Thursday, November 29, 2007

Things I Heard Today:

*the timer on the stove...from the bedroom. Will was cooking a pizza and I thought I heard it go off, so I dashed in the kitchen just in time to see him taking the pizza out of the oven. The kids were bowled over that I heard it!
*Coconuts sloshing at Wal-Mart.
*Hubby snoring. This is not a new sound...I've heard it for years....but it has seemed so loud and clear the past few days that I have threatened to make him a star on YouTube the next time he starts up. He used to say that he didn't snore...until we confronted him with video proof several years back. If I wasn't deaf when I took these processors off I'd have to sleep in another room...for sure!
*More music. I didn't find a lot of new things today...mainly I listened to some of the songs I've been collecting this week. Time To Say Goodbye is stuck in my brain right now...GORGEOUS. I think that I'm going to find myself hooked on opera...I never would have thought!
*I played a game over on manythings.org called "Audio Concentration". It's like the kids' game Memory...you flip over two cards at a time and match them up...except that you LISTEN to the words and match the cards...no pictures! Try it...check out the website and do "Game 1". I thought I was going to go crazy...some of those words sounded IDENTICAL. I DID match them all up within the time limit, but it sure was hard!!!

Tomorrow I go to Vanderbilt for a new programming session, and then I think I'll go shop for a while...I am SO behind on shopping that it's not funny....I only have two or three things bought...TOTAL...and haven't ordered my Christmas cards yet *sigh*. I need to get busy!!! I used to shoot for having Christmas cards sent out by December 1st. I'm slipping...there's no way that's going to happen this year...it'll be a wonder if they're all where they're supposed to be by Christmas this year. I've already gotten my first Christmas card of the year...just remindin' me what a slacker I am!!
Turning in early tonight...have to get up at 6 and drive to Nashville in the morning, so I'd better sleep while I can! Love y'all! :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Better....

...I think that yesterday I was just tired. Today I felt a good bit better. I'm grateful, because hubby's coming down with something, and I was afraid I had what he does (it's some sort of viral sore throat thing, ugh!) Today I did some housework, listened to music, and spent some time doing listening exercises. The Advanced Bionics webpage has a long list of websites that offer free listening exercises. Today I have listened to fairy tales and answering machines, learned about aortic aneurysms (just for the record, it's really hard to hear and comprehend "iliac artery" if you've never heard it pronounced before), and tried to identify different musical instruments. I also, on Paul's recommendation, went back to YouTube in search of Sarah Brightman/Andrea Bocelli videos. I had never heard either of them sing before, and they're an amazing duo!! She also sings in "Phantom of the Opera" with Antonio Banderas (whom I DID NOT KNOW COULD SING)...wonderful. The biggest surprise of the evening for me, though, was someone I'd never heard of before...Paul Potts. When I found a video and started watching, my mouth just kinda fell open...NOT what I was expecting from him (from the look on Simon Cowell's face, he wasn't expecting it either). Paul appeared on "Britain's Got Talent" this summer and took Britain and YouTube by storm with his amazing opera. Since men's voices sound better to me at this point (not quite as mechanical) it was a real treat to listen to him. I will come back and listen again as the hearing keeps on improving. (Thanks, Paul!! And to everyone else....recommend something!! I'm open to all suggestions...I have been out of the loop for so long that I don't know what's great listening!)
I definitely need a tune-up...sounds are getting quieter and quieter and more tinny and mechanical. Amazingly, comprehension is still good...I did really well with the listening exercises (children's voices are hard). I picked up a lot in class at church tonight, and a couple of people made the comment that I seemed to be getting more out of class than I have been (they weren't kidding...I wasn't hearing a thing before...who wants to participate when they have no idea what's going on?).
I was in the bathroom tonight and heard a car passing by the house outside. I knew what it was...I've heard the sound before, but usually when I was outside at the mailbox....never from inside, upstairs. I've never heard cars pull up in the driveway before...but I bet I could now :)
I have had a couple of people say that they were glad I wasn't deaf anymore, and that always just kind of makes me chuckle...because I'll always be deaf. With my cochlear implants, I'll be able to hear again...better than ever before, I suspect...but if the magnet on the processor slips off, it's instantly quiet...the ears themselves have no function at all anymore besides being a great place to hang the processor and to park glasses. I'm a real "bionic woman" now...totally dependent on technology and the little computer in my head for my hearing! I am grateful every single day that God has allowed me to keep natural hearing long enough for technology to get so advanced that music will eventually sound natural to me. Cochlear implant technology has come a long way in the past few years, and it's better now than ever before...God's timing for me has been just perfect.
Tomorrow....grocery shopping (blech), a little cooking, and a Bible study at Dad & Mom's. I'm excited about the Bible study...the singing will be good :)!
Thanks again for the encouragement and support. Honestly, not everyone in the world is fascinated by this story...and people don't always take the time to stop and really appreciate the marvel of being able to hear well again...to be able to hear music...to talk on the phone...to understand the spoken word without having to watch...I feel like, honestly, that I've had a new beginning of sorts...that life as I know it is forever changed...for the better.
OK...off to bed. Love y'all!! :)

It's been an interesting couple of days...

I think I'm coming down with a bit of a bug...I've been draggy the past couple of days. Last night I was so tired that after the CI Chat I just conked completely out. I knew I'd have a big day ahead with the job interview so I didn't even try to write anything (I have the feeling I'm about to make up for it with an overlong post...be warned ;)). This afternoon I just about decided I was coming down with the flu, but I feel better tonight...it's probably just some little bug.
By the way, I was offered the job :)! It is at a local photo processing place...and if I pass my drug test (and I am NOT worried about that) they'll tell me Friday when to start...Yahoo!! The interview was interesting...I hadn't had a job interview in 16 years and this one was tricky. They asked a bunch of "what would you do if..." and "how would you handle this situation..." kind of questions...questions that I had to THINK about, right there with someone LOOKING at me! I think I must have squeaked by on personality on several of those questions...my answers were positively dorky, I think. Oh well!
The drug testing was a pain in the keister. It took me TWO HOURS and FOUR TRIPS to the doctor's office to get it done (I'm making a very long story as short as possible!). It would have been so much easier if they would have just taken my word for it that I don't do drugs ;)!!
I've heard a LOT of neat things the past 48 hours! Yesterday I heard one of the LifeFlight helicopters flying over our house (we live about half a mile from the hospital). When we first moved into this house four years ago I heard them just fine with my hearing aid. Honestly, in the past 18 months I had forgotten about them...I haven't heard one in that long. I also heard a siren yesterday. I KNOW I heard one Sunday, but this one was while I was in the bedroom, in the house...and the ambulance was on the highway (we live three houses from the highway). I thought I heard it but Claire was sharing something long-winded so I shushed her briefly and listened..and sure enough...there it was!
Today at the interview I was in a back office and several of the employees were on computers...I could hear the clack clack of their keyboards :)
This afternoon I was about to e-mail my mom about something and I decided I'd just call her :). I got the BlackBerry and dialed and when she answered one of the first things she said was, "I think I need to sit down!" The last time I talked on the phone with any measure of success was over 18 months ago. I could understand every word she said as long as I concentrated. A couple of times my concentration slipped a bit and I missed a word or two, but that was it. We talked for ten minutes!!
The phone is something I'm really antsy about. I have always had a LOT of trouble with it...and the last few times I used it before I gave it up I could hardly hear on it at all. It was always an exercise in discouragement and frustration...I always felt like a blithering idiot by the time the conversations were done. Now, even though I think I can probably do OK, I don't want to until I know I can do it without a huge, embarrassing struggle. I know that the only way to get better at it is to practice, but I am just not ready for that yet...self-confidence issues. I am listening to a lot of things on the computer...I don't sit down at the laptop without having music, a book on CD, or SOMETHING playing (I have listened to everything from Martina McBride's 2007 "Anyway" to Tennessee Ernie Ford, ha!). Speech comprehension is still pretty good, considering that my program's maxed out...and I know it will get even better after my mapping session on Friday. I know it will all come in time...it's just that the hearing is coming back a little faster than the self-confidence at this point :)
Tonight when I was cooking dinner I heard water boiling on the stove. You know...if I knew that boiling water made a sound, I had forgotten it. All this time I thought I was hearing pretty well with the hearing aid...but I am finding out every day how much I've been missing!
We bought our microwave last year, after my first hearing loss. I was singularly unimpressed with the timer on the thing because the beep was inaudible...I thought. I am finding out that it's pretty loud, after all!
Yesterday was a great day for me because my sweet bionic buddy Abbie FINALLY posted her activation on YouTube! I love seeing other peoples' videos, and hers was so neat to watch! Maybe it was a good thing she took so long about it...now I can HEAR it! Her audiologist talks a good bit, and I can understand what she's saying! Check it out!

And if you want to see what I'm listening to...and loving every second of...check out this awesome Allison Krauss video. I have missed her gorgeous voice!!! It's not yet perfect....but it's very, very close...unbelievable!!!!
If things are this good now...I can't wait to see how they sound after Friday...WOW!
Good news this week: Geo has his CI surgery tomorrow (today)...and Jeff has his on Thursday! If you like CI blogs, go follow their adventures (guys, take plenty of pictures!). More incredible news...my friend Rosemary (who doesn't blog) had her CI activated today...and she called her daughter Jen from the parking lot of her CI center!!! Another AWESOME hookup!!! YAYYYYY!!!! This is just a GREAT week!!!
Later....love y'all! :)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Better...and worse...

I'll start with "worse" first so as not to freak y'all ;). I am maxing out my program...which means that my brain is adjusting really well, absorbing the new sounds like a sponge, and it now needs more power, more sound, some fine-tuning. Sounds that were loud and clear are starting to be slightly fuzzier, softer, and even more robotic than they were before. It's really a good thing...it's supposed to happen that way...but it will be about five more days before I can get back in over at Vanderbilt for tune-up. Usually the first appointments are much closer together than these, but when Susan moved my activation date up, she had trouble scheduling follow-up appointments close together. I wanted the earlier activation date, so that was how I chose to do it :).
Normally at activation you're sent home with a few programs to play with (Advanced Bionics has three programs on each processor). Due to my processor's "issues", only one of my programs works right now, so I'm pretty much at a standstill. That means that I might not pick up a lot of new material this week, and I might actually appear to be losing ground. I repeat...this is a good thing...and when I go back to Vanderbilt on Friday, I will have a new, well-behaved processor to play with and three brand new programs, and I am sure that I'll make up for lost time quickly!!!
Church today offered more listening opportunities. My brother-in-law's brother Stephen sat behind me in class this morning and I decided to let him be a guinea pig in my listening exercises. He is prone to offer deep, insightful comments from his vast wellspring of Biblical knowledge (I don't know if he reads my blog or not, but I thought I'd play it safe) so I was nearly guaranteed some conversation from his direction. One of the things I hate most in our classroom is having to crane my neck to lipread people all around me (I've always done it, but I hate it). Anyhow, this morning I decided that I was going to try to not look at Stephen at all if I didn't have to. When he started talking, I just listened...and was able to pick up a good bit of what he said...without having to turn around. My friend Jon sits behind me to the left, and I couldn't understand him without turning to lipread...he was further away, and not close to my "good" ear...but lipreading was SO much easier than it has been in the past.
I told hubby several weeks ago that when this whole CI business was over I was going to need Botox for the wrinkles in my forehead...concentration has become such a huge part of my life over the past few months that after church or a shopping expedition it usually took quite a while to destress. I would catch myself sitting with my face twisted into a frown trying to puzzle out what people were saying. I had an almost impossible time understanding our preacher and Bible class teachers, and had just about given up entirely. I have been amazingly surprised today to find that if I just watch, the words come much more easily than they did before. The sound that I'm getting is high enough quality that it complements the lip-reading perfectly, and comprehension is much easier...I didn't have a lot of trouble with either of the preachers we had today (regular preacher was out of town). Yes, I still felt a little stressed after church...it's a fairly noisy environment, and the sound quality was a bit worse today due to brain assimilation (good thing, remember?) so my nerves were a bit jangled, as usual, but I sure was happier...definitely not as left out of everything! :)
Singing didn't sound as great today...but I expected it, and it's OK. It will sound even better next week! :)
I went to Goodwill today and enjoyed hearing Bing Crosby singing "White Christmas" over the loudspeakers...it was neat to just hear it and recognize it again :)
OH!!! And I heard a siren!! You might remember that with Thing 1 I was nearly bugflattened by a fire truck this summer...the fire truck that I never heard. Tonight we were on our way to dinner when I saw a fire truck pull out onto the highway in front of us. I told hubby and the girls, "Sh! Let me see if I can hear this!" and they all obligingly piped down, but they really didn't have to bother...I could hear it almost immediately from some distance away. HOORAY!!
I know this blog has been a bit one-track lately, and I will remedy that soon, I know...bear with me, people, this is all new to me :). I feel like a kid at Christmas...this is such a huge, exciting experience. I am writing this down as much for me as for anyone else...so that I can go back and re-read it later and remember how this felt. I feel blessed, overwhelmed, thrilled...tired ;). Can we say "sensory overload"? Tonight after church I came in and sat on the bed and started reading and the battery went out. For the first time, I didn't immediately replace it with a freshly charged battery so I could start listening again...tonight, I decided to give it a little rest. Incredible though it all is, when you've been living in a relatively quiet world for a while, it can also be a bit much. I need to pace myself!
I am in awe. Prayers have been answered :)
Love y'all! :)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Music Day

I slept in this morning (really the first time I've really slept well in several days) and when I woke up, I put some music on the laptop and started jamming :) I love listening to music...while it isn't perfect by any means, I'm just in awe of how good it sounds! I talked to a CI friend midday who asked me why I wasn't using my Direct Connect. The Direct Connect cable hooks me straight to the laptop and I can listen to music or books on tape with no outside interference. I'm dumb enough that I didn't know that the DC would work with the program I have now (due to processor issues, I have one working program instead of three, but that will be fixed when I go back) and was delighted to find that it works! My book-on-CD is still hard to understand (Jim Dale has a delightful English accent that doesn't translate well just yet) but music sounds REALLY good with it. I have listened to a smorgasbord of music today: the Beatles, Little Big Town, Christmas in New York, Josh Turner, all my YouTube music videos, a loooooooong list of church songs, and now I'm listening to Vince Gill. I got a real shock when I put in a CD of a male quartet. I picked it up this summer during our singing school at church. I couldn't hear it, but, ever the optimist, decided that I'd get it anyway and listen to it someday when I could hear it again. I put it in tonight and was just listening along (I knew the first couple of songs on the CD) and then came a song I didn't know, and I COULD UNDERSTAND SOME OF THE WORDS!!!!!!!! I wasn't even really listening because I didn't know it, and the words just kinda started coming through! Wow! So I started listening and picked up a few more words here and there...wow!
I was listening along to some old favorites, and got shocked and surprised a few times to find that songs that I thought I knew were actually different than I learned them! I'm not talking about "sound-wise"...I don't trust my ears to pick up accurate musical tones yet...but occasionally I would find that my timing had been off on the chorus of this song, or that a phrase I'd been singing for years was actually not correct! Wow!
Basically, I'm picking up in comprehension...which is amazing. Some sounds still don't sound realistic...tinny or robotic...but that will go away with time and more mappings. I have clarity and crispness to sounds that I haven't had in years. WOW! (for all you Savannah babes...say it with me!!) WOW!
We went to Jaydyn's first birthday party tonight...he will be one tomorrow! Hard to believe!!! He was just adorable, especially in his party hat...WAY cute! He was so funny when they put the cake in front of him...he refused to taste it (I put a pinch of frosting in his mouth and he SPIT IT OUT!!) and wouldn't play in it until his mom got him a spoon (he doesn't like getting his fingers icky) and then he just dug holes in it and flung it around. Totally demolished it with the help of his spoon, but never took a single bite of it!! Funny little prince!!

 

I didn't hear well at the party...it was in a big room with block walls and tile floor...there were a lot of people there and a lot of echoes. But I didn't feel too bad about it...hey...just the first week :)
I didn't pick up any real "new" environmental sounds today...since I have been listening to music at top volume all day. Tomorrow's church, though...a new chance to try out the new ear! :)
Oh...and pray for me...I have a job interview Tuesday! Exciting!!
Love y'all...... :)
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Saturday, November 24, 2007

What I'm Hearing:

You'd be surprised. I can't believe what I'm hearing...it has just been so incredible. I think I'll just make a list:
*Tuesday I heard my kids talking. I could understand the three oldest ones well, and could understand hubby fairly well.
*Wednesday I woke up early...at 7:30. Might not seem early to everyone else until you consider that I usually sleep in when the kids don't have school...but I wanted to put the processor on and start listening! When I was cooking Ellie got some sugar on a styrofoam plate and was shaking it about three feet away and saying, "Can you hear this, Mama??"...and I actually could hear it scratching on the plate. And...this was with Hannah Montana on the TV in the next room! Incidentally, I haven't ever realized how loud the girls keep the TVs...but I can hear them ALL THE TIME.
*My mom texted me when she arrived at the airport in Houston. I was in the middle of washing dishes and I abandoned the sink (left the water running) and went to try to call her. I locked myself in the bathroom and dialed. I heard the phone ring and then I heard her say "Hello, Jennifer!" Right about that time the processor shorted out. As I mentioned before, it has issues, and at that particular time, the current issue was shorting out every time I switched programs. Anyhow, realizing that I couldn't talk to Mom anymore, I took the phone to Katie and she finished my conversation. It would have been a very difficult call anyway...she was in the airport and her cell phone connection was terrible, so it was probably for the best...but I called her...and I understood her...for all of about three seconds :). (I was relieved to find that while the sink was overflowing when I got back, it was thankfully overflowing into the other side, and not overflowing all over ky kitchen floor.)
*When I got a shirt out of the closet to get ready for church, I heard a tinkling that I hadn't heard before. I looked and located a few hangers at the end of my closet that were bumping together and making that tinkly sound!
*At church, the preacher's wife said that she wanted to test me, so she had me look away and then she asked, "How are you doing?" I grinned and looked at her, and said, "I'm fine, thanks!!" :) During church I deliberately looked away from the speakers several times to see if I could hear them without looking. I could nearly always pick up a few words here and there. The singing in church was astonishing...several voices actually sounded just like I remembered them from almost 18 months ago, before I started losing what hearing I had left. I had not at all set my sights on getting music back...but if it sounded that good at just over 24 hours...wow, I can't imagine what it will sound like in the next few weeks and months!
*We went to my mom's after church on Wednesday to see them (they got in from Nicaragua while we were at church). Mom presented me with the Metropolitan Museum of Art's "A New York Christmas" CD...jazz Christmas music!!! It doesn't sound just right yet...but, ya know...I think that it's possible that by Christmas it may be great :).
*Thursday morning when I woke up I didn't put the processor on right away. I have always had a hard time putting Thing 1 on due to the vibrotactile problems...when I put it on, I always get a head buzz that's mildly uncomfortable. I'm having a hard time getting adjusted to the idea that Thing 2 isn't the same way...I can just slap it on, it gives me a few little beeps, then comes on...just sound, no discomfort. When I finally did put on Thing 2 I was in the bathroom, and the noise just about blew me away. I headed out the bathroom, down the hall, and there was the TV again...the squawkbox...with a football game blaring. I could hear it all the way in the bathroom...and it was LOUD! I could hear it well enough to know that the captioning didn't keep up with the game ;).
*We went to my mom's for Thanksgiving lunch and after lunch I went back to get a refill on my Coke. Then men were watching the football game, and as I poured the Coke I heard a "pshhhhhhhhhhh". I asked hubby, "What's that noise??" and he said, "I don't hear anything!" About that time it faded out, so I turned back to pour some more Coke, and the second I did it started again. I realized that I was hearing the fizz of my soft drink...over the sound of the men talking and the football game!
*When we went to the in-laws' for dinner, we were in line fixing plates and I heard my mother-in-law call my name. I turned and looked and she was grinning. It's a new thing to be able to just call me...I don't usually respond...and the whole family has gotten in the habit of flapping their hands to get my attention...a habit that it looks like I'm gonna have to be breaking them of soon ;).
*Ellie came and sat with me on the bed last night and was watching Disney Channel. She was about to ask me something, and I said, "Wait!" and turned my head so I wasn't looking at her. She figured out pretty quickly to talk slowly and loudly, but I heard every word when she said, "I just brushed my teeth, and I've been eating M&M's. Are my teeth dirty? Do I need to brush them again?" (talk about unpredictable...there's no way I could have guessed any part of that sentence!!)
*Claire and I were on the bed this morning and I asked her, "Is the phone ringing?" She waved her hand and said "No" ("Bummer," I thought to myself) and then I heard it again, and asked again, "IS THE PHONE RINGING?" This time, she said, "Oh! Yes!" and dashed off to get it. A big deal...I've been hearing the phone ring this week, but before that, I haven't heard it in nearly 18 months :). One of these days, I might just answer it ;)!
*Today hubby was outside banging and clanging and chopping leaves with the mower...and I could barely think for all the noise I was hearing up here in the bedroom ;). His work is LOUD!
*and the icing on the cake...tonight we were on our way to grab dinner, and were in the dark little car. I was driving, and hubby started talking, and I decided I'd just listen instead of turning on the light to try to lipread. We did that all the way to Nashville...about an hour...and I was able to understand at least 90% of what he said to me. I did have to listen carefully...and when he was talking to Katie in the backseat I didn't pay much attention and I didn't catch much. We went shopping after dinner and I heard several customers in the store talking to their kids, on their phones, etc. and was able to understand a lot of what they were saying when I concentrated. It's amazing how loudly people talk in stores!!
I've heard lots more sounds, and will hear more...but this was just a few (I know you're glad I'm done ;) ). I'll list more in the next day or so...I'm just so amazed at my newfound capabilities!! This hearing business is rather incredible!!!!
Off to bed....love y'all! :)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

FINALLY....

...my little brain has figured out the whole video transfer/YouTube upload business (it ONLY took FOUR DAYS). In my defense, my brain has been extra busy for some of those days hearing new sounds ;).
Here, without further ado: the videos. YouTube has a ten minute video limit, so I had to break the video into segments. The first one is of Susan turning on the individual electrodes (the cord at my shoulder is connected to her computer). I wasn't fully expecting to hear those little beeps, so I was kind of surprised...this was my first time hearing sound with my new ear :)

This is the actual activation video, where they turn the whole thing on and I hear voices for the first time. It's over nine minutes long. The first three minutes are probably the most interesting...after that there is a lot of adjusting (make it louder, tune that sound out, etc). I think it's fascinating...some people may find it kinda dull...you won't hurt my feelings if you don't watch it all.

There are two more movies after these...one with just more programming in it and the last one has me putting on the processor for the first time (it was more awkward than I thought it would be, and the magnet didn't stick as well as I hoped, so we had to change it out). Those can be found here if you have any interest left after the first two ;)

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

I started a loooong post today but got sidetracked with all the holiday baking and cooking, so I am saving it for tomorrow sometime. I have so many thoughts to share with you all!!
I am in love, absolutely in love, with my second CI. I've had some issues with it today (long story short, I need another processor, which has been ordered, and will be here ASAP, but is still working), but I looooooove it anyway. I have heard so much with it...and with such amazing clarity. Voices still sound kind of strange....kids' voices, in particular...but they're getting better already. I went to church tonight and was amazed how much easier it was to understand everyone...the teachers, my friends, EVERYONE. The sound that's coming in keeps me from having to work so hard to communicate...it's wonderful. During class I purposely didn't look at the teacher or whoever was commenting at the time to see what I could understand. I didn't get a lot, but I got way more than I ever thought I would...some people were so easy to understand that I could hear almost everything they said!
I had several "CI Moments" today....but I will share them tomorrow....it's late, and I'm tired.
I have so much to be thankful for this year...for my family, for my friends, for my blessings. Family and my wonderful friends...online and off...have supported me when I was struggling and encouraged me to keep going. All of my blogfriends have been tremendous supporters....and I am grateful for every single one of you. Everyone in my family's healthy and (mostly) happy, and we're well fed, have a roof over our head, and have everything we need.
Being able to hear this Thanksgiving is just the icing on the cake. I never dreamed that a cochlear implant could offer so much...from where I sit now, I see an amazing journey ahead. Thank you for sharing it with me...I love you all :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

"Incredible" doesn't even begin to cover it...

...today's hookup was far more wonderful than I ever dared to hope.
I can hear...and I can hear WELL. It's just short of miraculous.
I knew that things were going to be different this time when Susan hooked me up and turned the computer on. I thought it would be a few seconds before anything happened and was flabbergasted to hear a delicate "beep. beep. beep." right away! I didn't have this experience the first time around...the first time around I was presented with a very un-delicate, headache-inducing, pounding in my skull. We went through all the tones, turning them up to comfortable volumes, and then she said, "I'm going to turn it on now."
Well, I was totally unprepared for what I heard next...and I can't even tell you what she said (it's on the video, but I can't remember it) ...but it was simply hysterical. Susan's voice was the first one I heard, and it was the highest, squeakiest voice I had ever heard...I've heard several people say that it sounds like the audies have been sucking up helium, and that's what it sounded like :) . I got totally cracked up...almost fell out of my chair!! I was so surprised by it because I didn't have anything even remotely like this the first time around...NO sounds...just vibrations. I was expecting to feel at least some vibrations this time too, but there were none...just pure sound coming through (strange as it was!) About twenty minutes and a few adjustments later, I was in total shock: voices actually sounded nearly normal. Some people can't tell men's and women's voices apart; I didn't have that problem. Some can't even tell where one word begins and another ends...again, not my problem. I even experimented a little while she was fiddling with the controls, trying to just listen to her without looking at her, to see if I could understand, and I was picking up a word here and a word there, which, to me, was unbelievable.
We went in the sound room, and after the usual "push the button when you hear the beeps" audiogram, Susan told me that I scored in around the 30 dB level for nearly all but the highest frequencies. She read me a list of words (I was allowed to lipread) and then I had to look away and listen. I didn't get all of the words, but I was surprised at how many of them I DID get. She told me that I did great and then asked if I wanted to do the sentences test. I said, sure thing, just because I thought it would be interesting to see how it went. I knew immediately that it wouldn't be anything spectacular because it was a man's voice reading the sentences and I wasn't able to pick him up that well. Still, I scored a whopping fifteen percent...which I thought was INCREDIBLE!!!
When we left we went to the next town over and went shopping for a little while, then went out for lunch. I heard many, many sounds: music coming through the outdoor speakers at the mall, the sound of my feet on the sidewalk, the sound of the car blinker. We walked in one store and while I was walking by the salesclerk, back to her, I heard her say, "You finding everything OK?" to which I was able to turn around and say, "Yes, thank you!"
We went to the Macaroni Grill for lunch, and I got to hear the plates clanking and the music playing (although it didn't sound so hot, I could hear it). I was chowing down when I heard, "Are we doing OK here?", and turning around, our waiter Justin had walked up behind us and was looking down at us attentively. I was REALLY impressed with myself that I'd heard a man's voice, in a NOISY ROOM...and understood him....WOW!
We shopped a little more....I went into the Carter's outlet to pick up Ellie a couple more shirts, and when I was checking out, the clerk asked if I wanted to sign up for discounts. While I was doing that, head down, she said, "I need your phone number, area code first, please!" The woman was clear as a bell!!! Mind you, none of these voices sounded "natural"...but WHO CARED? I could UNDERSTAND THEM!!!!!!!
I decided to call Time and Temperature a few times to see what I could pick up. I had to listen to the recording several times, but eventually I was able to understand every word. I tried it at home with the regular phone and the BlackBerry and actually heard better with the BlackBerry (which really surprised me). I then thought I'd practice by calling the home phone and talking to the kids but Claire wanted to be the first, and I couldn't understand her little Minnie Mouse voice at all...plus, she was saying silly things like "rah" and "boo" (hubby was translating). I decided I'd wait a bit and come back to that later :) I closed my eyes and made the kids all talk to me, and I was able to understand the three older ones fairly well...not the two little ones, though. 'Tis wonderful!!
I'll elaborate a little more over the next few days, but wanted to get this update "out there"...I have had so many encouraging e-mails today and everyone wanted to know how it went, so I'm sharing. I'm not sure it could have gone any better...it has totally blown my mind!!!
The video is a scream, but I cannot for the life of me, under any circumstances, get it to download to my computer in normal video format. The software that came with my brother's camera insists that if we're gonna have video, it's going to be a music video. Bah. I will find SOME WAY to do it in the next few days...I'm determined...so stay tuned :)
THANK YOU for all your prayers...I am convinced that they have made all the difference. God is so incredibly good...Dr, Haynes and Susan are the very best...and Advanced Bionics has given me my hearing back...they totally rock! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's time!

...well, it will be in just a few hours :). I need to be in the bed as I type this, but it's been a BUSY day! I forgot all about Rachel having a little play thing at school tomorrow, so I asked if I could come for a rehearsal today, and that got me up and moving this morning. The play itself will only last about ten minutes, and she only says three words in the whole thing, but she wanted me to see her, and the rehearsal counted, in her book :).
Ellie's birthday was today, and we had a birthday party tonight at McDonald's (birthday girl's choice, not mine!). The kids all went home with my MIL after dinner, as they don't want to get up at FIVE. FIFTEEN. AM (I know some of you do this every day, but it's NOT my cup of tea, so be nice to me, OK?) and MIL is taking the little ones to school and letting the big ones hang with her tomorrow. We came home and I sat in on the CI Chat, answered some e-mails, worked on the video camera, and checked out Ellie's birthday pictures (on the family blog and in the Picasa web albums!)...I'm only just now finishing up!
Hubby and I are going to Vanderbilt for the activation and then celebrating with shopping and lunch (of course, the shopping part is my idea of celebrating, not necessarily his). Since my mom couldn't be there, I wanted it as low-key as possible, so it will just be the two of us. I intend to video it though...and will share with the whole world if I can figure out how to do it!
I'm excited, but nervous, too. I expect to hear something, but I know that the days and weeks that follow will be stressful and noisy and confusing....and, having done it once, I dread doing it again...but the results will be worth it!!
Ethan is being activated today too...go visit and check on the little man!!
I'm headed to bed...if I fall asleep this minute I'll get five hours of sleep (yeah right). Keep me in your prayers....and I'll update as soon as I have something to share!
Love y'all..... :)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I'm getting excited!!!!

Vanderbilt called yesterday to confirm my appointment...Yay! :) I've been told that the only holdup might be if my processor doesn't arrive in time...I think my audie had it ordered but it seems that she didn't have it in hand yet. Advanced Bionics is pretty good about getting things places very quickly if need be so I'm not going to worry too much about that...I think it'll happen :).
I'm excited....but this is so different from the first time around.
I've been lucky that I've never had to be totally without hearing. The first time around, I still had some hearing left in my "good" ear...not much, but enough to get by. The first CI felt more like a gamble than anything...would it work? You have to remember that I had NO hearing in that ear for 30+ years...then had a horrible vibrotactile response during my testing...so I honestly didn't know whether I'd even GET hearing. That was all I hoped for...that I'd get SOMETHING.
Something, I got...but it wasn't at all what I expected. When Susan hooked me up to her computer and started playing the beeps, I didn't hear anything. I looked over at her, and saw the look of expectancy on her face, and thought..."oh no...I'm supposed to be hearing something...what's wrong?" She turned it up a bit, and then I felt it. It felt a bit like a pounding migraine headache without the headache...it had the same "whomp, whomp, whomp" sensation. As she went louder, the pounding sensation intensified. I told her, "I wouldn't say I'm hearing anything, exactly....but I'm feeling something." She smiled and said something to the effect that that was good, that was something.
She turned it on a few seconds later, and everyone hesitantly started talking. I had no perception of SOUND...it wasn't like anything I'd ever HEARD before...it felt like a jackhammer was going off in my head. But the jackhammering coincided with people talking...so my brain was sorting out, at least, that there was information coming in.
When we left there we stopped for lunch at Don Pablo's. Honestly? I wanted to just lay my head down on the table and take a nap...the pounding was so intense and I felt totally discombobulated. It's a really loud restaurant, anyway...concrete floors and brick walls and metal ceilings...it was waaaaay too much. Factor in that I, being the optimist, had allowed Susan to set my sensitivity levels too high...thinking that my brain was so sharp and so fast that surely I'd be a pro at this hearing business straightaway...also, I didn't realize at the time how incredibly stressful the sound would be, and didn't think that the vibrations would bother me as much as they did. Boy, was I wrong...at the end of the first several days I felt like a guitar string stretched too tight...prepared to snap at any moment.
My first experience with actual hearing came quickly...that afternoon. We came in from Don Pablo's, and I announced that I was taking a NAP. I was experiencing severe sensory overload and needed a break. There was a metal coathanger on my bed, and I picked it up and tossed it to the foot of the bed...where it collided with a package of light bulbs, and there was a distinctive "tink". Well, I grabbed that coathanger and nearly beat those lightbulbs senseless listening to that sound...it was the first sound that I can actually remember "hearing", as opposed to just feeling it in my head. Over the next few days and months, my brain slowly went from interpreting every sound as a jarring sensation to allowing me to perceive sounds as actual sounds, although they still, for the most part, sounded nothing like I remembered them. I tried wearing my hearing aid with the CI, but that didn't usually work....they didn't play well together...the sounds were too different and the information that I was getting from them together just didn't mix well. I had more headaches and more stress that first few months!
A year later, I have no hearing in my "good" ear anymore. I am completely, at this point, dependent on Thing 1 for ALL my sound. A year later, I can say that I've surpassed my own expectations with my first CI...they were honestly very, very low. Music doesn't yet sound like I remember it, and there are still some sounds I can't pick up well, and I can't understand voices without looking at the lips that go with them, usually (Occasionally a few words will break through, and it's always a big deal..."I heard that!! Wow!"). But I have many, many friends that say that it took them months, years even, for sound to sound familiar and comprehension to come easily...and I realize that I'm doing great for someone who had NO hearing at all in my implanted ear...it's just short of miraculous.
With Thing 2, my expectations are different...because this time I expect SOMETHING. The first time around I just HOPED that something would happen...but didn't DARE to EXPECT it. This time, I can breathe much more easily about that...Thing 2 lives in an ear that had hearing as recently as March, and has never shown any kind of vibrotactile response. I expect hearing this time around :). After that, my expectations are still low.
Everyone's experiences are different: some people are able to call their family members on the phone a couple of days later, and some can't hear helicopters when they're right over their heads (she can hear them now!!!!!). Depends on the brain, how long the ear's been without sounds, and several other factors. I would love to think that my brain will zap right through and I'll have superhero hearing in days, but the reality is that there's just no way of knowing. However, I've MISSED my right ear...and I'm ready to get it back...no matter what it sounds like. It'll get better over time...that's pretty much a given...and now that I've learned that hard lesson with my first ear, I'm ready to get started on the second!
Oh, and how do I feel? I feel pretty good. I did some housework today and had to stop a few times and rest when the vertigo got out of hand, but overall, it wasn't bad. My incision is practically healed. I have decided that my surgeon must have used something different to stitch with this time around...the first time around they popped out through the skin and itched and drove me crazy....this time they've come through hardly at all...I keep waiting for them to do that and cause trouble, but they haven't. It looks great. So it's ONWARD TO TUESDAY!!
For those of you that weren't here for the first go-round, and need a crash course on what in the world we're doing, check out this link...it's long, too, though, so I practically guarantee that if you read it, too, this will be the longest blog visit you've made today ;).
Headed to bed...that's what I get when I sleep in too late on Saturdays...I stay up too late on Saturday nights and can't wake up for church on Sunday mornings! Oy!
Love y'all...... :)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I LOOOOOOOOOOVE..........

...my audiologist!
I e-mailed her yesterday and asked if there was any way we could move my activation date (scheduled for Dec. 12th) up a bit. I told her that I would understand if it just wasn't possible...sometimes her schedule's just really locked up. I have just not had much luck in the hearing department lately, what with Thing 1 and Thing 2 constantly duking it out...and Dec. 12th seemed like a VERY long wait. Doctors across the country have different schedules that they use for activations...most like to wait 2-3 weeks. However, and I think this was due more to scheduling conflicts than anything, my wait was supposed to be nearly five and a half weeks. I mean, I'd take it if that's all they had....no problem....but it never hurts to ask if they can move it up, right?
Susan e-mailed me a little while ago and asked if I could come in on TUESDAY!!! As in, FIVE DAYS FROM NOW, Tuesday!!! I couldn't get in for a post-op checkup with Dr. Haynes until Dec. 6th, so I was halfway afraid that he'd want to see me first, but he gave his blessing for the turn-on (so I love him too!). So right now I am in shock...over the moon...thrilled to death!!!
My parents are leaving for Nicaragua in the morning and won't be back until Wednesday night, so we are recording all of it...if I can figure out how to do the YouTube thing I'll share some of it :)
Today I feel very nearly normal...which, to me, is incredible, since the first time around I felt crummy for weeks. I get tired if I overdo it, and still have a little vertigo (which manifests itself mainly by allowing me to crash into door frames a lot). The incision site barely hurts anymore...in fact, I can lay on it (carefully) for a few minutes here and there, although if I fall asleep on it it's REALLY sore when I wake up. I generally don't think about the incision very much anymore...it's just not a big deal. A TOTAL difference between this time and last time, when the incision made me nearly crazy!
I didn't go to the funeral yesterday, though...hubby had to be there at 10:30, and it was an hour away. I knew that if I went I'd be on the go from 8 AM until bedtime, since we had church last night...and I didn't think I'd last that long. Hubby reassured me that it was fine for me to stay home...but I felt bad about it :( I did pick up Rachel at school yesterday (as long as I don't have to move my head, or I move it SLOWLY, I do OK driving, it seems) and go to church last night (aside from crashing into a door frame in the bathroom, I did great). Tonight we're going to a Bible study at my Mom's. This weekend we don't have a lot of plans...I think at some point we'll go conquer the grocery list....Turkeypalooza is next week, and I have some cooking to do (all the family has kindly given me light kitchen duty this year, though!!)
I assume you all know what I'll be thankful for this year?
Love y'all!! :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A few items of interest:

This just in from HLAA:
"The Hearing Loss Association of America has been invited to participate in a forum with manufacturers and broadcasters of televisions to discuss issues facing us all in the transition to digital from analog television. In order to best prepare for this opportunity we are asking for your feedback on your experiences and preferences with regards to captioning and digital television. Please complete the survey no later than Friday November 16, 2007 by 12 noon. If you have any additional questions please contact Christopher T. Sutton via email at csutton@hearingloss.org Thank you for taking time to respond to this survey!"
The survey can be accessed at
http://www.zoomerang.com/survey.zgi?p=WEB2275NZQNDGZ

I know there are about to be some TV/captioning changes, but don't know much about them. If you take the survey, it will offer you the option to share your e-mail address and get information as to what changes will be taking place. Check it out! :)

Next up: the HLAA convention! I went this summer to the one in OKC and had a GREAT time (read about it in the June archives and look at the pictures in the Picasa web albums!) The 2008 convention will be in Reno/Tahoe, NV, June 12-15. The reason I'm posting about it NOW is that early bird registration is only available through Dec. 31st...it's a chance to save some money if you decide soon that you want to go :) Registration information is here.
I have hotel information...but since it was on the website, and is now off again, I'm going to wait a bit before I post it. I do know for a fact that we'll be staying at the Grand Sierra Resort...and the prices I've heard so far are very reasonable, especially if you share a room (you'll have to go LOOK at these rooms...they're AWESOME!!)
There are conventions for the deaf/HOH all over the place, I'm sure...and I wish I had the time and money to go to ALL of them. The one I went to in OKC changed my life...honestly. If you've never considered going, think about it. If you're considering a CI, all the manufacturers will be there, and you'll have a chance to meet with some of their representatives, see the CIs for yourself, and ask questions...an awesome opportunity! :)

Several of y'all showed up at the HLAA CI Chat last night....hooray! (link in the sidebar!) I was late getting there because I stopped by the Advanced Bionics Harmony Upgrade Chat first. It is the second Monday of every month (I think, hmmm) at 8 PM CST, and it lasts for an hour, or until the discussion stops, whichever comes first :). If you have an AB implant or are interested in getting one, watch the notices over at hearingjourney.com for information! :) I love CI chats...they are a great opportunity to meet other CI users...ask questions...get and share support! I have met some great friends in those chat rooms...come visit sometime! :)

OK...back to your regularly scheduled posting (below)....

Getting back in the swing of things again...

Well, hubby went back to work yesterday morning, so I'm once again in charge (more or less) of the house again. Yesterday was an easy first day back...the kids were out of school due to Veteran's Day and so we just lounged. This morning I actually had to GET UP...oy...thankfully, I didn't have much trouble. I tried to set the alarm last week a couple of times for different things but last week the alarms had no effect on my foggy brain...I simply never woke up. I'm not sure if it was the residual drugs or the vertigo or what...but the alarms had no effect. So this morning, knowing that I had to wake up to get the kids up, I did what any thinking person would do....set Katie's alarm. I told her that if I woke up in time I'd come shut hers off and she could get a little more sleep...but that I needed her to be my backup. I don't know if the alarm would have worked....I woke up on my own about fifteen minutes before it was supposed to go off, and just went ahead and got up...so we'll need to try it again in the morning. I love my alarm clock...I have a Big Ben Moonbeam Clock. I have the yellow, because I got mine at Cracker Barrel a couple of years ago, and that was the only color they had, but when it dies (or I kill it) I'm getting the periwinkle one...I have been wanting it ever since LL Bean started selling them! It doesn't wake me up from naps...we get too much sunshine in our bedroom and it's not bright enough...but it does the job well in the mornings. For naps, I just set the alarm on my BlackBerry and set it to "stun" (vibrate) and then put it in a pocket or something. It works great for me! :)
ANYHOW...yesterday I eased back into "normal" life by turning the oven on and heating up something. My friend Jeanette brought dinner and I actually heated it up and sat at the table to eat it (granted, we ate off Styrofoam, but progress is progress...right?) I have been SO blessed this past week to have friends and family taking care of our family's food needs! So much, in fact, that Ellie came into the bedroom yesterday and asked, "Who's bringing dinner tonight?" Sounds like she's given up on me cooking, doesn't it? Tonight I think I'll take my domestic goddess-ness one step further...my mom sent us home with a spiral sliced ham the other night, and it will require both heating up AND slicing....Martha Stewart, watch out!
The goodness of my friends, coupled with a week's worth of total inactivity, is fattening me up. I have done pretty well resisting most of the desserts that have come our way, but there's one pan of chocolate chunk brownies and a pumpkin pie that Mrs. Mary sent home with me after the HLAA meeting that I can't seem to stay out of. Perhaps I should just make it my mission to plow through them today and finish them off?
I'm feeling better...I have a mild earache, and still have the tinnitus and vertigo, but they're both somewhat better. My doc uses dissolving stitches, which are starting to pop out, and I'm having to use restraint to not mess with 'em...they make me absolutely nuts!
Today, there's nothing big on the agenda...overseeing schoolwork and dinner...tonight is House night :). Tomorrow we have a funeral....one of hubby's uncles :(. I'm dreading it big-time...going and sitting for several hours with people I don't know well...with Thing 1 and Thing 2 doing battle...*sigh*. The visitation starts several hours before...so we'll be there a while. I wish I had the option of driving up just before the actual funeral...but that would require driving skills that I don't possess at the moment (and it's a currrrrrvy road to get there...I sure hope my vertigo doesn't get the better of me...oy!). I just hate not to go. Hubby's dad was one of eight children (if I'm correct)...I think all of the 4 sisters are still alive, and only one brother is left now. Hubby's mom was one of 13 children...so he has relatives coming out of his ears!
Gonna get off here for now...hope everyone's having a great week! :) Much love...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Day 7: Getting there!

Today's been a better day...HOORAY! I stayed in from church this morning because my stomach was still giving me fits, and it was a good thing I did, too, because I was in and out of the bathroom all morning *sigh*. I stopped taking the Lortab cold turkey yesterday morning and I think that my body's just reacting to coming off of it. I took some prescription-strength Naproxen yesterday and that seemed to be enough to kill the earache. I took one before bed last night and haven't yet taken one today. My ear was really sore when I woke up this morning because I actually managed to roll over and sleep on the thing in the night...oy...but it has settled down and doesn't hurt much at all today...yaaay! Now, I just need to shake this nagging tiredness and the vertigo and I'll be good to go. I expect the tinnitus to hang around for a while...I'm hoping that at activation when I get my processor the sounds coming in will blow that tinnitus out of the water, but I expect that I'm stuck with it for now. It's constant...24/7...but thankfully it's not as loud as it was when I first had my surgery...the first few nights it would actually wake me up! I expected at first that it would just be a minor nuisance but didn't realize that it was louder than what comes in with my CI processor....I found that out yesterday. I will probably not wear my first CI much for the next few weeks...the "Dueling Ears", along with the vertigo, makes me tired!
I have decided that I'm going to have to name my ears. Since I now have two CIs, when I refer to them I'm going to have to be a little more specific...instead of saying "My CI" I'll have to let you know which one I'm talking about. I'm considering stealing friend Nancye's "Thing 1" and "Thing 2" for mine...short and to the point, and fun for this Dr. Suess lover...whatcha think?
Gonna get off here and get ready for church. This will be my first BIG event. I'm not expecting to get much out of church...the tinnitus will drown out any sound that might otherwise come in, and the vertigo will more than likely make lipreading difficult...but it's a start. I expect that in a few days the vertigo will go away (it's already so much better than it was the first time around!) and that will help immensely in communicating! I'm looking forward to seeing all my church friends again, though...and sharing the experience with them. They have been as supportive as they know how, considering how little most of them understand about CIs :)...I'm so grateful for them! :)
Later....love y'all.... :)

One week out: (click to bigify any of these)

Just before the surgery: hatted up and ready to go! This picture was taken about three minutes before the anesthesiologist got ahold of me ;)!

With Shari just before I got in the car. I was seriously doped up here, but I felt terrific...no pain at all, and only moderate wooziness :)

The confident smile of someone who is loaded with drugs and is not thinking about what's about to hit 'em when they get home!

I expect bravery points for this picture. I don't think everyone would share such scariness with the world! This was moments after I took the turban off and just before the face started swelling. Everything looks fairly normal here except for the hair (and the face needs makeup!)...you can just see a tiny bit of bruising on the one cheek.

The incision at 24 hours post-surgery


48 hours post-surgery: the side of my face has started to swell big-time, and it has a definite greenish tint. I also have a nasty bruise above my lip from the chest tube the anesthesiologist used during surgery. This was taken just before I washed that nasty hair!

Day Four: sitting in the bed, drinking coffee. Laurie and I have matching coffee mugs: she gave this one to me while I was in Oklahoma City, and I have had my coffee from this mug almost every morning this week :)

The incision on Day 6 (Saturday). It has healed very nicely, no ickiness or anything (I'm sure that it helps that I have kept it covered with Neosporin and kept my fingers off of it!!)

With Shari at the HLAA meeting in Nashville yesterday. It was my first day to get out...it was a little harder than I thought it would be, but I'm glad I went :)

Some of the Nashville HLAA group after our Thanksgiving feast! :)

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Day 6: Getting Out

Well, I really, really, really, REALLY wanted to go to my HLAA meeting today, so all week long I have been shooting for being better by today so I could test things out. When I woke up this morning, my first thought was that there was no way I was going to get to go...I felt miserable. I have had a lot of stomach trouble because of the pain medications I was on (they should be taken with a full glass of water and not on an empty stomach, and especially when you're taking them two at a time, but I didn't know all that) and felt sick this morning. After waffling back and forth for a while I decided that I'd take a shot at the meeting, so I got dressed and off we went. I knew as soon as we hit the road that I might have made a mistake: the little bit of vertigo that I have (and it hasn't been much, honestly) was aggravated on the curvy country roads we were driving on to get to Nashville. It was also the first time that I had attempted to wear the CI on my other ear all week (I've been sleeping most of the week, and didn't feel like bothering with it) and was overwhelmed by the battle between the CI and the tinnitus in my newly implanted ear. I honestly couldn't very much at all...what sound I got from the CI was drowned out by the tinnitus. And lipreading was a huge struggle with the vertigo...so conversational skills were kinda kaput today. I did get a good bit from the meeting, though, once I actually got there...the entire meeting is captioned, and I was able to sit quietly and read it all...and it was SO terrific to see everyone and share the experience with them (the Nashville HLAA group have been some of my strongest supporters!) Today was our "Thanksgiving" meeting, and we have some excellent cooks that put together a great spread...lots of yummy food! To top it off, the speaker today was one of Dr. Haynes' fellows at Vanderbilt, and he was present at my surgery (he took credit for sterilizing my hair so that they wouldn't have to shave it, and of course, I expressed undying gratitude for that). Hubby asked him if there was a good reason why I might be hurting more this time than I was with my previous surgery, and he suggested that perhaps it was because they are making the incision so small now (which I appreciate) that they are having to stretch and pull even more so than before to get things where they oughtta be...that makes sense! I was genuinely curious...with my first CI, I didn't even have to take the pain pills past the first day...this has definitely been different!
He talked about Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSHL), which is what I was diagnosed with at age 4, and have had to deal with again over the past year. It was an interesting discussion....much is still unknown about what causes SSHL (there are several different probable causes, and in some cases there is NO known cause) or how to treat it. The current standard treatment is steroid shots behind the eardrum (ow!) but the success rate isn't high enough to call it highly successful...it only works a smallish percentage of the time, and it hardly ever restores hearing to what it was before the loss. I knew most of what he was talking about, since I have done a lot of research on it over the last year or so, but it was really interesting hearing him talk about it, as I've hardly ever heard a doctor really share his thoughts on it before :). My surgeon, Dr. Haynes, was supposed to be today's speaker, and I was a little disappointed that he couldn't make it (although he told us on Monday that he wouldn't be there, as he had a scheduling conflict) but the fella he sent as a replacement didn't disappoint :)
We left as soon as the meeting was over and I came back and hit the bed again. My stomach kicked in as soon as I got home...I'm just glad it behaved itself while I was out at the meeting! Ellie came home from her Granny's with a stomach thing, so I'm actually halfway wondering if we have some sort of stomach bug on top of everything else...I suppose I'll find out tomorrow! :)
Think if I'd used a little more common sense it might have been better to stay in another day or so...but I enjoyed my meeting, and I'm glad I went :) I'm getting better...a little at a time :)!
Off to bed...going to rest! Love y'all...

Friday, November 9, 2007

Day 5:

...Yeah, I took a break from blogging in there. The past 48 hours have been rather....blah. I have just felt rather icky and not so much like being sociable. I have been taking pain relievers every four hours around the clock, and they've managed the pain fairly well, but have gummed up my entire digestive tract, leaving me with a nasty stomachache. At this moment the idea of food just about makes me sick. My ear, however, seems to be healing up very nicely...the incision looks nice and clean, there is very little bruising, and the swelling is nearly all gone. I still have the earache to contend with, so I still have to take some sort of pain relievers, but hopefully I won't have to take those too much longer. My recovery seems a bit slow, but I knew that was a possibility, so I'm just taking it as it comes and trying to keep a good attitude about it!
My mom and my sister-in-law sent books yesterday (Mom sent Home to Holly Springs and Kim sent The Kid Who Climbed Everest) , plus I was already working through John Grisham's Playing for Pizza) so I have had plenty to read in my down time. Folks from church have been feeding our family, and I'm so grateful...it has been a huge help. And I woke up this morning to a box from Byrd Cookie Co. in Savannah...hubby ordered me some of their famous Benne Wafers and Key Lime Coolers...and got a pleasant surprise mid-afternoon when the florist delivered some flowers from the precious Royer family!! Then, of course, so many of you have left comments and sent e-mails...I am constantly reminded that I am in your thoughts and prayers. I am blessed so much with some of the sweetest family and friends!
I'm going to try to go to the HLAA meeting tomorrow...it all depends on how I feel when I wake up in the morning. I hope that a good night's rest will recharge me a bit so I can enjoy the meeting! :)
Not too much more to post from here on the bed....it hasn't been exactly a thrill a minute...but I am on my way to recovery....next week's posts should be better! Love y'all.... :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Day 3:

I slept a good bit better last night. I did wake up a lot, but managed to go back to sleep relatively quickly every time. I got up for the day at 7 AM and spent some time on the computer and then looked through some magazines. Around 9 I decided it was time for me to wash that rats' nest on top of my head so hubby helped me carefully wash around my ear at the kitchen sink. I felt SO much better after that...put on some clean PJs and crawled back in the bed. My MIL came by yesterday and said that she had thought about buying flowers but had decided instead on a new set of sheets for our bed. Those babies came out of the dryer this morning and went on the bed and I have been enjoying them all day...what an awesome gift!
Around lunchtime a lady from church brought some chili and brownies so we had a really yummy lunch. We have been so blessed this week...the women from church are bringing food all week long. I am VERY grateful for this...if I had to cook this week everyone would be eating cereal!
After lunch I closed my eyes for a little nap and when I opened them Will was standing at the bedroom door bearing flowers. As soon as I saw the arrangement, I knew who they were from...some friends from church, Joe and Joy, work at a local florist shop and sent me some gorgeous flowers with my first surgery. Sure enough, that's who they were from, and they are just gorgeous! While I was oooohing and aaaaahing over that, Will said, "Hang on, I'll be right back" and left. When he came back he was staggering under MORE flowers (and a balloon)! I didn't have a clue this time, so I read the card, and was delighted to find that they were from my beloved Savannah Bloggin' Babes!!! I am so blessed and feel so loved!! THANK YOU, girls!!!
I have had a LOT of pain today. It's been a surprise, as I didn't have much with my first surgery...with that one I was mainly dizzy and a little sore, but I actually only took pain meds the first day or so and then ibuprofen was all that was necessary. This time around, I am hurting...big-time. Knowing that they don't give out medals for stoicism, I have been taking the pills every four hours on the dot, but honestly, they just weren't working. So hubby called the doc this afternoon and he said that I could take TWO pills, instead of just the one, every four hours. So I took two at 3:30 and I think I was asleep within about four minutes. When I woke up I wasn't feeling much of anything (maybe like taking another nap) so I'm happy about that...now I think I'll make it through the next few days! :)
Pictures are in the Picasa Web Albums....I'm just putting all new ones in the "Cochlear Implant" album for the next few days, so you might want to check for updates here and there :)
Enough of a post for tonight...too fuzzy to write much :) Your support and encouragement has been just phenomenal...THANK YOU!!!
Love y'all.....

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Day 2:

Well, I got off to a rough start today. I got off track with the pain meds yesterday...I didn't think to take them at dinnertime, and when I remembered, I wanted to blog and visit the CI Chat so I decided to wait until bedtime. By then it had ALL worn off, plus whatever they gave me in the hospital was also all out of my system...so I was very uncomfortable. I took a pill and tried to go to sleep but tossed and turned something awful. My left ear was also hurting...I'm assuming I was laying on it on the operating table or something...so I couldn't find a good position to sleep in (and I can't sleep sitting up or reclined). 2 AM FINALLY rolled around (can only take the pills every four hours) and I got another pill and decided to just play cards on the laptop until I was sleepy...which was around 4 AM. I have been asleep off and on most of today. The pain is manageable as long as I take my pills. I have always hated taking pain pills but have decided that I am going to take them as long as I need to right now...I haven't been as dizzy this time as I was with the first ear, but it has hurt a good bit more. I seem to be mildly allergic to either the pain meds or the antibiotic...when I take them I start itching within minutes. I am not too worried about it, though...no breathing problems or hives or anything....just itchy...and that's tolerable :).
I got to take my turban off today, and that helped a little...took some of the pressure off. The hair underneath is frightening, though, and I can't wash it until tomorrow....oy! My incision looks great...it's very neat and careful and, true to his word, my surgeon didn't shave ANY of my hair off!! I just love that man! My face started swelling pretty much as soon as I took the bandages off...it looks absolutely gross on the implanted side. I expected it...it happened last time too. I expect that some of it will start turning black and blue tomorrow....lovely! I will be so glad when I can wash my hair again...it won't fix anything but it will make me feel less icky :).
My entire ear is numb, which happened last time, but I don't yet have the funny taste issues that I did last time (everything tasted either salty or metallic). I have some pretty loud tinnitus in my newly implanted ear. I had some before, but this is ridiculous...it actually woke me up several times last night. I had the girls test out the ear today by screaming in it to see if there was any residual hearing left. Surgeons are more and more leaning towards trying to preserve residual hearing, but I honestly had no desire for my surgeon to do that...what little I had wasn't worth preserving in my opinion. The ear flunked the scream test, and also the banging cabinet door test...those were the only sounds I was able to hear before surgery, and they're gone now...it's official: I'm deaf as a post!
My hubby has taken off this entire week to play wait-staff, and I'm grateful...he's an excellent helper. I get up to go to the bathroom and occasionally to refill my water glass, but he has kindly delivered my meals to my bed and taken care of the kids for me...isn't he a good one? It's a great feeling to know that I CAN relax and not have to do anything because it's being taken care of :).
Gonna get off here and answer a few e-mails....then House is coming on in a few!
Love y'all..... :)

Monday, November 5, 2007

I made it! :)

I'm feeling kind of wrung out, but other than that, not just horrible. I am currently under the influence of drugs so I just hope this post is readable...we'll see :)
Yesterday was great....I made soup for lunch and the in-laws came to eat. I made a new soup recipe that was so good...and easy...that I'm adding it to my permanent soup repertoire. It's called Italian Sausage Soup...and the ingredients didn't really sound like they'd add up to much, but I was surprised...so try it :)
Last night we drove to Nashville and went to church there then went to eat with some of my wonderful HLAA buddies. Shari, Kevin, Bob, Beverly, and Janice and her son CJ came to meet us at Joe's Crab Shack and we had a great time!! Hubby was 42 yesterday so we celebrated by singing to him and they bought him out a cheesecake sampler plate (yum!) After we left there we went back to Shari and Kevin's house and sat up and talked for a while. The menfolks went on to bed a little earlier and Shari and I stayed up and talked til around midnight. I didn't go straight to sleep though...a little wound up...I think I eventually fell asleep around 1:30 AM. I woke up every half hour or so and finally got up for good around 5 AM. We got up and got dressed and found the surgery center with no problems. Once we got there they were very efficient and started up on the paperwork right away...then I changed and got into the bed. The nurses gave me some Zantac and Reglan, I think they said it was, because I was so sick last time, and they also stuck a little patch about the size of a dime behind my left ear to help control nausea. I got to meet the anesthesiologist and a whole slew of medical personnel. My parents and buddy Suriel came in around 7:20, and pretty much right on the nose at 7:30 the nurses asked everyone to leave and they started shooting up the Fentanyl and Stadol. They wheeled me just around the corner to the OR and asked me to switch beds. I told them we needed to hurry and do it because I was starting to fade fast. I remember making the switch and then the mask went on my face, and that was it :)
I woke up a bit later and the nurse told me that it was 10:30 (hubby said that the surgeon came out at 9:45 and said that it was over). The nurse gave me a Pepsi and then started talking pain relief...I had a horrible earache. They gave me two doses of morphine and then some Percocet and it got much better. After about half an hour or so they said that I could get dressed and go home, so hubby came in and helped me get dressed. I was afraid to get up and start walking for fear I'd start throwing up (that's what happened last time) but surprisingly, the vertigo wasn't just horrible (I do have quite a bit, but nothing like last time) and haven't been sick even one time (that anti-nausea patch is wonderful, and they said I could keep it on for three days....yay!).
After I got the clothes on they said I could go...and hubby had the car parked just outside the door...I was allowed to walk. My family and my friends Shari and Gwen were there waiting for a big send-off....love 'em! I think everyone was surprised that I was walking and not getting sick everywhere, ha :) Hubby and I drove around and grabbed lunch and a Cherry Limeade before heading home. We also ran into Walgreens and picked up some Raspberry M&Ms....Shari told us about them last night, and hubby wanted to see if he could find them. They're limited edition, and they were on the CLEARANCE TABLE for $1.25 a bag (the big bags....75% off!) So here I sit....water and painkillers on one side of the bed, laptop in lap, and M&Ms beside me.
The pain relievers they gave me at the hospital are wearing off and I'm starting to feel like I have that hole in the head...I can feel the incision now and the earache's bad. My other ear hurts pretty bad, too...since I was laying on it, I suspect. I have bruises on my face (one lovely one over my lip for some reason) and my shoulder, but haven't seen the face or the ear under the tuban yet (it stays on until tomorrow)....and my hair...oy! The turban is wrapped around and around, with a hole in the top and my hair sticking out...I remind myself of a sprouty head of garlic :) My surgeon told hubby that he didn't shave ANY hair at all...I can't wait to see that!
Pictures are up at the Picasa Web Albums....I'll probably try to put a few of them on here later, but uploading them to Picasa was enough work for one day :)
THANK YOU for your prayers...they meant SO much!! I have the best friends in the world :)
Love you all..... :)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Less than 36 hours to go...

...and I'm pretty much ready. I finally got in the bed about an hour ago...my bottom hasn't touched a chair for more than a few minutes here and there all day today (except for dinner, which my mom cooked in honor of hubby's birthday today (Sunday)...so I am worn completely out. However, the good news is that I'm pretty much finished working...I have a little more laundry to do, and have to feed the family lunch, but it's mostly cooked, so tomorrow morning hopefully won't be too hectic.
After lunch we'll send the kids home with the in-laws and hubby and I are headed to Nashville. We'll go to church there and then we're meeting Shari and Kevin and perhaps a few others from Nashville for dinner at Joe's Crab Shack downtown. I am SO looking forward to that...just sitting and relaxing and allowing myself to get excited about it...I've been so busy and so tired that that hasn't been easy to do! I am seriously behind on my sleep but that will all change come Monday morning at around 7:30....once they strap on that mask it's off to dreamland for me, and I plan to take advantage of whatever pills they send me home with and sleep for a few days! I'll be updating here and there...hopefully. Don't panic if I get behind...I'll just be sleeping, I'm sure :)
Unless I have time to get in another post sometime tomorrow night, this is it! PRAY PRAY PRAY for me, please!! I had some panic yesterday (and a bit today) when my allergies flared up...I keep thinking I'm coming down with a cold or something, so have been arming myself to the teeth with Vitamin C and zinc and Airborne (I nearly gagged on that stuff) and water (I'm saving the cod-liver oil for the very last resort)...if there are any cold bugs in there, they'll have to work pretty hard to take hold! But I DO NOT want to be sick Monday...oy, if they cancel it now, you know it won't be pretty!
I'll catch y'all on the other side! :)
Love you all!! ((((HUGS))))