4 Weeks Post-Op

I can’t believe it’s already been a month since I was swiftly wheeled out of the hospital and plopped into the passenger seat of our mid-sized sedan like a giant 200lb sack of potatoes, mere hours after having the inside of my right ear infiltrated and tinkered with in hopes of improved hearing. At least it was a legitimate hospital and not some seedy alleyway somewhere in Thailand, like I always imagined surgeries like that would have to take place.

I just celebrated my 44th birthday two days ago and if you would’ve asked me 6 months prior if I had any hope of ever hearing better without hearing-aids, I probably would’ve laughed in your face and cried a little on the inside. For the past 43 years, I just assumed the way I hear is the way I hear and that’s that. I didn’t know anything about Otosclerosis or stapedectomies or that I had it and could have a procedure to correct it. But here I am, 44yrs old facing a major life change I never thought possible and the process has been, well…a process.

But to be honest, this whole ordeal has not been all sunshine and rainbows. It hasn’t been the mind-blowing experience some have described that I was hoping to achieve. Some have chronicled the joys of listening to some of their favorite albums with newborn ears. Discovering things they never heard before, experiencing it all in a brand new light. After four weeks, I wish I could say the same, but I’m still having difficulty hearing and it’s a bit discouraging and disappointing.

Nonetheless, I cannot allow that to consume my thoughts, and as much as a pessimist as I can be, I am trying to remain cautiously optimistic. As sometimes these things just take time. My brain has been used to hearing one way for so long and now it’s being flooded with new sounds it never experienced before. There has been some improvements, just not the results that I oh so desired. I was hoping for more clarity when people would talk to me. Now, if there are other outside noises, and O.M.G. are there so many of them, I feel overwhelmed and distracted, making it hard to concentrate on what is being said.

Things that I never found extraordinarily loud or flinching suddenly sounds amplified to a somewhat ear-piercing degree. TV shows still sound muffled and hard to decipher, especially one of my favorites, Letterkenny. I spontaneously splurged, rewarding myself with a nice new AV receiver, specifically in hopes of hearing things better. It was an early birthday present for enduring that condition and to celebrate my new found hearing capabilities, and the end result so far has been “Meh”. Don’t get me wrong, it sounds amazing, but my ears are just not adjusted and shows still seem to blast music and then sharply drown out the dialogue.

Maybe I’m not being realistic and was expecting too much, too soon. It’s just the way I’m hearing now isa constant reminder of the unknown and it’s torture. You turn to the internet for answers, (big mistake) perhaps seeking some comfort that this is all normal and everything will be totally fine in the end. But the internet does what the internet is famous for doing, it gives you any angle you are searching for. Whatever echo chamber you crave is out there. But the people that are the loudest and most vocal are the ones that are unhappy and when you’re reading other people’s horror stories, it’s hard not to dive down the slippery spirally sloping slide, down the negativity rabbit hole. The more you read, the more you slide, the deeper you get and the harder it is to come back to earth.

The unknown is scary! But when you think about it, we don’t know jack shit! We face the unknown every waking, and sleeping for that matter, moment we are alive on this earth. You never know for sure what’s ahead of you. You can allow that to consume you and remain stagnant and paralyzed in fear, or you can just keep moving forward, trusting everything will all work out in someway, shape or form in the end. If my ear was to just stop working one day, all the worrying and fear couldn’t have stopped it from happening.

I just gotta keep on keeping on and hope things only improve as the packing dissolves, I heal and my brain adapts to the new volume of chaos this earth churns out daily. The waiting is the hardest part and the discomfort I feel only makes it harder. But nothing good comes easy, I suppose, so I’ll wait and update later.

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