An old AA adage. “How can I possibly stay sober for the rest of my life?” “How will I stay sober at Christmas?” “My birthday?” The classic from my sponsor in his first weeks sober – “My daughter’s wedding?” His daughter was 7 at the time!!! The response to all these fears from those nodding wise old sages that sit around the rooms is more often than not “One day at a time”. It is how I’ve got to be 14 years sober. The thought of 14 days, 14 weeks, 14 months to me in those early days was just too great but when people would say “Well stay sober today and see what tomorrow brings” that just made eminent sense. Of course it’s blindingly obvious that if you approach every day like that you will eventually wake up and find that day you are 14 years sober or like a very good friend around my local fellowship 54 years sober!
It actually is, like much of AA philosophy, something that can be readily applied to life in general and other aspects in particular. My recovery from the operation is a classic case in point.
The operation went well as I posted before. I was only under the anaesthetic for about an hour so my reaction to it wasn’t too bad. Instantly as I lay propped up on my hospital trolley in the surgical recovery ward I could tell that the pressure feeling I had grown so accustomed to in my left ear was gone. I instinctively went to do two of my little ingrained habits to help relieve it. A hard swallow and my hand was raising towards my left ear to stick my finger in and “pop it” when I realised the swallow was unnecessary and thought “sticking your finger in the ear you’ve just had surgery in for no good reason other than habit probably isn’t a smart move”. I’ve caught myself a few times making a similar move but the habit has quickly gone as I don’t need it. Given that reducing the pressure in the inner ear is the primary objective of the operation you can see it was a clear and instant success on that front.
I have not had any major vertigo attacks since the operation – Hooray! I have had a few at night or early morning in bed normally when I wake from being asleep on my back. The room is gently spinning not like the violence of the previous attacks and it stops in a few seconds if I just focus on something. They are a bit annoying and disorientating but really given where I’ve been with this totally bearable. I’m consciously trying to sleep on my unaffected side as I think that helps.
Balance has been … interesting! I’ve had moments when everything just feels wrong as though one of my big attacks is about to whisk me off in a 1000rpm spin and throw me to the floor. But I just steady myself and in a second or two it passes. I’d spotted one point when they regularly seemed to happen. If I went from looking up to looking down – imagine getting a tin off the top shelf. As I brought my head down to look at the counter I was to put the tin on everything felt off kilter. I also felt it on some turns whilst walking too. I think it is actually because I’ve grown so used to a broken balance system I’m adjusting to one that works now and that is causing the issue. Again the good news is that I’m just coming up to 3 weeks since the operation and those moments are getting less frequent and less intense. I believe the exercises I’ve been given are clearly helping retrain my brain.
I had my hearing aid fitted last week in the affected ear. That has helped with being able to hear better although I’m having to get used to the echoey and tinny sound. The biggest thing though is that after the op I felt that the tinnitus was worse. I did say to my family I thought it probably wasn’t but that as my hearing was worse it was just more noticeable. With the hearing aid that has made a significant difference – the tinnitus is still there but nowhere near as intrusive as I’d felt in the week after the op.
So overall – good. As ever I wish it was all back to perfect (which it will clearly never be) instantly. So I’m reminded as I see a slow improvement over the time to just take it… one day at a time.
Finally – many thanks for all the best wishes I received from fellow bloggers – it was much appreciated.