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!