RE it hurts 
Thursday, 11 December, 2008, 02:45 AM
I have never slept so poorly as I did last night! There was just no way to get comfy.

The top of my ear, the side of my face, and the inside of my ear is numb, but my tongue is fine.

I took the band aid off today as it was bugging the hell out of me, its all sticky and horrible. I was a bit surprised to see that the wound is held together by glue.

On comparing photos of the second implant and the first, it was clear that the bruising is less, the scar is smaller and closer to the side of my head. I did not really feel up to taking many photos but I will try and take some more every few days from now on.

Should be back at work by Tuesday 16th all being well.

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operation date 
Sunday, 7 December, 2008, 11:01 PM
I was a bit nervous once I left our flat. I think the thing that I knew was going to bother me most is that horrible taste that the anestetic always leaves when you first wake up and it stays there all day because you cant drink much. That and the pain I remember when I first woke, it seems to take a long time to get under control.

There was not much of a wait, I arrived at the hospital at 7am, and by 8.30 am I was on my way to the opperation theatre. It was a really cold part of the hospital so they layered me up in blankets. Blood pressure cuff, drip put in, heart monitor tabs popped on and I was just thinking wooor my head ...... and I was asleep.

Next thing I knew was waking up apporx 2 hours later in a lot of pain and shivering from the reaction of the anestetic which is normal for me.

They fluffed around with the blankets as they thought I was cold and I was like give me something for the pain it hurts. They took their time drip feeding it to me slowly, and it really hurt - like a drill inside my head.

There was a bandage wrapped round my head which was much too tight, my ear was meant to be numb with local - but it hurt due to the bandage being to tight. The nurses were under strict instuctions that the bandage could not be touched!

Later on I was sick, as I had not eaten since 7pm the previous night there was nothing to bring up. However I did bring up some blood which I took to be where the tube may have upset the lining in my throat. My lip was puffy so it must have been from the tube.

They had me on a drip but it did not seem to be working, and after a while I asked for something to stop me from feeling sick and they gave me a jab which sent me of to sleep which was nice.

The nurses kept disturbing me every 3 hours to take my blood pressure, but I was not in to much pain.

The next day Professor Briggs came to see me at 8am and put to band aids across the wound and said I could go. No medication to take which was a bit different from the last time.

Now I am home and I have brushed out all the idoine out of my hair (massive clump at the back was impossible to get out) my neck, upper back and side of my head is sore. The wound looks small and dry and I have not disturbed the band aid as its not bothering me at all - but I can't see it staying there for over a week. We shall see. I am due to have a post operative appointment for Monday 15th December and I still need to find out when it gets switched on.

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my referal ran out 
Sunday, 30 November, 2008, 10:59 PM
I have never heard of a referal running out but apparently here in Australia the referal only lasts 12 months. As I had to wait 12 months for my private health insurance to mature it ran out in the meantime. So I had to go back to my GP for another so that medicare would fund the costs!

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operation date 
Monday, 24 November, 2008, 10:57 PM
I got the paper work for the operation date. I now know that my surgon is going to be Professor Robert Briggs and the Anaesthestist will be Mr Tim Costello.

There are to be some out of pocket fees, and the anaesthetist may be on of them. The rest of the fees will be covered by Medicare and my private health care insurance.

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RE I have the paper work for the second implant 
Tuesday, 23 September, 2008, 10:51 PM
It is so exciting. I have the paper work for the second implant.

The total cost of the implant in Australia is $13,570 for the implant and $11, 500 for the processor. a total of $25,070.....

The bulk of the cost will be paid by my private health insurance and medicare.

The only thing I am confused about is the out of pocket expenses ofr the surgon, radiology some pharmacy costs and anaethestist.

Not all the CI surgeons charge a gap.Hopfully the gap fee will not be to much. Apparently I get to pick the surgon I want. I did say I wanted the one with the least amount of failures post op, plus any that have not had a accident and cut the face nerve would be an advantage.

At the end of October my insurance matures so the hospital will be in touch with them and then its a matter of waiting to see when the ball gets rolling.

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Re ear pain 
Friday, 27 June, 2008, 05:48 AM
I started to get a funny feeling in my ear over the weekend. By Monday the inside of my ear really hurt, by Tuesday I was at the GP complaining of a really sore ear.

By Thursday it was no better, in fact it was getting worst. I went back to the GP for stronger painkillers which were no help.

By Friday I was getting a bit worried that I could have a really bad infection on my implanted side and the last thing I want is for anything to impact on the implant, so I called the implant centre in Australia and they booked me in to see a consultant stright away. I could not belive how fast it was.

The consultant was very nice and checked my ears - only to tell me that she thought it was more likly the infection was caused by my wisdom teeth!

So it looks like I have a minor ear infection and a serious wisdom tooth infection. Which will explain why I was in so much pain.....

I think the medical care in Australia is truly amaining I really do. I got to see a dentist within a few hours and now I am waiting to see how much it is going to cost to have the wisdom tooth taken out. My private insurance has not matured yet so I am going to have to pay for it myself or find a public hospital to do it.

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RE its been approved!!! 
Tuesday, 4 March, 2008, 08:24 AM
At the clinical meeting yesterday the results were discussed and my
name will be placed on the waiting list for a right cochlear implant in December this year.


See below the results of the hearing tests. In some ways I am shocked that I got 56 % with just lipreading.

In many ways I am please because it shows I still have the skill to be able to lipread like this.

Only 10 more months till Christmas!

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RE Ups and Downs 
Wednesday, 27 February, 2008, 11:16 PM - Rambling things
There is something I just do not understand with implants. The ups and downs of good and poor hearing. Its a machine so it should be consistant right? Wrong!

So why is this....

Could it be my brain is tired?

Some times even the sounds, well sound different.

Before I had the implant my ears never popped. These days only the hearing aid side pops - which is odd. I had to ask James how does one unpop their ears? As I have never done it before.

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RE Da Da 
Wednesday, 27 February, 2008, 06:44 PM - Assessment
Hearing Tests continued today.

With the processor on the left

Sentences test with implant - not to bad (accent and language difference taken into account here) I did quite well 91%

NOTE: binaural tests showed I got 96% this could mean I was having a good day or the hearing aid gave me that extra 4% which proves my point that I am using the hearing aid side too.

Random words - I did ok - 56%

Sentences with background noise - this was harder but I think I got the odd sentence right and a few words 67%

With the hearing aid on the right

First up was sentences with hearing aid - I got the odd word - 2%

random words I am guessing I got the odd word or sound - 2%

background noise - nothing at all - 0%

Lipreading tests

Here is the best bit of all the tests. Lipreading tests I did quite well and got full sentences in some cases - 56%

Looks as though its looking promising that I may be put forward for a second implant when my private care policy matures in November. A possible December operation could be on the cards.

I am trying not to raise my hopes to much as things never go to plan when you want them to, but at least I seem to be going in the right direction.

If I am granted a second processor I am going to start again much the same way as the first implant. I am going to just wear the new processor and keep the first processor off.

The reason for this is because I left my hearing aid off the first time round. Yep it was hard. However the brain needs to be trained, and it worked harder and faster in this way.

I want the second implant to be as good as my left side. There is no point in doing all this unless I can get it to work 100% on both sides.

Can you tell I have been thinking about this a lot!?

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RE something different 
Monday, 25 February, 2008, 11:00 PM - First implant
I was thinking about things that I would liked to have done when keeping a UK blog. One of them was to obtain my x-ray as it looked amazing. I did try but got no where with it.

Another thing was photos of the operation. I never thought of this prior to the first operation.

However, if I can go ahead with the second implant I will ask the surgon if he would take photos, as that would be so cool.

Maybe I could even get one of them to film it? Thats probably going a bit far....I will ask though. Motto: don't ask - don't get

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hearing and speech recognition tests and a quick appointment to see the consultant  
Tuesday, 22 January, 2008, 10:42 PM - Assessment
I met with Liz to have hearing tests done before seeing the consultant. I think I must have chatted to much as we did not get the tests done and I will have to come back to finish them!

First was standard hearing tests in both ears with no hearing aid or processor.

Result - No useful hearing

Test with both processor and hearing aid

Sentences was 96% which is the same as what I got in the UK tests

Sentences with background noise 60%

Words 60 %

and CVC Phonemes 77%

at first I was disapointed that there was no improvement as I had in the past got 100% but only once.

Then I reminded myself that the questions and accent in this test was different ie one of the sayings was " kandaroos jumped across the lawn"

Well there are no kandaroos in the UK and I dont use the word lawn, although I heard that one perfectly there were others were I just could not pick out the words possibly because they were different and words I do not use.

We tried the speech test with my hearing aid side and I got random words and sounds but nothing useful.

I pointed out that prior to the implant I could not even do this with my hearing aid side - so to me this is a improvement.

I feel I get some use out of my hearing side - it aids the implant in respect that I become aware of a sound thats not on my implant side. But it does not give me speech recognition, which is the key.

Liz felt that the hearing tests showed it was a sensory loss and the balance test is just that - inconclusive.

The consultant Professor Stephen O'Leary, who is the ENT Surgeon was stright forward. He asked for hearing history and had a look in my ears. He felt postive that I would benefit from a second implant - and would see me after the cat scan.

The CAT scan was done on the 8.02.08 and I was in and out in 10 mins!

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Start of the Austrlian Assessment 
Friday, 14 December, 2007, 10:39 PM - Assessment
Balance tests

First up was checking the air in both ears - result nomal

Next up was sitting in a chair in the dark being turned slowly round while counting backwards - result normal

Next up was having hot and cold air blown down my ear while my eyes were closed and speaking at the same time but remembering not to open my eyes - normal (although I felt any thing but)

Next up was a strange test that measured something in the hearing nerve and required my skin being sandpapered and sticky pad wires being stuck down on various points of my body. - result inconclusive

The tech stated that the result read conductive loss rather than sensory loss, and this could mean that the results for today on this test were inconclusive because we know I have a sensory loss.

I was a bit worried about this. However, my partner pointed out that the doctors in the UK had found both ears to be suitable for implantation and that they gave me the choice of either ear to implant. So its not something I should be worrying about to much.

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Re Working on the right side 
Sunday, 14 October, 2007, 10:06 PM - Assessment
The first implant was done in the UK on 13.06.2005 it was switched on 01.07.2005 you can get more information about it here

and I have kept a blog about it here

I had previously started looking at the options for a second implant and then we decided to Australia around August 2008.

Since it was Australia that the first implant was born I decided that it would be a good oppertunity to explore what my options for a second implant was now I am living here.

First thing first was a visit to the GP to register and ask for a referal to the Ear and Eye Hospital just to get my records there for maps and bits n bobs.

To my amaze it took less than three weeks to get an appointment to see the implant clinic.

While there I asked if I could be refered for a second implant. There were a few hiccups with this. I am on a spouse visa - that means that it will be reviewed in 12 months. I have a interim medicare card which will be renewed pending on the decision of the immigration office in October 2008. There was some confusion between the hospital and the medicare office to if I could get access to all services or only emgerency services. I was told I could get access to all services and the hospital was told only basic services ie maps, repairs and parts. I chased this up with Medicare and eventually after several emails the hospital was assured that I could get access to the full service under my card! *phew*

One big difference between the UK NHS and Australia Medicare is that Medicare does not pay for batteries *eek* they are $55 dollars for 10 packs which last between four and five weeks. They do not provide any hearing aid service for people over 18 and under 65. So as far as hearing aids, moulds, and support with this - I am on my own and the only service is private - and expensive I am sure.

So rather than spend heaps and heaps on hearing aid service which will be very little use to me in the short term I decided to start the assessment for a second processor now.

The quickest way to get a second processor is to have private health insurance. There is an oppertunity for a implant on medicare - but the waiting list is very long. Everyone is encouraged to have private health insurance - its not as expensive as the UK and everyone has access to it no matter what their health is - unlike the UK where I could not get private insurance for love or money due to my heart condition.

The only hitch is I have to wait for my private insurance to mature (12 months)

Maybe its because I already have one implant, or maybe its because Australia have one of the best medical services I have ever experienced but all up its taken less than seven months to get this far. It took almost a year to get from the assessment to the operation in the UK if you do not count the fact that the first referal got lost in the system!

Strange huh?!

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