Thursday, May 16, 2013

Summer Adventure 2013
Thursday May 16, 2013
Have you planned a summer adventure for your family or for yourself?  Is there something you have always wanted to do or somewhere you have always wanted to go?  What are you waiting for?
In my family, I always felt like I got "short-changed" on cousins.  Daddy was an only child and Mom only had one brother.  So to start with, I only had one aunt and one uncle (Mom's brother and his wife).  My aunt and uncle had four children, two girls and two boys.  They were great!  They were cute, fun, cheerful, and they lived close enough that we got to see them at least once a year and sometimes more often.
It is funny when I think back, the oldest cousin is about a year younger than I am and she was the quietest of the bunch.  Her younger sister, about 15 months younger, was as silly as they come!  Oh, she made us laugh!  She could giggle better than anyone I knew.  They had two younger brothers.  Those two boys were adorable, happy, redheads with more freckles than anyone could count.  We loved for them to come visit. 
Time passed and we all grew up, got married, scattered, and rarely see one another.  The oldest cousin spent 12 years with her husband, serving on the mission field in Kenya, where they had four children.  When on furlough from the mission field, they would usually come spend a week with our family.  My cousin would be the first one to "conk out" at night, but the rest of us would be up talking for hours.  She never wanted to miss anything, so she would bring her pillow and blanket and curl up on the floor where ever we were chatting and laughing, in hopes she wouldn't miss anything.  But within a few minutes she would be sleeping soundly.  We would tease her about being a "stick in the mud."  "Where is your sense of adventure?"
Now in her mid-60s, she lives in the Texas Panhandle, but this Saturday, she is meeting up in Williamsburg, VA, with a group of people she has never met, to BIKE across America!  Over the next 3 months they will ride 4,180 miles, going from coast to coast.  The first riding day, this coming Sunday, they will do an orientation ride of 25 miles.  Then Monday they actually leave and ride 49 miles that first day.  Much of the time they will be camping out along the way.  This same lady has run marathons in many cities across our country.   She snow skies, scuba dives, and jogs (for fun).  Ok, now who is the "stick in the mud"? 
My adventure for this summer is hopefully going to take me from a world of silence to a world of sounds.  My trip will be from a quiet, withdrawn life, to a life filled with sounds of laughter, giggles, and bird songs.  Over the recent years my world has basically gotten smaller and smaller as I would struggle to hear and as I have become increasingly uncomfortable in many settings.  At the same time, my cousin has expanded her world as she tries new things.  
When my cousin prepared for marathons, or this past year for the bike ride, she put in long hours practicing to be ready for the challenge.  She got better and better as she did the exercises to become good at what she wanted to do.  When she took up scuba diving, it took practice before she was ready to make trips to tropical locations to dive safely and enjoy the sights in the new surroundings underwater. 
In some ways, my summer ahead will be that way.  When I have the surgery for my Cochlear Implant, I will not start hearing right away.  Following surgery, they wait until the patient has healed, and then after 3 or 4 weeks, they activate the device.  The audiology experts at the Houston Ear Research Foundation will show me how to attach the external parts of the instrument and they will start teaching me how to use it and how to understand what the sounds are that I will be hearing.  The audiologist I have met with has told me that I will need to practice every day by reading out loud, or following the printed word as I listen to audio books.  The sounds coming for the Cochlear Implant are not sounds like you hear every day.  These will be electronic sounds that are basically computer generated sounds.  Patients have to learn to understand those sounds.  I have been told the only way to do this is to practice EVERY day.  It takes about a year for most patients to begin to get the most out of their implant.  The more I practice, the better I will get at understanding what I hear.
My cousin set goals for herself in order to get the most out of her experiences.  I will need to do the same.  Tonight I wrote a comment on her blog, telling her that I knew there would be days when she would wonder why she was doing this.  There may be some days ahead when I am overwhelmed by the loud noises that I don't understand and will wonder why I went through the process.  But I told her that I believed that most days she would be delighted at all she will be seeing.  I expect that most days I will be delighted with all that I am hearing. 
It would be great if sometime in the months following her trip, I can "hear" all about her adventure.  My cousin is a speech therapist, and I think she will want to hear all about my adventure when she gets home.  Often speech therapists are called on to help those who have Cochlear Implants.  Until we can get together and hear about each others' summers, we will follow each others' blogs and keep up with the progress along our Summer Adventures of 2013!  What is your adventure going to be?


  1. Exciting days ahead for you and your cousin. We heard a presentation at Jared's church of one of his members who biked from California to Maine at the age of 65. He's now closer to 70 and wants to do it again. Sigh...I should be more adventurous. Going to Honduras again this summer, always takes me out of my comfort zone. I guess that's somewhat of an adventure. Thanks for blogging of your "adventure" to hearing again. I'm learning so much and you are a great example of trusting God with your future.

  2. Your summer adventure may have more eternal value! Glad you are able to do that trip every year. Thank you for the comments on the blog. We are all learning a lot. I would say that in most cases, the best thing people can do for those with hearing loss is to slow down a little in your speech. Put a little space between the words.

  3. Linda, this brought tears to my eyes. I found it very touching. I consider my adventure to be nothing compared to yours. I'm going to be out of my comfort zone for 3 months; you have been out of yours and will continue to be for another year. I enjoy your writing and will do my best to keep up with you, your surgery, and your progress while I'm on the road.

    1. Thank you Ann for the kind words. There are days that are tough, but all in all, God provides and many have been so kind and helpful. It is good to know that others feel they are learning through my experiences. We want to learn through yours too. Today I mapped out the first 5 weeks of your trip so that I can tell where you are each day. I will probably check your weather each morning. I am so awed by your spirit of adventure. Have a great trip. Wish I could meet you some where along the way to cheer you on, but I think it will have to be on your blog. Love you!

  4. Linda, if you need someone to practice with after your surgery as you learn to hear again, please let me know. Ralph was almost deaf our entire marriage until they rebuilt his eardrums in Houston at Hermann Hospital since they had the only microscope powerful enough to see to do the surgery. Dr Lerner did only one ear at a time, filled it with antibiotic gel so the hearing returned slowly as the infection there also healed. It took about 30 days. Ralph was sure he was standing upright when he was badly listing to the left or right!!! He had never heard a clock tick or the birds sing or leaves blow in the wind. All the noises at once swamped him & he never learned to separate voices in a crowd. Unfortunately, he left his medicines go & is almost deaf once again. He was the oldest one (early 30's) that they had ever done the surgery on successfully so I was doubly disappointed that he didn't care for them properly. I would welcome the chance to help you with your new adventure. Hugs my friend and God bless you. God is using you in a wonderful way!!!

    1. Dottie, I remember when Ralph had his surgery and that he was overwhelmed with all the sounds. Remembering that, I asked the audiologist about it when we saw her last month. She said that on the first set of visits, they will program the 4 channels to different levels of sound and that I would gradually increase them. Later they will change those channels to serve different functions. I do have some concerns about that since it has been a long time since I have heard at full volume. I may call on your for help as I go along. Thanks for offering! That is so kind of you.