Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Encouragement from Ruth

I “met” Ruth on a yahoo CI group. Her husband Wayne had bilateral cochlear implant surgery on March 8, and is greatly looking forward to activation on April 7. Ruth has been an incredible encourager to the group. She has given me permission to share some of her words with you. I edited out what I found not applicable--so this also will illuminate some of what it has been like.

March 14, 2006, written to me:

Liz, I am Wayne's wife, Ruth, I thought I would give you a few tips since Wayne's surgery is so recent.

Things to expect: dizziness and vomiting post surgery and maybe a day or two longer. Be sure you keep your eyes open at all times you are being moved post surgery-to lessen the effect of motion sickness. This includes both bed and wheel chair rides.

When you get offers of help, suggest that food be brought to you for as much as a week post surgery. Even fast food you didn't have to prepare or TV dinners that take little prep time will be helpful. Let people help you. It is fine to ask and people want to do something. Besides if they didn't want to help, they shouldn't offer. Most of all have a good selection of drinks. You will need to drink, drink, DRINK to avoid dehydration.

The part I dreaded most was removing Wayne’s turban and washing his hair. This was almost the easiest thing I have done for him since his surgery. It just almost fell off.

Another thing that has helped is a small outing as soon as you can will do wonders for both you and your caregiver. Not a long distance or a long time. We went to my daughter's house which is about a 20 minute ride and seeing my newest granddaughter (born Jan 25, 2006) was a real pleasure. We did not stay long as Wayne was looking tired.

You will probably have various aches and pains you don't know the meaning of and will get so-o-o fed up with "that is normal" or "that is to be expected.”

Now that I have scared the stuffings out of you, let me assure you that Wayne and I both still feel that this will all be worth it in the end and that is what your focus must be. And he has done so much better than I expected that we can't complain.

I told Wayne back in May when we first heard about CI's that I would be with him for the long haul (I admit to sometimes thinking to myself "what was I thinking?) but having my love, my partner and best friend returned to the joy of hearing again remains an overwhelming thought.

If there is anything else we can help you with, please ask. We are here and wish for you God-speed for your surgery, recovery and activation


March 19, 2006, written to someone else:

This is Ruth, Wayne’s wife.

I noticed that you have staples in your incision and I realize that they look disgusting. They will however, come out almost painlessly. It probably would not be a good idea to try to wash your hair until they take your hardware out. No matter how careful you are, you might not get all of the shampoo and conditioner out from under the staples which could cause infection or other itching. You are the only person being bothered by the way your hair is and it is just for a little while. I know how revolting it is not to be able to do something so simple as washing your hair, but think how wonderful and awesome it will be to be able to hear.

All of the problems with sleepiness are because of having had anesthesia, a lot of anesthesia and as that gets out of your system, you will be able to stay awake longer, feel better and even walk without looking for the next hand-hold around the house. You had surgery; that is kind of like being hit by a truck. Take everything slowly and don't push yourself. If you have someone who can drive you, try to get out of the house for a short time. That works wonders for your attitude.

I did want to give you just a few words of encouragement. I know how much encouragement helped Wayne and maybe passing it on will help you. All of this is temporary, it will be better, and it is worth everything you go through.

You will get there, good luck, find something to occupy you mind and something to laugh right out loud about.



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