hollow, air-filled spaces in the skull behind the ear. The risks if I delayed could rage from :
- Changes in taste
- Hearing loss
- Noises in the ear
- facial nerve injury
Day of the SurgeryI remember getting ready early morning on the day of my scheduled surgery. Not eating / drinking anything from past midnight had me feeling hungry and excited. It was something new for me and I was hoping everything would turn out well. I remember being led away by the surgeon coordinating the operation and the team of people who were to operate on my left ear. I happily said Bye to my mom and dad and walked away to the Operation Theater. I particularly, remember remarking "This looks scary" as I entered the OT and the surgeon made a quick remark - "Scared? Be a man. We'll take good care of you. It'll be fine" . My instant observations were large OT with numerous microscopes and medical instruments hanging from the ceiling. A little green stretcher with a head rest which seemed to have been prepared for my arrival. I was laid down and covered with some blankets so I felt warm and cozy. The OT felt a bit cold which I assume could have been because of my fear or the winter season. I lay there and the preparations started. One guy stuck sensors on my chest and torso while another placed a Sphygmomanometer to monitor my pulse rates. One Doc shaved the left side of my head around the left ear giving me a mushroom cut on the side. The doctor was friendly and made sure I was comfortable. I had a woman anesthetist walk in greeting me and asking me lots of questions about me in general so as to distract me while she pocked me with a needle in my hand. It was then I realized, it was TIME. I don't recall much after some sharp pain in one of my hand as the anesthesia worked its way through intravenously. Somewhere as the thoughts meandered across my mind and I convinced myself to feel the effects of anesthesia. In a few moments, I passed out. I remember walking up with a headache, confusion and LOTS of let-me-sleep-some-more feeling. I had a nurse come in drop some water droplets from the dropper onto my lips. I felt good. My lips felt dry and water seemed different as it moistened my lips and mouth. Just a few drops and not more. My surgeon came in, called my dad and asked me if I wanted to talk. I remember hearing my Dad on the speakerphone and me replying "Dad, I want to sleep, let me sleep" and some incoherent babble before I again passed out. I had large bandage around my head with lots of padding over the left ear. I was discharged from the hospital the same day in the evening after the effects of anesthesia subsided. Below is how I looked after the event was over. This one's 4 hours after the surgery.