Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Call of Music

My youngest and I are sitting on the front porch.

Suddenly, she perks up. "Mommy, mommy! I hear the ice cream truck!"

Wikipedia: Jack and Jill Ice Cream Truck in Kentlands, MD, USA

That noisy ice cream truck! Luring the children. A great sales pitch. (Talk about "pitch"!) Ice cream truck drivers don't need to say anything...the music does the sales pitch for them.

I look at her and shrug, "I don't hear it." Yet.

"Mommy! Please!?!"

I am wondering how far away it is. How far can she hear it? If she can hear it, then why is it that she doesn't always hear me when I ask her to do things? Selective hearing. Hmm. I need to get a CD with ice cream truck music. Maybe I can get the kids to listen to me when I expect something to be done. (Ha!)

I reply, "We have popsicles in the freezer."

"I don't want that kind. Pul-eeeeze, Mommy!?!"

"I still don't hear it. It may not even go by our house."

"If I use my money, can I go and get some?"

I really don't like to have the kids get ice cream from the ice cream truck all the time, especially when we have some in the freezer. I do cave in and let them have it, but mostly when they have their own money.

I sigh, "Okay."

I can now hear the ice cream truck. It is about two blocks away.

I watch a pair of blurred legs run towards the corner of the street. I watch her waiting for the truck to stop near her. I watch her talk to the driver. Money is exchanged for an ice cream treat.

I watch her walk back towards the house, happily licking her purchase.

myspace layouts, myspace codes, glitter graphics

Glitter Graphics

When was the last time I really enjoyed what I was eating? Food is the enemy. Too fatty. Too many carbs. Too many calories.

Ah, you are only a child once.

I ask her if I could take a bite. Now I am smiling, relishing the flavor, fat and calories and all.

Heck, you only live once.


Friday, June 22, 2007


I got the website I was looking for. I couldn't find it before. I found out that the website crashed or something and now it's starting up again.

I really like this RP simulation because it demonstrates closely what I see when I get the swirls of white light that flashes in my eyes (sometimes called "light show" or "lightning flashes"). They would start at the edge of my vision and just swirl in an arc towards the center and disappear. Then it repeats over and over. Sometimes I have two arcs going on at the same time.

The swirls of light would happen at any time. Mostly it happens when I exert myself (exercise), but it can happen when I am just sitting down resting or relaxing.

When this happens, I think that my eyesight may have deteriorated some more, but I don't know for sure if this is why the flashing lights happen.

There are four simulated pictures and the second and third ones are closest to my RP condition. As for picture number one, I don't get the "blackness" (it's just a nothingness-a void) and I only get the center thing, but not on the outer edge. Everyone is different, though.

Here is the website.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Boot

No, I didn't give anyone the "boot".

I mentioned earlier that I couldn't find the boot (or commonly called "shoe" or audio shoe) for the hearing aid in a previous post. It also has a link to a video (Oticon AP700/FM7 input shoe) to demonstrate how to put it on correctly. (Shoes get broken easily if you aren't careful.)

Oticon Audio i/p Shoe AP700-standard

This is the boot I use for the receiver. It just slips on the battery door and then the receiver is plugged into the bottom of the boot. I wish I caught this sooner. Better late than never, huh?


Monday, June 18, 2007

Pet Peeves

I have many pet peeves. Here are some:

-Why do they put a "please place stamp here" or "post office will not deliver without postage" on the upper right corner of envelopes? Do they think we are stupid? Sometimes I put the stamp right next to the words just out of spite.

-Some people seem to think I am an accident waiting to happen. If I want your help, I'll ask for it. (Mostly I do ask for help in the dark-especially in unfamiliar places.) I am not THAT blind.

-Just because I didn't hear someone the first time around, doesn't mean that person has to shout at me. It doesn't work. Why should I feel like I have to apologize when I didn't catch everything? Hearing aids and FM systems do not turn me into a "hearing" person. Just talk normally, but a little slower (not too slow).

-Sometimes when a joke is being said to me and I don’t laugh right away, I get laughed at because “I didn’t get it.” Well, it’s not that I didn’t “get it” but I didn’t hear the whole joke. How can you laugh at a joke if you didn’t hear all of it? The person giving the joke thinks I am being “blonde.” Like the blonde joke that went something like, “A blond heard a joke on Friday: on Monday the blonde starts laughing at over the joke.” I just hate that. Sometimes I admit I just laugh though I didn't get it all just so no one thinks I'm being "blonde".

-Impatient drivers. I like to do a lot of walking and if I am waiting to cross the street and a driver (I make sure he or she knows I am there and I have the right of way) revs up the motor as soon as I finish crossing the street. I walk fast or run to the other side-I am not the kind of person who purposely walks across the street slowly. I don't know why, but it irks me.

-Instant pudding. How instant is that if you have to refrigerate it for a good 15 minutes for it to set?

-Have you ever noticed that when you look through catalogs and store flyers/ads, you see models of all kinds (babies, toddlers, children, teenagers, and adults), but for women, they have the skinny models and the plus-size models. For men, they don’t have a plus-size model. Why is that? The only time I see anything remotely close to a plus-size male model is on those weight loss ads.

They think that women are the major shoppers. So they target them. Is that it?

I just find it a little funny that they don’t have a male model sporting a pair of jeans with a polo shirt with a little pot-belly hanging over the belt. How many men do you know have that beer belly?


Saturday, June 09, 2007

My, What Big Ears You Have

The better to hear you with, my dear....

My ears got longer-about a good inch longer.

Sometimes I call my hearing aids “ears” because without them, my real ears are just there for “decoration.” Of course, the hearing aid itself could be called “decoration” but I digress.

I had an appointment with the audie (audiologist) about my new FM system-my newest toy(compliments of vocational rehabilitiation).
An FM system is an ALD (assistive listening device).
It's my new toy.

I had all kinds of questions about this new gadget.

Because the audie I was seeing will be on maternity leave soon, I was introduced to another audie, who had more experience with FM systems in the schools for children who are deaf/hard-of-hearing. I was also going to be working with her until the other audie comes back from maternity leave.
Why did my “ears” grow? Well, I got a boot (or shoe) placed on each end of the hearing aid and a receiver plugged into the end of that boot. The receiver is wireless (a bonus for me-I used an FM system from the campus and it had wires. It’s such a pain. It reminded me of my old hearing aids-see previous post.)

Then I had a transmitter (it shows the front and back of the Zoomlink) that I can either point it at the speaker or have the speaker wear it around the neck. It has three settings: omni (sounds in all directions), zoom (zeros in on what’s in front of it, and blocks out some background noise, and superzoom (blocks out a lot of background noise while focusing on what’s directly in front of it).

I can put it on the dinner table (and pray for no spills), point it at the TV or place it next to the speakers, point it at the pastor/teacher or have him wear the transmitter around his neck, or I could just have my husband wear it around the house, too.

I have to wear my hearing aid in the T-coil mode for this to work with the FM system. As long as the FM system is on, I can hear things, but if I had either of the zoom modes on, I won’t hear what’s around me, but I could switch my hearing aid to the microphone switch to listen/talk with an impatient child or something that needed my immediate attention and switch it off.
I couldn't find a link to show you the boots that go between the end of the hearing aid and the receiver. The boot slides down the back of my hearing aid's battery door. Then the receiver is tacked to the end of that.

Cool. I am off to do some more sound-testing.

Hope my hearing aid doesn’t up and start walking now that it’s got it’s boots…


Monday, June 04, 2007

The "Nothing"

This little preschooler was wearing hearing aids since she was 18 months old. Look at the old hearing aids. Her mother made special vests to hold the hearing aid box that sent sound through the wires and into the earmold.

She had a lot of auditory lessons to help her catch up to her hearing peers. Once she started talking, her mother said she wouldn’t shut up. She was making up for lost time.

She was taught in a self-contained classroom with other deaf/hard-of-hearing students in a public school in the next county. There she learned sign language and tried to fit in, though she wasn’t “deaf enough.”

In eighth grade, she was mainstreamed in a parochial school in her hometown. Before everything came so easy for her; all she had to do was look at her study material once and ace it. Now she had to struggle to catch up with her hearing peers.

At 16, this young girl was wearing BTEs (behind the ear hearing aids) since she was nine years old. She was looking at a bright future. A future that included a job, maybe even marriage and a family.

She didn’t date much in high school, another parochial school. She dated a hearing man during her 16th summer and then “dated” a hard-of-hearing boy from Lion’s Camp when she was 17. A one-week romance that didn’t last. Oh, they sent letters back and forth throughout their senior year and met again at camp, but the spark wasn’t there anymore. She did date a hearing boy from the local public high school during the fall of her senior year, but that didn’t last long. She just felt funny going out with him while she had the “long distance” relationship, if you can call it that, with camp-boy. She really did not date that much, wasn’t part of the “elite” crowd, and was okay with that. On reflection, she wouldn’t have changed anything. She is who she is today because of that.

She graduated high school. She tried to take some classes at a tech school, but lost interest. Instead, she got a job making sandwiches for a vending company. She worked there for two and a half years.

She found a factory job with good benefits and stayed there for almost 15 years.

During this time she had dated a few guys (including frogs) and got married, had a child, and got divorced. Then remarried and had another child.

But there was something that lurked, sleathily, during her late twenties and throughout her thirties. A nothing, like in The Neverending Story, that was slowly taking over and destroying everything in its wake, making things "disappear." Only it was her vision that this nothing was destroying.

This nothing, called retinitis pigmentosa. still lurks, threatening to take more of her sight little by little. This nothing that sends self-destructive messages to the rods and cones in her eyes and snuffs them, one by one.

It causes her to slow down when going down stairs and curbs. This nothing that makes her "blame" the gopher (remember Caddyshack?) for moving things around on her because she couldn’t see it. If she scanned a little more this way, she’d find what she’s looking for and shake her head at the imaginary gopher.

She just got a diploma from the Medical Office Specialist program and a certificate from the Medical Billing Specialist program. She is currently working on getting a certificate in Coding.

She tries to keep a brave front. She gave up driving a year ago. She’s coping. She’s easily frustrated and scared of what the future would bring. She is torn because she knows she has to prepare herself.

Most RPers do retain central vision for a long time. .

Keep praying for a cure for retinitis pigmentosa and Usher Syndrome. Currently there is no cure, though researchers are working on various "cures."