Associate Professor Melville Da Cruz is my surgeon - lets hope he's had a good nights sleep, and isn't grumpy before my surgery!

Associate Professor Melville Da Cruz is my surgeon - lets hope he's had a good nights sleep, and isn't grumpy before my surgery!

Have you ever thought about what it must be like to be a surgeon? Do you ever compare it to what you do at work, and how you work? Call me weird, but I often do – even before I was booked in to get this implant, I often wondered how they do it.

I mean, think about it – how many times you get to work in the morning, and do things half-heartedly because you are just not in the mood? Or maybe your best friend is getting married so you celebrated “a la Hens Night”, and ended up waking up somewhere with beer bottle lids stuck to your forehead, and the knowledge you are going to be late for work?

I can’t exactly imagine a surgeon wiping the sleep and beer from their eyes, looking at their watch and saying “Oh shit!  Quadruple by-pass heart surgery in 30 minutes! God, I need a coffee. Will they be able to smell the Vodka Cruisers on my breath? Oh where’s the visine! My eyes!”

No. Well. You would hope not!

I have great faith in my surgeon. He seems like a good guy. He also plays a delicate instrument, the violin, which has gotta be a good thing if he’s performing cochlear implant surgery, huh? I can’t say I would feel the same way if he was a rugby player or sumo wrestler. That’s not to say Sumo Wrestlers wouldn’t make fantastic ENT surgeons. I know Rugby players wouldn’t.

And what about my audiologist?

Monica Bray, Senior Audiologist at the SCIC

Monica Bray, Senior Audiologist at the SCIC

Monica Bray is a Senior Audiologist at the Sydney Cochlear Implant Centre, and she is very reassuring because she has had so much experience with cochlear implants. She is my audiologist, and has been has been ‘mapping’ & fitting cochlear implants since 1989, and she was the one that suggested that I wait for a bit before I get my implant – and that was definitely a good move. You have to be so ‘mentally ready’ for an implant.

And finally, my cochlear implant hero – is Professor Jennie Brand-Miller. She is a bilateral cochlear implantee, which means she has TWO implants!

Professor Jennie Brand-Miller’s GI concept overturned our dietary ideas about carbohydrates, and she’s sold millions of books. So she is not just a pretty face, but a very clever woman.

She has a similar hearing loss to mine, and also had Monica as her audiologist – and now that she has had her implants, she can … (*gasp*)… talk on the phone!

Well, that would be awesome, but understandbly, they always say “don’t expect to be able to hear on the phone”, because many people are never able to hear on the phone after a cochlear implant.

But I know Jennie can, because I saw her!

I asked her once if I could come and talk to her about her implant, when I was thinking about getting one. I just really wanted to talk to someone, and see someone who had experienced this scary massive operation and rehabilitation, and had actually benefited.

Professor Jennie Brand-Miller

Professor Jennie Brand-Miller, bilateral cochlear implantee

So, I went to Sydney Uni to visit her in her office, and I arrived a bit early, and was standing outside the door to her office, and could see through her window. And there she was … SPEAKING ON THE PHONE. I couldn’t believe it. Like I said in an earlier post, I haven’t been able to hear on a phone for about 5 years.

So, to see that… I was taken aback, amazed, freaked out, happy, bewildered, hopeful. Couldnt wait to get in there and talk to her.

And so, Jennie would have to be my cochlear implant hero, because she started off with a very realistic, very intelligent view of the implants – that they would require work, and getting used to – but if she persevered and remained positive, she would ultimately benefit.

So – I salute you Jennie! And here’s hoping mine is as successful as yours. High five!

If you want to read about Jennie, check out her ABC Talking Heads interview about her career.