Thursday, October 13, 2011

Right CI Surgery and More

Yesterday Malachi had his right ear implanted with the Cochlear Freedom internal cochlear implant. It is a different internal implant than the one in his left ear (Nucleus 5).

He also had tubes placed in both ears because he has continuously had ear infections (9-10) since January of this year.

We went through the same process as before, with his left ear implant. We checked in at 6 am and started pre-op quickly. Something happened with our doctor and we were delayed about 20 minutes. There were several things I wanted to address this time around:

-Malachi had a stitch on his left ear incision pop through and it wasn't dissolving. I asked that they cut it down so it wouldn't rub on his processor and get infected or agitated.
-I wanted to make sure that they knew Malachi would wake up angry and would try to rip out his IV. I asked that they give him something to calm down initially.
-I asked that they pump his stomach to help with the nausea from the surgery and morphine.

This experience was a bit different in the sense that I felt a lot more confident at the hospital. I knew what the procedures were. What nurses and doctors would be visiting and talking to us, etc. I felt much more calm knowing what to expect.

Malachi was pretty content and happy on his way to the OR. We had stepped aside and as the nurse was rolling him out she would clap and he would clap back. It was cute to watch him flirt and show so much love to someone else.

After about 2.5 hours of surgery Malachi was finally all done. He received tubes in both ears, and a cochlear implant in his right ear. The ENT told us that his ears were a bit inflamed so they were already starting to get infected after 3 days off of antibiotics! The implant went in great as well as the tubes.

The main difference between the left ear surgery and this right ear surgery is that in the left ear they were able to cauterize thoroughly. Malachi had virtually zero drainage. This time it's different. Because Malachi now has metal in his body (the left cochlear implant) they were not able to use the same tools for cauterizing. The resident told me there would be more oozing and drainage than before. Well there wasn't any before so I was thinking a little bit of liquid. It's been quite the opposite. The drainage is dark pink colored. Mixed blood and the sterile liquid they use to irrigate the inner ear. I had to change the gauze after about 20 hours because the gauze was just saturated and if Malachi leaned against anything he got it wet.

When I first changed it I didn't look in his ear canal, just the incision behind his ear. The incision looks great! It's swollen, but otherwise looks awesome. After several hours later I realized Malachi's gauze was soaked again. This time when I changed it I looked into his ear canal. It's completely filled with liquid and slowly dripping out. It is very disconcerting to see bloody liquid drain out of your child's ear.

I called the on-call pediatric ENT at MUSC and after explaining the situation to her she believes the drainage is well within the normal standards at this point. She was able to give me more specific guidelines for the drainage so I am feeling much better about it.

Hopefully I'll be able to post some pictures soon....when his ear stops dripping!

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