The Bionic Dynamo ...

Pre-surgery Mugging...
Pre-surgery Mugging...

I am now the bionic man. Or, at least, I have a bionic right ear.

On Thursday, August 13th I had a cochlear implant successfully performed at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. An array of electrodes was placed within my cochlea, and these electrodes will pass signals gathered by a processor to my auditory nerve. The processor, which will be hooked up for the first time on September 4, looks a lot like a hearing aide.

While there is no way to be sure just how much hearing I will regain, I had several factors in my favor: I have a functional auditory nerve. I understand language. I lost the last of my hearing fairly recently. All of these are pluses.

While I will blog in much greater detail about this when I have a bit more energy, I have to take this opportunity to say how impressed I have been with the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) during every step of this process so far. I have always had a deep respect for those who work in health care. Over the course of my life, I have seen, first-hand, some incredible medical teams at work. HUP has been phenomenal. From my first trip down to HUP for an initial assessment through the surgery itself, there hasn't been one bump in the road. It's a very, very special group of people.

It may strike some of my readers as odd that I didn't blog about this up until now. While it wasn't exactly a state secret, I chose to be very low-key about this. There was always a chance I wasn't going to be a good candidate, or that the surgery would fail for some unforeseen reason. I felt it better to hold off until after the operation before posting about it. I didn't want get myself or anyone else all pumped up, only to have the balloon popped. By keeping my expectations low, I thought I wouldn't fall as far if things went sour. Maybe it's the male mid-life crisis thing, but I've been wobbly this year, and I didn't want to set myself up for a huge letdown. So for once in my life, I kept my mouth largely shut.

And now, ...well, now the real story begins. The possible journey back to hearing. I will be satisfied with any hearing I regain. If all I can do is carry on simple conversations again, that will be enough for me. The grand prize? Listening to the second side of The Beatles Abbey Road. The super-duper-mega grand prize? Singing Norwegian Wood with Mark Williams on some tumble-down stage somewhere next year. In key. In perfect harmony. Ok, that last one's a helluva stretch ...I've read that the hearing experience will be different, and truth be told I'd be thrilled just to be able to talk with my family or possibly use a telephone again ...but I do believe in dreaming the big dream.

So, in close, this was one of the two big events in my life recently. I'll be doing some catch-up posting soon so I can bring everyone up to date with what else has been happening. And, yes, I'm still writing. I've actually written the end of From the Sky and I'm working on the critical piece that falls just prior to the finish. So...there's fiction coming, as well.

Stay tuned...

Legally Stoned...
Legally Stoned...


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