Thursday, October 30, 2008

Mother of all CI Moments!!!!

I just had to share this!! Grin.

I finally got around to getting out the accessories. It was one of those things I kept putting off and forgetting about (we all know how that goes: You have good intentions and just don't follow through because you keep postponing it...)

I switched the CI (cochlear implant) to the music program. For those of you who aren’t too familiar with CI jargon, this is a separate program on my CI that I can use just for music. Other programs are for everyday sounds and focused listening (Beam). So Hubby plugged in one end of the miles and miles of excess cable that connected the CI to the computer.

I got out my CD for Hubby to set up for me. I couldn’t hear anything. :( He got out his earphones to see if it worked for him.

Yep. He could hear it.

Maybe it wasn’t loud enough for me? At a 20-25 dB loss with the CI on, is that a good sign? What a major let down. Then I saw the volume control among the miles and miles of excess cable. I turned up the volume. The Alabama song, “The Closer You Get” was piping through my CI loud and clear. I was HEARING it!! Yahoo!! Woot. I was doing an internal “happy dance.”

(Well, I couldn't exactly go and dance now, you know, not with the miles and miles of cable....not a good idea...)

Glitter Graphics

Then Hubby got out the Billy Joel collection he had saved on the computer. I listened to Piano Man. Let me tell you it was an experience!!! I heard more of the lyrics and actually could hear the different INSTRUMENTS!!! I'm talking Whoa City here. Piano, guitars....of course, when you see a band, you know that they are using different instruments, but they “blended” together so much. I couldn’t hear the nuances of each instrument before. Not like this. Sometimes I was actually hearing the vibrations of the stringed instruments. So cool. I've heard this from other CIers, but I guess I wanted to keep my expectations low. What if I didn't get that?

(Sure, while listening to more songs, the robotic, “helumized” edge to the voices were still there, more so in some songs than others, but it’s still an improvement.)

With my hearing aid, I could hear the beats and enjoy the song that way. Most of the time, I’d have someone write down the lyrics for me so I could follow along with the song. It got harder to listen to the songs the more my hearing deteriorated, though. With the CI, I actually picked up more words on my own. I never really had all the lyrics to Piano Man down pat. I was getting shivers of excitement and I just burst into happy tears. What an experience. :) (Hubby is always uncomfortable when I get emotional...)

I’m hearing a lot of “sss” in this program, though. It kind of hisses with words that start or end with s’s.

I definitely want my own MP3 player now. AND I definitely gotta expand my collection of favorite songs. (Um, Hubby, I’ve put MP3 player on top of my Christmas list….hint, hint....I know I mentioned it before, but another reminder nag from me couldn't hurt...) LOL

If I don't get one, I'm just going to get one myself. Winks.

And Honey, Happy Anniversary. (Yep, it’s our Wedding Anniversary today.)


Monday, October 27, 2008

Roses, Puppies, and Food...oh, my!!!

Hubby peeked through his eyes at me as I popped into our room to do something (obviously not quietly enough, LOL) and then he pointed at the dresser saying, “Didn’t you see that yet?” I follow the direction of his finger and look at the dresser. On top of it was a card and a small package of M&Ms.

Oh, it was Sweetest’s Day. (I forgot. He’d have gotten away with it…LOL)

After reading the card, he says, pointing at the dresser again, “Didn’t you see it?”

I frown at him. What? I look at the dresser again. A good foot from the spot where the card and M&Ms were, off to a back corner against the wall, were a dozen long stemmed roses in a vase. Of course, I didn’t see it. All I saw was the card and candy. The vase was a good foot away, in a dark corner. My mouth opened in shock. I hadn’t gotten roses in a long time. It was always a bouquet of irises or something. Of course, Hubby recently acquired a large vase on one of his successful Household Sales shopping finds. We have a thin vase and that cannot hold a bunch of roses.

I took them downstairs and set them on the counter. (A few days later, Angel informed me that there were 18 roses, not 12.) I just assumed that there were a dozen. I didn’t think about counting them.

(Everybody now….AWWWW). Thanks, Hubs.

Hubby went pheasant hunting early that afternoon with a friend and came home empty-handed. He said that his friend heard about a German shorthair that needed a new home.

Five months old.


Good hunting potential.

The people who own the dog needed to give him up because the house they were living in changed ownership and the new landlord says: No dogs allowed or they’d have to move.

So Hubby went to check out the German shorthair. And brought him home. The moment I looked into his topaz (a warm golden tan color) eyes, I just melted. He’s so cute. He has a roan coat with white “freckles” all across his body, like a fawn, only that the white "freckles" are just littered all over his body. He has a short, stubby tail that when he wags it; it just makes his whole backside wiggle. Onyx and “Topaz” seem to get along well. They wrestle and play together. Even Onyx, who’s very laid-back and content to just lie around, got more active and somewhat competitive. Can you see the resemblence in this photo? Heads tilted, ears perked...

(Everybody now...AWWWWW.)

Things are livelier around here, that’s for sure.:)

Hubby got more dog food and started mixing two different dog foods. Onyx always seemed “messy” (bits of dog food would be all over her food dish); though I suspect she was just being picky and eating her favorite flavors. Topaz is our “sidecleaner” and cleans up the mess Onyx leaves behind. Saves me the work of cleaning up her mess. LOL. Good boy.

And we were very low on essential foods in the house. Bread. Milk.

Hubby went to a local bread shop and got discounted bread. And then he took us all to the store to get more food to stock up the refrigerator and pantry. Only thing was, it just doesn’t seem like I got a lot. Isn’t that awful? You can get so many bags of food and there’s more money spent than there are food. Arrgh.

I’m going to have to try out a new grocery store and see how that works out. Would I get more for my money? We shall see. For me, I just hate having to familiarize myself with new stores. (Of course, some of the stores I frequent like to move things around every so often and I'd have to re-familiarize myself with where certain items are.)

So, it’s been a pretty big week here.

I don’t have new news to report about any CI (cochlear implant) moments. One blogger mentioned using the phone with her CI and hearing almost everything the speaker said. So I told Hubby to use his cell and call me. LOL. He used random words with one to three syllables so it was harder for me to determine what he was saying. He would say things like “watermelon” and I guessed “walking?” Next time I’ll have to have him say sentences. They’re easier. You get to fill in the blanks if you can’t get everything.

I know, I know. I’ve said it before. I’m becoming a weekly blogger. Sorry.



What can I say?

My oldest daughter uses the computer more now to do homework and download songs on her iPod via iTunes. We have a slow dial-up connection, so it's a looonnnggg process.

So I don’t have as much computer time as I used to, either. (With me being done with school, thus no homework to do on the computer, really cuts down on my own computer use, too.) Obviously, there is LIFE out there...

I am still here. I’ll try to stop by and visit your blogs when I can.


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Monday, October 20, 2008

Opportunity Knocks

Through the years, I have always been open about my hearing loss. The last ten years or so, I’d put up my hair into a ponytail whenever I could. I was “comfortable” with that. That way people could see that I was wearing hearing aids, that is, if they were paying attention. Then I didn’t have to explain why I didn’t hear them. I could point to my very visible evidence of my hearing loss and say, “I’m deaf or hard-of-hearing.” It’s such an invisible disability and most people aren’t exposed to people with hearing loss. Most of them make the mistake of raising their voices in such a way that it just becomes “noise” to me. It causes their speech to become even more distorted and incomprehensible. “Just talk like you normally would, only clearer,” I’d tell them.

When I lost the ability to hear speech in my left ear with a hearing aid (HA), my right ear took up the slack. Two years ago I was shocked to see how bad my hearing loss got, for both ears. That was why I did my homework on CIs (cochlear implants) and contacted a lot of people who had CIs. I gleaned a lot of information from other bloggers who wrote about their CI journey. I even did a research paper on the controversy of CIs and Deaf culture. (It had to be an argumentive paper, though it did help me learn about how a CI works and what it can do.)

Right after I was activated with my new CI, I was still open about my deafness. I didn’t care if anyone saw me wearing hearing aids or my CI. Sure, there were times when I did wear my hair down, but it takes a lot of time to style it and I feel like “me” with a ponytail.

I was thinking about the Biblical times when Jesus performed miracles, such as curing a man of his deafness. The man could instantly hear. I was wondering if that man could instantly recognize everything he could hear. Did it take time for him to adjust to hear? I’d like to think that it was instantaneous. It was miraculous. It was done by the power of God. The CI is a man-made modern day miracle, but a miracle nonetheless. It isn’t a cure. Some people have better results than others. I pray that they, too, will hear better with time.

Yesterday, I had pork tenderloin simmering in the slowcooker and I was out of a Hubby-veggie: Potatoes. My refrigerator is almost empty. I am badly in need of a trip to the grocery store. I know that Hubby will be taking me there sometime this week. :)

So I told Hubby that I was going to run to the gas station and get a potato. Yep. I went there to just get a 19 cent potato. LOL. As I was walking down the sidewalk, I hear a woman’s voice say, “Ma’am.” (Doesn’t that make you feel old? Winks. Yeah, I admit it’s better than “Hey you!!” LOL).

Anyway, I turned to look at her, thinking to myself, did I forget my change or my sunglasses at the counter? Nope. Then she said, “Are you wearing a cochlear implant?”

No one asked me that before. I’ve been wearing it for almost two months!! I’ve asked Flare if anyone stared at my ears at the stores or anything and she always said that she didn’t notice anyone staring. Maybe people didn’t know what they were looking at, didn’t want to ask, didn’t notice, or just minded their own business.

I guess I blinked for a split-second, in shock. She knew what a CI was. Granted, people who don’t know about CIs would assume it was a hearing aid or maybe even a bluetooth if they didn’t really know too much about bluetooths, either. After all, some people have had their CIs stolen off their heads by thieves thinking it was a bluetooth. .

She said she saw me walking by and spotted my CI. She just had to ask me. Her nephew was getting a CI soon-maybe. The mother was getting pros and cons about the CI. The little boy was two. I have only seen two people in my lifetime, in person, who wore a CI. The first time was about 10 years ago, a teenage boy was wearing one and then about four years ago, I met a little girl in the waiting room at the clinic. I spoke with her mother about her CI and I even used some sign language to talk to her. It was such a weird experience. So I imagine, for this woman, when would she have another opportunity to meet another person with a CI? She even said she just had to talk to me about it.

We kept talking for a while and then she asked me for my name and phone number. I didn’t have a pen and paper on me and neither did she. She went into the gas station to get a pen. I know, you don't go around giving your name and phone number to strangers, but I trust my instincts on this. She was not a psycho, just someone who wanted information about CIs.

So there you have it. I just had my first “advocacy” moment, talking about CIs. I was giving positive feedback about my CI . I am very happy with it. I know it’ll still take time to get that “helium” out of the voices, but every day it gets easier. Every. Single. Day.

(Since we are having trouble with our toilet flusher-thingy, I can hear the water running and give that handle a good tap to fix itself. The water bill is getting expensive enough without having to have that toilet continuously running water. I am so glad I can hear that when I am sitting in the living room or walking around in the dining room, which is at least 10 feet away from the bathroom).

I didn’t mind offering her my opinions about my CI experience. Everyone’s CI journey is different. I am loving mine. I hope that the boy’s mother will contact me. Maybe I can help her make an informed decision about whether or not to implant her son. I will not push her to any one brand of CI. They are all good. Neither will I push her to implant her son if she didn't feel comfortable with it. It's so much harder, I think, about making a decision to implant a child with a CI, even though records show that it is more successful in children under 5 (pre-lingually).

I really felt good talking about it.

This lady knew a lot about CIs, too. She certainly did her homework on it, too. She was saying that the CI was like a computer. Technology gets better all the time.

Only thing is, I’m glad I have my CI now. I am glad that I didn’t wait for something better to be invented or wait for a cure would be found. The CI is backwards compatible, meaning I can always upgrade to a newer model without having to replace the internal implant. So I didn’t have anything “better” to wait for.

Still, it was so cool to meet a stranger and be comfortable talking about CIs.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Thinker I Am

Google Images
"The Thinking Man"

Sometimes when I think, I come up with weird observations, such as the fact that the girls’ birthdays are exactly 120 days before my husband’s or mine. How cool is that? I started thinking about their birthdates and how it was two numbers higher than one of ours and bingo, I started counting the days from one girl’s birthday to my husband’s and the other to mine. Exactly 120 days

Another instance of observation is the fact that I can say “mid-morning” or “mid-afternoon” to mean during the middle of the morning or the afternoon, but I can’t say “mid-night” to mean the middle of the night. (Yeah, I think too much. LOL) That came up when I got up for one of my many nocturnal visits to the bathroom, which would result in a two- or three- hour battle with elusive sleep. A ‘mid-night bathroom visit” just didn’t work in context.

The Home Front:

Flare’s settled into the high school routine. She likes to be punctual and get to school early. At least the doors are open early for the high school kids. I was like that when I was working. I wanted to get to work early so I can get things prepared, such as writing out load slips for the product(s) we were supposed to run and getting the supplies we needed for the items (bags, boxes, handles/knobs, etc). So I totally understand her need to be at school early, to get things ready and just relax and chat with other kids.

Angel had a bout with the 24 hour flu. On Sunday she was feverish and didn’t feel well. We went to church that morning and she seemed to be her usual self in church, restless and wanting to sleep on my lap. I drew a bath for her to cool down her temperature (101.8 degrees) and got out the one-gallon ice cream bucket (no, there wasn’t any ice cream in it and it has multiple uses, such as “barf bucket”). Good thing I got her that, because she got sick in bed. Poor kid. I got Hubby to run out and get some emergency orange juice for her.
The next morning, she was determined to go to school. No way was she going to miss school. Not only does she have perfect attendance so far this school year, she had one more “green light" day. (This is for being good in class. She’s had a few yellow lights for not following the rules and one red light for a major no-no.) Once a kid reached a certain number of “green lights” they get to choose a prize out of a basket the teacher has. In it are things such as nail polish and Sudoku puzzles. So that was her goal. To get a prize.

Then she had some orange juice. And threw up all over the dining room floor. Ugh. I cleaned it up and told her she should go back to bed.

A battle of wills ensued. NO way was she missing school!! I checked her temperature again and it was down to 98.6 degrees. Against my better judgment and thousands of misgivings, I let her go to school. I worried all that day-every time the phone rang. I fretted that it was going to be the teacher saying that Angel was sick and that she needed to be picked up.

Hubby asked if she was in bed. I said nope. She went to school. Maybe it was one of those things where you just needed to get it out of your system and then you are just fine. Maybe it was something she ate?

But she came home after school a very healthy and excited kid. I took her temperature again. It was down to 97.6 degrees.

As for updates with the CI (cochlear implant), it’s the same old news. Nothing new to report. No real “CI moments.” I can localize traffic if I am facing the road. If I turn my head to look up or down the street, then I can’t determine the direction a vehicle is coming from.

BTW, several of my favorite bloggettes have moved on. May they continue to find happiness in other venues. I’ll miss them. Even I have been slowing down. It’s not that I’m out of material, just that I have things going on, too. That may come up in the new few posts.

Take care.


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Close Encounters of the Magnetic Kind

The other day, when I got out of the shower, I decided to let my hair air-dry. That meant no CI (cochlear implant). It’s water-resistant, but that doesn’t mean you can take a shower or go swimming with it or anything, and that includes hair that is wet. I even took it off and put it in my pocket when I got caught in the rain. I'm not taking chances. (I even go sans CI and HA-hearing aid-when I work out. I drip sweat behind my ear and the back of my neck. No way do I want a drop of sweat to fall into the HA or CI processor’s microphone. Zap City. Sure, I could drop it in the Dry and Store (a dehumidifier thingy for the CI, though I now throw in the HA, too). I am guilty of sometimes using the HA during my workout sessions-shhh, don't tell my audie. Lately, though, I stay in the house and work out, so I don't really have to worry about listening for traffic and the HA stays off.

So, with my hair combed back, I reach outside the bathroom door for my HA, which is placed on a shelf on the wall just outside of the bathroom. The shelf is used mainly for gloves and hats. I reserved a spot to place my HA and CI. The steam from the shower is not really good for them (more moisture), so I place it on the shelf just outside of the bathroom door. Easy reaching distance.

I pick up my HA and see that the battery door is open. No battery. I could mentally scan my route from the bedroom to the bathroom. Sigh. But 99.9 percent of the time, the battery would be found on the last place I put it or the last place I picked it up from. So odds are, it’s on that shelf or on my night stand (or in the general area of the shelf and/or night stand.) I pick up the CI on the shelf and feel around for the battery. Nope.

I go into my purse to grab another battery.

I go on all fours, my hands feeling all over the floor under the shelf. I look at the shoes under the shelf and shake the shoes lined up thrown helter sketter against the wall under the shelf. I (bravely) stick my hand into the shoes to see if I could feel a half a dime-sized battery. Nope. Sigh. I didn’t want to rummage around the night stand, because Hubby was still sleeping. The stairs were a no-go, too. They were too creaky. I sweep the floors in the dining room. If I can’t find it, the broom will. (I do this a lot because I have a hard time finding things I drop. Out comes the handy broom, my life saver.) With my vision problems, stuff like pens and coins are the quickest for me to find ths way. (You gotta do what you gotta do.) :)

Nope. No battery.

After about an hour or so, my hair (I have thick hair) is dry enough for the CI. I go to the shelf and grab it.

I start laughing.

Clinging to the magnet was the run-away battery!! LOL.

(It must have opened the HA battery door somehow and the rest is history. )

And the day before that, I was cleaning our dog, Onyx’s (our shedding machine), bed-crate. She’s a slob. Her dog food would be all over the area of her dish, around the floor…ugh. Messy eater she is. (But we love her anyway. Mess, dog hair, and all.) I took out the water b0wl, which had about three stray kibbles of dog food that grew three times its size, saturated with water. I fish it out and throw it in the garbage. I rinse out her water bowl, add fresh water to it, and fill up her food bowl, too. I get a rag and clean out the crate. While my head is inside the crate, I suddenly go deaf. I had no stimuli. What the? The magnet decided to cling to the steel crate. I laugh and put it back on my skull behind my ear.

I find myself in more “sticky situations” nowadays.

(This gives a whole new meaning to "CI Moments.")

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