Thursday, May 17, 2007

Processor Update!

I'm sorry it took me so long to get this posted...I got back home, had to run a couple errands, then the girls and I had to get ready for church. After church hubby and I talked a while...now he's asleep so I am on the pooter again :) I wasn't in a huge hurry to post it, anyhow...I wanted to wear it through church and see how it went...see what differences I could detect.
When Susan turned it on, immediately I could tell a difference in the quality of her voice. It sounded a tiny bit more natural ("natural" meaning "how I remember it", not necessarily how anyone else might perceive it). She put my first setting on HiRes P, my second setting on Fidelity 120, and my third setting on half T-coil, half Fidelity 120. I know it sounds like I know my stuff, but honestly, don't ask me what all those settings do. I think I'm fairly intelligent, but I like to learn complicated stuff slowly, and I'm still not up on how processors work. I think that David over at Hook Me Up and Michael Chorost have a lot of information on their blogs if you want to do more reading. I will probably brush up on it myself in a few days, but for now, what I know is that the F120 programming on the new Harmony processor is supposed to provide superior sound quality, and enhance both speech and music. Well, here's what I think.
After Susan set me up with HiRes P for my first program, she set up both the second and third programs, then we played with them for a few seconds. I had to get her to adjust the F120 settings because they were providing about more information than I was ready to handle at the moment. I told her that I was hearing something that I didn't remember hearing before: the "ch" (in "chips") and "sh" sounds, and even the occasional hiss of the "sssss" sound. I practiced my consonant sounds on the way home with the little girls (Ellie was trying to learn how to say "sushi" and I was able to tell just by listening if she was saying it correctly or not) and was pleased to notice that they sounded much clearer and crisper. If you've never had a hearing loss, you don't know what a big difference having consonants makes, but without them, words are just a jumble of sounds, with very few clues separating one word from another. Susan tweaked my program a bit so that the "ch"ing and "sh"ing wouldn't make me crazy...it's been a long time since I've had those sounds, and I've never had them anywhere near this clearly on that side, so we're starting slow and easy :)
The overall quality of sound seems a bit more....melodic, perhaps. I have always enjoyed listening to the inflections in peoples' voices and haven't really enjoyed listening to the dull drone of voices over the past month or so. The change wasn't a huge one, but enough so that I see great potential. Tonight at church I listened carefully to the singing and was happy to hear that even though for the biggest part the singing was distorted, at least some of the notes are sounding MORE like they used to.
For the past few weeks, if, say, perhaps, a note would be played on the piano....say, middle "C"...it never sounded anything near like what I remembered "C" sounding like...instead, it would sound like a dreadful robotic twanging of some sort. Just dreadful, to be honest. Tonight, if I heard "C", it wouldn't sound like "C", still, but it would be more melodic and somewhat less robotic....in my book, that's progress, and I'll take it :)
And lastly, on the way out, we stopped by the sound room for some basic tests. We didn't go through a huge slew of them, but I'm testing in the 30-40 dB loss range (if I remember correctly) for most frequencies....not too shabby. I know that I could score higher if I'd let Susan adjust my volume, but I'm still very sensitive to high volumes...they're physically uncomfortable...so I'll wait and adjust at my own pace :)
Susan also did the word test...basically, I was just supposed to push the button whenever I heard her say something. I got tickled, though, when I actually understood the words (at least the ones at a louder volume). That's still something that I'm not used to, and it always makes me smile when it happens. She said "Baseball" and I said, "I heard that, and by the way, you said "Baseball!!" Then she said "Hot dog", and I heard that too. I have to admit that "baseball" and "hot dog" are on "the list"...the list of words that I've been listening to in hearing tests for over 30 years...but I still heard them and understood them...cool!! :)
I go back in three weeks for another programming. I have found that I hear speech best when I'm in a totally soundproof environment, so I'm probably going to spend some time with my Harry Potter CDs in the next few days. If I hook my processor up to my "Direct connect", I can plug it up to the laptop and listen to Harry while I pooter. I can turn it up as loud as I want, and nobody can hear it but me....and I can't hear anything but Harry. The interesting thing is that none of the sound will actually travel through my ear canal: this is all electronic, and it all travels by radio waves directly to my brain. Bionic woman, I am!
Susan told me today that BlueCross is purportedly rewriting their policy to include bilateral cochlear implants for adults, but that they don't plan to have this policy change in effect until August of this year, and in the meantime, they appear to be balking mightily at covering a second implant. So the plan for now is to keep appealing until the policy changes, if we have to wait that long...if we can't get it done before August, we're going to be really pushy the minute that policy changes :) This might be what I need, though...time to learn to hear with the ear I've got. :)
I'll keep you updated more as I learn more about this processor...but tonight, I'm going to bed :)
I'm plumb wore out....Love you all :) <3

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The verdict is:

I checked on BlueCross' website tonight to see if my second CI's pre-authorization status was up yet. I've been checking just about every day...just out of curiosity, more than anything :) Tonight I checked, and the status was up: it has been denied. I'm fine with it...I was expecting that. There are a lot of folks that have trouble getting insurance to pay for one, let alone two, and the people that have two often have to fight tooth and nail with insurance companies before they are finally approved...and I haven't even had my first one a year yet. So I was fully expecting this denial. I e-mailed Susan and told her about it, so she'll know first thing in the morning, and she can move forward and do whatever it is they do to get the appeal process started. I'm just really grateful that right now I'm doing OK with my CI...that I have something. That was the whole purpose of the CI journey that I started a year ago...to give me SOMETHING just in case I lost it all. And it has all worked out beautifully; even though I don't hear much, I haven't had long periods of hearing nothing at all, and haven't had to resort to interpreters or sign language or any other really drastic measures. I have been able to live a basically normal life, and that's what I hoped for and prayed for. I say "Huh?" a lot (I need to take up "Beg pardon?", you think? not quite so hillbilly?) and am nowhere near talking on the telephone and still can't hear the little girls very well, but I can manage everyday situations with the help of my husband and kids...thanks be to God...I am so grateful :)
I was pretty disconcerted one day last week, though, when Ellie picked up the business end of a hot glue gun (I didn't know that Rachel had plugged it up). I was sitting right there in the room with her and didn't know that she was hurt until Katie jumped up. I looked up to see why Katie was jumping and saw Ellie screaming. I never heard it. Just one of those sounds that I haven't picked up yet (thankfully, she wasn't badly burned...she didn't even blister). Yes, there is potential for dangerous situations, so I have to watch a little more closely to make up for what I'm not hearing, but overall, I'm very blessed!
Today Katie and Ellie and I went to Goodwill and to Wal-Mart...I ran into Kroger to get some coffee because it was on sale...then after we picked the girls up from school I came home and puttered around the kitchen a while :) I made guacamole to go with our Mexican Pork Roast and then I started on some butter crescent rolls for tomorrow's dinner (will post that recipe very soon...it's upstairs and I'm too lazy to drag myself up there this time of the night). After dinner I took a quick walk over to my mother-in-law's to drop off Claire some clothes (she wanted to spend the night). I really need to get back into walking. I used to love to walk, but had kind of a bad experience a couple years back and I don't do it much anymore. I miss it, though...and it always energizes me. Maybe I need to get me a Walkman to keep me occupied and just do it anyway :) (I can't hear music, but I can pick out the beat of familiar songs, so it's worth a shot)!
Tomorrow's supposed to be sunny, and I plan to take advantage of it...I'll probably let Ellie play outside and get some sun at the same time :) If I get inspired enough, I'll work on yard sale stuff in the afternoon...I have so much to do, and just don't want to do it. It's looking like it will be June sometime before we get to it...our only open weekend for a yard sale was going to the 18th & 19th but there's no way I'll be ready by then...Hubby and I are going to San Antonio the next weekend, then we have a wedding the weekend after THAT....in the meantime, the yard sale stuff is piled up in the downstairs living room....UGH!
Gonna get off here and get to bed...first, here's a recipe for you: (thanks, Mom!) We had this tonight with guacamole, sour cream, and tortillas...and some leftover tamales...is it any wonder that I needed a walk (or was it a waddle?)?
Mexican Pork Roast

2 medium onions, chopped
2 carrots, pared and sliced
3 - 4 1/2 pound pork loin or shoulder roast
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon leaf oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon coriander
2 cups water
Place onions and carrots in crock pot. Rub pork roast with seasonings.
Place on top of vegetables; add water.
Cover and cook on Low setting for 10-12 hours.
Love to all.... <3