Tuesday, July 2, 2013

To Houston to Hear!

To Houston to Hear!

Monday  July 1, 2013

One thing I have not mentioned earlier has to do with all the equipment involved with the Cochlear Implant.  I am not talking about the equipment at Dr. Chang's office to test my hearing.  It is not the MRI machine that was used to see if I had all the God-given internal parts in my head needed to accommodate the implant.  It isn't the equipment used by the ENT specialist I saw in Brownsville or the sound-proof booths for testing at the Houston Ear Research Foundation, the hearing aid store, or all of the doctor's offices I went to.  It isn't the massive amount of equipment in the operating room where the surgery was done.  It is the suitcase filled with equipment and helps that was given to my family by the doctor, after my surgery was completed while I was still in the recovery room.

This is the suitcase for ME!  It has a label on it with my name, date of birth, and the date of my surgery.  I assume it also included the part that is now implanted in my head.  This suitcase  had a price tag that just about matches the amount we paid for our five bedroom home 37 years ago.  Thank God that my hearing loss occurred after I was on Medicare!

I have not gone through this case nor have I opened any of the boxes.  I have brought it with me to Houston, as instructed.  Tuesday morning we will go to The Houston Ear Research Foundation at Hermann Memorial Hospital SW (out near Sharpstown) and they will show me how to use all the goodies in this suitcase!  There are the external parts to use with the Cochlear Implant.  There are accessories that I selected during my meeting with them a many weeks ago.  Three accessories came with the device at no additional charge.  I selected a cable that can connect the microphone unit (looks like a large, behind the ear hearing aid) to the telephone.  There is another similar cable to go from the microphone unit to the computer, and a third one that goes to a lapel microphone.  If Ron and I are in the car and there is too much road noise, he can wear the lapel mic and I should be able to hear him more easily. 

Also in the suitcase there seem to be a variety of booklets explaining more things than I can fathom.  There are training CDs to use for practicing with the units.  I think I have mentioned that the only way to get to understanding the sounds coming through the implant is daily, dedicated practice, and listening all day long to normal sounds and conversations.  They have told my husband to talk to me!!!  Also they and others who have implants, suggest using audio books to listen to while following along in the printed book. 

Speaking of the audio books, it seems that Kindle has a set up where when you buy a book for your Kindle, you may for an additional, smaller price get the audio book (this is only on selected books) and they are synchronized so that they can be used together.  The original idea is that a person may download the audio book to their MP3 players or similar device and while out jogging (ha) they can listen to the book.  Then that evening, they can pick up their Kindle and start reading where they left off in the audio book.  The device will know where you stopped and again for tomorrow's jog, it will know where you stopped reading on your Kindle.  Now the application that could help Cochlear Implant users is that you can use them both at the same time, listening to someone read the book to you as you follow along in the Kindle with the printed word.  This helps the brain figure out what it is hearing.  Oh, my!  It makes my head hurt to think about it! 

Ron and I have both gotten Kindles in the last year.  Wouldn't you know it?  Ours are the only model that is not compatible with this system.  We have the Kindle Paperwhite.  So I have decided to wait until after this meeting in Houston to decide what to buy to meet the needs for this system.  I am thinking I may go to the Kindle Fire, thinking I can download both to the one device and not have to have two separate devices - one for sound and one for printed word.  I will see what they tell me.  I have found that books by several of my favorite Christian authors (like Karen Kingsbury) are available in this format.

Back to the suitcase, there is a "drying unit" to put the external devices in each night to get rid of any humidity that may build up.  I expect that is especially important in out South Texas humid weather.  Then I was to select a free cover for the microphone unit.  I could get zebra strips, leopard skin print, neon pink, or a wide variety of WILD colors.  None really seemed to fit "ME", but I finally selected a teal colored one.  I don't know that I will ever use it unless I were to be  speaking to a group about my implant and wanted the device to show up well.  Who know?  Maybe this will bring out a new me

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