Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Surrounded by sound!

Sorry it's taken me so long to get this post up. We went to lunch after activation and when I got home I started working on the video. That has been largely unsuccessful so far...the model of Handycam that we borrowed isn't compatible with Windows Vista (I am stating for the record that I hate Vista, argh) so I had to go kick the old laptop into shape, install the Handycam drivers on it, and upload video. The first time I did it it saved it into a movie the size of a postage stamp, which wasn't exactly what I had in mind, so now I am doing it again, and it is taking ALL. NIGHT. LONG. to do.
Then we all got ready for dinner, went out to dinner at our local Mexican restaurant and then went to church. Back home now, waiting on the video to upload, still. I will have to get it off that computer and over here on this one where I can edit it a bit in Windows Movie Maker and upload it to YouTube. Did I mention already that I hate Windows Vista? I can't even make my laptop file share or printer share. For crying out loud!
We got to Vanderbilt right on time this morning, and Susan was fairly busy so we ended up not getting back there until around 9:45. I had been furnished with a new processor, new coil, and new batteries, so that was a real treat...the only problem that we had was that AB had sent two processors, and in return they wanted me to send back the original left ear processor AND my beloved right ear processor, which I wasn't giving up, no way, no how. It was a mixup of some sort, obviously, so Susan got on the phone with them and sorted all that out, and then we got to work.
It was actually a little confusing when she started the tones...because I actually heard them before I felt them. I wasn't really sure if I was feeling anything until they started getting louder, and then I could feel the sensation. I wasn't too surprised at it...I had expected to feel something. It was nothing at all like the first activation when I only felt sensation and heard nothing. We went through the rest of the tones and I felt something with every one of them...again, not surprising. I was delighted that they had a nice sound quality to them though!
Then came the actual turn-on...I braced myself for the shock but it wasn't as bad as I was afraid it would be. I definitely felt the sound but Susan's voice was also coming through really well. We discussed it for a few seconds and then she said, "let me try something". I am not sure what she did...but with a few clicks she managed to eliminate nearly all of the sensation I had at that particular volume (several sounds had NO sensation at all...I tested them out by banging stuff on the desk in my own little personal science project, which was highly entertaining, apparently ;)). Then I told her to raise the volume, and the sensation came back, so she clicked again, and most of it dropped out again.
This is a HUGE contrast to the way it was before...before we took the first implant out, AB actually sent a rep to do integrity testing and he and Susan slaved over that ear for the better part of an hour, trying this program strategy and that, and never managed to make so much as a dent in the sensation. I have long accepted that for me to have been deaf as long as I have, a little sensation might be there at first that might take some getting used to...but what I had before was completely overwhelming. It got to the point that I chose to spend the vast majority of my time in total quiet rather than to wear the processor. This isn't that way...as of today I have some "normal" sounds that don't have an accompanying sensation. Granted, I have a very quiet program...my audiogram today looked to be in around the 70 dB level...but I am delighted to have real sounds! My own voice has no sensation at all, which hasn't ever happened before. It looks like I'll be starting small and working my way up, but I am THRILLED to be where I am now...this is a great starting place.
I actually wasn't able to wear the two ears together before...because they were so different. I couldn't handle the sensation on one side and sound on the other, so I gave up the sensation in favor of sound. I've worn the two together all day long today, and besides a slight headache, I have had no problems. Everything seems much LOUDER today...and everything just sounds different. The sounds I have coming in on the right and left sides don't match up very well and it is SO hard to get used to! I know in a few days the brain will blend the two together a little better and I won't even notice the differences...but right now I can :). I am sitting now hooked up to the laptop with two ears hooked up to two direct connect cables on the laptop (it has two headphone jacks...bonus!). I'm listening to John Denver singing "Looking For Space" on YouTube and marveling at how it sounds EXACTLY like I remember it (granted, I'm hearing most of it through one ear!) and trying to refrain from singing out loud (my people are all asleep and would not appreciate my efforts!). I am jumping in with both feet...I know that this time things are going to be different and I am going to do everything I can to make it work this time. I am determined...I am going to be bilateral...I want to be surrounded by sound!
OK...now that I have the video on the computer...YouTube is down...ugh! I'll get it up ASAP...promise :)
More posting soon!

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