Monday, August 25, 2008

The First Day We Met

Glitter Graphics
From the moment we met, I felt this instant attraction to Pete. I was drawn to his magnetic personality. We butted heads almost immediately. We aren’t on the same level yet. He sounds funny right now, but, you know, every relationship takes time...

Meet Pete, my Cochlear Implant. That’s his name. Why? I was thinking about rabbit ears and thought about Peter Cottontail. Why not name the CI Pete?

Maybe some day, Petey will have a brother if I ever get a second implant…and his name will be….Repeat.

This morning was hectic to say the least. The girls had to get ready for their first day of school. I was shook awake by my Sonic Boom alarm clock at 5 a.m. I knew that it was the best time for me to jump into the shower. The girls might take up too much time later.

We still made it on time. In fact, we waited 10 minutes past the appointment time.

The audie asked if I had questions and how the recovery from the surgery went.

The behind the ear (BTE) processor was surprisingly lighter than it looked. I had no idea how the magnet would feel. I hardly felt it.

The first thing she said when the audie looked at her computer was “The internal implant looks good.” I should have asked to see what that looked like.

Soon the audie was clicking buttons (I swear that computer is really a piano. Each key must have a certain sound.) I was asked if they were soft, comfortable, loud, too loud, etc. It was a lot like the tone test (beeps that had varying degrees of pitches).

Then she said she was gong to turn on Pete. (This must be the "live" moment.) I heard this high-pitched noise that sounded like a hearing aid constantly whistling n my ear. (Aww, Petey was whispering sweet nothings in my ear…) Only it was awful. Annoying even. I need to get the brain adjusted to Pete’s voice. Right now it still sounds high-pitched, but more like there’s a fan or air conditioner going (only we aren’t running the fan or air conditioner).

The first thing I said was, “It sounds AWFUL.” I chuckled, only mildly disappointed. I kept my expectations low. I knew everyone’s activation experience is going to be different. I didn’t get any heliumized voices that sound like Minnie Mouse. (And I was planning on titling this post “Operation Alvination” in honor of Alvin the Chipmunk. LOL. Oh, well. It's okay. Then I said, “It almost sounds like a female Darth Vader.” (I think I got a chuckle from Hubby for that comment.)

The audie kept the programs set to a softer sound. All the programs are set on ADRO (which means every day sounds) and each program (P 1 through P 4) are just louder at each level. So when the sounds become softer and I think I can handle it being louder, then I’ll switch. She says it was better than having me get discouraged and not wear it. (I do have a volume control on it, too, so I can turn it up that way.)

I’m going to give the brain time. (And I can wear it with my hearing aid in my other ear.) Thank goodness for that because I wouldn’t recognize any sounds at this point. Karen mentioned a “chain saw” noise and I think I know what she’s talking about. It is a grating noise. That’s all I am getting right now. A constant motor sound. Soon, when the brain adjusts, those motorized sounds should morph into recognizable sounds. (We'll get there, Karen.) :)

Then, INFORMATION OVERLOAD!! a different context.

I was shown all my loot, the goodies. All the accessories and components that came with the Cochlear Freedom kit. Two processors. Battery recharger. Batteries. (Both disposable and rechargeable. Dry and Store kit to keep the processor dehumidifed overnight. It’s mind boggling. I want to watch the DVD that came with it. It’s closed captioned, though I am not surprised. After all, it is something a deaf person would be watching, right? I need to familiarize myself with everything.

The whole activation took about one and a half hours.

Again, baby steps. I didn’t expect to understand speech right away. The auditory nerve is waking up again after about 10-15 years. A wrinkle in time...hey, Rip Van Winkle, no that was 20 years...okay, back to our regularly scheduled programing...(my thoughts always trail off like that...had to show a part of my personality here that you would see in person, because I could always edit my thoughts when I write...)

Angel will have some reading assignments for homework to do so I’ll have plenty of listening practice. I'll look into children's books and audio tapes I can follow along. And I will devote some private time with Petey (ooh la la-eyebrows raising up and down) without my HA for additional practice.

Patience is key. I have plenty of that. Tomorrow’s another day….

Thanks to all for your encouragement and support. If it weren’t for all of us sharing our experiences, I don’t even know if I would be where I am right now if I didn’t compare and share our CI journeys. . . thank you. :) HUGS.

BTW, we didn't take pictures or get a video of it. But I will get a pix of all my Freedom components and one of me wearing Petey. :)



At Mon Aug 25, 08:12:00 PM , Blogger Beth said...

So nice to meet Pete!
I'm not sure what everything you've said means, but it all seems good. It works - you just need time to adjust, right?
And you have such a wonderful, amazing sense of humour about it all.
God bless!

At Mon Aug 25, 08:30:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Shari!!!!! Oh I thought about you all day!!!! Female Darth Vader, LOL. I guess that was what I heard on my first activation. You will be the Great Motivator for "Pete." Lot of sounds in the house and outside, you will hear over and over. Conversation too. They do improve.
Keep listening and HUGS, Molly and her two "EARS."
Glad you call your C I "Pete." That is my brother's name!!!!

At Mon Aug 25, 09:09:00 PM , Blogger Laurie said...

Yay! You made it through your first activation! I thought about you today! Nice to meet "Pete!" Looking forward to hearing more. . .


At Mon Aug 25, 09:39:00 PM , Blogger Karen said...

Shari!!! I have been checking your blog alllll day!!! I am so glad you posted. I was about to go to bed but had to check real quick. I am sorry you have the chain saw sound. I assure you it's not your mind playing tricks on you!!!!! You are hearing sound! It's just foreign and sounds like a stupid chain saw. It took me a few days to figure out it was really sound. I loved reading your post though. I would love to have a female Darth Vader sound!!! Haha. I have the mickey mouse on helium coming through static type sound. Fun eh? Again, I'm so happy this day went okay! We will help each other through this. I assure you!!! :-)

~Bionic Buddies forever!


At Mon Aug 25, 09:41:00 PM , Blogger elizabeth said...

That's so cute -- Pete and Repeat. You have a great attitude and it's wonderful that you realize that getting Pete to work for you will take time and practice. With that positive outlook, it won't be long before you and Pete are doing great things together!

At Mon Aug 25, 11:03:00 PM , Blogger Jennifer Bruno Conde said...

Sounds like you're right on target, Shari! I'm really happy for you. The activation jitters are behind you and you have everything in front of you now!

Jennifer :-D

At Mon Aug 25, 11:37:00 PM , Blogger Jennifer said...'re right on track, girl :)! I'm so glad that everything's operating like it's supposed to and that all systems are go. The sounds will sort out very soon! You're on your way! :)

At Tue Aug 26, 02:34:00 AM , Blogger Becky said...

Pete and repeat, lol!

Perfect name for your CI. So glad that everything was successful, and that it's just a matter of time until you begin to 'hear'! Amazing! I'm thanking the Lord it all went well for you!

And I, for one, get a kick out of your bunny trail thoughts, lol.

At Tue Aug 26, 08:07:00 AM , Blogger Breazy said...

I am glad it went okay! I am still sending prayers you way.


At Tue Aug 26, 10:50:00 AM , OpenID suddensilence said...

Shari, now you *have* to get a second CI so you can name it "Repeat". LOL, too funny! I love that you named your CI and Pete is a perfect name. :)

I am so happy that you made it through activation, you're hearing (even if it still sounds awful) and the suspense is now behind you.

You have such a fantastic, positive attitude and that's exactly what your new ear needs. I am so happy for you!!



At Tue Aug 26, 01:18:00 PM , Blogger lime said...

bwahahah, i love that you named your CI and what his brother's name might be one day. funnily enough i have a friend named pete who has a CI. i will have to ask him if he named his shari. ;)

At Wed Aug 27, 01:50:00 AM , Blogger Cyborg Queen said...

Waaaaaaaaaaaaay to go Shari! :-)

Female Darth Vader - now, that's a new one. :-D

Enjoy your toys!


At Wed Aug 27, 08:25:00 AM , Blogger Breazy said...

You have been tagged on my blog!


At Wed Aug 27, 02:25:00 PM , Blogger Julie said...

I love your sense of humor... it goes a long way through the rough spots. And I LOVE that you named your CI!

Thanks for writing in detail about the experience - so helpful for the rest of us :0)

I'm amazed at our brsins' ability to sort out such foreign input and make something good out of it. Hang in there,


At Wed Aug 27, 07:18:00 PM , Blogger Shari/"Whiger" said...

Thanks, everyone. So far it's been an interesting journey to say the least. :)

Again, if I hadn't had support and so many resources and CI buddies, I don't know what I would have done. Probably lost and frustated if I didn't know we all had similar yet different experiences learning to hear with the CI. HUGS.

At Thu Aug 28, 10:12:00 AM , Blogger Amy said...

i had exactly same thing! it did sound like hearing aid feedbacking for me, for me it sound like for female voice at first it sound like beep beeep bep beep *feedback* beep and for guy voices its buzzing beepy and little more clearer for me it was bizarre sounding but it normalize after couple months


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