My support system is in place, but no one can protect me from vulnerability. When you read this, cochlear implant surgery will be over and I’ll be home recovering. As I write a few days before surgery, I feel the weight of what’s to come. Not the heaviest of weights, but a practice run for the big challenges in life. Still I honor this time as an initiation into a new world–a hearing world.
I’ve longed for this surgery, but I’ll be unconscious and immobile, as they cut behind my L ear to insert a cochlear implant. It’s a small price to pay.
I offer my body to surgical expertise and care, but I do more than submit. Weeks ago, I created a healing altar with photos of my husband, my dad who supported me when I had eye surgery as a child, and my teacher Marion Woodman. I asked for and received healing dreams.
Skilled surgeons and anesthesiologists will do their work. My job is to heal and accept the support I’m offered which is not an easy task for me. My son Anthony will take me to surgery and stay at my home four days. If I need more help, a friend and my North Carolina son David wait in the wings. Friends offer everything from soup to rides to dog care. I accept it all.
A close friend gave me a sweetgrass basket, a perfect fit in my cupped hand, woven from a spiral center like threads of our lives, like the spiral shape of a cochlea. I’ll fill the basket with healing drops and ointments and spiritual reminders. My ritual in a bowl.
- Lavender oil: A calming scent to put on warm wrists after my pre-surgery shower.
- Arnica pellets: A homeopathic remedy for swelling, injury, and trauma.
- Rescue Remedy: a Bach Flower Essence I’ve used since the 1970s for every emotional or physical challenge. A few drops on my tongue or in the weak green tea to sip during the 2 hour drive to the surgical center with Anthony behind the wheel.
- A special flower essence made for this procedure by my Arizona friend, taken in drops now and for many weeks.
- A bottle of CBD oil for inflammation and healing delivered by friends during the deep freeze. Another gift infused with love.
- CBD salve, a gift from my North Carolina family to rub into tight shoulders and jaw—or anywhere I hurt or ache that isn’t bandaged. And when the bandages go, salve for the healing wound.
For sacred help:
- Tibetan prayer beads from Namgyal Monstery in Ithaca because prayer beads soothe Hindus, Catholics, Buddhists, and me.
- A tiny Sumerian bull face to remind me of my strength.
- A small statue of Ganesh, Remover of Obstacles and Lord of New Beginnings.
- Tibetan prayer flags hung inside my home to welcome me when I return.
- Two feathers so my prayers have wings.
What will you put in your medicine basket? How do you care for yourself in challenging times? With gratitude to many online contacts who have cochlear implants, shared helpful and reassuring information, and gave me their time. I don’t know if I’ll respond to comments immediately or be out of commission for a few days. Either way, I always love reading your responses. (Implant audio won’t be turned on until six weeks after surgery when all inflammation is gone, so it’s another waiting time.)
For another article about hearing, see I Want To Understand You: Hearing Loss, Grit, and Grief. For another article about self care, you’ll enjoy My Care Basket for 2019 by Anne Gorman in Voices of Experience at Grief Healing