Thursday, August 30, 2007

I have a surgery date!!!!!!!!

Woooo-hoooo!! After all this waiting, I finally have a date!!!
We're at the beach this week, and our phones aren't working so hot (no signals where we are), so I didn't find out until about 4:00 yesterday afternoon when Dr. Haynes' office called and left a message on hubby's voice mail. We tried and tried to call 'em back but couldn't get through...then finally were able to leave a voice mail, but since it was so close to quittin' time they never called us back. I found out around 10 last night that our beach house had wireless (wOOt!) so I sent an e-mail saying that we had returned their call, but hadn't been able to get ahold of anyone...and to please e-mail instead of calling, as phone communications are the pits for EVERYONE this week!
Got an e-mail this morning, and it's official: my second CI surgery will be on Monday, November 5th!!!
I have a decent probability of it being even earlier, since I'm on standby and they're supposed to call me if/when they have cancellations, but if that doesn't happen, I'm happy with Nov. 5th!! I'm so happy just to know SOMETHING!!
I'm SO EXCITED!!! :) Can you tell??!?!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Nope....

...I didn't find the remote. But I was so tired last night that I conked out anyway...and I'm so tired tonight I'll probably do the same thing!!
Today, after multiple attempts to get in touch with my surgical coordinator, Ronnie, to no avail, I finally e-mailed hubby with her phone number and had him call. What transpired then nearly gave me a stroke. He called her, and got her voice mail. No shocker there...I expected that. I didn't even expect her to call back. However, she did (*that* was the shocker!) . And she told him that SHE wasn't handling the scheduling, but "L" was. She was kind enough to patch hubby through to L. L told hubby that she would need to see a copy of BlueCross' authorization before she could schedule it. HELLO...I got an e-mail TWO WEEKS AGO, saying this:

"
Called BCBS to verify insurance approval. Please call Ronnie C. @ XXX-XXXX to schedule surgery."

Is it just me, or, upon reading this, would you not think that insurance approval had already been verified? 'Cause that's what I thought...two weeks ago...and to have someone tell me today that *I* needed to provide a copy of the authorization was a BIT MUCH!!! And the topper? I have filed the authorization letter away somewhere safe and can't find it. I went to the BCBS website, pulled up the page with the authorization and the account number, took a screenshot, and e-mailed it to "L". She should have it first thing in the morning....so she can start the entire process AAAALLLLL OVER AGAIN. And since I haven't talked to her before now, the poor thing is considered fresh meat and is fixing to hear a lot from me if things don't pick up.
If I SHOULD have learned anything by now, it's that this whole business is a slow one. Apparently, after 18 months of waiting (from the beginning of my CI journey), I still haven't learned it. I usually try to be as nice as possible, but I am just about out of nice, and want to hunt somebody down and light a fire under them!!! Oy!
In other, GOOD, news, Abbie came through her surgery with flying colors, apparently!! She is even blogging. I don't mean a "Hello-I-survived-now-back-to-bed" sort of post....a REAL post...crazy girl!!!
Laurie posted tonight...you can find the whole story about Brad over at her blog.
And...fun news...I was invited to moderate the Monday night CI Chat over at the HLAA website! Dixie is one of the moderators there now, and she said that she wanted an Advanced Bionics moderator there to keep things fair. Tonight was the first time I'd been to one of the chats, and we had a really good time! I met a few new people and got to talk to some old friends for the first time in a while...it was great! :) I'll be looking forward to Monday nights...come visit if you're so inclined!! :)
Gonna get off here and head to bed...I'm zonked! 'Night! :)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Just a quick "Howdy"......

...I'm about to head off to bed...this sinus junk I've got is tiring me out. Just wanted to mention a couple of things: First of all, thanks to those of you that went by to visit Laurie. I know she appreciated your visits!!
Secondly, keep my friend Abbie in your prayers...Monday morning she'll be going under the knife to become the next bionic woman in blogland!! I'm so excited for her!! Her blog is really interesting reading and I can't wait to hear her side of the story! :)
Wish me luck. I'm hunting the TV remote. When the power went off last night, it kicked the closed captioning off our TV, and the TV doesn't have the menu buttons on its interface....you HAVE to have the remote (which, did I mention, is missing?). If I can't find it I may have to go sleep on the couch...I have a hard time falling asleep without a little TV time!
Talk to you folks more tomorrow....love y'all....
<3

Back Home! :)

Well, after getting just three hours of sleep Thursday night, I absolutely crashed last night. I fell asleep around 1 something and woke up at 8:15, and I don't think I moved even once all night long...I was that tired!! Laurie and I got ready and headed out. We didn't go far...just down the road to the Cracker Barrel to meet Gerry and Dixie for breakfast.
I first met Dixie online over on the HLAA forums when I was researching CIs. She is one of the moderators over there, and was very encouraging about my interest in implants (she has one herself). I met her in person at a CI support group meeting at St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville some time last summer. Her real name is Concetta but I'm hooked on Dixie...hope she doesn't mind :). She and her hubby Gerry are both funny and friendly and enthusiastic and we had such a fun breakfast with them!! I hadn't seen her in over a year, so it was great to be reunited!! :) My hubby and Gerry have a football rivalry thing going on so Gerry wore his Alabama shirt to breakfast, the bad fella ;)
Laurie, Dixie, and me...bionic buddies! :)


Even though Gerry is not one bit bionic, we decided to allow him to be in the picture, too, because we're nice like that ;)

After breakfast, we all headed our separate directions. I took a wrong turn on the interstate, which was really dumb, because I drive that interstate all the time....argh. Ended up getting home just in time for the birthday party. We stayed there about an hour and a half and then went home. I promptly crashed and took about a two hour nap...I was worn out!
When I woke up I found my bunch getting ready for a football game! They went to a high school game last night while I was out but last night happened to be the night that we got RAIN...and lots of it. We hadn't had any in weeks...in fact, the leaves are all falling off the trees...things are dropping around here. So the rain was welcome...but the timing was bad. Folks there huddled under the stands for several hours before they finally called the game off. Anyhow, they re-scheduled it for tonight, so hubby and the kids went back out. It rained again, but not so hard that they didn't get to play (the lightning was really bad last night). I begged off and stayed home and rested. About ten minutes before they got home, the power went off....and it was off for two hours!! I got up and lit some candles and got the flashlight. I was holding the laptop when it went off, and it went to battery power. I unplugged it and used it as a huge flashlight to help me find stuff....ha! :) I played cards on it for about an hour and a half (cable modem died in the power failure too), then I read by flashlight for a little while, then I went upstairs to get Katie's laptop. Booted it up, started a card game, and the lights came back on, so I made the rounds turning the lights off, blowing candles out. I was so glad they finally came back on...talk about communication problems...when it's dark, I got nothing, ya know? Lip reading's not even great because everything has shadows. I'm so grateful for electricity, y'all!!
Laurie and I really enjoyed our time together, and it was hard to say goodbye to her. It was made even harder by the fact that she got some bad news just before she left to go home. We were standing around talking and taking pictures when she got a text message on her phone from her husband saying that their son had been hurt. Brad is a VA Tech student and he and two of his friends were on their way home last night when they were attacked in what was possibly a gang-related ambush and left for dead. They all survived the attack, thankfully. Brad's attacker stomped on his head, and Brad related to Laurie that he didn't wake up until later when he was in the ambulance. He has had all the necessary tests done to make sure that he didn't have any brain trauma, but he had to have three staples in his head :(. The attackers abandoned their car at the scene, so we are hoping that the police will find 'em.
Another of her sons, Chris, texted while she was on her way home, and told her that he had just buried his puppy. Brutus and Chris were really big buddies, Laurie reports, and Chris is really hurting over his loss. Laurie, needless to say, is having a rough time...two of her children are in a lot of pain. She is too down to post right now, but she said she didn't mind if I shared it. If you would, please, go offer her a cyber-hug?? I would appreciate it, and I KNOW she would. I hate it that her fun weekend ended so sadly!! :(
I'm off to bed, but after that nap today, there's no telling if I'll sleep or not....
Love y'all! :) <3

Saturday, August 25, 2007

...I'm on Music Valley Drive spending the night with Laurie!! We have had such a great time today!!
My day got off to a rough start...I didn't go to sleep until 2 AM this morning, due to allergies, and woke up at 5 AM, for the same reason, and couldn't go back to sleep *sigh*. I actually couldn't talk this morning and was afraid that that would cramp my style when I got to Nashville, so I went to Walgreen's and picked up some Claritin. I still feel icky, but much better :)
I met Laurie over at the League for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing where she was having her meeting. The meeting was breaking up when I got there around noon so I got to meet a few new people that I hadn't met before :) We didn't stay there long...we were hungry!! We went to eat lunch and took a picture in front of Chili's, where we met for the first time last year.
Then we went over to the American Quilter's Society Expo over at the Opryland convention center. We had texted Dixie and let her know we were coming and she and her husband Gerry were waiting for us when we walked in the door! It was SO good to see her again...it had probably been a year since I'd seen her last. We spent some time walking around with them and more time on our own checking out the different exhibits and the quilt contest. My grandmother used to quilt years ago when I was a little girl and I love looking at them :) There were over 300 vendors there, if I remember right, and it was jam-packed. We stayed there a couple of hours (didn't see half the stuff there) and then met up with a couple of Laurie's friends, Karen and Rachel. Karen and Laurie met online years ago, and went out to dinner with them at Tony Roma's. Karen has a son that lives in Nashville, and she loves to quilt, so was combining the two in one visit this weekend! (Rachel and Karen, below) It was really neat to talk to Karen because she has twin daughters that are deaf: one was implanted with a CI six years ago (I hope that's right) and the other just weeks ago (she was activated with her new Advanced Bionics Harmony this week!!). She really knows her stuff when it comes to CIs, so she was really fun to talk to (Poor Rachel...we didn't let her talk much...I'm so sorry, Rachel!!)
Got an interesting e-mail from Gloria Garner over at Advanced Bionics last night, saying that current implantees that have the CII or HiRes 90K internal component are all invited to a "Harmony Social". There will be two: one in Kansas City, MO, and one in Dallas, TX. What they'll do then is give people the chance to actually wear the new Harmony processor and see how it sounds for themselves. This sounds like a really NEAT opportunity...a sort of "try-before-you-buy" thing...if I didn't already have my Harmony I would be jumping up and down at a chance to test drive one!! Here are some details:

Who: Advanced Bionics® cochlear implant recipients with a CII or HiRes 90k implant *

When: Monday, September 10, 2007 6:30-8:30 PM
Where: Hilton Lincoln Center
5410 LBJ Freeway
Dallas, Texas 75240-6276

What: Experience Harmony for yourself at our upcoming Harmony social. You will have the opportunity to learn more about the Harmony sound processor and the new HiRes Fidelity 120® sound strategy and try them out for yourself during our evening event. Representatives will be on site to provide information on how you can upgrade.

...and then the next day:

Who: Advanced Bionics® cochlear implant recipients with a CII or HiRes 90k implant * (

When: Tuesday, September 11, 2007, 6:30-8:30 PM

Where: Midwest Ear Institute
4200 Pennsylvania, # 100
Kansas City, Missouri 64111


If you have any questions about any of that, give me a holler and I'll try to find out what you need to know, OK?
Tomorrow morning we're going to try to meet up with Dixie and Gerry again and eat breakfast (will try to get pictures then), then I'm headed home for a birthday party. Will yak at y'all later...
<3

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Hey y'all...

Well, impatience got the better of me again this morning, and I thought that 48 hours was long enough to go without buggin' somebody, so I e-mailed Susan, since she said on Tuesday that she would check on things for me. She answered pretty quickly and had this to say:
"Ronnie has emailed me to confirm Dr., etc, so she is working on it either herself or in conjunction with training the new scheduler. Hopefully you'll hear soon. If you don't hear from Ronnie by Monday, let me know."
So I think that tomorrow I will e-mail the imaginary Ronnie again and see what's up with her. Then I'll take the weekend off (after all, can't do much about it on the weekends) and then I'll begin again on Monday! :D Thankfully, I've calmed down about it a great deal and only get really wound up first thing in the mornings, when I feel a compulsive need to e-mail somebody ;).
I don't know what's come over me with this impatience business. I honestly didn't even expect insurance to have approved it by this point, yet now that they have, I want my new ear, like, yesterday. I think that while I was waiting for insurance,I knew it could take months, so I didn't rush. However, since it's been approved, I know that it could feasibly happen in weeks, or even days (with my last implant there were just two weeks between approval and surgery!). I believe I've just about put my life on hold here, at the mercy of Ronnie! Gonna have to get a grip! ;)
Tomorrow I am meeting my dear friend Laurie and another friend, Dixie (some of you may know her as PlayForDixie...she posts over at the HLAA forums). Laurie and I inked this date on the calendars way back in OKC. Dixie was a surprise, however. I had e-mailed her to tell her about my insurance approval and asked her if she was planning to come to the big HLAA picnic in Nashville in September. She replied that she wouldn't be able to make it, but that she was coming to Nashville this weekend for the quilt show. Coincidentally, Laurie and I had already planned to go!! So, of course, my dear Bionic Babes and I couldn't pass up an opportunity to get together!! :) You know I'm gonna have a great time!!
Enough, enough...bedtime. Will keep y'all updated...
<3

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Feeling a little calmer now....

...Just think I had to vent earlier...sorry about that ;). No, the scheduler never returned my call. Yes, I think I'll try again tomorrow...too impatient not to :) If she can't schedule it right now for some reason, that's OK...but I'm a little annoyed that she hasn't returned any of my calls or e-mails. It's my understanding that this is a new job for her...or she's a temp, or something...Wendy handled the scheduling last year, and I miss her...she was really friendly and good about answering e-mails :) Molly's comment made a good point...I've really got it pretty good. When I wanted my first CI, I started investigating in March of 2006 but wasn't implanted until September...things just move slowly. I hear stories from time to time of people that have to wait even longer for whatever reason and I'm trying to be grateful that I've made the progress that I have...I already have one, so I'm ahead of the game :)
*snip*
I am meeting with Laurie this weekend!! I have missed her so much since our time in OKC back in June...and am so excited about seeing her again!! She is coming to Nashville for a meeting...she was appointed to the Governor's Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing a couple of months ago, and she gets to come to Nashville four times a year for the next three years...I, of course, am thrilled about that!!! There was an article today about it....go read! :) I think I'm going to go up on Friday afternoon and spend the day with her...possibly stay the night and visit with her some Saturday morning. I can't wait...she's a dear friend :)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Fit to be tied...

I finally decided today that what little patience I had had run completely out. I want a surgery date and I want it yesterday. So I got online and went to Sorenson's IP Relay page and called Vanderbilt. And I got an answering machine. I told the relay operator to call back and leave a message telling them to call me, here's my number (they can talk to Katie). Two hours later...nothing. I am trying to resist the urge to call again but it's about to get the better of me. If I don't post again, you'll know that I have finally gone mad waiting for them to get back to me ;). If everyone would just take a minute to pray, I'd appreciate it. Pray that the dear girl over at Vanderbilt will show me mercy, or pray for (more) patience for me, or pray for me to get a life, or WHATEVER, but I need it. I am having a hard time planning things for the next few months because I have no idea when I'm going to need to take approximately two weeks off for surgery and recovery (and that's a conservative estimate, as I was under the weather for closer to a month after my first one). I hate everything being up in the air like this! Ugh!!
My buddy Shari posted some pictures from our Nashville HLAA meeting on the group's web page! Go look...they're cute :) You'll see some of Sheila and then some of the rest of our group...we're a fun bunch :)!
I'm headed out to go get the girls at school, then I need to work on laundry. Claire is leaving tomorrow for the beach for about ten days, and she need clothes. I have parent meetings and a Scholastic Book Fair tonight at the girls' school, then if it's not too hot, a walk. I thin we'll have leftover spaghetti for tonight's dinner...it was great for lunch yesterday, and it will mean no cooking for me tonight...excellent!
Will be back to yak with y'all later....love to all....
<3

Saturday, August 18, 2007

*Yawn*

*snip*
...We used to play cards on the weekends a lot more than we do now and we always enjoyed it. I tried having the card parties here for a while but then I started going deaf again and a little depression kicked in. I kind of backed off for a while...but it was so much fun when we were doing it...might need to try to have 'em here again. It took me a little while to get comfortable tonight...I'm still not used to my new map yet, and there were quite a few adults there, all talking at once, and the sound really grated on my nerves for a while. I considered taking my processor off but I knew I would have a really hard time keeping up so I just turned it to my lower IDR setting, turned the sensitivity way down, and that helped a lot.
Whenever I get a new map, it takes a few days to adjust...the brain has to learn to adapt to the new signals it's getting. We've established already that my brain deals with change rather slowly and rebelliously...particularly on that side...no signals at all for 30 years, remember? Right now sounds are a little shriller, a little scratchier, a little more annoying. In a few days they'll settle down and become more manageable, and then I can gauge my progress: am I hearing more sounds? Are things clearer? I've heard that it's best to feed the brain all the information it can handle those first few days, in an effort to help it adjust more quickly, but my brain gets tired of the racket pretty fast, so I don't knock myself out.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Still nothin'! :)

...but I'm going to find out something today...if not in e-mail, I will have someone call...I am GOING to get ahold of a surgery coordinator somehow today! I'm way too impatient to wait much longer! I can wait however long I have to for the surgery, but c'mon...a date ought to be easier than this to come by! :) I'll get one of the kids to call, if absolutely necessary...I wanna know!!!
Kinda neat...today I got an e-mail from my audiologist asking me if she could connect me with one of her patients that is interested in finding out more about the Advanced Bionics CI. I told her ABSOLUTELY! I have always hoped that I'd get a chance to help somebody else out with their decision...I had so much help and support when I was researching mine. And I wouldn't be nearly as excited about getting a second one if it hadn't been for those of you out there that have been there, done that, and encouraged and inspired me. I know I'm most definitely not "going it alone"...I have so many supporters!! I have a lot of hearing friends that are way excited for me, but the ones that have lived it are the ones that can help me the most...and I wanna be that for someone else...I hope I get that chance!!
I didn't do nearly enough yesterday...was really hoping to hear from Vanderbilt, so I stayed close to the computer for a good part of the day. Around 2 the usual Wednesday craziness started happening...showers, getting girls from school, homework, Bible lessons, plus a chiropractor appointment (I had to wait an hour today...was not impressed). After Mexican (delicious) and church (I had a lot of fun telling people about my insurance approval tonight...the church folks are really supportive and excited for me) hubby brought me a big bowl of Blue Bell Chocolate Covered Strawberry ice cream and I have been vegging ever since, reading blogs and answering e-mails :)...a thrill a minute...you know you wish you had my exciting life ;)
Gonna get off here and get to bed...maybe I'll have something interesting to share tomorrow! :)
Love y'all.....
<3

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

This and that...

...Well, after all yesterday's excitement, today's been a bit of a letdown...I was hoping that I'd hear a definite date sometime today but it didn't happen. I started getting a flurry of e-mails around 9 AM from the audiologist's office, the insurance girls, the other office girls, etc. In short order they had called BlueCross and confirmed that yes, they will be paying, and gotten whatever information they needed from them to proceed with the scheduling. After lunch I got an e-mail from one of the insurance girls telling me to call so-and-so to set up my surgery date. Hello...I don't call, folks. I haven't handled a phone in months, not counting my cell phone, which is just for texting. I wasn't too irritated, more amused than anything that they expect deaf folks to call to make appointments. Anyhow, I e-mailed them back and told them that I didn't do phones and asked if it would be possible for me to handle my scheduling via e-mail. In short order I got an e-mail back, saying sure thing, I could do that. I sent an e-mail to the surgery coordinator around 2 or so but haven't heard back from her today, so I'll wait a little longer. My audiologist, Susan, said if I hadn't heard anything in a day or so to get in touch and she'd help out. It took a few days, best I remember, for everything to get straightened out with implant #1, so I'm trying to just simmer down and be patient :).
What I do remember about implant #1 was that I got approval on August 28th, was initially scheduled for October 22nd, and was offered a cancellation spot just days later, resulting in an actual surgery date of September 11th....just two weeks later. I'm not going to count on that again, but anything's possible, so I'm not planning anything too far ahead until I have a better idea of what Dr. Haynes' schedule looks like :)
I do have one thing planned, though, that I don't want anything to get in the way of. Mid-October, I'm traveling to Savannah for the First Annual Southeastern Bloggin' Babe Tour (Melli, did I get all that right?). Some of the babes will be there all week...but I'll probably just be there a few days. I am SO excited about seeing Daisy and Sandy again (this picture of two of my favorite babes and me was taken last year in Savannah!) , but this time Melli and Jane will be there too!! There will be a couple of other "Babes" there but I don't know them quite so well...I have no fear, though...I know I'll love 'em :). No...if my surgery date threatens to disrupt my Babe tour, it's just gonna have to wait!! :)Oh! A CI story for y'all! I used to hear of stuff like this happening to other people, and thought it was funny, and now it's happened to me too. I was at Sonic the other day ordering my usual Diet Cherry Limeade and leaned my head out the window in an effort to hear the girl on the speaker better (I LOVE Diet Cherry Limeades, but Sonic is the WORST place to order something :( ). Anyhow, the girl was talking, I was trying to listen, and all of a sudden the magnet on my processor decided it liked the van door better than me and flew off. When that happens, the sound stops instantly, so of course I had no idea what the girl was saying. I was ever so thankful for teenage daughters at that moment...Katie quickly jumped in and helped me finish my order. I'm forever knocking the magnet off taking off shirts, pushing my hair behind my ears, etc. but that was the first time I'd lost it to another magnet :)!
I don't put a lot of stock in Weatherbug, but when I got home from my walk tonight it was supposedly 95 degrees. It WAS pretty hot. I just told hubby that the way things have been here, when the temperature drops down in the 80s in a few weeks, we're gonna feel downright chilly ;). There was very little running tonight...just too hot. I wish I were more of a morning person, 'cause that's definitely the time to do it. I'm tempted to just take a break but I'm afraid that if I do I will have a hard time starting back up. I just keep telling myself that it will cool off in a few days...it has to...oh please...
Headed to bed...hope everyone's having an awesome week!! :) Love y'all....
<3

Monday, August 13, 2007

Overjoyed!!!!!!!

I went in to Vanderbilt today for a map...it had been over two months since I'd been and everything sounded really terrible, so it was time. Susan made a few adjustments to my higher frequencies (she said had made some good gains there, so that was REALLY encouraging!) and she gave me a higher IDR, or sound window, in one of my slots so I can pick up more sounds. Since that can be both a good thing and a bad thing, she gave me a lower IDR in my first slot, just in case I got more noise than I was interested in hearing ;).
The topic of insurance companies and bilateral implants came up, of course. I asked her if she had heard anything and she said that she hadn't. She did say that BlueCross was supposed to have changed their policy to cover bilaterals around the beginning of August, and said that she'd shoot out a few e-mails to see what she could find out.
When I got home, I decided to look on the BlueCross website to see if they truly had changed their policy. First, though, I checked out my status to see if, by some freak chance, it had gone through since I last checked on Friday afternoon (I don't normally check on weekends, since I figure everybody's gone home and nobody's updating websites ;)). And, lo and behold:
I HAVE BEEN APPROVED FOR MY SECOND IMPLANT!!!!!!!!! WHOOOO-HOOOOO!! I can't believe it!!! I am SO happy!!!! I have always been partial to the idea of getting my right ear implanted. I'm glad we went out on a limb and did the worse left ear, otherwise I wouldn't ever have it, but my goal all along has been to get this right ear done. And finally, it looks like it will be happening!!!
Now we wait...I don't know yet how long it will take to get in. I am putting my job search on hold for a few days until I know more...I don't know of any companies that would love to hire somebody that's going to need probably two weeks off to recover. I'll definitely keep everyone updated here!! :)
Well, after I jumped up and down and whooped like an Indian and told my kids and e-mailed friends and family, I remembered to go back to the BlueCross webpage to check for policy changes. Sure enough, there it was:

"POLICY

Unilateral or bilateral cochlear implantation for the treatment of sensorineural hearing loss is considered medically necessary if the medical appropriateness criteria are met. (See Medical Appropriateness below.)

Any device utilized for this procedure must have FDA approval specific to the indication, otherwise it will be considered investigational.

MEDICAL APPROPRIATENESS

Unilateral or bilateral cochlear implantation for the treatment of sensorineural hearing loss is considered medically appropriate if all of the following criteria are met:

  • Individuals 12 months and older; and

  • Has bilateral severe to profound prelingual or postlingual sensorineural hearing loss (e.g., a hearing threshold of 70 decibels or greater); and

  • Is free from otitis media or other active, unresolved ear disorders; and

  • Has accessible cochlear lumen structurally suited to implantation; and

  • Deafness is not due to lesions in the auditory nerve and acoustic areas of the central nervous system; and

  • Has cognitive ability to use auditory clues and a willingness to undergo a program of rehabilitation; and

  • There is radiographic evidence of cochlear development."

Up until a few weeks ago, the ages covered by bilateral implants was ages 12 months through 12 years...so, yes, the policy's changed. Thank you, BlueCross!!! :)

I heard my first siren in over a year today. I was on the way home and a police car went zooming by...caught me off guard. I saw another one coming right behind it, so I quickly turned the radio off, and I HEARD IT!! It wasn't loud, but hey, I had my window up...and I could still hear it! Wow!!! Progress!!! :)
And I was startled to run up on Bambi standing in the middle of the road on the way home. I thankfully wasn't going so fast that I couldn't slow down, and the little fella finally saw me and took off running. He was really little and absolutely adorable and he made me smile :)
I'm hearing better after my map, my back's feeling better after my adjustment, and we still have no groceries. I'm too wound up to cook, though...I think we need to celebrate, perhaps with some Mexican!!
I AM SO EXCITED!! (can you tell??)
Love y'all.....
<3

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The weekend...

...was a full one! :)
Friday was spent working around the house and getting ready for the cookout at Sue's. We went over there around 6 and stayed until probably around 9ish. I was surprised that as hot as it was, I didn't get too uncomfortable...although nobody played volleyball this month...we were all sitting around eating hamburgers, drinking Cokes, and trying to stay cool :). The little girls got my camera and took probably 30 pictures of not much at all...I might pick out a few of them and share with y'all later on :)
I got up Saturday morning and drove to Nashville for the HLAA meeting. It was great to see familiar faces from last month and to meet some new friends!! Our speaker this month was a lady named Sheila Adams from Florida. She was a representative from Advanced Bionics and an implant user herself (she will get her second implant next month!!) (oh, and Sam Spritzer has a date for his second CI...Way to go, Sam!). I was trying to figure out where I had met her before and decided that I'd probably seen her in Oklahoma City. She was showing a presentation and one of the pictures in her presentation just clicked...I knew where I'd seen her before....her blog was one of the very first CI blogs I ever read, way back when I was still in the research stages :). Her presentation was on aural rehabilitation; in essence, ways to enhance what hearing you have. She suggested ways that we could practice our listening (books on tape, websites, etc). I am really bad about not taking advantage of a lot of the listening opportunities that are out there. I think that a lot of my problem is that I hear so much NOISE with my implant that when there's time to actually practice listening, I just want peace and quiet!! She talked a little about her family and some of the communication obstacles they face and how they deal with those obstacles so that she can enjoy conversations with them all. She was interesting and friendly and bright and I just really enjoyed listening to her :) . Another representative from Advanced Bionics was there...I think her name was Lori Zapf (I hope that's right). I got a chance to talk to both her and Sheila about my insurance appeal, and they offered encouragement to keep working at it, and offered some resources to hep me out if I had any trouble...great gals :) Lori shared with our group that Advanced Bionics is working on updating their "Listening Room" site to make it more teen- and adult-friendly (it's already a great site, though...go check it out!).
After the meeting quite a few of us went to Logan's for dinner and stayed there a couple of hours just being sociable. When we left there (didn't want to tie up the table all night) a few of us went back downtown and went to a little Mexican restaurant and continued the conversation where we left off over chips and salsa :). We just really had a great time. I am so grateful for that group!! I wish I'd found them long ago!!
I finally had to head back home...it was late, and the Titans pre-season game was letting out, and I needed to get out of there before I got stuck in traffic. I stayed up late talking to hubby about the meeting, and then I had to check e-mails and read blogs, of course, but I was too brain-drained to write anything :).
After MUCH too little sleep, I had a hard time waking up this morning, but I made up for it by crashing and sleeping like a rock for nearly two hours between church services...I was zonked!
Tomorrow I go for my map (and a discussion with my audiologist about insurance, which I hope goes well...if it doesn't, watch this space for the upcoming rant) and another chiropractor appointment (which I need desperately, as my back is still not right from my fall :( ). I really should grocery shop, but that probably won't happen tomorrow...I have no idea what we'll eat...hot dogs, maybe?
Keep my brother-in-law Doug and my nephew Bryan in your prayers...Bryan was discharged from the Marines today after five years of service, and Doug flew out to Phoenix, AZ tonight to drive back with him :). Pray for their safe journey, please! I'm so happy that Bryan's coming home...we've missed him for the five years he's been away from us :).
Gonna get off here and go to bed...have a good week, everyone....love and hugs....
<3

Friday, August 10, 2007

That was fun!

I went to a Stampin' Up card party last night at our preacher's house. I had been before...we actually get together about once a month. Every other month, we make cards and order our supplies, and on the odd months, we just make cards and play around. I love making cards because it's not a huge time committment committiment expenditure (man, I can't figure out how to spell that word, apparently). I have friends that scrapbook and I love watching them...I actually love playing around and making pages with them...but I am bound and determined not to start that here...I am not organized enough to store all the stuff properly, and I have enough OCD that it would become an obsession pretty quickly...so no. Card making is a little different...you can just make one here and there...not time-consuming. Anyway, I had a ball...the women we meet with are wonderful...sweet and fun...and we always have a good time. Here are the cards I made last night...KA, aren't you proud of me? ;) (Ugh, my scanner makes them look grainy...oh well)...

Yesterday was pretty calm and quiet until I went to get the girls from school...after I got them home I had to leave again to go to the chiropractor. I have been going since I fell last week and have been feeling pretty good for the most part but the past couple of days I have had a pain in the back of my shoulder and my left arm stays kind of numb all the time. He was able to fix it while I was there yesterday, but a couple of hours later, I plopped down in a chair, probably a little harder than necessary, and got a sharp pain in my shoulder, and then it was back. It's not too bad...more of an annoyance than anything. I'll make it through the weekend and I have another appointment on Monday. Anyhow, came back from the chiro and made dinner (another Pioneer Woman recipe...yum!). I hadn't given myself enough time to make it and ended up having to leave for the stamping party before it came out of the oven. Katie and I ran down the street to Dairy Queen and grabbed a hamburger instead (but I heated up some of the leftovers when I got home...and they were delicious!).
Busy weekend ahead...we have a cookout at Granny Sue's tonight (I love the cookouts, but this one promises to be positively sweltering...ugh), and tomorrow is the monthly HLAA meeting in Nashville. I had such a great time at last month's meeting and can't wait to see some of my new favorite people again! :) They have a little social time before the meeting and people bring snacky stuff...I need to go to the store after a while so I can take something (haven't decided just what for sure yet :) ).
I finally made an appointment for a new CI map (a kind of reprogramming for all you hearing folks ;) ). I have needed a new map for several weeks, but my schedule didn't permit me to go, then my audiologist went on vacation (the nerve of her ;) ) so it's taken me a while to get in...I go Monday. I used to wonder how people knew when it was time for another map but now I know...things sound absolutely terrible. Apparently my brain is doing SOMETHING (I'd kinda given up on it) . I've had many, many people ask me if I'm hearing better with my CI, and the answer varies from week to week. The final answer, though, is this: I am hearing SOMETHING with my CI. Is it great? Frankly? No. Will it get better? I am sure of it. Considering, once again, that for over thirty years I heard nothing at all in my implanted ear, and considering the vibrotactile issues I've had to deal with, the fact that I hear is just short of miraculous. When I get frustrated, I just try to remind myself that without my CI, I would be totally deaf at this point in my life...I can't imagine that.
The fact that I can tell what pitch some songs are (not all of them, mind you) is fascinating (and I sing along with them, to the horror of my children). The fact that I can't hear sirens is frustrating. The fact that I can hear Claire crinkling up candy wrappers on the pew next to me at church is astounding. My speech comprehension is lousy, but, as I said, it's time for a new map, and I think it will make a huge difference.
I was told repeatedly before I had my surgery that one of the key elements in adjusting to a cochlear implant is patience. As I've said many, many times before...I was gallivanting around in the shapely nose and free-spirited attitude lines when patience was being given out. So this journey has been VERY trying for me. However...I'd do it again in a New York minute. If I was doing it over again, I might have gone with my better (right) ear, simply because I honestly believe now, after almost a year of being implanted, that my brain is determined for me to be "right-eared". But then again, I would have never had a chance to have two ears...if I had done the better right ear first and had it been successful, insurance would never agree to fork over more money to experiment on a dead ear...case closed.
If you're considering CI surgery, and you asked me, I'd tell you, with absolutely no hesitation, to go for it. The fact that I struggle with mine doesn't take away from the fact that I have hearing now that I wouldn't have ever had otherwise. I know that my brain will continue to adapt and that over the next few months and years my CI and I will get more and more comfortable with each other. Science and technology have been able to give me back what would have otherwise been lost forever...isn't that incredible?
Going to get moving here and make me a grocery list. Need anything while I'm out?
Have an awesome weekend....love to all :)
<3

Sunday, August 5, 2007

*Whew*!!!

*snip*
After I did that high school meme, I got to thinking about music from way back when. I don't even know what made me think of it, but I went to YouTube and was overjoyed to find Shout on video (I almost embedded it, but didn't think that ALL of you would like it, so I decided to just link to it)!! I had forgotten all about Tears for Fears....I LOVED them in high school...I had their record? cassette? and listened to it ALL the time!! I have been having a ball hooking up to the laptop with my Direct Connect and playing it again...I also found quite a few other favorites, and finally knuckled under and started a YouTube account so I could keep 'em together :) . A lot of old favorites sound nothing like I remember them, so I haven't enjoyed listening to ALL of them...the men sound the most like I remember them. There's one instrumental part in "Shout" that I know is there but can't hear it at all...but I can hear the men singing fine, and it's close enough to what I remember that I am enjoying what I do hear and my brain is sort of trying to fill in the gaps where there's nothing there :). (OK, now it's stuck in my brain, but my CI is in bed for the night...I hope I can sleep ;) ). Help a girl out...I'm trying to think of some more songs to look up. I have several of Bryan Adams' songs, She Drives Me Crazy (Fine Young Cannibals), You're the Inspiration (Chicago), The One I Love (R.E.M) (I know...a rather eclectic collection, isn't it?)...what else was great back then in the 80s? (of course, some of y'all will be too young to help ;)).