Monday we saw the surgeon. He removed the remaining gel from the outer side of the eardrum. Even though I still have the gel next to the inner side of the ear drum, I hear better now than I did before surgery. The perimeter of the graft seems to have successfully adhered to what ear drum I had left. That part is all good.
However, you knew there was going to be a however, right? However, there is a 0.5 millimeter hole in the center of the graft. The graft has no native blood supply. Vessels have to grow in from existing tissue to keep it alive. Dr. Duong’s theory is that the blood supply did not make it in time to keep that piece of tissue alive. For those of you who use the English system of measurement, here is a visual aid for the size of a millimeter. Millimeters are on the bottom, the top is an inch.
As it stands, half a millimeter is not that big of a deal. It does continue to prevent kayaking, snorkeling, paddle boarding, or anything that has the potential to put a rush of water into my ear. We asked the question, will the hole stay that small? We got a very equivocal answer; that there are no guarantees in life.
I go back in two weeks to see if a miracle has occurred and it spontaneously closed. If not, there is a procedure called a paper patch. A small patch is applied that provides a scaffold for tissue to grow. Apparently they have to torture the edges of the hole a little to get it to grow. Not really looking forward to that. I don’t know how long it will take for the paper patch to heal. I do know that until it does, I will continue to shower with the cotton ball, the band aid, and the dixie cup over my ear. That’s a bummer. After care is also problematic. If we don’t get out of Issaquah pretty soon, we’re both going to come down with Seasonal Affective Disorder. It’s gloomy!
There it is, good news and bad news. It’s always something.