my big vacation, if you want to call it that

Yesterday was my last day of work for seven weeks or so.  You see, I’m taking the next two weeks off as a combination of vacation and the annual Polycom office closure between Christmas and New Years.  And then the first week of 2010, I’m flying to Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  There, on Tuesday the 6th and Wednesday the 7th, I have pre-op tests, and then on Thursday the 8th I go in for surgery to have my superior semicircular canal dehiscence repaired.

The plan is for me to spend the first day after surgery in ICU and then the second day in a regular hospital bed.  Then, if all looks OK, I’m free to “go home” to recover for the rest of the week.  Of course, there’s no way I’ll be able to travel home that soon (it’s a 3 hour plane flight or a 19 hour drive by car).  So Beth and I are staying in a hotel for another 10 days or so.

I’m hoping to then fly home on January 21, where I’ll spend another two weeks recovering at home.  And then, assuming I’m ready, I’ll go back to work on February 9.  All told, that’s 7 weeks off work!  I wish I could say it was going to be fun, but recovering from major surgery isn’t likely to be really fun.  I guess I’ll get some rest, at least.  In fact, I expect to be bored out of my gourd by the end of it, and anxious to return to work.

Some other filmmakers and I are planning to do a few short films about various things related to my ear problems, including one film we hope to distribute nationally to health care providers to help teach them about this particular disorder, how to identify it, and where to turn for more information.


  1. Anne obrien

    Hi, I just found your wife’s blog from 2009 about your surgery experience. I too found Dr. Gianoli after 3 years of, “we aren’t sure what is going on with you….”.
    I’m curious if your documentary was ever made? And if you are still recovered from your fistula. I also was diagnosed with a fistula, although I’m not sure if that is the same as your diagnosis (I read you had a fistula repaired).
    Thanks in advance for your time,

    1. todd Author

      Hi, Anne. My wife’s blog is much more popular than mine, but if you want a lot of very detailed information about the surgery and recovery, I wrote up my experiences in excrutiating detail on the SCDSsupport.org forum, because I couldn’t find anywhere online that explained what to expect. I highly recommend that website.

      The documentary film was not ever made. Before I went in for surgery, a couple of filmmakers interviewed me to kick things off. But then one of them moved out of town and the other lost interested in the project. I did a video that’s on YouTube that explains what it sounds and looks like to have SCDS. That’s been fairly popular, but isn’t an actual documentary. I considered shooting a documentary myself on the topic, but after I healed up from surgery, I didn’t want to spend another several months (or more) focused on that topic. I just wanted to put it behind me and move on.

      That said, my other ear that wasn’t operated on has been getting worse, and I need to have the surgery on that side, too. The surgery on my right side worked like a charm and I’ve been very happy with the results. That’s why I want to go back to Dr. Gianoli to have the other ear repaired, even though it’ll cost a lot more money out of my pocket to do so.

      Feel free to drop me an email if you have any other questions.

  2. Sara Birkholz

    I was wondering if I could get in touch with both you and Anne O’Brien if she is still out there somewhere. I am considering a trip to see Dr. Gianoli. After a whiplash accident last August 7th, 2012…. I have been left with constant dizziness/ disequilibrium/ feeling off balance/ feel like I am tipping to my left. I use my vision to try to stay upright. I do not have spinning vertigo but constant disequilibrium if that makes sense. This has been constant with no recovery for 8.5 months. I am also sensitive to the computer light and my phone etc. I feel like I am constantly sea sick/or drunk with nausea to top it all off. I have been told that I have a concussion and to rest but this is not helping me at all. One more very awful thing is in a noisy background, like a restaurant with murmuring, I feel like a bobble head doll…. literally I feel like my head is bobbing even though it is stationary and then I get even more dizzy if that is possible. I am MISERABLE :(. Nobody can give me any answers.


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