Let's review: Jason spontaneously took him out for a little pre-surgical spoiling at the ballpark. We both tend to lighten up on rules and regiments and budgetary restraints when we get into medical mode, as is evidenced by my grocery purchase of Lucky Charms cereal.
After a night of little sleep we cracked the dawn, packed up that prayer shawl, and got ready to wait.
Ben willingly went back with the surgical team on his own and fully lucid. We turned on the tv to watch the Pope's arrival to the White House while we paced. A friend from church showed up to wait and pray with us. The surgeon was surprised to see that what he thought was new cholesteatoma on the scans was actually scar tissue and fluid buildup. He didn't see any new masses forming. However, a previous mass had eroded the bone beside the brain and it had herniated into the mastoid space. He was able to fashion a dam of sorts from cartilage to put it back into place and hopefully prevent further migration. It is our hope that we've pinned down the cause of Ben's nausea and dizziness and headaches with this action.
As anticipated Ben was in a great deal of pain afterwards and the work began to keep his lungs clear, which always feels cruel. But Ben quickly turned the corner and began declining offers of pain relief and accepting bites of food.
Ben was released the next morning after the surgeon changed his bandages and checked on his work. Ben is still at serious risk of infection so we're being very vigilant about the lungs and signs of fever, but I can't stress enough my gratitude for the outcome. Ben will still require careful monitoring and scans to watch for further masses, but by retaining his ear canal, we aren't dealing with the decreased quality of life issues we were expecting. He'll have to stay home for at least a week and any visitors will be tossed out at the first sign of a sniffle but I feel so relieved and blessed that this hasn't gone differently.