Many people are asking me if I’m going to get another implant for my other profoundly-deaf ear.
Here’s my answer just for today because this is a whopping process and a mind-blowing journey – God only knows what’s next in store:
IF people’s voices get to be sounding normal (rumor has it that this will happen; right now all voices sound like Minnie Mouse),
IF the sound of 1) the clocks ticking on the wall to beat the band, and 2) my computer keys smacking upside my head and 3) water running in my kitchen sink like a California Zepher Train coming to a screeching halt – if all these noises can cool it! (deafening right now – pun intended),
IF my tongue gets un-numb,
IF my taste buds come back (please hurry!)
and IF my ear un-numbs (that’s already happening to some degree, but right now I can’t even feel where that big processor is hanging from my ear cuz the top and back of my ear are still so numb) –
IF all of that happens and I’m still occupying this body, and my doctors and the Houston Ear Research Foundation give me the GO AHEAD, I will probably decided, “YES, please – thank you very much, I accept!” for getting CI #2, especially since I have excellent insurance with Medicaid and thanks to the people of the United States of America who pay their taxes!!
As it stands, upon activation of the device on the 10th of February, the amount of hearing/auditory information available via my CI is PHENOMENAL!
Of course, it’s also WAY TOO MUCH in the beginning for sensory nerves that have not been stimulated at that level in 17 yrs.
You do get to control your volume and sensitivity with a remote, but I’m setting my controls at the very bottom of both ranges cuz just the CI alone as it comes is all I can handle.
It’s a process, doancha know.
With my excellent (by my past and innocent experience of them) digital hearing aids on, and no facial cues, my comprehension was 40%. With only one digital hearing aid and the new CI turned on, I had 89% comprehension (not looking at her face) – but that was in the controlled-environment sound booth.
AND, that reading is because I had 45 years of hearing memory for my brain to refer to. I am most very-fortunate to have had full hearing under my belt for 2/3 of my life and to have worn hearing aids for 14 of those years that kept the nerves stimulated.
I wear the CI all day but I’m practicing with the JUST THE CI 2 times/day (that means I take my beloved hearing aid off ). When I put the sensitivity meter up, I can kinda catch some words, with great concentration – we call this dutiful homework ‘listening therapy’.
Although I can’t pick up on a melody, I can at least stay in a room with music being played – that is a miracle!
Thank you, Mary H for preparing me for the experiential IMPACT of the sound of a simple sniff in my own nose – so HIGH, the ssssssniff!
Thank you Nancy R for preparing me for Minnie Mouse voicing and offering to share that piano cd with me that was given to you upon activation, for practicing.
..and thank you, Lois J for pointing out about sleeping on the side with the CI – yes, here is another IF for getting a second CI:
IF I can’t eventually sleep on the side that has the CI implanted right there under the skin above and behind my ear, then I have to save the other side for sleeping.
…and, one more consideration and big reason to ‘go for it’ – it would make a world of difference NOT to have to wear a mold in the ear that has a hearing aid attached to it. Especially in the jungle-swamps of Houston TX, it’s torture to block up an ear with acrylic, vinyl or silicone! I’ve heard it loud and clear from fellow CI users that going cochlear (which doesn’t require an ear mold) is a huge relief. IF only..
Boy, oh boy, did going through this make me respect all CI peoples, and the children and babies (the little babies!!), and their parents!!
Thanks to Paula M for sending me samples of the CI Water Accessory and suggesting the right kind of headband to order that holds it on good when in the pool.
Thanks, Mary D for this reminder:
I still remember when you heard the woodpecker pecking the tree at one of the Walk4Hearings years ago. You had gotten a new aid I think and you couldn’t figure out what that tapping was. You were so excited when we saw the woodpecker up in the tree making his noise. May all your new sounds make you as happy as you were that day, my friend.
Thanks to my husband, too!, who’s hangin’ in there with me through this trying transition. When it comes to simple communications in our home, we are both getting to practice a brand-new, killer-version of patience – I am tempted here to write LOL but, its not funny if ya need to get a point across in less than a day’s worth of normal hearing efforts (I’m sure the CIers know what I mean). My husband calls it GW – Grimacing Within – lol.
To end this discussion, let me tell you that what meant THE WORLD to me, how I was living with only one hearing aid for 1 month after surgery while I healed, that hearing aid now, is next to nothing (shocking) compared to the Cochlear Implant that now is engaged with my other ear. That hearing aid serves for balance and right now, it’s still my predominant tool for hearing.
…and WOW about my programmer, Mary Lynn McDonald of the Houston Ear Research Foundation for having a handle on ALL the aspects (including what it takes to deal with guruatma) of the mapping process – you angelwizard, you!
PS – Thanks to Christopher O who washed and braided my hair yesterday at Urban Retreat here in Houston on West Grey (way-cool spa and salon) – my husband gave me that treat for Valentine’s Day. I haven’t been in a hair salon (except for a Halloween costume hairdo) since my senior prom.
It felt sooo good to have my head massaged – still so sore from surgery. I highly recommend this kind of scalp/skull/hair treatment to all CI recipients at about the one month post-surgery point, to undo some of the shock and trauma from having our heads cut open and the skull drilled into, one major muscle is scraped off the bone that it hangs onto, another one is totally cut across and peeled out of the way, etc etc – it’s major head surgery that needs special attentions.
NO – it does not count to wash your own hair; you must sit back, relax and breath – STOP and FEEL IT!
I feel better. I am better. And that is my base YB
Enjoy this day-o!
PSPS – of course, I have many more people to thank and you know me, I’ll get around to that so, stay tuned..
PSPSPS – thanks, Elizabeth F, for the post-surgery gift of the beautiful flowers that I’m posing with in this photo – there’s nothing like receiving flowers to lift you up!
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