Monday, January 18, 2016

January 18, 2016

Three Years Since I Went Deaf
January 18, 2016

Just a few weeks after I went deaf

On Friday afternoon, January 18, 2013, I was working at our shop and our oldest grandson was spending the day with me.  My husband was at home with a very bad case of the flu.  He had already been off work for a full week and was still very ill.  Just two days before, he finally went to the doctor and the doctor called an ambulance to take him to the hospital because his oxygen level was too low.  All day I had seemed to have trouble hearing and by noon, I was having to ask my grandson to tell me what the customers were saying.  Then I had to turn over the phone calls to him because I could not understand what the callers were saying.

At closing time, our son came to pick up our grandson.  I told our son I thought I was going to have to replace my hearing aid because it was not working.  I had been hard of hearing for several years and my hearing aid (my first and only) was 8 years old.  After they left, I locked up and went to start my car.  I turned the key and nothing happened.  I thought "What else can happen?"  Then I realized the car was moving.  It had started but I could not hear it running.

When I got home, I did not disturb Ron.  I fixed supper and when he came to the table to eat I told him about my problem.  We decided I would go with him to the doctor on Monday (he had a scheduled appointment to check his case of flu).  I spent a very silent weekend, thinking my ears were stopped up.  What else could it be?

If you have followed my blog, or gone back and read the early postings, you will know the rest of the story.  In June of 2013 I was able to receive a Cochlear Implant in Houston and in early July it was turned on and I was blessed to be able to hear clearly.  That does not mean I have perfect hearing.  I do hear the words, but sometimes that is not enough.
Dr. Chang, my Cochlear Implant surgeon.
In the 895 blog postings I have written during this time, there have been 60,443 page views from a total of 92 countries around the world.  I am humbled by the regular followers of these posts.  Many are curious about the hearing status.  Some are long time friends who are mainly keeping up on family news.  Whatever brings you to this page, I appreciate each time you visit the page.

People who have been reading the blog, but have not seen me in person during this time are often surprised at how well I can hear them.  If we are in a quiet setting, I normally do very well.  Things continue to improve with practice and with added equipment.  I have a cousin who is a speech therapist and recently she and her sister visited me.  She was astounded that I was able to hear words as soon as the device was turned on.  There is no way for me to express my thankfulness for that outcome.  That is not the outcome for most recipients.
 My Audiologist, Shari in Houston
Not having any hearing in the other ear puts me at a disadvantage and I can not tell where sounds are coming from.  When I take off my Cochlear sound processor, I am basically totally deaf.  As I am typing this blog entry, I have taken the processor off since I am the only one in the house awake.  The television is on but the sound is off.  I occasionally turn toward the TV to see if anything interesting is on that I might want to hear.  Sometimes I forget to mute the TV and it can be blaring while my husband is trying to sleep but I am not aware that any sound is coming from it. 

Emotionally I have had a variety of reactions to my situation, but for the most part, I just accept that this is the way it will be for the rest of my life.  I would say the first month or so I was in a state of shock.  I did not really realize it at the time, but when I look back at photos taken during that first month, I see it in the photos (like the one at the top of this page).  There was a sadness and a stubbornness that were a part of that time.

About a year and a half later, I began to slip into depression as I was constantly confronted with all the things I could not do.  I miss the beauty of music, especially sacred music and classical music.  I miss being able to enjoy the talents of my grandchildren who love playing the piano.  As we cared for the children this past weekend, at various times, the children would spend time at the piano and I could tell they were playing but had no idea if the piece was one I should know.  I sat down at one point and practiced a piece in one granddaughter's book and just sight reading it, I could tell how it should sound, but I could not tell how correctly I was playing it.

It is such a blessing to me and to my family that I was able to get the Cochlear Implant and that I have had such great results with it.  I try not to dwell on the negatives.  A potential problem came it this past weekend.  I came home from the office about noon Friday, packed my things into the car and headed up the valley.  My husband came home later in the afternoon after he closed the office and loaded his things before coming to join me at our son's home.  I had sent him a text that I had forgotten the laptop and to please bring it.  When he arrived, he had my Cochlear suitcase with him and asked if I had meant to bring it.  Yikes!  Without it, I would have been without hearing by morning when my battery ran out.  I had my charger and several other pieces of equipment in the suitcase.  We were both tired, but one of us would have had to make the 150 mile round-trip to get it if he had not seen it where I left it by the door.
 The suitcase with the original variety of equipment.  
Much has been added.
I hope you will continue to follow my adventures (and my often dull boring days) as I share my experiences.  Please share the blog with friends who have severe hearing loss and with anyone else who might be helped by the information I share.  Thanks for taking this journey with me and for the frequent encouragement many of you give to me.  I appreciate you all being a part of my cheering squad.

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