The Story of the Surgery (part 5)

March 3, 2009

"So as it turns out, you don't have otosclerosis."

Confusion. Shock. "What? Really?"

"Yes, when I got in there it looks like the anvil in your ear had been moved to the side. The kind of thing that happens with blunt force head trauma. I went ahead and tried to move the anvil back into place, but was unable to. So I took it out and put in a prosthetic."

"But I thought Dr. Nambar said you could tell from the MRI that I definitely had it. That it was actually rare for it to show up on an MRI.

"Yes well, sometimes those MRIs are a little muddy. It's hard to tell."

So as it turns out, my suspicions were confirmed. I did not have otosclerosis, but what was more disconcerting is that I had apparently had some kind of blunt force head trauma and that Dr. Jahn decided to go ahead and remove a different part of my ear without asking me. Had the aliens been experimenting on me again? My only recollection of abnormal injury occurred a couple years ago while dating Suzan. I was playing soccer with students from ITP when I ran into this hulking guy full bore. It was a solid hit as I recall, but one that left me still standing. I even walked across the Brooklyn bridge and back the next day to have pizza at Grimaldi's, so sore I didn't notice the pain in my chest that lingered for days afterward. I went to see a doctor who found I had broken my topmost right rib. The first bone I've ever broken. Evidently, I had also dislodged the anvil in my ear, for it was a few months after that that the ringing started and a few months more that I realized my hearing had been compromised. Talk about random accidents.

On the one hand I was relieved that I didn't have some disease that could potentially affect my hearing in both ears. On the other hand, Dr. Jahn tested my new prosthesis only to find that my hearing had actually gotten worse. The ringing and the deep rushing sound in the background had now grown louder, making it incredibly hard to hear in large spaces with ambient noise. I was panicked wondering if I would have compromised hearing for the rest of my life. Dr. Jahn gave it another 5 weeks to see if anything settled. When it didn't, he thought that perhaps the new anvil wasn't in the right position (a tricky business) and we scheduled another surgery to make it right. Although I was dreading the process, at least I knew what I was up against. Still, I had this lingering suspicion that perhaps there was a larger diagnoses to be considered. I had also been having shooting pains in my left jaw and a clicking sound occasionally in my left ear. Dr. Jahn said there was no doubt that the displaced anvil was a significant part of the problem and that he thought we should have a second surgery before considering further diagnoses. He said that this time we would use "twilight anesthesia" which wouldn't put me under so totally and allow us to test the ear on the operating table. We scheduled the surgery for March 2.