Thursday, December 6, 2007

WOW!

I went today for my second post-activation mapping. This one went a little better...I think because we did it a little sooner (after only six days this time, compared to ten the first time) and because I knew what to expect this time, it was just less stressful. I increased my volume a little more and put back in the high frequencies that I took out last week. Some people don't like hearing the "ch" and "sh" sounds, but right now I really like having them come in nice and clear...I haven't heard them in years and they really do add to my comprehension. Last week we turned those sounds down and I missed them this week...so they're back. The girls and I listened to music on the way home and it sounded really good...still a little distortion, but again, that's totally normal...it sometimes takes months for the distortion to go completely away. We didn't do any reprogramming on Thing 1 today...we'll do that when I go back again on Dec. 31st.
I decided to try the aforementioned begging today to see if Susan would do another sound room test, and she was really agreeable about it :). The audiogram below shows that I'm hearing in the 30-decibel range in most frequencies....which is normal to mild loss. Even better, though: if you look at the chart on the right, in the sixth box from the top, left column, notice the "92"...that was for the 92% I scored on the sentences test! I had no trouble at all with most of them. NINETY-TWO PERCENT. In comparison....when I went to my regular audiologist in April of 06, we did a word test and I scored a dismal EIGHT percent. No lipreading was involved in that one. When I was going through the CI evaluations in June of '06, I bumped that score up to 49% with lipreading factored in. Today's lovely 92% was achieved with no lipreading at all. My comprehension has never been this good...ever...as long as I can remember. All the stress and headaches have been totally worth it.

(other audiograms can be found here, with explanations)
When we left the audiologist's office we went to Dr. Haynes' office for my post-surgery checkup. Dr. Haynes was really encouraging, saying that my incision looked like it was about a year out (that's really good for an incision that's just a month old!)...that it had healed that well! I honestly had NO trouble with the incision this time around...I hardly knew it was there. Quite a contrast to the first time around, when I was very conscious of it. I think perhaps just the side it was on made a little difference...I wore a hearing aid on this ear for years, and things just don't bother me with it the way they do with my left ear.
While I was in Dr. Haynes' office, two women that looked like sisters came in with a lady that might have been their mother in a wheelchair. She looked to be about 80 or so, and informed me that she was capable of walking, but had balance problems. I told her that I'd had problems with balance myself in the past, and I could relate. She asked me if I had a cochlear implant, and said that she had had the surgery a year ago, but it didn't work for her. The women with her said that she had reported that things didn't sound good to her, and that she didn't know what she was hearing most of the time. I asked her if she'd practiced wearing it, and the women exchanged looks and rolled their eyes before telling me that no, she didn't practice with it at all. I hate that...sometimes it just takes a while for things to become tolerable, and giving up too quickly isn't the answer :(. I think that the number of cases that "don't work" is probably due to people that just didn't like what they were hearing and didn't give it any real effort. It would be easy for me to say that Thing 1 "didn't work" because it doesn't sound like I think it should, and I still have the vibrotactile response...but the truth of the matter is that if I keep working with it, the vibrotactile will more than likely eventually become manageable, and the sound that I get from it will give me true surround sound...directionality and even more sound. I may have to work with it for a couple of years...maybe longer...before it gets up to where Thing 2 is after just two weeks....but it works. That ear was gone for THIRTY YEARS...it won't come back overnight. Thing 2 was in a good ear...one that hadn't been without hearing long at all (March of 07) and the results have been astounding. I was asked in Dr. Haynes' office if I'd mind talking to a lady who was thinking about cochlear implants but didn't know much about them yet. I jumped at the chance (it's one of my favorite topics of conversation lately) and she was brought in and I got to talk to her for about five minutes. I love sharing the story...because it's had an almost fairy-tale ending for me....life-changing!
Going to bed...work tomorrow from 8-5, then I have to run home and fix something to take to a Christmas party tomorrow night. Saturday is another Christmas party (will be up early cooking for that one) and then we might have plans for Saturday night...not sure yet. I will be on the move every minute this weekend...that's for sure...so updates may very well be light :)
Next week, having completed my training...I'll work FORTY HOURS! I have actually not worked a forty-hour week since I was 19...and I'm almost double that age now...we'll see how I hold up!!
Love y'all.... :)

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