7 Days of Living with a Couch Cyborg – 7 Days to Activation

Tuesday

The surgery went as well as could be. Routine. We like routine with medical stuff. It means nothing went wrong.

She woke up and was feeling okay, but dizzy. A lot less bad than after her sinus surgery. Maybe because they started out the process with pumping her full of anti-nausea meds.

She did have some serious dizziness issues. The nurse was like “Well, we gave you percocet, and that can do it. We gave you these anti-nausea meds, and that can do it. You’re coming out of general anesthesia, and that can do it. And you had a cochlear implant. So… yeah. Unless you’re so dizzy you can’t hold food down for 24 hours, we don’t care.”

They let her stay there until she got over some of the dizziness. They don’t let anyone leave until they can eat some food, drink some water, and make it across the floor to pee. Erin made it there, eventually, and we headed home.

Pro tip: that wire that was just implanted in your cyborg’s head? It hurts. And it will hurt more every time you hit a bump. So find the smoothest road home! You’ll need it.

We got home and she passed out on the couch. When she woke up, she was feeling pretty good. Ate some pudding. Went back to sleep.

Wednesday

Wednesday was a good day. My wife was still a bit loopy from the drugs, still kind of shaky. But her jaw didn’t have excruciating pain, she didn’t have horrible vertigo, food tasted like food (well, as much as it ever has with no sense of smell). It looked like we had missed all the bad stuff.

What she did have was no hearing in her right ear at all. We weren’t sure on Tuesday. She had a giant pressure bandage over her ear. It came off on Tuesday, and her hearing was gone. It’s bad enough now that I have to turn on a light and stand in front of her to tell her anything, even as simple as “would you like some food?” That will be better once the implant works. But for now she’s the deafest she’s ever been.

Pro Tip: With some creative marker work, you can turn your cyborg’s pressure bandage into half of Princess Leia’s hairdo.

Thursday

Have you ever woken up at 4 in the morning to the sound of your spouse sobbing in agony?

I don’t recommend it. It’s a punch of adrenaline to the face, triggering a fight or flight that isn’t useful. You want to do something, but there’s not a lot. Just find your wife. Ask her what’s wrong. Find a light switch. Get her to stop heaving into the sink and look at you long enough to ask her: what’s wrong? how bad is it?

She points to a half-eaten banana. She woke up and hurt, so she decided to take a percocet. You’re supposed to take it with food. She made it halfway through that banana before the dizziness overwhelmed her and she made a run for the sink.

Eventually she decided she wasn’t going to die. I stayed up with her for a bit, but the adrenaline was wearing off and it was 4 in the morning.

This is when we learned that the third day is the worst for dizziness. We hadn’t avoided it at all. The third day is when your inner ear has started working out that something is horribly wrong and starts to knock you on your ass in protest.

My wife ate three crackers that day. She didn’t keep them down. This from a woman that, before Thursday, had thrown up twice in her life.

That was a bad day. But I was at least glad for the warning about holding down food for 24 hours. By the end of the day, she had at least eaten a little bit of apple sauce, drank a little bit of water.

It wasn’t much, but at least she wasn’t going to die.

Pro Tip: There is nothing you can do to make the horrible dizziness better. Don’t even hug too hard. You will knock your cyborg over.

Friday

Friday wasn’t much better. The pain was going down, anyway. My wife discovered that she could live with less and less percocet. Which was good, because the percocet set off her dizziness something fierce. So she’d live without it for a bit, the dizziness getting less and less bad, until the pain got bad enough to take a percocet. And then she’d be dizzy again.

Except in the mornings. In the mornings, she has to take her antibiotics. Those make her dizzy, too. And upset her stomach so she can’t eat.

Pro Tip: Make sure your cyborg takes their antibiotics. The last thing you want is a septic head wound.

Saturday

Things started to get a little better. A little. My wife mostly lay on the couch. She felt well enough to take a shower, but was dizzy enough that she wanted me in the bathroom in case she fell. She didn’t, but it she lay back down on the couch for two hours afterwards.

Pro Tip: Star Trek may have given you unreasonable expectations of an assimilated human. Allow some time for them to lie on the couch before you expect them to assimilate others.

Sunday

Sunday, my wife left the house.

It wasn’t much. We drove to the grocery store (she stayed in the car), went to get keys from her parents (she went inside for a few minutes), and stopped by her store so she could do payroll (which she did sitting down). It was an hour and a half total, and enough to wipe her out for the day.

It was also a day when the internet showed how awesome it can be. My wife is part of a Vespa forum. They were doing a chocolate exchange for February. She had mentioned that she would like to participate, but couldn’t because she would be post-surgery and wouldn’t make it to a post office.

We’ve gotten twenty boxes of chocolate from people all over the world. People she’s never met. People she’s talked to some online and people she never has, from home made cookies to ultra-gourmet chocolates to those Dove valentine heart things.

I don’t know if it was that or just general recovery, but Erin ate real food for dinner. It wasn’t quick, and it wasn’t a huge amount, but it was real food that didn’t make her stomach hurt and that she didn’t throw up later. Progress.

She felt well enough that she decided to sleep in the bed. She had been sleeping on the couch, super elevated with a neck pillow, but was tired of it. But lying all the way down made her balance weird. Every time I twitched it made her dizzy, and I’m a twitchy guy. By the morning, she was back on the couch.

Pro Tip: Buy your cyborg a neck pillow. Apparently it’s the best thing EVER for post surgery comfort.

Monday

My wife went into work for an hour on Monday. She got more chocolate. Still not up to speed, but doing a lot better.

And still really, really deaf.

Pro Tip: Although it’s really tempting, ask permission before poking around for a sub-dermal magnet.

Tuesday

Today, my wife describes herself as feeling good enough to be annoyed about a lot of things, but not well enough to do anything about it. Well enough to eat dinner, but still being too messed up  from the antibiotics to eat breakfast.

The good news is that, at this point, every day is definitely better. We’ll be up to worled domination in no time.

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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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One Response to 7 Days of Living with a Couch Cyborg – 7 Days to Activation

  1. Mindy Hayden says:

    Erin is so lucky to have you for a husband! Thank you Tim, for keeping it real. And Yep, the third day is the worst (first CI surgery). It WILL get better.

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