Thursday, November 21, 2013

I Am Borg

I know who I am. I belong to a collective of individuals who have been implanted with an advanced bionic ear. I have a miniaturized computer inside my head. It's a technological miracle.

We jokingly refer to ourselves as Borg or Cyborg, but an occasional Dr. Who fan will happen among us calling out to be recognized as Dalek. Unlike the Borg, it doesn't connect me to the Hive Mind, but it does connect me in a unique way to those who have experienced it or who will experience it for themselves as a solution to their hearing loss. I am connected to them -- I am and forever will be a member of the cochlear implant community -- a community that boasts about 200,000 members worldwide.

I came through surgery yesterday dazed and sick from the anesthesia. The surgery took longer than expected as the surgeon encountered bony structures that were in the way -- an individual anomaly he was forced to route around. He assured my husband that he has encountered anomalies before in his 200+ implant surgeries and was able to insert the implant with precision. The extra time increased the amount of drugs in my system, though, and upon waking, I found myself coughing, vomiting, and having trouble breathing. This increased my time in the outpatient recovery as well. But as the effects of the anesthesia dissipated, I found the pain from the surgery to be tolerable, sleeping in an upright position in the recliner uncomfortable, and walking to and from the bathroom labored. I ate some chicken broth and drank some tea. I only saw it once, thank goodness.

I can take the bandages off in a few more hours, and I'll take a mirror to see how the surgery has disfigured me. It's a mix of anticipation and dread. I expect a train wreck. But like a train wreck, it is something I am drawn to look at as I try to accept what I have become. And I know from past surgeries that scars calm with time, so I will be strong and hold my tears for something more worthy of my angst.

I am not Locutus of Borg. But in a weird, strange way -- in my bandages -- I might pass as his doppleganger.

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