It has been about a year since I last wrote in my blog and I want to let you know about a new experience I am about to have early next week. On Monday I will be getting a new knee and hope to be dancing in the streets by next spring! But first, I need to go through with the surgery as well as a stay of a few days at the hospital. To put this in perspective, the last time I stayed overnight in a hospital I was five years old and having my tonsils out. After all these years, this is a new and somewhat anxious time for me.
But I am being cared for already. The patient navigator in the knee and hip unit at the hospital will wait with me while I am in the inner sanctum – where you go after you have been poked and prodded and are enrobed in the lovely hospital gown and stretchy blue slippers. She will do this because I have a fear of not hearing my name being called. Even though I will still have both my hearing aid and Cochlear implant processor on, nerves tend to take over at this point and all senses deaden a bit. So she will be my ears. The anesthesiologist is ready to cope with the whistling that comes when my hearing aid is encased in the shower cap I will be wearing and both hearing aid and processor will be taped to my head so they don’t fall off. I am not used to all this attention! Both staff and volunteers at the hospital have an excellent knowledge of the challenges of various disabilities and they know how to help. I know this just from my recent pre op meetings to get ready for this venture.
So I am staying overnight – probably two. I don’t wear my hearing devices when I sleep. In fact it is frowned on by the professionals. So I worried about being able to hear staff at night. I mentioned this first to my surgeon who instantly understood the problem and joked that we would not want staff to be yelling at me, especially when I wouldn’t be able to hear them in any case. I have a friend whose husband had a profound hearing loss and was in hospital for a while before he died a couple of years ago. He too was struggling, so his son found him a Boogie Board – it is like an electronic etch and sketch for those of you who remember this toy. Jill has lent me David’s Boogie Board to use when I am literally in the dark so I can pass notes back and forth with those taking care of me. This has eased my mind considerably and the patient navigator (who looks after you before, during and after surgery) thought it a terrific invention.
The aim of the hospital staff is to make all patients as comfortable as possible, but perhaps especially those that need a little extra care. They surely have with me.