Sierra View Medical Center has given an area woman a chance to hear with a procedure that otherwise night not have been available between Los Angeles and the Bay Area.
In November, 2020, 24-year-old Destiny Martinez of Exeter began to feel ear pain. She was also having trouble with her balance, she was feeling dizzy and sounds were muffled.
She went to her doctor and learned she had a viral infection and was experiencing fluid in her ears that was causing an earache. She was prescribed medication.
The symptoms didn’t go away. On Christmas Eve she went to the emergency room at a nearby hospital feeling dizzy and still having trouble with her balance.
She wasn't able to hear for months as she could only hear inaudible sounds. “It was like a never ending games of charades,” Martinez said.
She missed her daily love of listening to music and singing along. “I would usually use music as a coping mechanism, but I didn’t even have that,” Martinez said.
She and her mom kept going back to the doctor and she was given new prescriptions and exercises to try. As she and her mom returned to her car her mom would have to translate what the doctor said.
But Martinez said she knew something was wrong and not being diagnosed. “I was confused and angry that all of a sudden, my most important form of communication had been taken away from me,” she said.
Martinez eventually saw Porterville Ear and Sinus Specialist Dr. Mark Reader, DO. After he first tried a steroid treatment, it was seven month later when Reader diagnosed Martinez with idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss that was most likely caused by her viral infection.
Dr. Reader also had the solution. He recommended surgical procedure in which Martinez would receive a cochlear implant.
Sierra View is the only location between Los Angeles and the Bay Area where this procedure is offered. With 15 years of experience, Dr. Reader provides the procedure with Sierra View's operating room staff.
Martinez's surgery took about two hours. She was then moved into the recover area where she was monitored closely. from the time the incision was made to when she was moved into the recovery area and monitored closely. Among the Sierra View operating room team who worked with Dr. Reader were pre-op nurse,Florence Baltazar, RN, OR Nurse Sam Pacheco, RN and recovery nurse Andrea Smith, RN.
After the general anesthesia wore off and Martinez awoke, she remembered Smith. “I remember being nervous beforehand, but what I remember the most was when I woke up. I remember one nurse’s warm presence made all the difference; just her holding my hand and her comforting me, let me know that everything was OK,” Martinez said.
Martinez said she felt a huge relief of being able to hear. Hearing her family say, ‘I love you’ again to enjoying her music and other sounds all due to the cochlear implant was a turning point for her, Martinez said.
Learning to use a cochlear implant is a gradual process. Martinez is able to go in for adjustments and fine-tuning at Dr. Reader's office located near Sierra View.
Martinez shared she never imagined anything like this would happen to her and she's thankful to hear once again due to the cochlear implant. She has learned much patience along the way and if she could tell the community one thing, it would be to never take things like hearing for granted, she said.