Thursday, February 21, 2008

Long time no post, eh?

...I know, I know...I'm a slacker, aren't I? If it makes you feel any better, I've neglected my family blog just as much, and I have a lot more readers on that one...think they're all about to give up on me! It's just a combination of being tired (worked 40 hours both last week and the week before...I know that some of you do that every week, but you gotta remember that this is still kinda new to me!), being short on time, and being uninspired to write anything.
This week has been a nice one work-wise...I worked Monday and Tuesday, and I'm off until Saturday. I was scheduled to work today (Thursday) but my dear friend Gwen Pace died last Wednesday and her memorial service is this afternoon in Nashville, so I'm going to that. Gwen was one of the founding members of the Nashville HLAA chapter and she was a very dedicated worker and encourager. The first time I ever met anyone with a CI was in Nashville at a CI Club meeting, and Gwen was one of the first people I met that day. She had a Med-El implant that she proudly took off to show me and was very encouraging in my desire to learn more about getting a CI of my own. She was so excited about any and all progress that I made with my first CI, and she showed up for my surgery when I had my second CI done and sat with my family in the waiting room. I talked to her just after I was activated and told her that I was hearing EVERYTHING...even talking on the phone...and she was so excited for me, you'd think that it was her own personal success. I'm going miss that sweet lady!!
I spent today listening to music on YouTube and working on captioning another video (a pain in the heinie, that). I am frustrated with my activation videos...I can understand my audie pretty well, but I CANNOT UNDERSTAND MYSELF! Pretty awful when you can't understand what you're saying, is it? I'm going to keep at them, though, and I think eventually I'll be able to figure most of it out...but it's definitely taking longer than I thought it would. I've been going through my YouTube playlist listening to some old (and new) favorites, trying to see what everything sounds like so I can talk to Susan next week about what I need to change. Before the electrode issues at the end of the year, I was able to hear Sarah Brightman hitting the high notes, and I can't now, so I definitely need to up my high frequencies a bit...other than that, everything sounds awesome! Anyone have any recommendations on anything I should be trying out?
I'm also a huge American Idol fan this season...my favorite so far is David Cook (cutie pie punk rocker who happens to be a great singer with awesome stage presence!) although Michael Johns is a close second. I love that I can hear the music well enough to enjoy this show...three months ago yesterday, on activation day, I had no idea that it would be this awesome.
My speech comprehension seems to be picking up big-time the past few days. I think that several weeks of working in noisy situations has helped my brain to sort out voices from background noise fairly well. I definitely still have to read lips more in noise, but in quiet, comprehension is near 100%...consistently...as long as I am listening to a fairly good speaker (once again, my struggles with my activation video makes me wonder if I don't need to take speech classes or something...ugh!). I was at Sonic Monday and heard a siren and looked for it...and it was way, way down the road, coming my way. Before this surgery, I couldn't hear sirens at all. I hear the dogs barking outside and my kids talking to me in the car (in the DARK!!). I'm amazed and amused every single time I listen to someone talk without lipreading and get everything they say...the wonder of it all is still just overwhelming.
The comprehension part still throws me for a loop because I never, ever had that. I did talk on the phone a little bit before, but only with family members, and even then I still probably only got about half of what they were saying (if they weren't family, it was disaster, pure and simple). In April of 2006, before I ever got my first CI, I went for an audiogram to see if I should even bother with the CI candidacy, and I scored a whopping 8% in comprehension (that audiogram here). The words were spoken at the 105 decibel level...and no lipreading was allowed...and I got 8%. Pitiful, eh? I scored higher at the actual CI evaluations...49%...because the lipreading portion of the testing really boosted that score (I scored 100% on lipreading sentences)....but as far as the actual hearing went...I didn't comprehend much.
Now...I think I'll score close to 100% on those sentences next week, seriously...and my phone comprehension is, seriously, close to 90%, I guess. My hubby called tonight while we were in the Mexican restaurant, and I panicked. I had told him before NOT TO CALL ME THERE because it's just LOUD in there, and the T-coil doesn't work with the BlackBerry, but he was calling, so I thought I'd take a shot at answering. And amazingly, I heard every word (admittedly, I kept the conversation brief, but still....). I can hear my kids talk in the car, in the dark, as I said before, and can just sit and LISTEN at church...and not have to strain to read lips. It hasn't grown old yet...I'm still so in awe that I can do this...because it's all so new and amazing. If I never hear well with both ears together, I am amazed at what the second one has done for me. It's a blessing from God and a marvel of technology from Advanced Bionics!
Keep these folks in your thoughts...my friend Sheila, who had CI surgery on Tuesday (she's now bilateral...GO Sheila!) and an online buddy Zubair, who had his CI surgery on Feb. 11th. I'm excited for them both...and can't wait for them to get healed up and hearing!!!! (Ronald...you out there? What's up with you?)
OK...off to bed...long weekend ahead, and I have totally rambled long enough to make up for any lack of posting in the past few days ;)! Have an awesome weekend, everyone.... (((hugs)))

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