Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

Thanks where my thanks is due today.

There are so many people I am thankful for in my life, and I’ve said so many times throughout my blog. My family and my husband’s have all been very supportive to me through so many years of deafness before my Cochlear implant, but today there’s also another I’m so very grateful for.

I’ve seen an enormous amount of posts across the web from so many who are thankful about various people and things (yay food!), and I couldn’t go without posting my own warm and fuzzy thoughts.

I’m thankful today, Thanksgiving day, for this man.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I thank God today for Professor Graeme Clark.

I’m thankful that Professor Clark had the tenacity to succeed and successfully implanted the very first multi-channel bionic ear and cochlear implant. If it hadn’t been for his perseverance, despite so much stacked against him, I wouldn’t be hearing during my very first winter Thanksgiving after being deaf for so many years.

Many, many thank you’s to Professor Clark and to Cochlear Americas for what they began and what they continue to do.

“In spite of the problems and criticisms, I just had to go on. A cochlear implant was their only hope of ever hearing.” – Professor Graeme Clark

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My little boy. His first hearing test.

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I’ve said many times here and there that my hearing loss condition runs in my family.

Today began by being very challenging. I’ve talked previously about needing to take my oldest child, my five year old son, to get his hearing checked and today I did that. My cochlear implant audiologist’s office was a bit steep on the price for a hearing test, and because my son isn’t medically insured, I took him to the audiologist that I used many years ago when I got my hearing aids, long before my cochlear implant surgery.

I don’t think anything really prepared me for walking into that audiologist’s office today. I had told myself time and again that it was a simple test, it was likely that my son has zero hearing loss, and there wasn’t anything to be nervous about. And I wasn’t much until I stepped into that office.

My son had no hesitation. The minute we walked through the door, his eyes zoned in on some large leggo blocks, and the rest is simply history, for him at least.

I have been very careful the last few days, only telling him twice that he was having a hearing test, and very intentionally making it out to be no big deal. The last thing I want to do is create an anxiety or fear about it in him. The only thing I made a big deal about was that this wasn’t a “shot” doctor. He was good to go after he knew that he wouldn’t be getting a shot. Gotta love kids.

I had both my son and my little girl with me today. And I have no idea why I didn’t think to have someone go with me. Who cares about help with the kids? I definitely could have used the emotional support. My son walked in front of me and I held my little girl’s hand as we walked into the room that housed the sound-proof room for the hearing test. Audiology equipment sat at a little table, just under the window looking into the sound-proof room, and I felt like time stood still for a few moments.

I realized I hadn’t done this before. Because the times I’d been in this room before, it was all about me. Not about my little boy.

The audiologist checked my son’s ears a moment, asked me a few questions about why I wanted to get his hearing checked, then we both ushered my son into the sound-proof room, indicating for him to sit in it’s only chair. The audiologist placed headphones on his little ears, showed him how to push the button on the little remote when he heard a sound, then she stepped out. She closed the thick padded door and my heart nearly broke in two.

I forced myself to remain calm. This was only a test. No big deal. But I paced back and forth and wiped my teary eyes a dozen times as the audiologist made notes across my little boy’s first audiogram. She finished, and I held my breath.

She turned and looked at me, and it took me a second or two to really process what she said. My little boy heard just as well as any five year old boy does.

I couldn’t decide whether to cry, jump up and down, or give her a huge bear hug. I didn’t really do anything, just kinda stood there with my head spinning as she turned and opened the big door for my boy to exit the enclosed room. I smiled and told him how very proud I was of him sitting still and taking the test. He just shrugged like it was no big deal. Just like I’d hoped he would.

I let out a great big sigh of relief as we exited the office today. Thank God for such a great day. Fabulous day. With such good news.

Discount Tires. All. By. Myself.

This week I was privileged (or not so privileged) enough to visit this place.

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Discount Tires.

Yes, I do have a husband who could do this type of thing for me, but because he’s worked a few too many 12hr days this week, I absolutely insisted on going myself.

My husband did call ahead for me, made an appointment, and even told them what type of tires should be put on our SUV.

Something I realize now, looking back, is that I wasn’t even nervous about going in. There was apathy and boredom about the chore, but no apprehension.

I also visited Discount Tires a year ago and remembering the experience is like remembering a different lifetime. It was completely different the trip I made this week. And remembering last year’s visit is like remembering what it was like to be deaf, the time before hearing with my cochlear implant.

I remember last year when I went into the store, I had the sales guy repeat most everything more than once, and I remember actually being upset with my husband that I had go in and to do this myself. I didn’t touch my phone, look at a magazine, or watch TV at all while waiting. I spent the entire waiting period watching every worker like a hawk, trying to know when they’d call my name for my vehicle, not wanting them to call more than once. I’d be mortified if they called me a dozen times and I didn’t hear them. Can you imagine how embarrassing it would be for me if they called me five times before I noticed? I’d have to shake it off and murmur something about not paying attention like I always did. No one ever really understood what deaf meant.

This week was so different. I actually wanted to do it myself. I didn’t want my husband to waste precious free time when, because I don’t work, I can easily just do it myself. It’s almost ridiculous to think he should need to. Or have to. And I realize now that the reason I felt he should have to last year wasn’t really for the reasons that I thought.

I can’t say I love Discount Tires. It’s kinda boring sitting there waiting on tires to be replaced.

At least this year I had my iPhone to keep me entertained. When they called my name, I heard them just fine the first time.

The trouble with insurance…

I’ve always been a very private person. I don’t know if it’s because of being late-deafened or if it’s just who I am, but it’s always been really easy for me to keep any and all matters of the heart very close to my chest.

I’ve had difficulties deciding if I should post this blog, simply because I feel it’s a private matter. But if I’m going to be honest about this journey I’m on with my deafness (and now hearing with a cochlear implant), then I know I should shove this out in the open. I certainly don’t post this for myself, but because I want any struggling deaf or cochlear candidate who reads this to know that I struggle right along with you. You’re not alone. We’re all pushing through life best we can, and it’s so so important that we keep a positive outlook and believe God for the best.

I know, I know, you probably wonder what kind of struggles can I possibly have now that I’m no longer facing deafness but hearing with my cochlear implant. I’m right there with ya. I thought my world would be nearly perfect after my activation, but apparently this world just isn’t perfect. Who knew?

This week I decided that it’s time to stop dragging my feet and to send my oldest child, my son now 5 years old, to get his hearing checked. Because my late-deafness can be hereditary (although I do pray constantly my kids didn’t get it and won’t ever), I want to be a well-informed parent and send him yearly for a hearing check-up now that he’s reached school age. Some schools do give basic tests, but I’d much rather send my son to someone who knows my medical history, my audiologist.

Before spending a bundle on a specialist, I have sought out medical insurance for both my kids.

I don’t work at the moment. My college degree is for a field that requires customer service, and because I’m not confidant in making phone calls and have to say so in job interviews, I have yet to be hired in my line of work. I was once employed by a company years ago, but when I stopped being able to hear over the phone (or to talk on a radio to guys on a construction site), I lost my job. Yeah I know that lawsuits are an option, but I’m not one to use that route.

After losing my job years ago, it was after that that I looked into the cochlear implant. I couldn’t get insurance through my husbands work, so I tried purchasing medical insurance privately, only to be denied by company after company because I was already a candidate for cochlear. And no one wanted to pay for that. I eventually found a government program to sponsor my cochlear implant surgery, which I’m ever grateful for, and sometime after I was approved to have insurance through Medicare.

How does that affect my kids?

This week I called the Social Security Administration, who funds my disability Medicare, and asked how to get my children insurance. I was told that while they can’t get Medicare, I could apply to get them Children’s Medicaid or CHIP, both government programs geared toward children. I applied to both programs, but it turns out that my husband makes just slightly over the income limit. CHIP recommended that I call the Social Security Administration to find out where to get insurance.

Obviously that brought me full circle.

I got a bright idea, remembering that neither of my children have any medical conditions. Being that, why would they not qualify for me to purchase private insurance? I looked around online, not finding a private company that listed quotes for only the children. The companies wanted me or my husband on the plan too. Since my husband’s work pays for his insurance, and I have Medicare, that didn’t really work for us. So I randomly picked a private company to call and see if they did have plans for children only, it just might not be on their website.

When I called the insurance company, they told me they didn’t service Texas, but gave me the number to the Texas Department of Insurance. When I talked to the lady at the Department of Insurance, it was there that I got the answer I sought. Apparently in Texas, private insurance companies cannot sell insurance to children only. A guardian or parent must be on the plan as well.

Basically it boils down to that at the moment I haven’t found a way to buy insurance or use a government program to get them insurance either. What does that mean? I have no idea!

I can’t say that I have thought much about the long term with this issue. I’m not going to worry, because I know that inevitably everything can work out the same way it all worked out when I had so much trouble getting my own insurance. Worrying isn’t going to help me out any. What I can do for today is call my audiologist and see if they can give me some sort of discounted price to check my son. If they want to charge me the full couple hundred that I know it can be, then I know there is an audiologist in my metroplex that does non-profit work for children, and he might help me out.

So there’s my dilemma, laid out before this blogosphere. I think everyone knows our government isn’t perfect, so there’s no need for a big long rant. I rather just remind us all that it’s so important that we not only pray for our nation and it’s leaders, but to do more and to educate ourselves about our government and do what we can to vote the best leaders in place and voice our opinions on changes we need made.

Ending on a positive note, I will say that I was pretty intimidated by the amount of phone work I had to do through this situation. I was fortunate to talk with people who all spoke very clearly, and did have several times when I had to ask someone to repeat themselves or slow down. All in all, I’d say I’m doing pretty good on this recovery road to hearing!

New me. New picture.

Some of you, all of you, or maybe just a few of you might have visited my “About Me” page at some point or another during the last [almost] two years of my blogging. If you did, you’d have formerly seen a picture I’d always figured kinda summed me up.

This one.
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When I took the picture, it was long before I had my cochlear implant surgery, and back when I struggled as a deaf person. Being born hearing but late deafened, my first year here as a blogger was my most difficult one. My children were still toddlers, my marriage was bumpy, and while I really wanted to be happy, it was just so very hard to be. I never quite looked life in the eye.

But now? Almost seven months post-activation of my cochlear implant, I know I’m a completely different person.

This is me.

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I normally hate pictures of me. I’m just not one of those people who is comfortable with being photographed, but I got this picture in the mail this week from the photographer we used a few weeks back for family pics. And I love it. I’m such a visual person, and it’s here in this picture that I can see for myself just how much I really am different. It’s one thing to feel it, but for me it’s something completely different to see it.

Thank you McGowan Images for this tangible product of my life now.

I gotta go find a kleenex now!

The {not so} new show about a deaf girl

My sister-in-law recently told me about a show that she thought might interest me.

Switched at Birth.

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Synopsis, without spoiling anything, is that it’s about a teenage somewhat-spoiled high school girl who does some biology blookwork in class one day, and circumstances lead her to find that she was unconsciously switched at birth by the hospital.  Interesting thing is that when her upper middle class parents meet their actual biological daughter, they find that she is deaf. The show advertises the biological daughter as being Deaf, but because she wears hearing aids to help with sounds, correct me if I’m wrong but I think she would actually be termed deaf. The show spends a lot of time showing the deaf girl’s struggle as she floats between her life within a Deaf Community at school, and a hearing world with her biological parents.

I was pretty skeptical about the show, since Hollywood tends to make a mess out of a great many things (particularly books turned movies), but it was cute. Granted, it’s a teeny-bopper show. It’s low budget. It’s got not-so-great acting, and all the other usuals from pilot episodes, but it was still worth watching. It does skim the surface of what a deaf person would go through.

ABC Family gave the first season ten episodes, which played during the summer, and it has ordered 20+ episodes to complete the first season. Those continuing episodes will air sometime after the first week of January.

If you’re interested in watching, you can view those first ten episodes (optionally captioned) at ABC Family’s website, or they are also available on Netlix and can be subtitled.

I’m looking forward for the next few episodes. I’m betting ABC will give the show a better budget, since it was a hit during the summer, and hopefully the cast will beef up their performances and create an overall better show.

I heart music.

The last couple of days I’ve been putting some playlists together for a little project at church. We’ve just started a message series about marriage and we’ve been playing popular love-themed songs before and after church. This past week I put together the playlist of about six or seven songs, from various decades, and I am actually working now on putting together a completely different playlist for next week.

Can I just say, this is the most fun project ever in the history of projects?

Yesterday I heard Beyonce’s “Single Ladies Put A Ring On It” for the first time in my life, and I almost laughed all the way through it. Back in my teenage years, before going deaf, and before my new cochlear implant, you wouldn’t catch me listening to anything even remotely out of a certain type of music. I loved all things pop-music, but more along the line of Celine Dion, Bryan Adams, Backstreet Boys and *yawn* all those others.

But I am loving finding fun music like that song from Beyonce. Keep in mind, I’m pretty picky about what I listen to usually, but there’s just something about the beat to that song that makes me laugh, bounce my steps, and enjoy something completely out of what I’m used to. Maybe I’m loving that I can hear anything, and just appreciating hearing everything!

So today I’ve started on next week’s playlist. What am I bouncing around to right now?

None other that Rob Thomas and Santana in “Smooth.” My absolute favorite part is when the beat changes a bit and they sing, “Give me your heart, make it real, or else forget about it.”

Love love love this song!!