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Timing is Everything...Timing with My Cochlear Implant

Timing is everything, right? Interesting fact: When I was little Dr. William House, the inventor of the Cochlear Implant, actually flew to Dayton, Ohio because my doctor at the time was training under him. He then looked at my case to see if I was a candidate for a CI. How crazy is that! This was in the early 1980s and this surgery had not yet been performed on children. I was placed on a waiting list; however, my parents never felt peace about having it done. As I got older, I've always had a surgeon's name in my hip pocket and continued to wrestle with whether or not it was time. Timing is everything.

Fast forward to 2020...

July 2020, we were in a car accident. Sometimes something needs to happen in life to make you take the next step. If push comes to shove, right? That push became the shove that ended up being a blessing in disguise that I needed. After the accident, I made an appointment with my audiologist because my hearing was basically gone in my left ear and had significantly dropped in my right. When I met with my audiologist, I was told that was my last straw and there was nothing more hearing aids could do and I needed to reconsider a CI. I was given three names of recommended surgeons because my previous doctor had become the head of the department and wasn't performing surgeries. So Joseph made an appt with one. Then after several days of researching all 3 names, I had him call and cancel that appt and make an appt with Dr. Rivas. After reading numerous articles written about him and his endless credentials, I knew he was surgeon that I wanted to go with. Would you believe that he joined UH Hospital June 2020 the month before the accident. Timing is everything.

That started the process which has a lot of steps: candidate screening, extensive hearing tests, a MRI, a CAT Scan, immunizations, etc. My first appt with Dr. Rivas confirmed he was the doctor for me. He is the most gentle and kind person. He listens and has excellent people skills. He is incredibly brilliant and skilled at what he does. After looking at the MRI and CAT Scans, he diagnosed the true cause of my hearing loss. I was misdiagnosed when I was little and I have always wondered because not everything with that diagnosis added up and made sense. 38 years of questions answered in one appointment. I have always prayed for clarity and answers. Sometimes in life, God answers immediately and other times, He answers 38 years later. It felt surreal sitting in that chair in his office and getting an answer to something I've wanted to know my entire life. Timing is everything.

In October 2020, the newest CI device was released. It is small and does not have an ear piece. This was one reason I previously didn't want it done. I didn't want something huge on the back of my head. Vanity, vanity, I know, but being honest here. My surgery date was December 2020 which allowed me to receive the newest device. Had the timing been different, this wouldn't have been possible. We had also met our with 6 kids, so the surgery was covered, except the anesthesia...hmmmm? Gonna fight the insurance on that one. Clearly not optional. Timing is everything.

Surgery and recovery went flawless. I had a hard time getting comfortable and sleeping the first night. There was a snowstorm that night, so I laid awake watching the snowplows go up and down the main road outside my window, but after three days, I felt great. To me that says a lot about a surgeon. They did have to shave a small section of my hair, but it is not noticeable. This is for those of you who are medically fascinated. Kinda gross, but our bodies are truly amazing. Progression of healing:

Then the wheels came off the bus on day 4, I ended up having severe vertigo attacks and was sick throwing up nonstop for 36hours. I lost 14 pounds. Joseph was going to take me to the ER, but he was able to get ahold of Dr. Rivas who saw me immediately, which was Christmas Eve morning...bless him. Would you know, I was only the 5th out of over 750 surgeries where a patient experienced vertigo and the first, to experience it do to the crystals rolling out of place in my other ear. Go figure. I grew up with horrible vertigo due to an allergy, so I believe this experience had more to do with my personal anatomy and not the surgery. I had not had vertigo since I was 17, so it caught me off guard. Dr. Rivas knew the exactly what happened and how to treat it. Another reason to research and to pick a good thankful. It took 4 rounds of medication before I finally stopped throwing up and it was a full 2 two weeks before I felt alive again. Only sharing this experience to be open and honest about my personal journey. You never know what may help the next person...

Eventually, I will have my right ear done as well. Honestly, I have to gain courage to do it after getting so sick, but I know it now it will be worth it and the odds are in my favor. Now that I am hearing more and more, I kind of regret not doing this sooner, but I can't dwell on that and think of all the what ifs and what could've beens, but just rest in the fact that timing is everything...

One Change a Day,

Aime Beth


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