My Cochlear Implant Surgery


I was asleep but the operating room probably looked something like this

I slept through the entire procedure so I don’t have anything to report about my surgery.  However, I can tell you what the psychotherapist who had observed Dr. Peters in surgery told me in my pre-op interview:

In her opinion, cochlear implant surgery is like dental surgery in that there is not much blood involved and the surgical instruments resemble tools a dentist uses.  The doctor cleans the area, makes an incision behind the ear, drills through the skull to thread the electrodes into the cochlea, creates a niche in the skull above the ear to place the implant, and closes the incision.

The psychotherapist said that, having observed the procedure, she would never be afraid to have a cochlear implant herself, should the need arise.  Even though I was asleep while it happened to me, I can agree that there is nothing to be afraid of.






Last Days of Residual Hearing

Me with my mother, sisters, and cousins for Three Birthday Weekend in Charleston.  Note the tiaras.

Me with my mother, sisters, and cousins for Three Birthday Weekend in Charleston. Note the tiaras.

In case I got cold feet, the Girl’s Trip to Charleston with my female relatives served to remind me of the profound nature of my hearing impairment and how lucky I was to have an opportunity to act.  Every group conversation in every noisy restaurant where I could not keep up served to reaffirm my appointment in the operating room.

I would sit at the table with a smile on my face, looking engaged enough to be involved but not so engaged that someone addressed a question or remark my way.  I have enough energy to strain for about one hour before I am exhausted and ready to quit asking people to repeat themselves and stop trying to understand my way into a group conversation.  But my trouble is not limited to noisy restaurants and groups; I can no longer understand one person in a quiet room without reading lips.

The alternative is to stay home.  And as I reach the limits of my ability to participate in the hearing world I increasingly understand why many choose that option.  My husband, friends, and family are very generous in accommodating me but there is a point where it just becomes a waste of energy to try.  But I don’t want to stay home.

On the day before surgery, my husband asked me if I was nervous.  I said I was not.