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Author Topic: Sleepless in Sydney - Post Operation  (Read 7379 times)
Joey
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« on: August 06, 2012, 12:17:29 PM »

Hello, I had my operation 5 days ago and I am recovering well. Seeing as though I have been resting and sleeping all day I thought I would share my story.

HISTORY
I am 31 yrs old male.
I have had dust allergies since I could remember and I do remember blowing out my ear drums numerous times when I blew my nose too hard.
I am not sure when my Ctoma actually started to grow, but I think a distinct turning point was when I went scuba diving for the first time in 2007 and my left ear drum ruptured which left my ear waterlogged for a few weeks. Since then, every time I went for a swim my ear would get waterlogged and soon result in bleeding and infection (without pain). This occurred some numerous times and I did see a doctor around 2008, but because the ear was full of gunk, he couldn't see the ear drum, he put me on antibiotics and asked me to return in two weeks. By that time my ear responded well to the antibiotics and my ear cleared up and I did not see a reason to go back to the doctor.
By 2012, the infections persisted and became more frequent (still with minimal pain). There was a brown, yellowish and sometimes bloody foul smelling secretion coming out of my ear, and I finally decided it was time to see a specialist. I also began to feel tension around my facial muscles particularly around the eye / temple area.

Diagnosis
After looking at my ear and CT Scans, the specialist immediately diagnosed me with Cholesteatoma. He advised it was at an advanced state which had surrounded my facial nerves and had eroded away the skull bone and was now very close to the brain "paper thin". Though not conclusive, he advised that it was likely the tension in my face muscles was a result of the Ctoma.
The CT scan and diagnosis all occurred during the first visit and an operation was booked to occur two weeks after. Naturally a lot went through my mind during this time including the waiting period. I got confirmation from the doctor that the cholesteatoma wouldn't spread to the facial nerve / brain during this time, but the thought was always on my mind. Though I am not a doctor, my understanding is that Cholesteatoma is always spreading, and therefore my advice would be to get it out as soon as possible. Why let it spread.

Surgery
My surgery was a morning session, I remember lying in bed having a good conversation with the anaesthetist as he hooked me up to the IV drip. Last thing I remember was him injecting something into my arm, I felt a cold rush through my veins, I was considering what to say next........I wake up in a sunny room dazed, I can feel numbness to my ear, tight bandage around my numb head. The nurse asks if I am in any pain, I tell her my head is a little sore, she injects me with something and immediately i feel the dull soreness disappear into more numbness. I am not 100% sure if any existing hearing bone was taken out, but the doctor did mention after the surgery that a prosthesis bone was installed into my ear.

Post Surgery
I was trolley'd to my room for an overnight stay. Perhaps the drugs had some involvement, but after the surgery I felt tremendous comfort and relief knowing that the foul thing was out of my head.
I had minimal pain, and I was very much in doubt whether I needed some of the pain killer tablets the nurses offered. The most discomfort was from the tightness of the bandage which was wrapped around my head, and this became increasingly uncomfortable as the head started to swell. The bandage was removed with much relief the morning after. however the bandage plug to the ear canal is to stay until I see the doctor 2 weeks after surgery.

Days 2-3
The next days my body is still lethargic and weak. Again, I am very surprised to feel no pain, but rather discomfort from the bandage plug in my ear. I am yet to take any of the pain killers prescribed to me. To me, there is just a numb sensation and it really does feel like the ear has been chopped off and stitched back on.
Psychologically there is discomfort in having to replace the cotton buds in the ear which is saturated in blood (which the doctor warmed me I would need to do 2-3 times a day). I am finding I am doing this around 6 times a day. Whats your experience with blood post surgery?

Days 4-5
I have gained strength and becoming restless, though when I do venture outside I find I tire quickly. I am also making a conscious effort to relax my head as much as possible as I feel any strain is making the ear bleed more. Other than this I am very thankful that I am feeling next to no pain.


Cost Estimates ($AU)
Not only is this a health problem it is also a financial burden:
Surgeon Cost Estimate - $9000 (Approx $1700 is covered by Medicare, and measly $450 by health insurer). I figure this will go up as he put in that prosthesis bone. There is another 4-5 post operation sessions to make sure it is healing as it should be.

Anaesthetist - $1500 (Approx half is covered my Medicare )

Operating Theatre Private Hosp - $4700 (Covered by private health depending on cover).

Hospital Stay Private Hosp - $870 per night (covered by private health depending on cover).


Each individuals experience will differ, but I hope this may help those who have a forthcoming operation. Don't fear the operation, its not like your at the dentist conscious of all the surroundings and the pain. You will be knocked out and you will be on the road to recovery before you know it.

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