Nia's Recovery from Cochlear Implant Surgery #calears

We felt so relieved when Nia was finally brought back to the room after her cochlear implant surgery. It took 4 hours to finish, 4 hours of waiting, 4 hours of intense nervousness. When I finally got to see her in the recovery room, it felt like the world was lifted off my shoulders. 

May 11, a day after surgery, Nia was still a little groggy. She still couldn't balance her head. Dr. Chiong did a great job dressing her ear/head. They also put diapers on her hands so she wouldn't be able to scratch and remove her dressing and her dextrose. 

Around lunch time, we were told that she can already start eating. Good thing, H and I decided to order some food. I gave her some mashed potato. I was so happy when she started eating. She didn't eat much, which was expected.

With the help of my husband, I cleaned her up. I brought a basin, wash cloths, head to toe wash, tooth brush and toothpaste. Since she couldn't lift her head still, I just cleaned her while lying down.

Another tip I got from a fellow CI mom, mommy Jeng, was to bring side tie and easy clothes. So I brought side tie dresses and button down tops to easily remove them if she needs to change. It made life so much easier. Given that her head size is bigger because of the dressing, it was definitely more difficult to wear shirts from her head.

The whole day was just quiet. She was mostly sleeping, perhaps still groggy from the anesthesia, or just plain tired. Nurses also came to give her some meds through her IV. They also gave her pain medication to handle pain. I was also allowed to breastfeed her. There were also times she was getting angry at her bandaged hands. She is usually an active girl, so this was especially annoying to her. Hehe!

Around dinner time, she was finally able to sit up. Yey! She still needed assistance and she still couldn't walk. My friend, Roma, sent over some chinese food for dinner. I was able to feed Nia some congee. It was advised to feed her soft food so it was the perfect choice.

We stayed in touch with the house through video call. It was sad when we learned that Robyn had cried several times. She isn't used to us not being together, that's why. And add to that the fact that she feels pity on Nia. She has been emotional few weeks before surgery. When we talk about the procedure or plan for it and she hears about it, she would instantly tear up. She would always say "kawawa si shobe." And how she doesn't want her to get an operation.

Niko, on the other hand, obviously couldn't speak his mind. But my sister told me that he hasn't been eating much. That says a lot, because Niko is a good eater. We also noticed when we got home, that he has lost weight. It just goes to show that even though he can't speak yet, he was still affected by this change.

My husband and I were both just "lutang". We were happy that the surgery's over and done. And we just want to finish everything and get back to normal. We felt like we were in a dream.

I slept beside Nia on the patient's bed. It was not the most comfortable, but it was the most convenient. Nia kept asking to be nursed and I gladly obliged. It was tricky positioning her and myself. We were afraid she wouldn't be comfortable because of her dressing. But it turned out okay. Nursing her round the clock was exhausting, but it was nothing compared to what she had to endure.

May 12, we were finally visited by Dr. Chiong. She visited around 10am, checked on Nia. She briefly discussed what happened during the operation. We were also advised that we can finally go home that day just as long as Nia is able to drink her pain meds orally.

We tried giving it to her, but she kept vomiting after. When we asked the nurse, she said that Nia should be able to take it without vomiting or else they have to administer to through IV which mean we wouldn't be able to go home. We tried different tricks including giving her some juice to help with the taste. After a few failed attempts, she finally took it and we celebrated because it means we graduated! Woohoo.

Around 12:45pm, while nursing Nia for her nap, they finally removed her IV. This was a huge moment for me. It just dawned on me that that was it! We're free to go and finally get back to the other kids.

We settled the bill, prepared our things and finally made our way home.

My dad and my sister stayed with the kids while we were away. We were so excited to see everyone. When we got home, they were all so happy to see Nia healthy. She was still puffy but that didn't matter.

I remember my dad being worried because Nia jumped on her horsey ride and rode it so vigorously and so fast. "Parang walang nangyari." :) I was also so stoked to see all of them 3 together.

We could see how happy she was. As cliche as it may sound, nowhere is better than your home.

She also began starting to walk, though unsuccessful at first. She needed to hold on to something to help her walk. She was all smiles, and was excited to see familiar faces. Eating some of her favorite snacks, napping on her own bed.

Our family felt the same relief as I felt. You see, Nia is a favorite of the family because she's so bubbly and all smiles. Our families and friends all said a prayer for her successful operation and we got that. Thank you God.

Eventually she regained her strength and balance. She started standing up and walking on her own again. By the way, we kept her hearing aid on her left ear so she can still hear what' happening. Thankful that she was okay with it.

Recovery was smooth, thank you again God. What was most challenging during the first few days was her scratching her bandage. Perhaps sweat also made in unbearable, she was so itchy. We'd remove her hand when she starts scratching. We were so afraid she'd remove it.

A week after her operation, May 17, we were asked to go back to the clinic to remove the dressing. We could't wait! It was difficult keeping Nia from scratching herself. It was also the first time we saw the "bump" on her head, where the implant was placed and the stitches she got from the surgery.

We also asked the doctor to put thread on her ear hole because she was already pierced. And she could't keep her earring on her right ear. I didn't want her to go through another piercing again, because from what we've observed, her ear hole closes so fast. So I really asked the surgeon as a favor to just put thread so the hole doesn't close.

We cleaned it, removed tape residue (which was so difficult to remove by the way), we had to use alcohol to do it. And Dr. Chiong also checked the magnet that was implanted inside. Here, she used a mock cochlear implant to check if it will stick properly to the implant.

Nia was checked and everything checked out great. Her wound was healing properly. We were to finally set a schedule for the “switch on” or when they will finally turn on the cochlear implant and Nia will start wearing her device.

Thank you to Dr. Chiong, Ms. Mhel and her whole team for a successful operation. We will forever be grateful!

Another CI mom, Mommy Thessa, lent us this "helmet" that Nia could wear while her wound is recovering. We were told that it's important she doesn't bump on anything so that the implant stays in place and get settled well. 

Unfortunately, she didn't like having anything on her head. Pretty sure because of fear and trauma.

We headed home, bought some bandages to protect her implant before switch on.

On the way home, I couldn't help but remember everything she went through to get all the way here. It hasn't been easy, heck, it has been hell. But my little champ is so brave and so resilient.

I know that she doesn't understand what's happening and what we did or why we did it, at this point. But my prayer is she realizes it when she's older. She realizes that we wanted her to have the best future she can possibly have, the same opportunities, the same life.

When I look at her implant, I think to myself gosh, it looked huge on her tiny head. But this gives her options and gives her an advantage and ability to hear, understand and speak.

The next stop on this long journey is Nia's switch on. 

For Nia's #calears journey, click here. And for continuous donations for Nia's therapy and other medical expenses, you may refer to her story here. Thank you so much.

Subscribe to my Youtube channel:
Like my Facebook:
Follow me on Instagram: