Wednesday, January 25, 2017

January 18, 2017

Four Years Since I Went Deaf:
What Has Changed?
What Hasn't?
January 18, 2017

It has been four years since on Friday afternoon, January 18, 2013, I went deaf.  I was already almost totally deaf in my right ear and used a hearing aid in my left ear, giving me about 75% hearing in that ear.  That Friday afternoon, it was about noon when I realized I was having serious trouble hearing customers - especially on the phones.  My 14 year old grandson and I were alone at the office since my husband was home with a very serious case of the flu that had put him in the Emergency Room at the hospital two days before.

Finally that afternoon I asked my grandson to handle the phone calls and loudly tell me what they said, or write me a note.  Meanwhile we were handling walk-in customers.  As I wondered what was happening, I decided that my hearing aid had finally out-lived it usefulness.  When I had bought it, I was told it should last at least five years.  I was now at eight years.  It didn't enter my mind until late that afternoon that this was actually a change in my hearing, and not just a worn out hearing aid.

My son came to pick up his son (my helper) and was waiting until I locked up.  I was frustrated about the hearing aid, but not really worried and encouraged them to go ahead and leave.  As I got in my car to go home, I turned the key and nothing happened.  "Great, what else could go wrong today?" I thought.  Then I realized the car was moving.  It had started and I just couldn't hear it.  That is when I realized how bad the hearing (or lack of hearing) was.

When I got home, Ron was sleeping and I did not bother him.  He was so sick.  At that point, he had had the flu for a week and wasn't really much better in spite of a couple of trips to the doctor and the trip by ambulance from the doctor's office to the hospital because the doctor was too worried to let him drive there.

When he woke up an hour or two later, I told him about my hearing and I said my ear must just be stopped up.  It was a holiday weekend and he told me he had an appointment with the doctor again for early Monday morning even though it was a holiday.  We agreed that I should plan to go with him. At that point on Friday, I should have gone to the Emergency Room myself.  I had no idea that this was a condition that had to be treated immediately to expect any type of improvement.

At home that weekend, it was very quiet.  Ron slept most of the time and I spent the weekend wondering what was wrong with me, but still pretty sure it was a stopped up ear.  Monday morning early we saw the doctor and after a couple of tests, he made an appointment for me with a specialist.  I could see Ron's face as the hearing tests were being done and by the look on his face, I could tell it was just hitting him how deaf I was.

For the full story you could go back to the beginning posts in this blog, but I will just say, the treatments did not help and 5 months later, I had surgery for a Cochlear implant and although the right ear is still almost totally deaf (I can hear about 5% in a very low range on that side).  When the surgery is done for the implant, all normal hearing is lost in the ear with the implant, so I am totally deaf without wearing my sound processor on that ear.

One thing that hit me fairly quickly was that our youngest granddaughter was only a little over one old and was not yet talking. I thought I might never know what her voice sounded like.  She was such a precious little girl, I could not imagine not ever being able to actually hear her voice.  She is now 5 years old and talks all the time.  I love to hear her.  Thanks to the implant, I am able to hear her and the other grandchildren and all of the family.

People often ask, "How do you like the implant?"  I say, "It beats being deaf."  I do like it.  It does allow me to function in this world of sounds.  I can discern music a little better than I could in the beginning, but still not very well.  I cannot identify voices on the phone and the use of the phone is still a struggle.

The two new devices I got about 15 months ago, the mini mic and the phone clip, have helped a lot.  I now talk to a few people on the phone that I had not been trying to converse with for a long time.  There is another new device out and it is made to set in the middle of a table and help in the hearing of all at a normal size table.  Looking at it, I have not decided for sure if I will buy it.  It is expensive and it not easily portable.  It is not huge, but the mini mic is probably about 1 1/2" x 2 1/2".  It easily fits in my purse.  This new one is considerably larger - maybe the height and width of a slice of bread but thicker.  If our children were all youngsters still living at home it would be almost necessary to have, in order to be able to take part in dinner table discussions, but it would be additional added weight in my purse or tote bag, to take to restaurants.

I love that the Cochlear company continues to invent new, useful items to help the Cochlear recipients.  For now, things are going well.  I continue to check on a few minor health issues, but nothing serious.  I have been very busy the last few months and have not kept up on the blog.  For that I apologize.  From this point on, I will try to post an entry once or twice a week about life in general and mention situations relating to the hearing issues as they come up. 

There are several trips coming up in the next few months, so I will just have to see how it goes, as far as my ability to keep up.  Our new grandson is due soon and we hope to make several trips to Dallas when that happens and I plan to stay a while.  We have a niece getting married in February in Corpus and one getting married in North Carolina later in the spring.  We need to go to a trade show in Dallas to get continuing education hours for our state locksmith license.  Those are the things I know about right now and it seems that other things pop up all the time.

Christmas cards are still being sent out.  I plan to quit at the end of January finished or not.  My Christmas tree is still up.  I have removed 500 decorations and still have many to go.  My hope is to finish that this weekend.  The weather here seems like spring.  Some of the trees have put on new growth, but I hear it is to get chilly tonight.  The weather is as far off schedule as I am! 


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