Last week, my wife, Patti, and I visited my Otologist (ear surgeon), Dr. Berenholz, for the last time before my surgery. We are now armed with pre-surgery (and post-surgery) instructions, as well as prescriptions that must be filled. The date has been set and we are “Go” for launch in two weeks. I announced my surgery date to the church, informed my District Superintendent, and have asked a retired pastor to fill the pulpit for me on the Sunday after surgery. My wife will go with me on surgery day and my Mom has insisted on going along so that Patti doesn’t have to wait alone for the two and a half hour surgery. Everything is ready.
Someone asked me today if I am getting excited about the surgery and that stumped for a few seconds. Honestly, I think I am well past excited and am moving toward nervousness. And that, in itself is a little odd for me. The only other time I have had surgery was for a herniated disc in my back twenty odd years ago. Then, folks asked if I was worried that I might be paralyzed, but I wasn’t. I don’t recall ever feeling nervous. Of course, at the time, what I was feeling was pain, and I was looking forward to waking up without pain.
My hearing loss doesn’t cause pain but it is a struggle. I am glad that I have a chance to hear better but my joy is tempered by knowing that this surgery will not be like the last. The last time, I woke up and knew the pain was gone. This time I know that won’t happen. I won’t wake up with hearing. Three or four weeks later, when they finally turn the Med-El implant on, I stillwon’t have hearing in the traditional sense. By most accounts what I will have (if everything works), is an ability to hear “sounds” that have been described as “electronic” or “robotic.” In our meeting, Dr. Berenholz reminded me that my ability to hear and understand will depend upon my persistence in doing my linguistic exercises after surgery so that my brain will learn how to hear with the implant. Further, Dr. B. said that my ability to hear and understand should be considerably better in six months and will likely continue to improve for as much as two years.
But even though I have generally been able see the big picture and look forward to the rewards of long-term investments like higher education and retirement savings, this time it’s harder. It seems more like looking forward to the finish line of a marathon. It’s hard to be excited about the race. The finish line sounds wonderful, but enduring the workouts and the long race itself doesn’t sound nearly as fun.
It’s hard to be excited about surgery because the finish line is so far off.
What I’m feeling right now is less like excitement and more like anxiety.
Your prayers are appreciated.
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