In the Waiting Room: 0 Minutes to Assimilation

My wife is in an operating room right now. Probably in the final stages of the procedure. Any moment now, a doctor will come to talk to me about how things went. Hopefully this will be extremely boring. Hospital excitement gets you sent to the ICU. We don’t want that.

We’re in a thoroughly modern hospital that has thoroughly embraced the cell phone. There is a phone in the surgery waiting room, in case you don’t have one. There’s maybe one person who doesn’t.

I’ve already gotten one call from a nurse. They call you once the procedure is underway, to let you know that everything is going okay. It’s nice, though at the same time I couldn’t help but think “Why are you talking to me? Get back to work!” I suppose it helps people worry less.

This is one place where I don’t mind that everyone is on their laptops or on their phones. They’re doing what I’m doing, keeping everybody updated. I remember how this worked when I was younger and my sister was in the hospital a lot. Waiting for my mother to call, because we didn’t have any way to call her. Theoretically, you could call the hospital and maybe someone could find her, but that was for emergencies. She’d have to leave my sick sister’s hospital room, go find a phone and call my dad. He’d call everyone who needed updates.

Now I’ve got my cell phone ready to go with a “surgery updates” list. I can text blast the whole family, for all that there’s not much news. On top of that, there’s a wifi network and I can update this.

This is definitely a hospital used to doing CI. They offered a sign interpreter, asked if they needed to write notes. Every single person has asked if she’s reading their lips, and are they enunciating okay, and is there a particular person among them who enunciates better and should tell her things. The head nurse promised to take off her surgery mask when she needed to tell my wife things, which is about the most useful thing for lip reading ever.

The only exception has been the lady at check-in, who was trying to be nice and quiet and private, even while she was reading the file that said we were here for C.I. Here’s a clue: if someone is getting a cochlear implant, THEY CAN’T HERE YOU. Talking quietly is polite, but not useful. Plus, that was the first time someone asked the same bunch of questions. It got easier by the fifth time. My wife knew all the answers.

You can spot the people going into surgery. They’re all wearing pajama pants. We followed a guy with hearing aid up the elevator, and wondered if he was here for CI, too.

This hospital has my favorite modern hospital innovation: the colorful linoleum lines. Follow the purple line and you’ll get to the surgery waiting room! Beats trying to follow the labyrinth of arrows.

Unlike the last surgery, I remembered my hospital 101 training and brought breakfast with me. The amount of glares my cold pizza received makes me think that not everyone has remembered. People are getting muffins from somewhere, so there’s food some place.

Now there’s nothing to do but wait for someone to come in and tell me they’re done. And then to wait until someone says she’s come out of it. And then to wait until the anesthesia has worn off enough that they’ll let us leave.

Here’s hoping to an uneventful day.

Update: Electrode all the way in and tests as fully functional. Now to wait an hour or so for my wife to become sort of conscious. Also: Woo!


About tim

I'm a guy whose wife is going through the process of getting a cochlear implant and writing about it. Because why not?
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