Before this | After this

Progress at 2 weeks

Me as Lego
I'm 2 weeks out from surgery today. Everything about my recovery is going faster than the first surgery, except for the vertigo.

I'm less tired. I can do more things-I can walk for an hour (although I usually need a 2-hour nap afterward). Of course that's with the walker, I can't walk that long without the walker--and I didn't need one at all after the first surgery.

I feel stronger. I can read and watch tv and make decisions at only a slightly lower level than I expect. The surgical site is healing faster and I have a much lower level of pain-at this point after the first surgery I was still using Vicodin for pain, but for the last week I've only used Tylenol and not even every day.

My hearing is about the same-my right ear is plugged and I have very little hearing on that side yet. I can chew most food just fine. I'm still restricted from using a straw and from lifting more than 10 pounds, just like the first surgery.

I am more emotionally down, though. If determination was all it took to do anything, I'd be a complete success--but it takes more than determination to heal what this surgery did. I feel frustrated a lot. I felt pretty good after the first surgery and I expected a magical instantaneous transformation back to normal after the second surgery, and that was just completely unrealistic. Hope springs eternal! But it was still surgery, and I'm still tired a lot, and weak, and there are a few things I just can't do yet. I cry sometimes because I'm so frustrated that I'm doing everything I'm supposed to do and yet I'm not well.

The first surgery not only didn't give me any vertigo, it cleared up about 70% of what I was feeling before. This second surgery has made the vertigo worse than it was before the first surgery. That's because the first surgery was a simple plugging of some holes on the left side of my skull/inner ear, while the second surgery was reconstruction of a reasonably large piece of missing bone (on what was admittedly a very small bone in the first place). My center of gravity has changed. I'm mostly using a walker still-I can walk around my apartment without it, but not much outside.

My brain isn't used to my right ear having only the standard issue 2 holes to determine balance instead of the additional large third hole, so I have to reprogram my balance system, and that doesn't happen overnight. In fact all the literature I've read (on the internet and the post-op instructions) indicate that this post-op vertigo lasts about a month, so I might be nearly halfway to healed.

While I was still in the hospital I had some time with a physical therapist, and I'm doing the very minimal exercises she gave me. I think they're helping but not as fast as I'd like. (Yeah, I get that I have unrealistic expectations.) I don't see the surgeon again until the first week in September, but if I don't see vast improvement in the vertigo by 4 weeks after the surgery, I'm going to call his office and ask for a physical therapy course.

Last week I turned 52. I feel decrepit and disabled. I don't like it.

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okoshun
Jul. 25th, 2013 01:01 am (UTC)
That sounds very frustrating. You'd hope that it would feel *better* NOT worse. I'm glad that things are healing much more quickly this time and hope that the side-effects last for a shorter period of time than you read about.
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