I’ve been back in Boulder for a week now, recovering from my ear surgery two weeks ago. I can’t believe it’s been two weeks already, but I’ve made lots of progress.
My hearing is starting to come back a little bit in the left ear. I’d say it’s at about 10% right now, but a week ago it was at 0%. I can’ t understand conversations, but I can hear people’s voices in that ear when they’re talking at normal levels. The sounds are all kinda quiet and “squeaky” though. Even stranger, the audio is interpreted by my brain as being slightly delayed and out of pitch compared to the right ear. That makes listening to music a bit less than delightful, and someone when Beth’s talking to me I turn so my good (right) ear is pointed at her so I don’t have as much of this double signal problem.
Speaking of hearing, it seems like the extreme loudness of my voice buzzing in my ear (autophony) has gotten better over the past week or so. Maybe I’m just getting used to it, but I do think it’s decreasing a bit. Also, the ringing sound has gotten quieter than it was right after surgery. That said, it’s still there 24/7. Last night I was feeling irrationally grumpy about it; after a full day of this loud non-stop ringing, I just wish it would stop.
The surgical wound continues to heal up. A week ago it started scabbing over, and Beth has been putting antibiotic ointment on it once a day, which is supposed to reduce the scarring I’ll ultimately have. Since then, some of the bits of scab have come off, which I guess is nice.
I’ve also finished nearly all of the post-surgery medicine. The first couple days after surgery I think I was taking about 7 or 8 different things. Over the past week that dropped to 3 and then to 1 and now to 0. I don’t even have to have antibiotic drops in my ears anymore. The only special thing right now is that I have to put a vaseline-covered cotton ball in my left ear while I’m taking a shower, to prevent water from getting in the ear canal.
My dizziness has been pretty low, which is nice. I’ve also been able to get out most days for a walk. It’s funny. I’ll walk for a while feeling just fine and then all of a sudden I’ll just get really, really tired. I guess my brain is working harder than I realize, reprogramming how it handles balance input. And then at some point, it’s just all out of energy. That has happened to me walking to the park, putting dishes away from the dishwasher, and walking at a nearby birding area.
This is the main reason I don’t feel like I’m ready to return to work yet. I don’t want to get most of the way through the work day, and then suddenly have my brain run out of steam. I wouldn’t feel safe driving in that state, and wouldn’t be comfortable taking the bus, and wouldn’t want to wait for someone (Beth, almost certainly) to come pick me up from the office and take me home.
So I’m definitely not going back to work next week, which is kinda too bad because I had imagined resuming work the day before Thanksgiving so I could get paid for Thanksgiving and the day after. Instead, I’ll continue to be on unpaid medical leave. Maybe I’ll be more ready to return the week after.
By the way, thanks for reading. If any of this has been helpful or amusing, please leave me a note in the comments section.
If you haven’t read the rest of the story of my ear surgery and recovery but you want to, I’ve categorized all the blog posts with the category “Ears” so you can go right here to find them all. Look at the dates, because if you go back in time too far, you’ll find posts related to my first ear surgery over four years ago.