I had a Baha Surgery
My hearing aid (BAHA) surgery went well. Let's start with that. Above you can see what the device looks like. it comes in an array of colors to match your hair color. I chose black this time. My current cross hearing aids are purple and I loved the color, I wore them loud and proud and I still love that color but evidently they didn't have this device in purple but I also felt it was time to tone the color down considering my profession.
When it comes to my surgery, there were a lot of things I expected and some that I didn't expect at all. So I'll give you guys some details here and go over those things and what my experiences was like.
Thing number one: I did expect myself to be early (as usual) and for the prep-team to keep me waiting. adding to my anxiety. In this case they only kept me waiting 30 minutes because the other 30 I was just too early for my check-in time. Still, if you know me at all, you know punctuality is important to me.
Thing number two: I did not expect to be under twilight anesthesia. Which means I was partly awake through the procedure. Before the anesthesia I was given a cocktail of drugs that included Tylenol, anti-nausea medication, oxycodone, something to help me relax and some other stuff I wasn't really paying attention what they were for. I think it was a total of seven pills. It was surprising to me that all these medications could be mixed without me dying. On top of that I was given another sedative through my IV that hurt my hand so bad as it entered my bloodstream it felt like my hand was burning and stiffening. I was then given another drug through the IV that made that pain go away almost immediately. Since I was under twilight anesthesia and a cocktail of meds, I was in and out of it on the operating table. but I would wake up from time to time and I could hear the surgeons' conversations and I was even able to ask a few questions. Do I remember those conversations or questions? NO!
Thing number three: I expected my head to hurt at the incision site, but I actually had a full on headache. Not only that but I was dizzy, any fast movement would send me swaying way too far into which ever direction. Anesthesia? oxy? probably a combination of both. but then again, I did just had someone drill a hole into my skull and place a screw.
By the way, I can see now why people are addicted to oxycodone and oxycontin. Personally, I didn't like the dizzy feeling, but I later found through a Baha Facebook group that the dizziness is actually a reaction from the screw in your head. As far what Oxy did for pain, it was pretty awesome.
Thing number four: I did not expect to come out of the operating room with a half shell the size of a softball, actually called a velcro mastoid dressing. Which ironically was the same size as the tumor that was removed from my back the month before. I wasn't even aware that it was there until I was getting dressed to go home.
Thing Number five: I expected to throw up. Every time I get a new tattoo or piercing, I always end up throwing up, if not that night, then early the next morning. I guess it's my body's way of trying to reject foreign objects or art from itself. but there was none of that. I was given Zofran through the IV before I was sent home. and as someone who works at a Hospital, I know that for me, Zofran is the best ant-nausea medication. I then was instructed to remove the shell cap 24 hours after going home.
24 hours later....
Day 1, Left photo was taken immediately after the big white cap (or velcro mastoid dressing) came off.
Day 2. Right photo was taken after I was able to shower from the neck down and brushed my hair followed by some dry shampoo. and used the sterile wipes they gave me at the hospital to clean around the area.
Thing number six: I did not expect to be horrified by a piece of long hair that was barely hanging by a few hairs in the back of my neck. Not only was it just hanging there, it was thick like it had come in contact with glue making it look like a thick dreadlock. I panicked and immediately cut it off. That's why picture number two above looks horrible as far as the haircut. I was so panicked and in shock that I didn't think to run it through warm water to see if I could get the stiffness to separate. I just cut it off. Usually I make bad decisions when I'm alone and on Vicodin. but what's done is done and it's just hair, and now it's going to take me about three to five years to grow it out evenly. This was another reason I was so upset, because my hair doesn't grow as fast as the average person.
So after the shock and the tears I was able to calm down. I know that what matters is that I'll be able to hear much better in a few months but when you work so hard to have beautiful, shiny, precious, long natural wavy hair, it's like losing a piece of your soul. I care about being able to hear, otherwise I wouldn't have had this operation, but I also care about my hair just as much. My main concern was going back to work with this ugly shaved patch of hair and a bloody dressing. and since I can't shower for two weeks, my hair will be oily and greasy af. So as a quick fix I decided to just wear my hair in a bun for two weeks and wear a headband, plus dry shampoo.
This experience was way different than my back surgery. I knew what to expect because this was my second back surgery. I knew I'd be completely asleep. I knew what kind of drugs I would get. but the way they did things at the hospital was so accommodating and the care was amazing (not like Kaiser, where I had my first back surgery).
So what's a Baha Implant?
Based on the photos you have just seeing, I'm sure you have an idea. but let's get a little in depth. The surgery itself consists of drilling a hole into the bone in your head and placing a little screw in it (shown below).
The BAHA or (hearing aid) in comprised of three parts. The two screws which go together and the processor which is the biggest piece. Once connected the processor picks up sound and voices through bone conduction and sends natural sound over to my better hearing ear. Kind of like those bone conduction headphones that are all of a sudden becoming popular.
This is the model I chose which is called the Baha 5 Cochlear implant. The two small pieces go together in the skull. Leaving the outer part exposed (middle piece) this is actually called an abutment. The healing process takes three months. I know, so long to wait to hear again. but According to some people it's so powerful that you can even hear whispers. We'll see about that though, because I still can't hear shit even with my current hearing aids. and my biggest distraction is background noise. Restaurants, malls, etc.
So, then after its all healed up, the largest piece called the processor is then snapped into the abutment (the exposed screw on your skull) and then turned on and adjusted to your preference, meaning turning down background or ambience noise etc. The picture to the right shows the processor connected to the abutment.
Here are perfect photos of the two different BAHA's available, top and bottom photos devices are the same. I just wanted to include a photo that wasn't too cartoonish. The left (which was my choice) is more like a snap on button as far as connection between the screw and processor. Kind if like a snap on button on a blouse or sweater. The second option is a magnetic version which involves a screw and a magnetic plate implanted, the screw is still implanted in your bone and the magnet just beneath your skin, and then the processor simply attaches to the plate through magnets. but I was told that the magnets plus the skin between the processor are too many layers and is not as affective as far as quality. Not to say that it won't work just fine on other people with different hearing needs.
Ultimately, here's are some photos of what the whole thing would look like once it's healed and connected to your head.
This device comes with some pretty cool accessories. Unfortunately for me, I only get to pick one for free. and I can choose to buy any other accessories I may find useful. I chose the Cochlear True Wireless Mini Microphone 2+. I found this to be the most useful due to work meetings or restaurant outings or just general noisy ambience. Background noise and chatter can be very distracting for me and makes it hard for me to hear. The Baha 5 also has a Cochlear True Wireless Phone Clip, though you can pick up the phone and listen through your Baha processor, you still have to hold your phone up to your mouth in order for the other person to hear you but with this clip it is simply attached to your clothing and you can leave your phone in your pocket. Last but not least there's a Cochlear True Wireless TV streamer, so only you can hearing the TV without captions. Like when your mom decides to vacuum in the middle of your favorite TV show, it wouldn't matter because the TV Streamer would be delivering the sound right to your processor and eliminating that background noice. I still need captions though. Just saying,
The Baha 5 Cochlear also comes with a free app that let's you control and adjust your BAHA's settings and can even save settings on it's own depending on where you are. You can have a setting for work a different setting for your house or a different setting for when you're at restaurants or meetings. The Mini Microphone can be used on one on one conversations and group conversations. The app also comes with a "find my BAHA" feature, very much like your "find my iPhone" feature. Not to mention, you can stream music, movies or videos straight from your iPhone to your BAHA.
I am very excited to have the abutment heal properly and get connected as soon as possible. This is like a miracle device and I know it would change my world forever. It already has by having this weird tight thing in my skull. Literally a tight screw. It's hard to getting used to but I know it's worth it in the end.
Like always, I hope you guys found this useful and that at least you learned something new. Please don't forget to comment, like and share.