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Hearing Disorders Message Board

Hearing Disorders Board Index

I'm hoping to find some active posters to share their experiences with Stapedectomy surgery and compare notes. :)

I have had progressive, bilateral hearing loss for quite a long time. I'm guessing it probably started over 20 years ago, with the births of my children, but wasn't really noticeable until the last 10 years. Over the past 5 years or so, it has really begun to impact my day-to-day life and my (now adult) kids finally convinced me to get a hearing test done last August. The tests confirmed that I have moderately severe hearing loss (75dB) in low frequencies, rising to mild loss (30 - 40 dB) in the higher frequencies. I was directed to consult with an ENT to address the conductive hearing loss, and he confirmed that I have otosclerosis in both ears. This was not a big shock, as my mother also suffered from otosclerosis. She had stapedectomies in both ears over 20 years ago. I discussed options with my Otolarynologist, and decided to look into getting hearing aids while weighing the risks and benefits of surgery (which has a 2 year waiting list here in Ontario, Canada).

After careful research, I was able to find a fabulous Hearing Aid Specialist who took the time to program and reprogram and reprogram my hearing aids to fit my difficult hearing loss, and was AMAZED to discover just how much I was missing out on! Hearing aids didn't make me hear perfectly, but I have been pleased with the results nonetheless, and wasn't really interested in going ahead with surgery.

At my one-year follow up visit with my Otolarynologist on October 24, I was presented with an opportunity to have the first surgery done because of a cancellation ~ on November 8, just two weeks away!!! I decided to go ahead with the surgery on my worst ear, since the timing just seemed like some sort of sign that it was meant to be, and my surgeon had assured me that the procedure had become much more successful with advancing technologies since my mother's surgeries many years ago.

I was grateful to find all of the threads on this Board, and felt very reassured that I, too, would have a positive outcome.

Now, for my experience thus far:

Surgery took place on Friday, November 8, 2013. My surgeon had advised that he planned to do a stapedotomy, which is supposed to be somewhat less invasive than a full stapedectomy. However, he ended up having to do the stapedectomy, along with tymanoplasty to repair a hole in my eardrum, so the surgery took about an hour longer than originally anticipated. I remember him telling me as I woke up that surgery went great, and I gave him a "thumbs-up" before dozing back off for a bit. When I awoke, the only real pain I felt was in my throat, from the breathing tube. I felt a tiny bit nauseated, and the nurse gave me some medications for pain and nausea (not sure what medications yet ~ I'll ask at my follow up this week). Shortly thereafter, I was wheeled back to the day surgery recovery area and my family came in to see me. I was amazed at how great I felt, considering I'd just had a hole drilled in my head! lol

After downing a few glasses of water, I was able to walk to the restroom, mostly unaided. After one more check of my vitals, I was unhooked from the IV, given aftercare instructions and a prescription for Tylenol 3's (I was already taking Cloxacillin for a cyst on my eyelid, so didn't need any other antibiotics at that time), and cleared to go home ~ about an hour and a half after surgery. That night was pretty uneventful. I had some dizziness, and a couple of threats of nausea that didn't go anywhere, and a wicked sore throat. I drank a lot of water, had a bowl of chicken broth, a T3, and went to bed.

I woke the next day feeling pretty dizzy and had an incredibly sore neck and back (which is not unusual for me ~ I broke some ribs in my back in January). Still, very little pain in the ear, and virtually no nausea. I was able to walk downstairs with the help of my new best friend ~ the wall ~ and had some more chicken broth. I stood up a little too quickly and ended up fainting that morning, but had enough warning that I was able to sit down before completely going out, so I didn't have a big fall or anything, just slumped down in my chair and scared my poor daughter half to death. I was only out for a minute or two, and was able to make it back upstairs with my daughter's help, where I remained for most of the next couple of days. I slept quite a bit, and felt good, except for the dizziness. I took the T3's pretty religiously through to Monday, which helped my back pain quite a bit. Warning: if you're taking pain meds, BE SURE TO TAKE SOME KIND OF LAXATIVE WITH STOOL SOFTENER! (Senna-S seems to work well.) By Tuesday, I was really wishing that someone had reminded me of this VERY important info! But, other than that, I still felt pretty great... just dizzy. I have no hearing at all in my operated ear, but wasn't too worried about that, as I know there's a bunch of packing and gel in the canal.

Wednesday (Day 5 Post-Op), is when things started to change for me. I suddenly felt awful, and by that evening, I was convinced that I may need an Exorcist to get rid of the demon that was clearly trying to claw its way out of my operated ear. Of course, by then, my T3's were all gone (but my back felt better!), my doctor's office was closed, and I resorted to a strong dose of Captain Morgan to help me doze off.

Thursday morning, the pain had subsided considerably, and I felt like maybe I was just being a big baby about the pain the night before. I did just have surgery, after all... it kind of makes sense that I'd experience some bouts of pain, right? I called my doctor's office to make an appointment for the 2-week follow up, but didn't really tell the secretary about my hellish experience from the previous night. I still felt pretty crappy, and was vomiting periodically, but didn't have near the same level of pain... until about 5 pm ~ right after the doctor's office closed. Then the pain started to return with a vengeance. I was worried about an infection, so I checked my temperature. It was normal. I called Telehealth around 10pm. I figured it must not be an infection because I had no fever ~ plus, I'd been taking a pretty strong antibiotic. The nurse from Telehealth advised that I should get checked out at my nearest emergency room. I didn't go. Around here, visits to emergency involve sitting around for many hours in a room full of sick people, and I just didn't feel I could handle sitting upright for that long. Nor am I willing to risk catching a cold or flu while recovering from surgery. I took some tylenol and had a strong rum and went to bed.

Friday morning, I called my surgeon's office and told the secretary that I was experiencing worsening pain and I was worried something was amiss. She advised that she'd have my surgeon call me once he got out of the OR. He called me back within an hour. I explained to him that the best way to describe the pain in my ear is to liken it to childbirth. It literally feels like my ear is having contractions and trying to give birth. I'm wondering if maybe the packing has dried out and my ear is trying to expel it. With the extra tinkering during surgery, maybe that created more swelling than is usually experienced, thereby causing this ridiculous, unexpected level of pain? He also felt that it was highly unlikely that there was an infection brewing since I'd been taking the Cloxacillin. He called in a prescription to my pharmacy for steroid/antibiotic eardrops (Ciprodex) and advised me to call him on his cellphone if they did not help with the pain over the weekend. I had a friend take me to pick up the drops, and took the first dose around 1pm on Friday afternoon. Immediately, my ear felt as though it had been set on fire! I attributed that to having gotten the drops on the stitches in the front part of my ear, and vowed to be more careful putting in the next dose. Within an hour, the incredible pain in the ear canal began to calm down considerably. Dizziness intensified. Dosing instructions were 4 drops, twice daily. Around 1 am, I put the second dose in my ear ~ this time, in front of a mirror, so I could try to avoid getting the drops on the visible stitches. No immediate stinging this time, but as soon as I went back to bed, my sinuses started burning and the room was spinning like crazy. Then my heart started racing and pounding like mad, and I got a burning sensation in my lungs. I'm not sure how long it was before I fell asleep (or passed out, not sure which), but I found myself waking up the next morning with less pain in my ear canal.

The steroids in the drops have reduced the swelling in my ear enough that non-prescription Tylenol 2's (and the occasional shot of Captain Morgan) have kept the pain at a tolerable level for the last two days without any further doses of the drops. I plan to maintain this regime until I go see my surgeon on Thursday morning to have the packing removed (hopefully).

Has anyone else experienced this delayed onset of pain after surgery? Most of the previous threads that I've read led me to believe there was very little pain after this surgery (which I thought was odd, to be honest).

I'll update after my appointment on Thursday.

(Day 9 post-op)

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