Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The 11th attempt

Just about every day, I work on the Sound and Way Beyond software for rehab.  Some of the tests are super easy.  Some of them are super, super hard.  One of the hardest for me right now is vowel recognition.  There are 5 levels.  I am currently on the 2nd level.  There are 16 steps in level 2.  I've been working step 11 for the past two weeks, trying to pass the ridiculous thing.  I've failed it 10 times.  Today, on attempt 11, I passed FINALLY!!  You know what that means?!  It's time to bust out with the Moose Tracks stored safely in the freezer awaiting a celebration day.  That day is here!

Monday, January 30, 2012

CRAZY

This experience is CrAzY!  Honestly, I thought I was prepared.  But I just didn't get it.  I didn't get that I would be able to hear awesomely well right from the beginning but have no clarity in voice.  So when I talk to the "professionals" about how hard voices are, they basically all say the same thing.  "Everyone's experience is very different and it's a very wide spectrum."  Well, I can't speak for anyone else, but wherever I am on the spectrum (they call me "normal"), let me just say it's cRaZy!  I need lots of validation these days!  I have so much respect for others who have gone before me who have truly been able to train their brains in this CrAzY.

I had my 3rd map today.  I'm much happier with the results of this map than the 2nd one.  I feel like I backtracked with the 2nd map but then slowly started doing better than the 1st map.  Today, I do not feel like I have backtracked.  The audi's did a more refined map so it was a bit different than the last two.  At first, I had to count beeps like before.  But when they turned it on after than, they sounded like they were talking through a tunnel.  So they changed strategies.  There are 22 electrodes in my implant.  22 electrodes stimulating my cochlea.  I'm still in awe over this technology.  Anyways, for each of the electrodes they did a balance test.  So I listened to three tones and had to give them feedback on the loudness levels of each of the tones.  The goal was to make all 3 tones the same volume.  So I would respond with something like "the first and third tone had the same volume but the second was way softer."  They would adjust and do it again.  We did this again and again and again.  Until all the tones sounded similar in volume.  Then they turned it on again.  Their voices sounded hollow.  They did a quick little switch somewhere and turned it on once again.  Ahhh.  Better.  Not fully human.  But better.  The weird thing though is that some of the high pitches now cause my brain to vibrate.  Apparently these high pitches my brain has not heard (or at least hasn't heard for most of my life) and so my brain doesn't know what to do with them.  Instead of recognizing it as sound, my brain is categorizing it as throbbing.  Unfortunately, the pitches that cause throbbing are the super high frequency ones.  Well guess what frequency I am surrounded in all day.  Yep, my kiddos.  So I got home from my mapping and my brain vibrated for 3 straight hours until their bed time.  I think I looked at the clock every 3 seconds, willing it to turn faster so I could put them in bed!

Now that the boring stuff has been discussed, I'll talk about the GOOD stuff.  While in the store on the way home, I could tell that two people were having a discussion.  They were not anywhere near me.  I had to search to find them.  They were behind me and several feet away.  I couldn't understand what they were saying but I could identify who had which voice and could also identify when the other person started talking.  Whoo hoo!  I can not wait until I can eavesdrop!!!!!!!!!

Also, tonight Evan was wringing his hands to get excess water off of them.  I heard that excess water splat in the sink!!!  CrAzY!  While tucking in my daughter for the night, I heard this strange noise and couldn't figure out where it was coming from.  It was from her stuffed animal dog.  I knew it moved but I did not know it made noise when it moved. 

Oh, one more thing!  My other programs have been installed!  Finally!  Now I can control noise in the background (maybe?) and can practice listening to music (hopefully?).  It's a happy (though head-achy) day!

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Human Voice!

Breakthrough tonight!!!  I am so excited!  I heard human.  My 11 year old nephew came over and he is a pretty quiet kid.  I really have not heard him well in years.  Tonight, when he spoke, he sounded human!!!!  Still some distortion and mechanical sounds to his voice but the majority of his voice sounded like a human's voice.  I am so excited.  Someone I can almost understand!  I made him talk while I was looking down so I could not lip read.  I understood each sentence on the second try.  Whoo hoo!!  The volume of his voice was most excellent.  :) :) :)  Of course, once my sister and Evan started talking, the robotics all came back.  But when they stopped talking and my nephew started, again, it sounded human.  I love human!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Today I Heard.....

Somebody start their car from across the parking lot!  Is that possible?  Can people with "normal" hearing hear others start their cars?

p.s. Em, I'll get back to you on the chocolate :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Evan's Vantage Point of Activation

Kristel has been wanting me to give my vantage point of her CI Activation Day and am finally getting around to it! The entire process has been really interesting. Leading up to the actual surgery I was a wreck and nervous where Kristel was as calm as a nice summer's day. But leading up to and the day of activation Kristel was a wreck and nervous where I was the calm one.

Kristel was so worried that the device wouldn't work and she wouldn't be able to hear anything. I kept a positive attitude and kept reassuring her and telling her things like we didn't come all this way and go through all of the stuff we did for it not to work. It will work, and it will be great! I'd like to think that my positive attitude is what kept her going.

I had really no idea what to expect when they activated the device. It was crazy that it was all done through a laptop connection to the implant and were able to program it and make adjustments...seriously, technology is amazing. So a lot of the technical stuff about it I will bypass because I really don't know where to start.

At first, I guess they turned on individual electrodes at a time and Kristel was supposed to respond when she heard beeps or tones. Going into it, all Kristel wanted was to hear these beeps, which would make it successful. When the audiologist first started sending the beeps through and there was no response from Kristel, I could see in her eyes and by her demeanor that her anxiety level was increasing along with her stress because she knew that there were beeps, but she couldn't hear them. I imagined her screaming inside, "Noooooooooooo!"

Apparently, it was completely normal not to hear anything at first, but when she did hear the first beeps her demeanor completely changed, her face lit up, a smile broadened across her face, and exclaimed joyfully, "I heard it!" From there, the rest of the process was as smooth as a hot knife cutting through butter. (I'm just full of metaphors and similes today!)

Most of my "occupation" was capturing it all on film, which you can see some clips at the end of this post, but it was really exciting to see Kristel start to hear more and more and make out not just beeps, but other sounds, tones, and speech! She was super excited about the results and so happy that it worked. Two of my favorite parts of the activation is where she heard a question from the audiologist - "Do you have children?" Kristel repeated the question and responded, "I do!" See video below:

video

My other favorite time was when she heard my voice for the first time and gave this big happy sigh, "Ahhhhh...." Later, Kristel said that it sounded like home. That made me really happy. I will have to find that video and put it here too. Check for an update later with more videos.

Overall, it was a great experience and Kristel was super excited and happy about it. We celebrated by going to Olive Garden!

Celebrating

I taught a lesson on Sunday about celebrating our small steps of progress.  So I can't just leave off with my last post about discouragement!

Tonight, I had the greatest time cooking.  Remember how I was excited about how great ground beef sounds sizzling?  Well tonight, it stood out to me above the background noise, I didn't have to do any brain work for it to happen!  And I loved the sound of my knife slicing through the onion.  Slice, chop, slice, chop.  The chop is when the knife hit the cutting board.

There are so many things I am hearing SO well.  I just really have to make sure I stay in the moment and appreciate how far I have come, not worry about far I still need to go.  Hooray for celebrating.  Now I am going to go eat chocolate :)

Lipreading

Today's been a little discouraging.  It's really difficult to put this whole experience into words.  I had to take my son to the doctor and I was not able to communicate very well.  His doctor is fantastic and super accomodating so I normally hear him very well (with both of my hearing aids before my CI).  Now, I don't ever take my CI off during the day and voices are so mechanical with it.  When I go into a situation where I need to hear more (like my son's doctor), I wear my hearing aid also.  But it seems too complicated to understand speech.  It's like my brain can't make sense of the competing signals coming in from both sides, as they are so different.  So I focus super hard on lipreading.  But it seems I am ineffective at lipreading right now.  I think I figured out today why.  I think it's a 3rd competing signal going into my brain and my brain just can't keep up with it all.  I contacted my audiologist about it.  She said that this is all "normal" and that research suggests my brain will be able to eventually adjust to all the competing signals.  All those people out there who think this is a quick fix couldn't be further from the truth!  One day at a time!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Adjusting

I started making progress again on Friday night.  Hooray!!  Evan was helping me with some listening exercises and he was happy with how much better I did with them compared to Wednesday!  I was able to advance some more in therapy yesterday also.  My therapist covers her mouth and says words, phrases and sentences.  I have to say out loud what I think I heard.  Often it makes absolutely no sense but it leads me to eventually getting it right.  The hardest letter for me right now is a.  Through an implant, a doesn't sound like a.  It sounds like ehhhhhhhhhh. 

This weekend has been pretty good, though of course Church was hard.  I just LOVE the women in my ward (local congregation).  They are so loving and so patient.  They have done so much for me these past couple of months.  One, in particular, led the efforts to raise funds for flowers and gifts for me during my recovery.  Another helped with the kids on countless occassions.  Many have prayed for me and have become invested in my journey.  How grateful I am for each of them!  I am so amazed that this journey has led me to strengthen relationships.  I am excited to connect more with people instead of shying away from all things social.

Oh, and a great moment!  When I left the therapist's office yesterday and got in my car, it was raining.  I just sat in my car and started listening to the rain.  Rain has always just been noise these last few years, nothing clear about it.  But as I listened, I could hear individual drops of rain.  Lots of them.  It was like each drop made an individual sound and together it sounded like multi-drops.  So fun!!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Back to Work

Most people who get a CI are back to work within a week or two of surgery.  Most people have jobs where they can still do some work without hearing.  Not I.  Why I chose a field that relies SOLELY on hearing, I have no idea.  But I did.  I had clients scheduled last week but I cancelled them.  I only work two days a week so it's not like I've missed THAT much.  But I was nervous to start back today after my new map yesterday.  I only saw two clients and gave myself 4 hours between them to adjust to the sounds of the office.  My session with my morning client went well, though it took about 150% of energy and employing ALL my accomodations.  Talking with other staff members in the morning went well.  But everything changed in the afternoon.  There were more people, there was more noise and maybe my brain was already tired?  My afternoon session was much harder.  How do I give more than 150% of my energy and accomodations??  I can't.  I pray for mercy.  It was granted.  I felt guidance from above and I made it through and hopefully my client felt it was a productive session.

I just have to give a shout-out to my co-workers.  I was just overcome with emotion today at how absolutely amazing and supportive and loving they all are.  Truly.  I am surrounded by the best of the best.

Breakthroughs Cut Short

Last Sunday, all of a sudden, the kids voices became tolerable.  Women's voices started to sound like women.  And Men's voices almost started to sound good.  Monday and Tuesday were GREAT days.  I was able to up the volume on the remote and tolerated the loudness levels.  I felt like I was doing well with rehab.  It took almost two weeks since activation, but it finally seemed all my rehab was paying off.  The bells seemed to be dropping off.

Then came Wednesday and a new mapping.  Oy.  Everything is all crazy again.  Well, I am exaggerating.  Not everything.  Just voices.  Kids are super high pitched again.  Women and Men's voices, I don't even know how to explain.  I can't.  I just don't have the words in my vocabularly.  Not bells.  Maybe robots talking into a microphone 3 football fields away while I am standing right next to a mega speaker.  So it's going to take some new adjustments.  My next mapping is the 30th.  My brain has hurt since yesterday.  This is hard work.  However, it's so worth it!  I'm so grateful for the little miracles every day. 

I heard Aleah ask me a question through a closed door yesterday.  I mean, really?  Who ever would have thought I could have done that.  I'm hearing the electronics in the household beep and chime.  We sure have a lot of electronics!!  I can hear Joshua start to cry from his bedroom when I am in the office.  Before it would take me 20 minutes of him crying before I understood he was crying.  Now it's like "WAH" right in my head as soon as he starts. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012


This is what my blog used to look like.  Lonely.  Dull.  Narrow.  It's time for a change.  I am in a whole new world.  I no longer feel my path is linear.  And I do not hear in dull tones anymore.  Now, I hear in color.  Lots and lots of color.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Auditory Therapy

I met with my therapist today for the first time.  She's fantastic!  She quickly identified my problem areas so I know what to focus and work on.  She also gave me a quick hearing test (just tones, not speech).  I was SHOCKED at how beautiful my audiogram looked.  I am totally hearing what I need to be hearing.  Just got to work on making sense of it all.  She said it's a very, very realistic goal to communicate without lip reading.  Such happy news.  I have 3 sessions with her lined up and we'll go from there.

Tonight, while driving, I heard Aleah behind me say "mommy, I want to go out to eat."  I turned around and asked her if she said she wanted to go out to eat.  She nodded and was so happy I heard her :)  Hooray for an understood sentence coming from behind me!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Duck, Duck, Goose

While playing Duck, Duck Goose with the kids (and ten of their stuffed animals), I kept my eyes closed when it was their turn.  I wanted to see if I could discriminate between "duck" and "goose."  I know they sound nothing alike.  But to me, right now, almost all speech sounds exactly the same "ding, ding, ding, aling."  I'm working sooooo hard on speech.  But it's just going to take time.  So after about ten rounds of playing, I could tell the dings apart between duck and goose.  Progress :)

I also can sometimes distinguish Joshua saying "mommmmmmyy" when he's upset.  He's two.  So he's upset quite a lot and I get lots of practice hearing him say "mommy."  Tonight I heard it while I was in Aleah's bedroom.  I left her room to go and find him and he was in the kitchen.  With the scentsy wax dumped on top of him.  After I made sure he wasn't burned, I cracked up.  It was hillarious how distraught he was after the wax hardened on him.  I loved that I could hear him calling for me from a different room in the house.  While cleaning up the wax, I again heard "mommmmmmmyy" from another room.  I went on the search.  He and Aleah were in his bedroom yanking the christmas lights off his wall.  Oy.  I'm telling you, this bionic ear is good for mothering.  Haha.

And just an FYI, I know I am probably making it sound like I've never heard sound before.  I'm in an odd situation.  With both hearing aids, I did hear lots of sound.  My hearing loss is just so bad, it was very difficult to distinguish between sounds.  And I had to hyperfocus on speech to understand what was being said.  So I've always been able to hear my children say "mommy" when I am right in front of their face and they are looking at me.  However, I could never hear them say "mommy" if I was in a different room.  Now, with an implant, I mainly leave my left hearing aid out.  So I'm only relying on my implant for speech and it's super difficult at this point of my learning curve.  So I'm understanding less speech with my implant now than I did with both hearing aids right up to surgery.  However, once my brain is trained, I will be able to understand speech better with my implant.  In the meantime, I'm hearing other sounds that I haven't heard for years.  Like the wind.  Like my clock.  Like boiling water.  Like pants swishing together when I walk.  Does that make sense??

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Back in the Saddle Again

Yesterday was a hard day.  I lost track of the goal.  But after some tears and a heart to heart with God, I'm back on track.

Today's been good.  I was able to tune out background noise for a few minutes to hear the kids breathing during their nap time.  I've always wanted to listen to my children breathing.  I'm grateful for my vision because I've always been able to see them breathing.  But it's a wonderful thing indeed to hear it :)

Thought I would be able to go back to work this week but ain't going to happen.  I did go to the office today for a couple of things and it was confirmed I am not ready to hear in that setting.  So since I am not working, I decided to work on deep cleaning.  Maybe for the first time in my life.  While cleaning under the microwave range tonight, the electric burner top pulled my magnet off my head.  Thankfully the burner was not hot.  My processor is fine.  But I thought it was funny.  I'm going to have to be careful around metal surfaces or that magnet is going to leave my head often!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Ling 6

I am writing this post to document my new understanding of the Ling 6.  It may not be very interesting for anyone else but it is important for me to make note of.

Ling 6 is a simple test designed to examine if a person has access to full range of speech sounds necessary for learning language.  This chart is from Cochlear.com.



 Ling-6 Sound
Frequency it measures
m
/m/ is a very low frequency sound and if your child cannot hear this sound it is likely they will not have sufficient low frequency information to develop speech with normal prosody (tune) and without vowel errors.
oo
/oo/ – [u] has low frequency information.
ee
/ee/ – [i] has some low frequency information and some high frequency information.
ah
/ah/ – [a] is at the centre of the speech range.
sh
/sh/ is in the moderately high frequency speech range.
s
/s/ is in the very high frequency speech range.

http://www.cochlear.com/files/assets/Ling-6%20sound%20test%20-%20how%20to.pdf

There is a four level hierarchy of auditory skills with respect to sounds: detection, discrimination, identification and comprehension.  The Ling 6 can be used for the first three levels.

Detection- the awareness of a presence or absence of sound
Discrimination- the ability to tell if two sounds are the same or different
Identification- the ability to correctly label the sound that is heard
Comprehension- understand the meaning of the sound (bridges auditory perception with cognitive abilities)
http://www.audiologyonline.com/articles/article_detail.asp?article_id=728

For all my family (and anyone else worried about their children developing hearing loss), this is how you can test your own child's hearing abilities.  Saying these sounds at different intervals in a different order and having your child respond will show you what level they are at (at least in the first three levels) with auditory perception.

With my new implant, I am detecting each of the 6 sounds, discriminating about half and identifying inconsistently.  Good news is that means I have auditory access to the wide range of speech.  That makes me happy!

Background Noise

Apparently church is super, super loud.  That was a very hard 3 hours.  I tried and tried to use my mind powers (just discovered last night) to reduce that background noise and I couldn't.  I came home and crashed for 2 and a half hours.  Wore me out.  I have a new appreciation for hearing people who go to church and listen to the teachers and speakers despite all that racket.

Tonight, Evan was helping me practice with the Ling 6 (ahh, ooo, eee, mmmm, ssss, shhh) and I just couldn't get any of them.  We practiced two nights ago and I was doing really well with 5 of them.  Tonight I struggled with all of them.  Evan thinks it's because the dishwasher was running in the background.  I don't know but this is hard stuff.

Good thing I can do hard things!!!!  To fight discouragement I have to celebrate the small things.  The small thing today was recognizing Evan's foot steps coming down the hall.

Sizzling Beef

It's the end of another long and wonderful and difficult day.  Day 3 on the activation journey.  Today I was reminded of winter sounds.  Crunching the snow.  The scrape of the snow shovel.  The wind.  But especially amazing was playing in the snow with the kids and understanding Aleah call to me from across the field.  It sounded like "momlingalingcomedingherelingaling."  I asked her if she said "mom, come here."  She said yes!

Some interesting sounds are the chaffing sound of  skin.  I can't explain it.  If you rub your hands together, it sounds like chaffing.  And washing the kids hair tonight sounded similar.  While Evan and I were getting ready for the day, I heard an odd noise and looked around to find it's source.  It was Evan putting gel in his hair.  I just really had no idea how many sounds have been missing from my ears for such a long time.

And I think I discovered a new skill.  While cooking ground beef I wondered how it would sound through a CI.  There was so much background noise with the kids (seriously, when they are talking, the bells are going crazy in my head and I can't focus on any other sound) that I couldn't hear the meat.  Just using my mind, I tried tuning out the kids bell voices and the barbie movie bell voices and just focus on the meat.  Pretty soon I started hearing a "ssssizzz."  The more I focused the more pronounced it became.  Eventually it became very obvious that ground beef sizzles quite loudly.  I am pretty sure that right up to surgery, I could hear ground beef sizzling.  But it was distorted sound.  Today, it SIZZLED.  The experience of tuning into it made me think once again that the brain is amazing.  To focus in and out of sound using your mind is an incredible ability! 

Some sounds are painful to listen to, they are like nails on the chalkboard disturbing.  One is paper or plastic rustling.  The other is the toilet flushing.  So interesting.   Tomorrow is church.  I'm a little worried about being overwhelmed by sound.  We'll see!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Day 2 Post Activation

This CI is going to rock my world.  But, oh, it's making my brain work harder than it's ever worked before.  I'm actually proud of my brain.  Whoever heard of such a thing?  I worked on rehab for several hours today and already, I'm hearing a difference in some of the exercises.  Yay brain!

My CI moments of the day: hearing the water boil (I loved it, it was a great sound), identifying a noise as Joshua humming, finding the kids getting into something they shouldn't be (this is going to be a good skill for me, bummer for them, haha), and identifying that Mickey Mouse Clubhouse changed from speech to music when my eyes were closed.

The hardships of the day: the kids voices.  Oy, they are awful.  High pitched bells going off in my head all day long.  Ding a ling a ling a ling a ling a ling a ling.  All day.  Whew.  I'm so determined to adjust to their little voices that I don't want to take off the processor for a listening break.  All this racket going on makes for a very exhausted mama!  When I need to regain some sense of sound control, I go listen to my bathroom clock.  It's tick.....tick....tick.....tick stabilizes me.  Even though I heard it for the first time yesterday, it's become a fast friend.

I have the computer software from Cochlear called Sound and WAY Beyond.  It's fantastic.  I'm happy with my progress thus far.  I passed levels 1 on all but melody.  Granted there are tons of levels so it's not all that great.  But hey, it is all that great!!  I'm not lipreading and I've got bells sounding alarms in my head but I still passed level 1.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Activation

The sound of the keyboard as I type is actually quite distracting.  Well, there are a lot of sounds that are distracting.   So much that I can not listen or focus on someone talking.  I'm turning around, to my left, to my right constantly to play a new game called "what's that sound?"

Today, I was activated.  I prayed and prayed and hoped and cried and wished today to be successful.  All I wanted today was to hear the beeps of the mapping (programming).

Anne, my audiologist, with a little help from April, the audi from Cochlear Americas, quickly started the mapping with doing some tests that I did not particpate in.  After a few minutes, Anne asked me to count beeps.  I was terrified.  What if I couldn't hear the beeps to count them?  The Audi's clicked on their computer program then looked at me.  Nothing.  They clicked some more and looked up at me.  Nothing.  Again and again.  My fears were starting to come true.  Then out of nowhere, a beep.  I almost jumped up.  Instead I enthuiastically declared I heard a beep.  For the next 10 minutes or so, I counted beeps.  Somewhere in the middle of that, my surgeon walks in.  I didn't know he was coming.  But I appreciated he wanted to be part of it.  Then, they turned the implant on.

ROOOOOAAAAAARRRRRRRRR.  It was like a machine came alive in my head and there was this continuous roar of a machine.  April and Anne were asking me if I could understand their voices.  Uh....no.  All I could hear was a roar, a loud one too.  And they were BEAMING.  Like I just got straight A's.  So I thought, well, maybe that's all I am supposed to do today.

Then, the roar changed.  There were tones in it.  Beep, beep, roar.  Eek, eek, ek, roar.  Up and down sounds.  Roar.  Really, I do not know how to describe it.  I was trying to explain what I was hearing and I realized the tone changes matched their voices.  So I started distinguishing a change in sound as they spoke.  Again, they were thrilled.

I looked at Evan and he spoke.  Ahhhhh.  It sounded like home.  I couldn't understand what he was saying, but it seemed so familiar.  Evan was filming it all (we'll put a clip on the blog later) and he seemed happy too.  My doctor was also filming and was asking me questions about what I was hearing.  Their voices started sounding more like bells and tones and as I started focusing in on their voices, the roar lessened.

I couldn't figure out why the roar never stopped.  There is literally no break in the sound of the roar.  I asked them why it was like that.  Guess what?!  There is no silence in the world.  There is sound everywhere!!!  Who knew????????  Every sound is contributing to the roar.  So fascinating.

April's voice was a little easier for me to make sense of.  The more she talked, the more the roar decreased and her voice started coming in.  It sounded like she was speaking through a microphone a long ways away but her voice was there.  I started distinguishing some of her words.  She covered her mouth and started talking to me.  Oh gosh, hardest thing ever!  She repeated herself and I thought to myself "it sounds like she is asking if I have children."  I very hesitantly asked if that is what she was saying.  She grinned ear to ear and said "Yes, that's what I asked."  I couldn't believe it.  These results were beyond my expectations by 100 miles!  However, when she stopped talking and then started again, I had to start all over with the beeps and tones, not understanding her.  Eventually, it became like this with everyone in the room.  If they spoke for a few minutes, I could tune in to their voice but as soon as they stopped, I lost it.

Then I put my left hearing aid in, which helped me to hear them and helped to balance out the roar a little bit.  Anne gave me a ton of instructions on using the implant.  April would pitch in from time to time.  But I was so fascinated with their voices that I just couldn't listen to their words.  Good thing Evan was there filming.  We've got all the instructions down!  April slowly started sounding like she had an accent.  It reminded me of how people spoke in Chicago when I was a missionary there.  I couldn't get it out of my head.  I finally asked her where she was from.  She replied, "Chicago."  UNBELIEVABLE!!

The last part of that activation felt like a party.  Evan and the implant team were all so excited.  They tolerated me cutting them off from speaking every few minutes saying "I hear a NEW sound!" 

When we finally left Anne's office, I had a happy heart.  A very tired brain, but a very happy heart.  This is going to be a LOT of work to tone down the roar and to focus in on voice.  But oh, my journey is no longer to silence.  I hear sound.  Everywhere.  In everything.  It's beautiful.  Even the roar.

The World of Sound on January 5, 2012

clink, clink, clink, clink
the ice hitting each other in my glass of diet coke

dip......dip.....dip.....dip......dip
the clock in my bathroom ticking

putter, putter, putter
Joshua's feet running on the kitchen floor

tap, tap, tap, tap
the sound of my droid as I am typing

ROOOOAAAAARRRRRRRRRR
the world

The implant works.  Oh, happy day.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Rush Limbaugh's Description

Did you know that Rush Limbaugh has a cochlear implant?  Pretty crazy considering he's a radio talk show host.  This is his perspective on hearing through an implant:

http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2011/03/18/questions_on_the_host_s_hearing

Insight

While laying in bed last night wishing I was asleep, I started thinking about all the things I've learned along this journey.  I decided if I ever write a book about hearing loss that it would be a book about the insights learned, not the hardships.  I understand life is difficult but I am just so in awe of how much joy is to be found in the midst of challenges. 

However, even with all that insight, my anxiety has been increasing all week.  I was so calm going into surgery.  I'm so worried going into activation.  Please implant, please work. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Day 12 Post Surgery

I am doing so much better!!  I still have to take a lot of breaks and am not yet back to a full routine, but am feeling almost normal again.  Today, I went on my 3rd outing (first was the dr, second was cafe rio, today was to church) and lasted about an hour and a half.  After coming home and resting a bit, I am feeling so good.

Many are asking me if I am hearing better yet.  Obviously I am not doing that great of a job of explaining what a cochlear implant does.  It is not an instant cure.  I will always be deaf, at least in mortality.  But with a cochlear implant (CI), I will be hearing impaired.  A CI has to be activated before any sounds are heard.  Activation is this Thursday for me.  But even once it's turned on, I will not just start hearing.  I will start hearing sounds through a computer inside my head.  Thus, all the sounds will be mechanical or digital.  It could take weeks or months before my brain adjusts and turns those sounds into recognition.  I am expected to work on listening rehabilitation exercises between 30-60 minutes every single day for the first year.  The implant team feels it's realistic that I can one day hear on the phone again.  So that is my goal.  2012 will most definitely be a journey for me, a journey to sound instead of increased silence.  However, will all the work in the world, I will still have a hearing loss.  I will still need accommodations.  I am really hoping that I'll be able to function well in church and work without assistive listening devices, but I just don't know yet how probable that is.

The benefit of only having my right ear implanted is that I still have some hearing in my left ear.  Aided, I am doing pretty well right now with hearing what I need to hear.  Of course, I lip read like no tomorrow so that is helping too.  Though I didn't do very well in Sacrament meeting today.  The comtek (my assistive listening device) doesn't seem to work with the sound system anymore.  I need to check into that.  Anyways.... I believe that once my implant is activated, that I'll have to wear it without my left hearing aid in so that I can properly train my brain while I am doing rehabilitation.  But my guess is that in general, I will continue to wear my left hearing aid, thus making me "bi-modal." 

Four more days to go!  I am really excited.  And super curious what my first day of bionic sound will be like.