Saturday, August 17, 2013

August 17, 2013

Greeting Friends in Various Places
Saturday, August 17, 2013

For the first time in a while, I could sleep as late as I wanted.  I slept until 8:00.  My hopes had been for something closer to a 10:00 wake-up time, but I knew I wasn't going back to sleep, so I got up.  The morning was relaxing.  Ron was out, so I fixed breakfast, got my hair washed and dried, checked emails and Facebook, and then got ready to go to the grocery store.  This was my first full grocery shopping trip alone since I broke my elbow.  It was a challenge a couple of times, but I got it all done and thankfully Ron was home when I got back so he could unload the groceries.

When I have a "quiet" day like the one I had this morning, I understand a little more how hard it is for a person living alone to adapt to the Cochlear Implant.  The audiologist keeps reminding me to wear  the implant all the time except when sleeping, taking a shower, or washing my hair, etc..  When I know I am going to be the only one at the house, it is tempting to leave it off and not deal with it picking up sounds like the ice maker dumping ice, my hair brushing across the sound processor, and every day noises like that.  So I can understand a person living alone not being as faithful about wearing it all the time. 

The next problem for a person living alone while wearing a Cochlear Implant is that they are not hearing human voices as much.  This is where the Immersion Reading can come into play.  When I am using the Immersion Reading on my Kindle Fire, I feel like someone is reading to me (they are) and I am following along in my copy of the book.  I remember in elementary school we took turns reading aloud in our reading books and everyone else was to follow along in their copy of the book.  This is much the same way and almost for the same result.  I think in elementary school we were having reinforced, the sounds of the words as we saw them on the printed page.  This is having those sounds linked up to the words on the page. 

A person who has already been hard of hearing for several years before getting the Cochlear Implant, has probably been withdrawing from social activities, so by the time they get the implant, they have a very small circle of friends that they are visiting with regularly.  Since the phone is a challenge, that means someone needs to go to their home in order for them to be listening to speech.  You may be thinking, "They could just turn on the TV."  The major news channels normally have anchor people who speak clearly, but most people on TV are talking rapidly and there can be other background sounds going on with them.  Closed Captioning has been a great blessing to me and many others who have trouble hearing, but they do not always type exactly what is being said.  I did a little Immersion Reading today, but have not done as much the last few days as I would have liked.  Maybe tomorrow afternoon I can find time for it.

While I was at the grocery store, I ran into my dentist.  The last two times I had been to his office, I had not been able to hear him.  One time I was using the temporary trial high powered hearing aid and the last time was between the time I had the Implant and when it was activated.  He was amazed and delighted at how well I could hear him in the very noisy grocery store.  It was nice to have a normal chat with him.  I have been going to him for over 35 years and we have become friends during that time.  While Ron was out this morning, he ran into my dermatologist.  He asked how I was doing and was also delighted to know I was making good progress.  I have only been going to him for a short time and he told Ron he would look forward to having a real conversation next time I am in his office.  I laughed and told Ron that maybe this time I would answer the questions he asks instead of the questions I thought he asked.  The two are not always the same. 

My dentist mentioned that he uses the same hearing aid office I had used for years.  He said he had talked to them about me the last time he was there and they said they had not seen me since I got the implant.  That reminded me that I need to make a visit to them and let them know how it turned out.  I need to let them know I would be willing to talk to other patients who might be facing similar choices to the ones I had to make the last few months.

In the grocery store I also ran into a lady who used to hire me to baby sit her three daughters over 50 years ago.  I stopped and chatted with her.  In the past, I might have avoided someone like that, knowing that to understand them would be such a struggle.  This morning we had a great visit.  Her husband has a significant hearing loss and I wish he would consider checking to see if he would qualify for the Cochlear Implant.  He is a gifted writer and was the guest speaker at a banquet I had planned a few years ago.  I remember how hard it was for him to take questions from the audience following his talk.  I also remember having someone else contact him and make all the arrangements because I knew I couldn't hear him on the phone to work things out.  What a shame that so many of us are limiting our worlds as our hearing deteriorates over the years.
The newly weds being honored at the reception this afternoon.

This afternoon we went to a reception at our church for the son and new daughter-in-law of our music minister.  They had a small family wedding a few weeks ago and were having a reception here today.  Many of our friends from church were there and some who are no longer in our church.  There were several former staff members and their families who came from out of town for the event.  All of their children had grown up together and it was a time of celebration for all of them.  Several of those people read my blog and have known what has been going on with me, but had not seen me in person in a while.
My friend who came to see if I could hear him now.
Yes, I could!
One couple we really enjoy was there.  The man came up and started chatting with me.  We were having a fairly good visit (it was very noisy at the reception - at least to me).  We joked about that old TV commercial for a cell phone company where the guys are always saying, "Can you hear me now?"  My friend's wife joined us and said she had told him to come try to talk to me first knowing that I hear male voices better than female voices.  I chatted with both of them for a while, but told her I didn't have trouble hearing her.  She said it was her "teaching" voice.  There is some truth to that.  She is a small lady, but has a strong voice and she enunciates well.  I thanked her for not running her words together.  A few people I talked to didn't know about the hearing loss, while others had been keeping up regularly.  It was a nice reception.   I did spend a good bit of time in a secluded area watching my youngest grandchildren.  They are always a treat and a nice escape when the noise overwhelms me.
My youngest grandson feeding wedding cake to his baby sister.  Precious!
The rest of the day was quiet.  My husband slept the rest of the afternoon and early evening away.  I cleaned, read, and caught up on the computer.  One friend wrote that an older lady she knows is now being evaluated by my surgeon for the possible Cochlear Implant.  She is one who lives alone.  I am praying that it will work out for her to get the implant, but it will take a lot of work on the part of her friends and family to keep talking to her and helping her adapt, if she is able to have the surgery.


  1. Sounds like you had a great Saturday! I'm so glad your life is getting back to normal.

  2. Thanks for reminding those who have family that lives alone that it is a difficult walk for them. They withdraw & withdraw, my mother included but is slowly coming out of her shell. She does herself, too, no favors by not wearing her hearing aids except when we or company comes. I keep telling her the brain needs her to wear them so it will imprint there & remember the imprint. So far I haven't been able to convince her. I will relay the message you sent thru your blog to her. She thinks if she wears her old ones, she may be able to hear better then goes back to her expensive ones when she hears better with those. Talk about confusing the brain!!! She is stubborn tho & will have to convince herself first!! LOL Glad you are able to get out more. It's good for you & good for your soul to do so. Hands together & hugs to you!!!

    1. Hearing aids really need to be worn regularly, almost all waking hours, to do their best job for us. It is hard to make yourself do that when you are alone. Hearing aids are not comfortable. It is very tempting to take them off if you don't think there is anything of value to hear. A man told me yesterday that he lost a $9,000 set of hearing aids because he took them off and put them in a little bag in his pocket, never to be seen again.