Saturday, August 23, 2008

Making Progress!

I realized today that I am making progress. It's a very slow progress but's good. Things still sound terrible...but I have been able to figure a few things out with my husband's help!

I am starting to identify some sounds....sorta! They all sound the same but some how I can figure it out. I'm not even CLOSE to understanding language but I can tell when someone is talking. Of course I have no clue what they are saying.

The chain saw/white noise is still there...BUT I figured it out. The roar/white noise is actually me hearing things. Thursday all I really heard was white noise/chain saw sounds. Friday I wore the implant to work. In fact, I never took a break from the implant. My job is in a terribly noisy environment. I may have taken the implant off for less than a minute to look at the processor or something but I never took a "break" from it. I keep hoping that the longer I wear it the faster I can get rid of this crazy noise??? Wishful thinking? Perhaps but today I have moments of silence! Yup! Finally! So, the white noise/chain saw sounds kick in when I hear the air conditioner and when the fridge and when a car goes by. I can't really tell the difference between the fridge and the air conditioner but I know I hate both. LOL. I can tell when a car drives by b/c the sound comes and goes very quickly.

I am just so thankful to have moments of silence WITH the CI on. The roar always existed. I could never get a break and no I can! I think this is progress. Maybe not by much but it IS progress. Oh, and I have moved up to Program 2. It is louder but I like it better b/c I feel like my chances of understanding speech are better with Program 2 than Program 1. My husband and I went through the alphabet last night and I couldn't really understand it....but that's okay. I know I'm jumping the gun a lot but at least I am trying new things. I think that is important. I have tried program 3 and program 4 for a little while but did it just to try it out. I am so glad I'm not afraid of the processor anymore. After Monday I was really scared of it. But Thursday when we re-did the inital mapping I was able to tolerate sound and became less afraid of it. When I put the processor on now I don't jump or get nervous like I did previously and I thank the Lord for that.

I remember thinking "will I ever get a moment of silence with the CI's on"? and that has happened. Thank you Lord! I still have a very long way to go...very long way...but again...seeing progress encourages me.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Activation Part II...

Okay... I went to see the audiologist at 8am this morning. I went to an audiologist with Dr. Merwin's office but it was someone different. The other audiologist didn't have a time available.

Things still sound like a chain saw/white noise however it is much more tolerable. It's actually louder at home than it was at the office but I need to get used to it. Talking to DJ and some other people I think this could be very normal. This is my worst ear and it has been "dead" since birth. The audi I saw this morning thinks it's just my nerve being stimulated and my brain isn't used to it. So, hopefully, I can get through this part of it. As I said it is MUCH more tolerable.

I can hear my husband from the kitchen...well I hear a "noise" and it's him. Everything has the same pitch. He flushed the toilet and I heard a "noise". There is no distinguishing between sounds. Today we turned the volume down and I am going to try to get used to it. I'm not scared to put on the processor I have moved the magnet away from my head many times to get used to the sound so I don't jump anymore. I did take a nap (without the processor) and put it on as soon as I woke up. I realize that now that the sound is bearable I will have to leave it on as much as I can to get used to it. The audi said that the chain saw type noise will eventually fade away. I'm hoping sooner than later! :-)

My appt. at 8am and we got home about 10ish. I wanted to go back to work but things are overwhelming (but not like Monday). So, I'm going to try to get used to these new sounds today and hopefully I can wear the implant to work tomorrow. If I didn't have the revving (chain saw type/white noise sound) I would probably be hearing much more. However, that is okay! This is just an obstacle I have to overcome. I may take breaks while I do that but I'm going to try. I will probably wear my hearing aid with the implant at work tomorrow as well. It helps things a little bit when I do that.

Thank you all for your understanding and support. I appreciate it a lot. I don't like the sound of the keyboard on my lap top. So I am going to stop typing now! :-) At least I can hear the keys on my lap top! That is something new! :-)

Editing to add some info: Jen made a comment about my ear not working since birth. I should have clarifed that a little. We found out when I was in first grade that I couldn't hear out of the right ear and did nothing about it...until I lost the hearing my left ear when I was 8 years old. So, YES I did wear a hearing aid in that ear but it wasn't something helped me a great deal. I mean ever "little bit" helps but you know what I mean. It helped a "little" it wasn't something I couldn't live without. So, I doubt the nerve has ever worked so that might be why I'm struggling a little. But seriously as I sit here I remember on Monday I couldn't MOVE b/c sound was so bad. Today I've been able to move around the house. I can't play the volume on the T.V yet as that is a little uncomfortable. I just keep telling myself the roar will fade. It does get louder and annoying at times but I'm keeping a positive outlook.

Oh, and I go back to the Audi a week from today so I have a week to take notes and hopefully by next week things will be better.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Activation it and learn!

Okay! So, last night I wore the implant for about 2 hours. I thought I was going to die. Things were so loud. Everything sounded like a chain saw. Even in silence there was noise. When I heard the chain saw sound I realized I was hearing something. My husband told me what the sound was when I heard the chain saw. It was different sounds at different times. No matter what sound it all sounded like a chain saw. My voice was a chain saw. My husband's voice was a chain saw. A car passing the house was a chain saw. Needless to say I have been freaking out. Extremely worried. Susan my bionic buddy has been worried along with Laurie my other bionic buddy. Abbie has been talking to me as well and trying to encourage me. Thank God for these people!

So, last night I told my husband we are calling cochlear after work tomorrow (which now means today). I am so glad we did that! Jason talked to them tonight. I was able to ask question and Jason would tell me the response. They told me to go back to the audiologist ASAP and that something is wrong with the mapping. You see the audiologist never did a threshold test. She just asked me if I heard the beeps and I said yes and then she turned it on. She never asked me if the beeps were comfortable. I asked her several times to turn it down and she said she couldn't...but she can and she will. Lesson number one for activation....never, ever let an audiologist activate an implant when a threshold has not been established.

We will call the audiologist tomorrow and set up a sooner appt. Right now I'm not set to go back for two weeks. As I said earlier the audi from Cochlear told me to return ASAP! The Cochlear audi also said NOT to wear the processor since it is so uncomfortable....literally unbearable. The audiologist at Cochlear also said that I should be able to wear the implant when I leave the office. We need to turn things down A LOT and even if it's too soft that's okay. The most important thing is...being able to wear it and there is no problem moving the volume up at a slower pace. I won't get any where without wearing it.

Things were so loud that the thought of putting the processor on made me sick to my stomach. I was a nervous wreck all day. I knew that when I got home from work I would have to try to wear it...of course we were going to call Cochlear first. Thank God we did. They were excellent and helped so much. So, right now I am so happy and relieved to know that this is not the norm and that something is wrong and it can be fixed. There is NOTHING wrong with the implant. The settings are just too high and that needs to be fixed and it CAN be fixed.

I'll let you all know when I go back. In the mean time...rejoice with me...I am so relieved. I feel like a a 100lbs has been lifted off my shoulders....actually I feel like 100 decibels has been lifted off my ear! LOL! That describes it better. :-)

Monday, August 18, 2008


Well, I am not going to type much on this post. I just wanted to share that my implant was activated today. I'm not sure if what I experienced is normal. In fact, I'm pretty sure it wasn't. Things are incredibly loud. In fact, too loud. When they turned on the processor I jumped about 5 feet. I thought I was going to be sick at first b/c things were just so loud it was painful to listen to it. It takes a lot for me to wear the implant. All I hear is this loud roar and it sounds exactly like a chain saw. I can't hear anything over the roar. It is tough...but I'll get through it. I will take it one day at a time and just wear it until I can tolerate it. I was freaking out at first and was able to leave the room and cry and then go back in and try again. I haven't worn the processor since I left the office but I will. If anyone has experienced anything like this or knows anyone who has please e-mail me and talk to me. I feel like something is wrong or perhaps the processor is set too loud? I don't know. The audiologist called Cochlear and they said all of this is normal and my brain will eventually get used to it. My concern is that how is my brain going to get used to it if I can't tolerate the noise? It really is that loud and like I said it's like having a chain saw in your ear. It is incredibly uncomfortable. If they put me in a hearing booth and tried to test my hearing I would fail it 100% because I can't hear anything over the chain saw sound. Pretty crazy.

Well...I'm going to sign off for now.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Not a whole lot going on...

Well, I went back to work on Wednesday. Everyone was surprised to see me back so early. That's what they said. I was gone 2 1/2 weeks. I was ready to go back. I don't need to hear in order to do my job. I mean, it would be nice to be able to hear but I get by. So far everyone has been patient. So that's nice. Life has pretty much gone back to normal except now I can't hear much and now I'm bionic. :-) I am having trouble sleeping but hopefully I'll get over it eventually.

My head still has some numbness to it. My ear feels a little funky but there is no pain. I'm still aware that there is something in my head. It's funny when I go to bed at night...every night with out fail I go to take the hearing aid out of my right ear. Haha! There is no hearing aid there. I think my ear feels funky so I think there is something there. It happens all the time. Isn't that odd?

My activation is a week from Monday. My Mom, my sister (and her daughter Alana), and my other niece (from a different sister) are coming down for the activation. Now, my niece Alana just turned ONE!! She's just a little thing and sooo cute. I can't wait to see her. My other niece is the one who came to visit a couple of months ago and she is 19 years old. I am more excited about seeing my family than I am about the activation. They are coming down on Sunday and leaving on Monday which is a bummer but my Mom and niece have to be back at work on Tuesday and frankly, so do me and my husband. So, it's a quick trip. I can't believe they are coming all this way for this. I am glad they are. I just try to remind them that I am not going to like the sounds that I hear. I have visions of myself taking the processor off and throwing it across the room. Since other people will be there I will take the processor off and hug it no matter how bad things sound! :-)

Well, not much is going on which I am okay with. I will have lots to post about when they activate the implant. :-)

Monday, August 4, 2008

I know my activation date!!!!!!

Drum Roll.....Activation date is....August 18th @ 8:30am! I'm excited about it since I know the date. I don't know if many of you have read Wendi's blog but she really hit on something for me. I am looking forward to the activation but at the same time I realize things aren't going to sound all wonderful so I’m not looking forward to that part. As I’ve said before I don’t like when things sound abnormal. I just hope that since I’m aware that things aren’t going to sound great at first I won’t have a bad attitude about it. I must keep in mine the activation is a step forward in working toward hearing things again...well, ever I guess. I don't think my right ever worked…well it did a little with the hearing aid but not much. So, that is exciting.

I did get the staples and stitches out! Thank God. I didn't feel a thing. It really doesn't hurt. I'm going to try to explain this so people know why the staple removal does not hurt. If I had known this I probably wouldn't have been nervous about it. The staples in my head were a lot like a staple holding paper together. HOWEVER, removing them is not like using a staple remover. The device they use applies pressure and makes the staples go straight so it's just taking it right out. The nurse does not "pull" the staples out. It unfolds the part that is under the skin and makes is straight so it comes right out. That is nice to know isn't it??? No pain at all. Of course my head is still numb for the most part. The stitches were a breeze too. They did put some glue on the incision part behind my ear and some strips to go over it. I can't wash my hair for two days. I'm going to but I will wash my hair by putting my head under the faucet in the tub. I won't get my ear wet. I will be careful. The strips will stay on my ear for about two weeks until they start to peel off. I didn't realize they were going to do that but ANYTHING was better than the staples and stitches. It already feels so much better. When the nurse took everything out she got some rubbing alcohol and rubbed the incisions (behind my hear and on my head) and this is going to sound so weird but if felt so good!!!!! My husband washed my ear with soap and water but he couldn’t scrub it b/c that would have hurt. I said “that feels so good” and felt weird for saying that out loud. I hope I didn’t freak her out. LOL! A lot of the pressure that I felt is gone too. I think that had a lot to do with the staples. I do still feel like there is something in my head. I am sure I will get used to that. I really hope the strips behind my ear peel off before the activation date! I am sure it won’t interfere but I don’t want them to be worried about it if they are still there. My activation is literally two weeks from today!

I am going back to work on Wednesday. I know I won't be excited once I go back...haha. However it does mean that life is slowly going back to normal and that's always a nice feeling. I am so glad to be over the surgery part. I didn't find it fun at all.

Now, the taste buds are still a little off but hey life goes on. I did step on a scale at the doctor's office and I've lost a few pounds...about 7lbs. However, I don't see it or feel it in anyway. I don't think it has much to do with the taste buds to be honest. I feel like I've been eating normal. I don't know. It could just be the scale was off. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised at all. :-) I did find out that Diet Coke taste much better than Diet Pepsi. Before surgery I wouldn’t drink Diet Coke if that was all that was available. So, I might make a slight change. I'm going to TRY To stick with the water though. Once I go back to work I'm not sure I will be able to stick with it since I thrive off caffeine!

I'm going to take a nap now. I didn't sleep well last night. It had nothing to do with my head or any type of pain. I think it was just one of those nights I didn't sleep well. I was excited about today's appt. I REALLY wanted the staples/stitches out in case anyone didn't pick up on that.

So...August 18th...mark your calendars! :-)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

My First Closed Captioned Movie

Today I went to see my first closed captioned movie. Or is it called Open Captioned? Whatever it is! I am sure you know that I'm talking about. My husband and I went to see Batman. He wanted to see it so badly and deserved it after taking such great care of me! It was a great movie. :-) I'm glad we went.

I must admit though...I wasn't very impressed with the caption. In fact I was very annoyed. The words were in a light yellow color so when the film wasn't dark it was impossible to read the caption. I couldn't read it at times and that really bothered me a lot. I realize they are trying to make it where it doesn't bother hearing people. However, there were only 8 people in the theater (including us). I don't understand why it's not in black/white font like it is on the t.v. (black background with white font). The yellow font is incredibly annoying. At least I understood more of the movie than I would have without the caption. Perhaps I'm being too picky. I don't know.

Yesterday Jason and I went out to eat at Olive Garden and it was sooo nice to get out of the house! It really was. I really am feeling so much better. I am definitely looking forward to Monday (stitches and staples are coming out). Yesterday I was bold enough to blow dry my hair ...I do it very carefully since my head/ear are still tender but wearing my hair down is nice because there is no way anyone would know I have staples in my head. I don't want to gross people out. :-) It's nice being able to get out and do more things. I realize I get tired easy but I know that will fade. It's probably just from not doing much anyway. I plan on going back to work on Wednesday. Hearing is not a necessity with my job so that is a good thing. I am sure it will be frustrating at times but I will just take it a day at a time. I just hope people will be patient with me and treat me "normal".

I will post back after my Dr's appt. on Monday!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Laurie's Blog....

Hey Everyone...

Laurie asked me to post this message! She is locked out of her blog! She can't sign in or do anything. It has been locked by Blogger because of possible spam? She's upset and afraid they are going to delete her blog which would be terrible. Think about all the time we put into it? She's probably made hundreds of posts. Anyway, I wanted to post this for Laurie so some of her readers know she can't access her blog. She WILL post as soon as she can!

Hang in there Laurie!!! The blogging world isn't the same without you!!!