Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Today was a hard day.

I have struggled with headaches on and off since the implant was activated a week ago. However, in the scheme of things, I've considered them to be small nuisances in this new world of sounds. This morning I awoke in the wee hours of dawn to an axe in my head accompanied by tidal waves of nausea. After sitting in a hot bath for a while and consuming 6 Advils, I was finally able to attach my implant around mid-afternoon. I totally missed this morning's online rehab. The frustrating part about this is the magnet attaching the external components to the internal components is too strong. I think it is this strength that is contributing to the headaches. When I try to loosen the magnet, it will not stay attached to my skull. I am scheduled to go back to my audiologist tomorrow to see what can be done.

Am also frustrated that I am doing well on the phone with my family but still struggling with human speech in the outside world. Am anxious to have more clarity when it comes to speech discrimination. Anxious to distinguish more clearly the different voices.

Daily encouragement:
Monday- I spent several hours with an old friend that I had not seen in a year. During my hearing aid era, I would be completely exhausted after being with this friend because her lips are so difficult to read and my hearing aid could not give me clear speech. However, this time, I totally got the whole conversation!! The implant made the biggest difference on lip reading with her because I was understanding her speech.
Today- after such a frustrating morning, my business partner came and took me for sushi in downtown Nashville. Because it was ice cold out, I wore my ski hat. Historically, I could not wear a ski hat over my hearing aids without turning the volume way down or it would feedback/whistle. With the implant, I don't have to turn it down and it was so cool to be able to hear things with a hat over my ears!!

Worn slap out and did not go back to proof read this. Will do it another time but meanwhile, please overlook all the errors...

Sunday, January 24, 2010


I was at the library a couple of days ago when I ran into an acquaintance whom I had not seen in a while. As we struck up a conversation, I sensed something was a little off and asked her how she was doing. Tears sprang to her eyes as she responded with "Well, I lost my husband two months ago and it has been tough". I was taken off guard because I had not a clue that her husband had been sick, much less had died. There was the temptation to not go there, just to say "I am so sorry", change the subject and call it a day.

Instead I found myself immersed in a conversation about her husband, his last days and this elephant called grief. Apparently her daughter is ready for her to stop crying and her friends are constantly trying to cheer her. No one knows what to do with this prolonged grief.

Prolonged grief?!?! Pulling oneself together only after 2 months?!?!? If this were my Hous, I would still be in my pajamas with the covers over my head, not at the library.

Later, as I reflected on our conversation I wondered what makes us so uncomfortable with grief. I get the painful aspect of it. Having surgery is painful. Having children is painful. Yet we push through those things. But curiously, when it comes to grief, we distract, medicate or ignore it. Why?

Since I have no answer to my own questions, I will move on.

Today's encouragements: I went to Sunday school class for the first time since surgery and I could tell a big difference in keeping up with the class conversation. I also had a short conversation with a close friend via phone today and understood everything! I also had a long conversation with Mama and Daddy via cell phone and understood most of what they said. Although I am seeing improvements, I am worn out by the end of the day!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Down with movie theaters!

Last night Hubs and I went out on a long-overdue night out. We headed out to our favorite Indian restaurant. Afterwards, I wanted to see how I would do at the movie theater so we went to see Invictus with Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon.

I loved the movie; hated the theater. The previews were so loud that I had to turn off the implant. Although the movie was not as loud, I was still reeling from the effects of the previews and missed most of the dialog. We paid 20 bucks for this?!? We traded our comfortable couch next to a warm fire, subtitles, wine and all-you-can eat popcorn for this?!?! Wow.

On another note, today has not been a great hearing day. By 1 pm I was worn slap out and had to take out the implant. However, I have received today's encouragement: This morning I scored 90% on a word-recognition list. Giddy up!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Candy and the cell phone

So, the audiologist advised me to wait until I was further along in my program before I attempted to chat on the phone- especially on the cell phone. Of course, telling me what to do is a lot like putting dark chocolate in front of me with instructions not to touch it. I am gonna eat the chocolate.

I decided to phone sister on my cell phone. And wow.

We talked for about 10 to 15 minutes and I got 95% of what she said! I was so excited that I accidently hung up on her. Then I called daddy. Got about 95% of what he said! I was so excited that I called sister back. I think at this point she is thinking about putting a block on my number or perhaps changing her phone number altogether.

So that was my encouragement for the day! Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Four days after activation

Overwhelming and exhausting are the two words I use these days in response to inquiries about my activation and subsequent rehabiliation. Thanks to my Father above, I am making amazing progress but make no mistake, this is tough.

My brain is having to relearn sounds. Literally. I got into a discussion with Mama over the way boiling water sounds. I have heard it as a low roar most of my life but now I am hearing it as a tinkling sound. My brain tells me this can't be the correct sound, so I have to confirm it with my family and friends:

Me: "this boiling water sounds like it is tinkling not roaring"
Mama: "right- that's how I hear it"
Me: "are you certain this is right? maybe you are not hearing it right"

Nice. Its a wonder that I still have any family or friends left.

I have a small goal every day: to look for that day's encouragement provided from the One who loves me the best. He is the author of all good things and king of encouragements.

Today started out frustrating: I had to cycle through the four programs several times this morning since I was having trouble with environmental sounds. I did not do well on the word recognition lists. I felt overwhelmed -all I wanted to do is take out my implant and sit in a hot bath with a good glass of red wine.

It was a fist-clenched, teeth-grinding choice to believe that encouragement would come. Come it did. I chatted with Mama via phone twice today and understood 85% of what she said. This is huge! My two prayers have been that I would be able to talk on the phone again and understand the words of praise music. Am jazzed that I am already doing phone rehab in the first week of turn on!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Bless my heart.

Ignorance really is bliss.

Apparently those itty bitty key pads on my phone are not so quiet when I text my friends. Note to self: No more texting in church...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Cochlear Implant

On December 21, 2009, I received a cochlear implant in my right ear and have since been in a world of complete silence. God willing, the silence will be broken tomorrow afternoon when my implant is activated. Several people have asked what this will look like, so I have copied a blurb from the ASHA (America Speech - Hearing Association) Web site that does a good job of explaining activation:

About 4-6 weeks after surgery, the person returns to the center to be fit with the microphone and speech processor and to activate and program (called mapping ) the implant. The initial fitting process is done over several days and may include additional visits over several months. The reason is that, as each electrode in the cochlea is activated, it must be adjusted and programmed into the speech processor. As the person develops skill in using the implant, further adjustments and reprogramming is required. Once the optimum program is obtained, fewer visits are required. Usually there are annual visits to the center for checkups.