Hello and Merry Christmas, Everyone,
It is the middle of December, and it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. At least a Florida Christmas. The weather was been mild, and as usual, everyone is out preparing for their family get-togethers and office parties. We are no different. Last weekend, I had several people from work with their spouses to our house for dinner. Tessa was the perfect hostess, and the house was decked out. Maybe even a little more than last year. But I followed through with my duties, which included putting up the house Christmas lights. Of course, this year I was doing it only 10 weeks after having brain surgery! But it was a challenge that I was more than prepared for, and I completed the task without incident or injury. I like to challenge myself, but to be honest, this was a process that I have done many times before. I didn't try anything silly like standing on one foot next to the gutter drip edge or anything. (Although I did tell Tessa that I was going to dance and sing "If I were a Rich Man" from Fiddler on the Roof.) But my balance hasn't been compromised by the surgery to any greater degree, and I was able to walk easily along the roof pitch. (Unfortunately, I couldn't find the "pitch" for my singing. ;-) Of course, old shingles and tired muscles were my greatest adversaries. But I finished my job in less than two days, and the house looked beautiful for the party.
I continue to progress in my recovery. My stamina at work is up to speed. I have no problem with early mornings or mid-afternoons like I had in the beginning. People continue to be surprised that I'm back and productive in the amount of time since my surgery. My German colleagues would have likely been off for a couple more months given their social and medical system. But then again, they need to get something out of those 58% taxes they pay every year.
My ability to hear with one ear remains good. I waffle about seeking some improvement. But the options are only two possibilities: cross-ear hearing aids or bone conducting hearing aids. The first one is simply a hearing aid in each ear, where the one sitting in the deaf ear transmits to the hearing aid in the good ear. Some like it. But it does require that you have a hearing aid in the good ear. And hearing aid sound is not the same as natural sound. The good thing is that you can get ones that tie into your phone or iPod. So you don't have to hold a phone to your ear or use a separate set of headphones. (Of course, others might know something is up when you start humming and dancing to an old Michael Jackson tune.) The other option, BAHA hearing aid, is something that some people like. BAHA stands for Bone Anchored Hearing Aid. The way this one works is that a hearing aid sits behind your deaf ear. It attaches to a metal anchor attached through your scalp directly to your skull. The hearing aid sends the sound vibrations to the anchor which is picked up by the inner ear of your good ear. Thus, you "hear" the sound coming from the deaf side. To try this out, tap the end of your finger lightly against the top of your head. You "hear" the tapping coming through your skull to your inner ear. That's how the BAHA works. The drawbacks are that you have to go through a procedure to attach the anchor. You can't remove it. It looks like the bottom of a snap fastener, which must be maintained and cleaned to prevent infection where it sticks through the skin. Another drawback is that the BAHA is no better in crowds or loud environments. Think about trying to sort through all the sounds and vibrations bouncing off your head. Some people love them, and others despise them. And for someone with short hair, they do stand out. No hiding that you are deaf in at least one ear. So at this time, I am holding off. Possibly on my visit with Dr. Patni next year, I will explore these options further. But for now, I get by well with sitting at the right spot in a room or around a table. And I'm not shy about asking someone to repeat themselves. You sometimes have to push yourself, but that is how you cope.
Also, my facial spasms have been minimal. At first, I would set off some low spasms every time I brushed my teeth. However, that happens very seldom now. Also, if I laughed hard, I would also start a spasm. But no longer. I do notice that my face is a little sensitive when I'm very tired. It sounds funny, but a certain smell might get a spasm going. And when I do have a spasm, it is not very strong but lasts much longer than my Popeye days. I'm happy though that the times become fewer and farther between. I do still have some numbness on my lips and tongue. But it mostly affects the taste buds on just the right side of my mouth. I just make sure that if I'm eating something special, I try to take my first bite on the left side. Sounds funny, but it works.
Thanks for stopping by for my latest update. Tessa and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I do have my 3 month MRI coming up next week and doctor visit on the following week. I will write you of any updates then. Love you all.