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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Good Vibrations

Dr. Michael McKenna arrived at MGH and onto the Maderer Brain Pit Crew in 1989. He’d missed my first surgery by seven years but he’s been with me for every single one since then. (For those playing the home game, that’s 4 total just for the old brain)

Dr. McKenna always struck me as this: what a Beach Boy would be like if he was really, wicked, stellar smart, creative and all ‘round warm and 20 kinds of spectacular to boot.  I mean, honest and true and in 142 point Arial Black, the man exudes a caring, supportive, earnest, radiantly present and will-totally-take-care-of-you vibe. He’s there for me and, boy howdy, I want to do well in each of of my surgeries to, amongst other things, make him smile. His smile is big time gold. Serious and true.

Dr. M is my Neurotologist --  “a surgeon who specializes in disorders of the ear and hearing, and brain tumors that originate from the cranial nerves or structures adjacent to the temporal bone portion of the skull. The most common tumors include acoustic neuromas, meningiomas (hey, I've got those!), glomus tumors and advanced parotid gland and ear skin cancers.“ 

Basically he’s dealing with that pile of nerves, the ones which are more tightly packed than the B Train after an April Fenway game -- the ones which flow around the ear and effect sight, sound and sensation. You know, all that wretchedly important stuff.

Dr. McKenna’s dedication to patient care and research came together in his involvement in the development of Mass. Eye and Ear’s Auditory Brainstem Implant (ABI) Program. The Auditory Brainstem Implant is a surgically implanted electrical device that provides input to the auditory system for people without functioning auditory nerves.  (that's me!) The device has been FDA approved for those who have hearing loss as a result of Neurofibromatosis, Type II. An ABI research facility is currently under construction at the Mass. Eye and Ear and will contain areas for clinical care and basic science research, headed by Mass. Eye and Ear neurotologist Ronald de Venecia, M.D., Ph.D., and Christian Brown, Ph.D. The facility is the first of its kind in the New England area.

“It gives me great pleasure to know that Mass. Eye and Ear will have a hand in possibly improving this device and passing that knowledge on to future specialists and ultimately helping thousands of people with hearing loss,” says Dr. McKenna.”

I’ll be getting one of those ABIs one day and Mike’s gonna take me there. I’m always a wee bit more optimistic and just know I can tackle any old shit that comes my way after I see him.

Yeah, I’m more than a little in love.

Good Vibrations -- The Beach Boys

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