Thursday, December 17, 2009

Well... I've been very bad about posting new stuff. I continue to hear new and different things. Before my surgery (to qualify for the CI) one of the tests was to repeat the words of sentences the computer read to me. Before my CI, my right ear got a 0%, that's right, zippo! I could hear some sounds, just not make any sense of it. At my last visit to the audiologist, I repeated the test and missed one word out of all of the sentences. Since they throw out one of the tests (2 out of 3) I can say I scored 100%!

I've likely driven some of my office mates nuts asking what different sounds are, but to their credit, they've been extremely patient (which I've HUGELY appreciated). There was a rattle in the HVAC system somewhere above my desk and thankfully I wasn't the only one to hear it, but the horrible thing was it was right above MY desk! I think it's been fixed now, since I no longer hear it.

I've discovered iPods! I've been loading my music onto the two that I have and have started listening to them a lot. I have a much better appreciation for it now. It's now just that I like the tune or the beat... I can hear the words (and I still like it).

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I can't not say something about my Steelers! We're going to the Super Bowl, where we will promptly dispatch those pesky birds!

Welcome to the world of noise!

I was activated on Wednesday January 7th. My experience was much better than I could have expected. I intentionally kept my expectations low to try to prevent being disappointed in case it didn't work very well. We started out going thru the box of "goodies", many of which I won't be using right away. Brenda (my audiologist) got me all hooked up and we started by doing a modified hearing test. Testing to find the lowest volume I could hear on each of the different electrodes (there are 24?) then testing to find the loudest volume I could be comfortable with. Then we tested all the electrodes to be sure they are all the same volume at both the low (T value) and comfort (C value) levels. This was a bit anticlimactic for me, since it just seemed like a hearing test with the tones. BUT then she turned it on! At first it sounded like a lot of clanging and bells. Deborah videotaped the important parts and I'll see if I can figure out how to edit it and post it (help... Dave?). By the end of the afternoon, I had a raging headache so I took it off for the rest of the evening.

The next day I had a seminar for work. I was really nervous about it because I wasn't sure how people would react to the CI. I got there early and set up in the 2nd row on the left side, so I could pick up as much as I could on my right side. I could tell when people asked a question in the back, but couldn't tell yet what they were saying. Thankfully the speakers repeated the question then answered it. No one said boo about my CI!

A friend from my professional association (OEHA) wound up setting with me for the day and he and I went to lunch together. In the past I'd been very involved with OEHA, but had pulled back from attending planning meetings since I had such difficulty understanding what was being said.

Friday I had another mapping (programming) session. We went thru the same process again to see if I could hear differently, and I could! I was sent home with a new map and a noise program (which I wound up not even trying). I went for a week on this map and as each day went by, the clanging and tinging I initially heard (and still hear when I first put it on) diminished a lot. It sounded like water bubbling over rocks (or what I imagine that would sound like).

The weekend after I was activated Deborah wound up in the hospital for 2 days. This provided some interesting opportunities for new listening situations. For example, we were coming back to the room and one of the nurses said "Hey honey, how are you doing?" We were the only ones in the hall, so I assumed she was talking to us. Turned out she was talking to the patient in the room next to her. But the point is the rolling workstation she was at covered her mouth, so I HEARD her and didn't lipread her! Another "moment" was after Deborah got a "roommate". I was playing with my Nintendo DS and she was napping. She woke up and wanted to get my attention, so she tried different quiet sounds and I heard her and responded!

I now have four different "rates" or speeds to try. I can't really explain it other than each of them sound different. The faster speeds use up the battery faster, but with rechargeables it's not so bad. I'm done with the first one (900 Hz) and am now on the 2nd (1200 Hz). I'll try it for a couple days then switch to the 600 Hz and later to the 250 Hz.

Went to a bar on Sunday night using the 900 Hz. It was the premier showing of the season opener of "L Word" the 6th and last season. It was supposed to be captioned but Showtime screwed up somewhere along the production and it wasn't captioned. I think we sat too close to the big screen, which made the screen very dark and almost impossible for me to lipread the characters, which made for a very frustrating evening. I did win a long sleeved "L Word" t-shirt!

There will be many more "CI moments" and I'll do my best to keep up with this blog. If you haven't heard from me in a while, just email me and remind me to post!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


Well... tomorrow is the big day. Not sure how I'm feeling about this. Excited, scared, nervous... and lots more I don't even have a name for. What if I can't hear anything with it? What if I can hear? Will it be too loud? What will it sound like? I'm doing my best to keep my expectations low, but my hopes high. Is tomorrow the first day of the rest of my life? Will it all be worth it?

Surgery was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I didn't have very much pain (gotta love the happy pills!). It's really strange to not be able to feel the top of my right ear and a section of my head. Every now and then it tingles, not quite the needles and pins when something 'falls asleep', but on a much smaller scale.

My hair has grown back. I did get it all cut to match the "shave", so it was even shorter than my summertime cut!

Stay tuned for details of the big day!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Well, I couldn't make it to work today. I'm gonna drag my derriere there tomorrow, even though I may have to leave early. It doesn't exactly "hurt" but the top of my ear and around it is numb and kinda tingly and sore. Sometimes it feels like I have an earache deep inside - probably my cochlea healing.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving to all! I'm thankful for SO many things. I have an amazing group of people in my life who support me, love me, and take great care of me! You know who you are!

Today I'm feeling better. Deborah took off my bandage yesterday. I was a little nervous about that. I got a little light headed a couple of times, but managed to do just fine. I'll try taking a shower and washing my hair today, since I last washed it on Sunday I think its due!

I'm going to try posting a picture of my turban bandage and I have one with the bandage off.

One piece of bandage is stuck and will hopefully come off in the shower. I'm continuing with pain meds every 4 hours, just trying to stay ahead of it. It's keeping me pretty loopy, so I'm going to start stretching it to every 6 hours today. I've been very fortunate and have had no facial numbness and no taste issues. The right side where they did the surgery is a bit numb and is starting to itch (which is a good thing - means it's healing).

I hope this finds everyone enjoying their family and friends and having a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Well... yesterday was the big day! I got up at 4am (eww) and Deborah & I made it to OSU Hospital by 5:30 am. Admitting got us checked in and so began the "hurry up and wait" process. We actually didn't have to wait too long for any of the steps. They took us upstairs to wait for a room, and it was only about a 5-10 minute wait. Got to the room and changed into my lovely designer gown! I had the joy of peeing in a cup... (are you ready for this?) for a pregnancy test! ROFL! I assured them there was no possible way I could be pregnant, but apparently they have to test everyone! (btw - I'm not pregnant).

The nurse came in and said they were trying to get the anesthesiologist to come up and talk to me, so I could keep my glasses & hearing aid in. The transport folks showed up and took me down for surgery. I talked to the anesthesiologist out in the hallway. This isn't standard - they usually do this in the surgery room, for privacy issues, but they needed to have their masks on in the surgery room (making it impossible for me to read their lips).

Since I was nervous, it felt like forever, but was likely only a couple of minutes.The anesthesiologist started up my IV and my surgeon (Dr. Brad Welling) reassured me that everything would be fine. The anesthesiologist gave me the first shot in my IV, then a second shot, then the next thing I remember is waking up in the recovery room. The surgery took 3 hours and about 45 minutes, then I was in recovery for about an hour and a half. They took me back up to my room and watched me for another hour or so, after giving me a pain pill. On a trip back from the bathroom I looked in the mirror - EEEK! I have a lovely topless turban with a big bulge over my right ear. I have to leave it on for 2 days, which means I can wash up just after my parents get here on Wednesday.

I was on my way home by 2:30 or so. Stopped at the grocery store to fill my prescription and get a few groceries (I slept in the car while Deborah went in). Got home and she settled in my new (to me) recliner and I have been here since yesterday. Deborah is a wonderful nurse and has been taking very good care of me without hovering. Just a perfect balance of being there and giving me space.

I slept fitfully last night but I've been napping more than sleeping. Pain pill, nap, pain pill nap, etc.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

If you want to follow my blog and (like me) forget to keep coming back to check for changes or updates, you can add me.
Okay... we're in the final countdown now! Folks keep asking me how I feel, and I'm not really sure how to answer. I'm excited about the possibility of being able to hear better, but it's just that - a possibility, not a guarantee. I'm trying to go into this with low expectations and high hopes.

I'm totally NOT looking forward to the actual part of surgery. The last surgery I had (my gall bladder), I didn't come out of anesthesia very well. I just wanted to keep sleeping. Finally I drug myself off the gurney and out to the car, then slept on the way home, and slept at home a bunch more. I kept thinking feeling crappy was never going to end, but of course it did. I just need to remind myself (or have my family and friends remind me) "this too shall pass"!

I'm preparing myself to get comfy in my living room: getting the laptop ready; bought a new game for my Nintendo DS; have a shelf full of books to read and just enjoying my friends and family. I'll be housed in the living room on either my new (to me) recliner or my very comfy couch, until my parents and Aunt Beverly head home on Saturday (?).

I'm nervous about the surgery... there's always some possibility of stuff going wrong with anything. I just have to trust God knows what he is doing and will guide my doctors and nurses and God's will will be done in all this. That's where I'm finding the most peace, is trusting God to do what God does best, and trying to keep my hands off.

Speaking of hearing better... my implant does not get "activated" or "turned on" until January 7, 2009. Then I will begin a long process of teaching my brain to hear again. I'll be listening to books on tape along with the book and hoping I can get a couple of different people to read to me. I need to teach my brain what is being said matches the words on the page.

My 'need to know' what to expect continues... I will be asking more questions of my doctor and his team and posting more here.

Please keep me (and my doctors and nurses and audiologist) in your prayers.