The Story of the Surgery (part 3)

March 1, 2009

Dr. Jahn seemed a pleasant enough fellow, older with resigned drooping features like a basset hound. He discussed my options: do nothing in which case the ear would likely get worse and possibly affect the other ear; get a hearing aid (give me a break, I'm in my thirties); or have an stapedectomy. In an stapedectomy, the stapes (one of the smallest bones in the human body roughly the size of a grain of rice) is removed and a prosthetic fitted into place that would vibrate more easily. Jahn has performed hundreds of these microscopic surgeries over 27 years and has only had three cases that were unsuccessful. Typically the success rate is around 90% with 5% having no difference and 5% of cases whose hearing actually gets worse. These seemed like pretty good odds considering I may have to do the exact same surgery on the other ear eventually, so I scheduled the precedure for mid-November. I would be required to take a week off work and I figured the Thanksgiving holiday would give me additional time to recuperate.

As the date approached I was fairly nervous. I had never been to a hospital except for once when I was four and cut just above my eye on the corner of a sharp, rusty metal stairwell in our apartment building. Like my father, I'm not a fan of doctor's or hospitals and didn't know what to expect. I've also been put under general anesthesia only once when getting my wisdom teeth removed and didn't like that lack of coordination, that absence of memory. I arranged for Jesse to pick me up and followed all the pre-operative guidelines. My surgery was scheduled for 7:30 am meaning I had to be there at 6 in the morning. Being not at all a morning person either, I prepared for my personal descent into hell.