Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Spent the day in Nashville.....

My appointment wasn't until 11, but I got to Nashville at 9 AM...to meet someone very special!

Valerie and I have been online buddies since probably August or so of last year (that's a guess). My audiologist e-mailed me and asked if she could get us together by e-mail and I was all over that idea. We e-mailed back and forth for a while and then became blog buddies (Valerie blogs at Tales from a CI Gal). We have been talking about getting together for several months now but just never seemed to be able to make it happen. I have really wanted to meet her, though...she's one of my heroes. Back when BlueCross BlueShield of TN was only covering single implants, she decided that she wanted to get two at once, and took on the mighty BigBlue to do it! It took Valerie and Let Them Hear SEVEN appeals before BlueCross changed their policy to cover bilateral implants in adults over 12 (their previous policy did cover bilaterals in children). By the time I came along, I only had to appeal once before their policy change took effect. I might have been able to wrangle a second implant on appeal since my first one didn't work well, but more than likely if Valerie hadn't done all the legwork, I would have had to wait a lot longer than I did. THANK YOU, Valerie!!
We visited for about two hours, and people, Val is a sweetheart. We are hoping to get together again soon at the Nashville HLAA meetings after the convention...I can't wait!
I made it to my appointment right on time and Susan and the Advanced Bionics rep, Andy Perkins, were there waiting on me. Susan did a tympanogram while Andy set up his stuff...checking to see if that pressure behind my ear might be fluid, but, nope...tympanogram was perfect. Andy hooked me up to his computer and started some tests. I didn't really like that part...as the sounds the test produced were really uncomfortable. I told Andy that I heard something that sounded like a woodpecker and it felt like it was pecking a hole in my head! After that test he did a couple more where I didn't hear any sounds at all, and then he said that it seemed like the internal device was in good shape, no problems. He and Susan then manned the computer and worked on programming for about half an hour or so, trying to see if they could eliminate the vibrations. They turned on these electrodes and off those and then tried different combinations. They adjusted pulse widths and I don't know what all (unfortunately, my lipreading skills have largely gone to pot since I hear so well now, so I didn't understand a lot of the pow-wow that was going on in front of me). After a completely futile effort, we gave up so I could get to my CT scan on time.
After waiting for about 25 minutes, I had the scan...in and out in about five minutes. When I was leaving I was putting my CI back on and the radiologist asked, "What's that?" I told him and he said, "I've never seen one of those before...heard of them, but never seen one". Told him that the innards of the thing was in there on his computer if he wanted to go look :). I asked nicely if he'd give me a hint what he saw ("no") and then asked if he'd let me look at it, as if I had any idea what I was looking at ("no"). Didn't hurt to ask ;).
So now we wait for the results. Hopefully we'll hear something sometime in the next day or so. I'd be lying if I said I didn't care if they found anything or not...honestly, I hope they do. I'd love to think that it could be replaced...mainly for comfort reasons. If you can believe this, hearing with that ear is something that I wouldn't mind having, but can do without...I've done without for more than 30 years. If I could have that implant replaced and be able to hear as well with that ear as I do with the second one, it would be a dream come true, but I am seriously not yet holding my breath. Surgical errors and electrode migrations are fairly rare, and what are the chances? Then again, I'm all about long odds...I lost nearly all my hearing nearly instantly as a four year old (back then it was so rare in small children that the doctors in Tennessee were totally baffled) and I won a car from Ford Motor COmpany from a SUPER BOWL sweepstakes two years ago. Now THOSE are long odds. I have a shot at this...we'll see.
Headed to bed...as soon as I have news I'll share it. Say a prayer for me! :)
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