Saturday, March 31, 2012

Super Saturday

One of my co-workers noted that I "seem different."  She says she never would have pegged me as an anxious person but that now she realizes I am much less anxious.  I think she hit it head on.  Over the last 3 years, my anxiety has increased across the board.  But I hid it well.  I did not advertise the fact that I avoided social gatherings, avoided talking to people at church and even avoided talking to store clerks or bankers or doctors or insurance agents or whoever.  But the truth must come out.  I was an avoider.  Unfortunately, I didn't realize how much I let my insecurity get in the way of giving people the chance to accomodate me.

Letting go of my insecurity of "what if I can't hear them?" has been incredibly freeing.  It no longer stresses me out to go places and talk to people.  Case in point.  This morning I went with my amazing friend, Tara, to get our Bountiful Baskets.  This was my first time.  3 months ago I wouldn't have signed up because it was a new environment and I had crippled myself too much to do anything "new."  The familiar was challenging enough.  I just was not going to even try "new."

Well, for good reason I avoided Bountiful Baskets.  They give you your produce in the gym.  THE GYM.  Gyms are nightmares for people with hearing loss.  Nothing in a gym absorbs sound therefore sound bounces, bounces, bounces everywhere but to your ears.  So I knew automatically I wouldn't hear well when I got there.  But guess what!  I didn't care!!  While walking toward the exit, a woman asked me a question.  I couldn't understand her for the life of me.  She repeated herself.  I missed it again.  I explained I had a hearing loss.  She repeated.  Finally, I got a few words so I said back what I heard "you want my trash?" She laughed and said "sometimes I don't think I speak English."  I assured her it was the gym, not her.  Bless her heart for continuing to try.  She probably regretted stopping me by this point.  Lol.  What she was asking was "Do you have room in your trash at home for this box?"  The funny thing is that I didn't.  So she just wasted all that energy and 5 minutes of her life trying to communicate with me.  But the progress for me was I did not feel incompetent.  I was fine.  It's a gym.  I have a hearing loss.  It is what it is.  As I was walking away, I realized I hadn't turned to Tara to rescue me and I didn't feel insecure about the situation.  It was a very freeing feeling.  Getting a CI is giving me a life back that I didn't fully realize I had lost.  I'm so thankful.

Kiss of Deaf

As crazy as this sounds, it's one of those things where I think we should be "better safe than sorry."  This article says that kissing someone's ear can cause hearing loss.  For your viewing bafflement:
Kiss of Deaf

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Del Taco

I know this might sound a little riduculous but when you are used to faking your way through much of life, you learn to appreciate every moment you don't have to fake.  One such moment occured in Del Taco tonight.  The kids got free kids meal coupons from their dentist.  When I placed their order, the cashier got the order wrong.  As she was repeating it back to me, I realized she only understood me ask for one kids meal instead of two.  I corrected her and gave her the coupons.  She told me they couldn't accept both.  I disagreed (kindly) with her and she checked with her manager.  Her manager approved it.  The kids and I went and found a table to sit at.  I heard an employee call out #41.  I went and got our food and totally got teary eyed.  In the grand scheme of things, an exchange about tacos doesn't have any signficance.  But when I realize that 3 months ago, I never would have realized she got the order wrong, I never would have figured out that I could use both coupons and I never would have gone to sit at a table and listen for our number to be called.  I would have stayed there at the counter and waited for our order.  Then I would have been frustrated that the order was wrong and I would have either just taken the wrong order or started the whole process over agin.  In the grand scheme of things, I am grateful for a successful exchange over tacos.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

2.5 Months Out

We went on vacation this last week and it was so nice to get away.  We travelled four hours south.  Normally, I hate being the passenger because I get bored.  Haven't been able to listen to music or books on tape for years.  I get sick if I read in the car.  And let's just say entertaining bored toddlers while driving does not exactly help the time pass!  But this trip was a little different.  The kids were still bored and whiny.  After entertaining them the best I could, I shut them off.  Hahahaha.  Don't you all wish you could do that?  Evan was jealous.  I hooked up my audio cable to the CI and listened to a book on tape. And I turned off the sound in the background.  It was divine.  I was understanding at least 80% of the book.  That definitely helped the time go by! 

We went to a national park and took the kids on a hike.  Though I still can't eavesdrop (I am serious, that's really what I want to acheive) it was fun to hear voices of people in front of and behind us.  At one point we were sitting down resting and some barely-dressed girls came down the trail.  My 3 year old says "those girls are naked!"  The girls were already several feet away and they started laughing their heads off.  My daughter was really embarassed.  But I heard them laughing the next several minutes.  That was fun.  It was also fun to hear the rush of the water no matter where we were in the park.

Noisy situations are still really really difficult.  Like the grocery stores.  Ugh!  Just can't separate all the noise and make sense of it.  And when people speak to me I get so lost.  I do have a "noise" program on my CI.  I use it at church and when grocery shopping or other loud places.  It does help a bit.  But I think it's just going to take a while for me to make sense of noise.  When several people are talking at once, all human leaves and all mechanics comes back.  Weird, huh?  However, when I'm talking to just one or two people, I am doing really well.  In the therapy office at work, I've only needed the amplification from my fm system for only about a third of the day.  It's been really nice to just sit and listen without extra devices.  I really think I'll get to the point at work where I won't need my assistive listening device hardly at all.

And, oh, last thing.  We have begun the process for implant #2.  This time, though, I am not doing anything but being tested and evaluated.  The implant team is doing all the work with insurance.  We suspect it will take about a year to get approval but the team is dedicated to making it happen.

Friday, March 9, 2012


I just listened to today's passage on Telephone with Confidence (listening practice for the phone) and the story was about the princess and the frog.  It sounded almost fully human!  Hooray!

However, I can't pass my current level on vowels.....yet.  I've been working on the same step for over 3 weeks!!!  I took a break for a week and went back today.  That strategy worked for the consonants and I moved forward with those today.  But not so much luck with the vowels.  Right now, my choices are 9 words that sound alike and I have to choose which word I think I am hearing.  Think I may need to schedule another therapy session just to work on vowels. 

Good news is that I have made it to level 4 in every area but vowels :)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Happy Hearing Day

Great day today! I am hearing so well! From understanding directions to distinguishing the drill from the suction at the dentists office to hearing 75 % of a phone conversation with Evan. 75 percent!!! You can bet my heart is praising God tonight!