Saturday, March 1, 2008

Mapping, Testing, and Movies

I went for my 3 month CI mapping and testing yesterday. I hadn't had a new map since the end of January sometime and could really tell that I needed one...things sounded terrible. Most sounds were muffled and hard to make out and my comprehension was starting to really suffer as a result. When I got to the office, Susan took me straight into the sound room. I protested and told her that I didn't want her to test me yet...because everything sounded so awful...but she said, "Well, we'll do the audiogram and then we'll see how that goes." Well...the audiogram was awful...I don't know if any of my frequencies were above 40 dB, and the little dots on the paper were in a nasty zigzag pattern instead of a nice straight line. So she agreed to take me back to the programming room and we worked on programming for a bit. I had brought the laptop with me and opened up Windows Media Player to play some music for us so we would have a better idea of what to work on. The past few weeks I've been able to hear music, but mostly only men's voices. Women's voices were either distorted or almost imperceptible. Sarah Brightman singing "Time to Say Goodbye" is one of my gold standards for the high notes...before my map yesterday I couldn't hear her singing much at all...and now I can hear nearly every note clearly. Unfortunately...we can't bring the high frequencies up in that ear as much as I'd like yet...and that may or may not get better...but I'm OK with that :). My new audiogram looks similar to the one done at two weeks post-activation...which is here (she is mailing the new one to me and I'll post it when it comes in).
I honestly think that having those two electrodes turned off for a month set me back quite a bit...I had to get used to the way things sounded without them (awful)...and about the time I got to where I could live with it...we were able to turn them back on again. At last month's mapping session when we turned them back on, we didn't do a lot of mapping...we just basically turned them back on, was what it seemed like...and I have known since the very first day that it wasn't a great map and that it would need work. Yesterday's was much more thorough and we got a much better sound quality and some more much needed volume. I am not scheduled for another map until June 9th...but I'm sure I'll need to go back in before then, since we're a little behind, I think.
ANYHOW...after all that, we went back in the sound room and did the new audiogram, then did the 3-month tests. I scored 99% on sentences...then 75% on sentences with background noise. She did one more test with single-syllable words, and I didn't do so hot on that one (it's amazing how hard it can be to distinguish between "book" and "cook" and "bite" and "kite"...that kind of thing)...I scored 65% on that one...but I was still fairly pleased with that result...pre-CI, I wouldn't have been able to hear any of them!! Whoohooo!! I still can't get over it!
Last night hubby wanted to go out with his sister Lisa and her hubby to see "The Bucket List"...and since that was one of the movies that I have been wanting to see, I was looking forward to it. We didn't get to leave until around 5:30 and it was nearly dark...but I thought I'd just see how I did riding in the car, listening to my sister-in-law, without having to turn the lights on. We drove about 40 minutes in the dark, and I didn't miss but a word or two that she said...and I could hear bits and pieces of what the guys were saying in the front seat. I have always hated going somewhere with anyone at night...either we rode with the lights on, or I'd have to sit there in silence and miss everything being said around me. I remember one time in particular several years ago when we went to dinner with a bunch from church and were all in a big van with no lights in the back....I rode for over an hour in complete silence because I had no idea what everyone was talking about...that was so frustrating. I usually chose to drive on occasions like that...because that way, at least I'd have something to do instead of just SITTING THERE. I love knowing that I won't have to do that anymore!!
The movie itself...I understood probably 60-70% of what was said...which, for me, is really good. Movies are so loud...they are filled with background noises and music and people talking without looking at the cameras...that I've never picked up much of anything at them before. I would have done even better if my battery hadn't died about 20 minutes from the end. I had meant to change it before we went out and forgotten. I had a sneaking suspicion that the spare I had in my purse was dead, and that was I had to lipread my way through the last bit and all the way home (we had the lights on in the car on the way back, for sure). For those people out there that want to know if a CI means I'm not deaf anymore...nope...not by a long shot...when I can hear, it's really good, but when I can't, I'm deafer than I've ever been ("deaf as a brick" is what I tell folks :)). I'm a little more excited now about going to moves than I've ever been before...because I think I can enjoy them now...something I've just really never been able to do :).
Enough....gotta get off here and get ready for work! I'll post that audiogram when I get it (in the next few days, I hope). Love y'all.....

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