Monday, April 19, 2010

New Mapping

The morning of my 18- month 20-month mapping (my mappings are two months behind because my audiologist was on maternity leave last summer) was going to be a long one.

Why? Because I was asked to participate in a research on bimodular people like me. Bimodular means that I wear a hearing aid (HA) in one ear and a cochlear implant (CI) in the other. How effective is it? How much of a difference does it make?

My first appointment was with the researchers. All I had to do was repeat sentences I heard on a recording of a male voice. No sweat. I’m used to this kind of testing. During parts of the testing, I had to wear just the CI or the HA or both. I did not catch everything with the CI or with the CI and HA together, but I know it was a lot better than just the HA alone. I don’t know if I will get results for that testing.

The testing was done and I was given a $10 gas card and a sticker for free parking at the hospital. (The hospital had a huge parking ramp.) Since Hubs just dropped me off to go pick up something and come right back, the parking fee wasn’t a lot, but we can use the ticket for the next trip.

Then I was placed back into the waiting room to wait for my mapping appointment. I hear a voice call my name. I look up and expected to see my audie, but it was someone else. She said she was a student working with my audie. I’ve seen this before with wither audies. Every once in a while, I’ll meet a student interning with an audiologist. . The student said that my audie was on the phone in another area and will be right back.

I was told I could skip the recorded, “repeat after me” tests because I just had it with the researchers. (Yay. Happy dance.) But,….yep, there’s a but…..I still had to have an updated audiogram. This is the tone test with various high and low noises. I just had to raise my hand any time I heard them. The sounds go in the normal to really soft range to nothing.

I told her I was wondering if my hearing in my right ear had gotten worse because I couldn’t hear as well as I used to with it or was it because my brain got used to the hearing levels I got with my CI.

So, we did the tone test. She tested me with my right ear without my HA and then without my CI. My audiologist never did any testing without my CI on, but I didn’t say anything except that I wouldn’t hear a thing without my CI on. She tested me anyway. Suddenly I got this dizzying sensation, like I had a sudden weight putting pressure on my head. I blurted out, “It makes me dizzy.” She apologized and stopped.

Then we went back to the office. I asked the student if my hearing declined in my right ear. She looked up my old records and said it’s about the same. So that just tells me that my brain is so used to hearing with the CI that I can really notice how “bad” I’m hearing with my HA ear.

My audiologist returned. I ask about her baby. Wow. Almost 10 months old already. J

We talk a bit about baby stuff and we move on to the mapping.

Again, the student was doing the work, getting some practice. I had to tell her if certain tones were too soft, comfortable, or too loud. They find that medium and adjust the CI. She tells me she’s ready to turn it on. I listen. It sounded like I was in a closed room. My audiologist asks me if it was “too hollow”.

“Yes,” I nod. “That’s it.”

The student does some more adjusting, changing some of the mapping with a few clicks on the keyboard. It’s all digital, literally, with fingers (digits), too. (Sorry, couldn’t resist the pun.)

It sounded a bit better, still a little hollow.

The audie asks if it was “just different.”

Again, I nod, “Yes, it’s…different.”

I didn’t know if I liked it.

The audie suggests that I try using the new map for a week and see how I like it. One processor will have the new map while my back-up processor will have the old map. Either way, I can return a processor via Fed Ex. If I didn’t like my new map, I could return the processor with the new map so it could be returned to the old one or return the other processor with the old map to change it to the new map if I liked it.

It’s been four days now with the new map. So far I like it. I think I am going to return the processor with the old map on it.

Oh, one more thing….she told me that from my audiogram results of my right ear, I could qualify for another CI. (What doesn’t make sense is that it’s been the same, why didn’t they say that before?) A part of me wants to go for another CI. But, do I want to go through the hassle with my insurance company again? And would they allow a second cochlear implant?

I have a lot of thinking to do…a lot of research. For one thing, the Nucleus Freedom is being replaced by a new one, the Nucleus 5 model. I am happy with my Freedom processors. The N 5 just got approved last fall, I think. So far, a new rechargeable battery is pending. I love my rechargeable batteries. And then there’s the FM receiver thing again. If I were to use the N 5, I would have to get a new FM receiver.

So much to think about….

Monday, April 05, 2010

I Would Like to Buy a Hamburger

From this blogger's desk:

Hello, guys. I thought it was about time to put you up to date with what’s going on since the last time I posted.

Let’s see…I have been febrile with cabin fever and I am enjoying the early “summerlike” days we had last week. Shorts. Sitting on the front porch relaxing, watching (but not really staring) at cars that whiz by (sometimes I get a little anxious when I see a car that I think is going a wee bit too fast because there’s a lot of kids around here and can be in or by the street at any given time. Last week was spring break for the public schools here and now it’s the girls’ turn to have spring break this week. So there are no kids to play with during the day because the others are back in school. But they do come out of the woodwork during the after school hours. (Groan.)

In another two months, the girls will be out of school for the summer. The way time has been speeding by for me, I can just taste it now. It’ll be here before I know it. On one hand, I’ll be glad it’s summer. No stresses and hollering about going to bed at a certain time, homework, etc., but then I’ll stress about how much time they will be hanging out with the kids around here. It’s an endless worry for parents, eh?

As for me, no job interviews yet. I was told that I may be doing some data entry stuff at a local charity place. I’m sure it’s voluntary work on their part, but vocational rehab will be paying my salary while I work there. I was told it should be in May or June. Though it’s temporary, it’ll put something current on my résumé, considering that I haven’t been working for six years now. Four of those years were in school, full-time for two years then part-time the last two. Now two more years later, no work yet. I feel like I need a refresher course on some stuff.

Next week I have another mapping for the CI (cochlear implant). A mapping is just an adjustment made to the CI for the best hearing levels I can tolerate (if it’s too loud) and at what point the sound is too soft. This is the 18 month mapping, though really it’s 20 months because my audiologist was on maternity leave so everything is two months behind now. That’s okay, though. So I should be updating you about that mapping experience. I don’t feel like anything is different, no major improvements like it was the first three months. I continuously get amazed about the fact that if I put in my hearing aid in the other ear first, I really hear squat with it. (How did anyone stand to talk to me???) I don’t know if it’s because the brain adjusted to hearing with the CI at about 25 decibels (mild hearing loss range) from the severe to profound range I have with the hearing aid ear. I made do with it and worked with what I had and now I realize how bad my hearing really is in that ear. But maybe, too, my hearing may have deteriorated since the CI surgery. Or maybe both.

Meanwhile, I am hooked on American Idol (this season) and don’t have any “favorites”, but I do think that Lee and Crystal are the best ones. I didn’t really watch American Idol too much before. I had school and just watched it towards the end so I didn’t wee all the singers. This time, I am watching them. I try to form my own opinion of them before the judging panel does. I know I would hate to be criticized like that.

I find myself continuously being corrected by my pronunciation police, Flare, and sometimes Angel and Hubby.

I couldn’t say the word “diabolical”. My tongue just couldn’t match the word I could hear in my head. Flare would correct me again and again. Diabological….no, diabolical, diabolagical….once I said it right and couldn’t say it correctly again. I got frustrated and said, “I would like to buy a hamburger.” It lossened the mood and we were cracking up, laughing together. She totally "got it" right away.

If you have seen the movie, “The Pink Panther” with Steve Martin, you should remember the scene where he had a teacher tutor him on the right way to say “I would like to buy a hamburger”. He totally murdered the word “hamburrrrrg”.

So, since then, every time I trip over certain words, I’ll say, “I would like to buy a hamburger.”