Monday, January 14, 2008

Interesting...

Y'all know I've been struggling with this map quite a bit...and it's been really frustrating. Well, to make a long story very short, it turns out that when I went to Vanderbilt on Dec. 31st I was mapped with a faulty T-Mic. I don't think that has much to do with the electrodes shorting out...but I think it has a LOT to do with the sound quality over the past couple of weeks. The T-Mic that was on the CI was making a icky popping noise before I ever went in for a map but I didn't think much of it, honestly. When I came home from that particular disappointing mapping session I talked to my buddy Wayne who asked if I had considered trying a different T-Mic...so I gave it a shot. I had NO crackling or popping for the next few days, although the sound quality wasn't just terrific. Well, I took the T-Mic off the CI the other day to use the Direct Connect (to watch a movie, which shall remain nameless so as to avoid being repetitive, on the laptop) and when I put the T-Mic back on, it fell off and I couldn't find it right away, so I put the old one back on. It started crackling and popping almost immediately...and then suddenly I couldn't hear the first program at all anymore. Program 2 worked OK, but the sound was harsh and uncomfortable...I could feel the sounds, almost like with Thing 1. I promptly took it back off and put on the new T-Mic again (hubby managed to find it for me) and all the programs worked fine. So my last mapping was done with a T-Mic that was going out...that HAS to be part of the reason my sound quality has been so rough! I can hardly wait to go back to Vanderbilt on Tuesday (the 22nd) for the next map. I am taking the new mic with me and we'll give the whole thing another shot.
I talked to Katie on the phone tonight while I was at work...and did much better understanding her...and that always makes me feel great. Talking on the phone in a noisy environment is still not something I want to do...I think it's as much psychological as physical. I do intend to practice to see if I can get better at it but I wanted the T-coil to cut out the background noise and I don't have that. Plan to remedy that at the next map and then I'll try it again. I hate asking other people to get the phone for me...I always have. It's particularly annoying at work when the phone rings...I might be standing RIGHT THERE, but have to let my co-workers get it because of my fear of not being able to hear and really messing it up. I really get annoyed with myself when they're busy helping someone else and they have to stop what they're doing to come get the phone. I haven't ever been made to feel bad about it...they have all been just awesome, but I hate it. I need to cut myself a bit more slack...nobody can do everything, and this is just one of the things that I'm not ready for yet. It'll happen :).
I haven't had any profound CI moments the past few days...but today I woke up and all the kids were gone so I didn't put the Things on right away. I went about my normal routine in the perfect quiet. Occasionally I'll still feel mildly surprised when I slam a cabinet door and hear absolutely nothing...it's still hard to believe sometimes that I'm finally completely, totally deaf without my CI...quite an adjustment to make after 35 years of being able to hear at least some sounds. And yet, when that magnet touches my head, sounds roar to life...the sound of the heater, the TV, water running, the ticking of my Moonbeam clock, the clacking of the keyboard. I can hear it all...and it still amazes me that I can.
Thanks to Carrie for informing me that butterflies are deaf. I had never heard that before, and checked it out. And it's true...nearly all species of butterflies are deaf. That little bit of news really brightened my day. I have always loved butterflies but more so in the past few years than ever before. I identify with their metamorphosis from something plain and quiet into another entirely different creature: one with wings, with flight and freedom. Becoming completely deaf at last was the beginning of a journey that I never imagined taking...I had no idea at the time that I would end up an entirely different person at the end of it all. At the time it hurt so much that more than anything, I just wanted to shut myself away from the world and hide. This technological marvel...the tiny computer inside my head...changed all that. It gave me back independence, confidence, and joy...and, amazingly, it gave me something I'd never felt before...a sense of pride in being deaf. I have an intriguing story to tell and and have been able to share it...and even helped others make life-changing decisions for themselves. This butterfly has her wings and is flying, finally...and loving it :)
I've GOT to get to bed (stayed up too late last night working on my computer....oy) but wanted to really quickly send you over to my buddy Sam's blog again. Sam's getting his second implant done around noon tomorrow and will then be a bona fide member of the bilateral bionic club. It's still a fairly exclusive club...when Dr. Haynes spoke to our HLAA group in December, he said that worldwide, there are only about 3200 bilateral CI users...and less than 1300 of those are in the United States...with children outnumbering the adults 2 to 1 (that wasn't a surprise!). That number's going up quickly as insurance companies are FINALLY offering coverage. Sam was one of my biggest supporters when I decided I wanted a second implant...and I'm excited to see how he does with his...check it out! :)
Night, y'all...

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