Posts Tagged ‘cochlear implant’

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!

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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.

Never fear, my sidekick is still near.

I’ve been absent. It’s true. I think it’s been, what, a week and a half since I’ve blogged last? Quite possibly longer…

I’ve been busy having pictures taken, taking pictures, and planning and attending events.

Yesterday we hosted one particular event. Think of fourteen screaming happy girls (most under 5yrs old) at a luau birthday party, complete with flip flop decorating, fun, and  lots and lots of sugar. And more screaming. Happy screaming, but still. My ears were ringing by the time they left. Heck, my ears are still ringing.

And guess who turned 4? My little munchkin of a girl is who! Also known as my sidekick.

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Hard to believe she’s four years old.

A few things about her that are interesting. You know how when you have your first kid, you’re terrified of placing him in his own bedroom for a good six months? And you know how when your second kid comes along, you’re so sleep deprived at that point that you place the baby in her own room before she’s a month old?

Yeah, it happens.

And to all those parents of one kid who think they’d do the same thing with their second as their first kid?

Heh heh. Suuuuuure…

But the interesting thing about my girl is that at two weeks old, we let her sleep in her room the first time. My husband was ready to wake me at any point in the night if he heard her through the baby monitor, but imagine our surprise when he slept through the entire night without hearing her cry. I woke up that morning to sun streaming through our window, made a mad dash to her room, and found her sleeping peacefully. So peacefully that I had to wake her soon after to get her to eat, and it was from that point on that she never woke once in the night.

While I enjoyed not having to get up with two kids while she was a baby (my son still woke constantly at night while she was a baby), I enjoy hearing her myself now with my cochlear implant. No more not hearing her cry, depending on my husband to wake me up. No more asking my son to tell me what she’s saying when she’s finally talking-age, simply because I couldn’t understand her. No more temper tantrums from her from the frustrations of me not being able to hear what she wants. No more emotional breakdowns when I felt like I was failing my children as a mother.

We’re good now. She’s still my sidekick. But these days we have full-fledged conversations. You know, like no she can’t wear makeup outside the house until she’s 12. Or no, she can’t marry her brother. Or yes, she can be a princess and get married someday (she thinks anyone in a white dress is therefore a princess).

She has so many questions, mostly about things completely frivolous. But let me say, I enjoy hearing and answering every single one of them.

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!!

Seminars giving out gifts of gold? Or something similar anyway.

Today marks one solid year post-operation for my cochlear implant. Big shout out for that! Granted, I had to have a second surgery and didn’t get my implant actually activated until six months ago, but still. It’s so hard to believe that my first initial surgery was a whopping one year ago. Crazy how time flies!

Fun Fact:

Here’s the implant that’s in my head.
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On the far right, the rounded portion, is where the magnet is. In the center of that clear rounded portion is a silver magnet about the sizeof my dad’s fingertip. That magnet is the one under my skin on my head that connects to the magnet that’s on my processor.

Now here’s my processor.
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See the #2 magnet in the round portion on the end? Pretty cool headgear, huh?

Being that it’s been six months since activation, I’m already certain I want to go bilateral. Right now, I only have one cochlear implant, I only hear from one hear, and by going bilateral I mean that I want the second ear done.

I attended a seminar last night that was sponsored by Cochlear Americas, the brand of implant and processor that I have.
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The seminar was specifically about bilateral CI’s and it was exactly what I needed to hear. If you can imagine all the sound around you coming to just one ear, it’s kinda crazy. If you’re anything like me, you’ve stepped out of a store before, forgotten where you parked, and hit the button on your key ring to get your car to honk at you. The thing about me is that no matter where the sound of the horn is coming from, I’ll only hear it in my left ear, making it almost impossible to figure out where my car is at. But hey, at least I can hear it and know it’s out there. Somewhere.

Directional hearing like that is so important to me, especially having two small kiddos. But I know it will improve my overall hearing too. It would be like going from watching TV at home to sitting in a movie theater with surround sound. Serious difference.

So I attended the seminar, learned lots of new stuff. One thing I know is that my insurance is only going to pay 80% of my second impant. I’ll let you do the math to figure out that paying 20% of a $130,000 gig is pretty steep. It might really take a miracle. No big deal though, because I know that the first one actually happening was a serious miracle. Who says I can’t manage two?

I’ll close up here by showing you a silent video of what I got at the seminar. I love gifts. And being the geek I am sometimes, I think this is about the greatest gift I’ve ever been given at a seminar. Cochlear Americas? You guys rock.

Nothing says holidays like a cheese log

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Holidays are the former bane of my existence as a deaf girl. So were drive-thru lanes. And phones. And conversation with human beings as a whole.

But now that I have a cochlear implant?

The other morning I thought about the upcoming holidays. Hard to believe we’re rapidly approaching the season again, isn’t it? And with that thought, I almost had an emotional breakdown because I realized something that I haven’t really thought about much in a long time.

This will be another first for me.

As I’ve hit my six month’s post activation of my cochlear implant, there really aren’t so many wow I heard that moments. Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not complaining. I love hearing, and I love that it’s not so emotionally overwhelming anymore. It was rough those first few months when every time I heard something new, I’d practically bawl my eyes out because I was so happy I’d heard that something again. With all the tears, I had to drink a lot of water to stay hydrated! But in all seriousness, while I did love those moments of hearing things again for the first time, I’ve also enjoyed slowing down to just enjoying every day, hearing the same things, in a routine of sorts.

But oh, the holidays.

Who doesn’t love the holidays?

Even last year, as much as I wanted to hate the holidays, I do love them. I love spending time with family, enjoying their company, and hearing kids squeal in delight when they’ve opened an unexpected gift. And I love music. Classic Christmas songs, revised pop versions, rock versions, and every other kind.

This will be the first set of holidays that I can enjoy in a very long time as a hearing person. I’m crying just thinking about it!

And I’m excited. I’m excited about hearing this season for the first time again after so very long. I’m under no impression to think that this won’t be the best year yet.

Even therapy won’t fix this.

This week my husband flew to South Carolina for a conference and was gone overnight. And one thing that I always hated about being completely deaf was that if my husband is out of town, I’d never hear an emergency. I used to not be able to hear fire alarms, my dog barking, an intruder breaking in, my kiddos screaming from nightmares, nothing. Now that I have my cochlear implant activated however, it’s pretty obvious that I don’t have that problem anymore, so long as I’m sleeping with my processor on.

But there’s another problem.

This is the first time my husband was out of town overnight since activating my implant and processor. After putting the kids in bed the other night, I put a fresh rechargeable battery in my processor to be sure it lasted through the night, and I went to bed. I usually take off my processor at night to give my head a rest, especially where the two magnets connect from my implant and processor. It gets sore in that spot on my head if I have long days, but even though I knew I might wake up with a sore spot, I didn’t mind if it meant I’d hear anything that might be an emergency during the night.

I think I went to bed at about eleven o’clock. My dog lay down next to the bed, and I felt nice and safe knowing I could hear.

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About an hour after I lay down and had fallen asleep, I woke up with a jerk to click-click-click-click-click… I looked at the clock, saw it was close to midnight, and wondered at the sound.

I listened….

crunch-crunch-crunch-crunch… The dog had moved from my bedside, left the carpet of my room, and I knew his nails had clicked their way across our wood and tile floors to the kitchen, where he was now munching on his dog food. So I went back to sleep.

An hour later… click-click-click-click-click… I turned over and went back to sleep.

An hour later… click-click-click-click-click…

“Vador lay down and be still!” I finally commanded him.

An hour later it was air-conditioner kicking in. The toilet flushing from one of the kids. And one thing after another…

Obviously I made coffee first thing the following morning. Really strong coffee. And obviously I’m only going to sleep in my processor on the nights that it’s absolutely necessary.