Before blogging about appointment day #2, I wanted to share that I am officially less than a month away from surgery day. I feel like October is flying by and November is right around the corner. In one way I am thankful that I am busy with family and work which gives me less time to think about surgery day. On the other hand it scares and excites me that November 15 is around the corner.
I found this photo and had to share. Trust Your Struggle.
Appointment Day Part 2: Trust
After an exhausting morning in audiology, Troy and I returned back to the waiting room for part 2 of my CI evaluation with the Otolaryngologist or in my case the CI Surgeon. As with any doctor’s office, the wait gets longer the later your appointment is in the day. Sitting in the waiting room, I became hyperaware of why I was there. I was scanning the room and wondering who else was there for a CI appointment? Several individuals I picked out right away as the CI was visible and noticeable on the side of their head. Troy was hyperaware as well noticing a gentleman with a CI. He was immediately intrigued and asking if that is what it would look like if I decided to move forward.
As we were waiting, I also felt a level of ease to have been in collaboration with Dr. Adunka on another project involving children with hearing loss in the state of Ohio. Although our paths did not intersect frequently, they did intersect. I knew of Dr. Adunka and he knew of me. I do admit that I did my research about Dr. Adunka. Many of us would admit that when they are going to have a specialized procedure of any kind, it is important to do your research and feel confident in the person that you may be putting trust in.
Finally, my name was called.
We waited a few minutes in the examining room before Dr. Adunka arrived. When he arrived, he had an entourage of medical students with him as well. Being a professional, I understand the importance of teaching and training the future, so having more who can learn from an experience is important.
Feeling Comfortable and Gaining Trust:
During this appointment, I felt my trust barometer increasing as the appointment continued. Dr. Adunka respected my professional expertise and background as an audiologist but also recognized that I am now on the patient side which brings another set of emotions and questions.
Dr. Adunka reconfirmed that my hearing loss was in the candidacy range for a cochlear implant and explained to Troy and I about that process. This was my turn to examine my own barometer of trust with a cochlear implant team. I want to be 200% comfortable with the CI surgeon, audiologist, and cochlear implant center before going forward with any option.
There were certain moments that stuck out in the appointment that increased my trust barometer. One is that Dr. Adunka recognized that Troy is going to be an important part of the success of the CI journey and asked him specific questions about how we communicated and understand each other. He asked Troy if he noticed when I had trouble communicating. He asked Troy if he had questions about the process. Dr. Adunka also increased my trust barometer when he asked what my concerns, questions, and fears were. I answered that my greatest fear and my greatest excitement are the same, which is ironic. I am fearful because I know after getting a CI, I will never hear the same again. I am excited because I know after getting a CI, I will hear in a way that I have never heard before. Dr. Adunka explained that I was an excellent candidate for structural preservation which means that during surgery, he intends to “save” some of my existing low frequency hearing. Wow, I know it is not 100% guarantee, but the possibility of having some awareness to sound naturally is optimistic. He also pointed out that since I was “wired” for sound now, my brain would be able to be trained to interpret this new type of sound. (Of course, I understand this as an audiologist and also know this will not happen without A LOT of therapy and practice afterwards). Another barameter increase for me was that Dr. Adunka has completed numerous CI’s with all 3 of the current companies. He also has been involved with research and clinical trials over the years. He assured me that if I moved forward, he personally would be the one doing the surgery.
For me, the whole process at Ohio State increased my trust barometer.
My Final Appointment Question:
I honestly shocked myself at the appointment when I asked, what would the next steps be? Dr. Adunka answered that I could get a CT scan today and schedule surgery if that was the choice I wanted to make. My gut, my mind, and my heart were ready to move forward.
I left Columbus with a surgery date. NOV 15, 2019.
We all have struggles in our life. How will you trust your struggle so that your struggle becomes your strength?