Thursday, July 2, 2015

July 2, 2015

Two Years Ago Today...
My Cochlear Implant was Activated
July 2, 2015

Wow!  Can it already be 2 years?  I had to include this photo that you all seem to love as much as I do.  This is my sweet, caring husband as he realized that not only could I hear when the sound processor was hooked up, I could clearly understand speech!  He was delighted.

We are both so thankful to all the medical people who had a part in this whole process.  Dr. Joseph Chang who performed the surgery, Shari Taxman who is the audiologist I work with, all the people at the hospital where I had the surgery - every nurse was outstanding.  We know each had been trained to do their job, but they all go over and above the training and care about the patient.

Just before typing this I went back and checked a couple of things and was reminded that in the beginning I did hear some "bells, whistles, and assorted noises" besides the voices.  I was told that those would go away in time as my brain learned to ignore them.  That is true.  Most of those are gone.  Once in a while I will get some extra sounds, but rarely.

The music is still there.  The very loud noises I would often hear with or without the sound processor on (usually in the evenings, but not always) have almost totally disappeared.  For that, I am very thankful.  Those were very annoying.  There are times when I feel like I am in an echo chamber, and one of those was this afternoon when I was with my Mom at her doctor's office.  I changed the settings using the remote for the sound processor and it got better.  I need to use that more often, but it is not handy to use.  The original one had a clip so you could put it on a neck cord.  The newer ones don't.

Things are going well.  There are situations where it is almost impossible for me to hear well enough to understand.  Some of those include: the telephone; drive-up windows at the fast food places, banks, or pharmacies; crowded, noisy rooms; large empty places that echo; and classrooms.  I have trouble hearing: soft spoken people; people who talk very fast; people who have their backs to me; very young children; very old people with weak voices; people with heavy accents; and people with high pitched voices.  Most of these types of voices gave me trouble before I had my total hearing loss, and actually I do better with customers now than I did before.

Those who most care about wanting to talk to me, try to accommodate me in various ways.  At restaurants they often ask where I want to sit and who I want beside me.  I don't always know in advance if it is a new restaurant.  Our son and his wife often have the small children eat in the next room at their house, and that works well.  There are really too many of us to all be at one table anyway.  Sometimes, I think I need to spend my time doing research for a book on what restaurants are the quietest and where to sit in them to hear best.  Do you think someone would pay me to do that for a living?

As I write my blog, I often point out the negatives to the Cochlear Implant, but in no way would I want to be without it.  I could just say, "Today I heard well."  But that won't help anyone with an implant, wanting to get one, or their family.  I want to share the limitations.  The audiologist just can't understand why I don't do better on the phone.  I don't know.  It is a real drawback for me, but it is reality.  If I am in a quiet room it helps on the phone.  If there is any other noise, the phone is a lost cause.

The Cochlear Implant allows me to lead a fairly normal life.  Some of the difficult situations, are things I choose not to deal with.  Going to a bridal shower, baby shower, party with all women, just is too much for me to handle.  I will sometimes go for a brief time.  I may go and help in the kitchen, but I don't want to go to visit with everyone in the room.  They are all nice people, but a room full of high pitched voices is just too much for me.  A mixed group of men and women is better, but still a challenge.

All of that said, I am so thankful to God that I am living in a time and place where I was able to get a Cochlear Implant when I went deaf.  I am thankful I was able to travel to Houston for the surgery.  I am thankful to friends who opened their home to us over and over for the various visits we made to Houston over the last two years.  (They moved away from Houston last month!)  God had them there when we most needed them.

Today was a good day.  Ron let me sleep late since the grandchildren were at the other grandmother's home.  I got to the office about 9:30 and spent the morning on the billing part of my work, where I send out statements to our customers for purchases they made this past month.  I was able to have the statements ready before the mailman arrived.  I still have an assortment of things to do to finish up the reports for the end of June.  It rained much of the morning as it had yesterday.  Water is standing in yards all over town and up the valley toward McAllen the rains have been heavier.

After lunch I took Mom to her regular doctor to see about a refill on a prescription.  He wants her to try to do without this particular one and gave her something else.  She mentioned almost in passing, a problem she was having with one foot being very swollen and a little bump on that leg.  He immediately sent us to get a sonogram to see if it is a blood clot.  I have not heard a report yet.*  It may be in the morning before we hear.

We went to the place that he sent us to for the sonogram and got it done.  While Mom waited, I went to the office (close by) and got my phone that I had left on my desk at work, and by her house (also close by) to get her Kindle so she could read while she waited.  After we finished we took the prescriptions the doctor had given her to the pharmacy and then I took Mom home.  From there I returned to the office and finished some things on my desk like writing some checks.

I left a little before closing time and went to the post office, the bank, Sears to pay the Discover bill, to Chick-fil-A to get my supper, the pharmacy I use to get some OTC medicines, and then to Mom's pharmacy to get her prescriptions.  When I delivered them, she was sleeping so I left the medications with Carmen and headed home.

In a few minutes, I need to go to the church to pick up the four grandchildren for Vacation Bible School.  Then we will come home and I will fix them something to eat and be in for a long evening of giggles and chatter.  What a blessing to be able to hear their giggles and chatter.  What a blessing to be able to take off my Sound Processor when the giggles and chatter become too much for me!
Dr. C. Joseph Chang

* Mom got a call that they do not see a blood clot.  Good news.  Doctor had said she had an infection, so pray that the antibiotic will clear up the problem.

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