Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The first month

It's been 4 weeks since surgery and 3 weeks since activation. I'm discovering new things all the time. Today I'm not feeling so hot so I decided to head to my family doctor before it turns to's a sinus infection at this point and hopefully my fresh new zpac will shoo it away. The thermometer beeps! Who knew? I sure didn't. I'm finding new things like that that make noise all the time. The photocopier at school tells me if I left something on the glass. Really!?!!
I had my 3rd audi visit on Monday with very little tweaking. She thinks I'm about "there" on volume so my next appointment will be 1/17....hopefully to pick up my Neptune. She does training on 1/13 and hopes mine will be ready by then. She also said that the training was going to include clearvoice. I wonder if that means they think it's going to be approved by then? Hope so.
My sound is moving toward a more Donald Duck type now. Started with bells then robots, then Minnie and Mickey. It just keeps changing. I'm beginning to notice pitch more when I listen to music. I am still rocking things with lots of rhythm sounds best. I also find that I prefer things I have heard fully before....songs I knew before I started losing my hearing.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


I had my first audioverbal therapy appointment today. It was supposed to be 2 hours after activation....turned out it was 2 weeks. She was impressed at my progress and I don't have to go back until the 28th...which is good news to the bank account. ;) I have a new list of websites to listen to.
Caleb decided I needed to listen to him play his recorder. I could hear him...that's a serious start. Ready for him to move on to a better-sounding instrument though. ;)

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Neptune was approved today! Yea!!! Got a fresh map and a test run in the booth. 10% with ci only...10% better than I had before. Gotta start somewhere. ;)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Changes for the good

It is amazing how this thing changes and improves constantly.
Today I noticed that my last class of the day, chatting while they stood in line, sounded like a bunch of voices (which they were) instead of a convention of sleigh bells. I still can't pick out words there but what was coming my way en-mass had the same tone quality as a voice...or rather 22 of them.
I noticed during the announcements I'm picking up bits and pieces over the PA....did the pledge fine although I think my L's are a bit soft. I also could tell it was orange chicken day....Yummy!
One more a-ha...I have had 3 different people tell me my voice has improved.
I also moved to program 3. I go back Thursday so it's about time.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

My new ear's first church service

We went to Church this morning and I was anxious to see what I could understand. My hearing had gotten so bad that I had to peek to see when the prayer was over. Today I got 4 out of 5 amens. I call that a success. Brother Matt was away today and our service was led my Jessica. She is our newest associate pastor and I'd never even met her or heard her speak until today. I didn't get much of the sermon but I got what I thought was an impressive amount considering she has a high-pitched and fast voice.

Headphone instructions

Here are the instructions for the headphone thing I posted about last. I was working from memory as when I read it, I didn't need it yet. This is from Sam's blog:
There is also a version on Tina's blog:
Thanks guys for all you do to keep us new guys in exciting things.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


I bought myself an awesome pair of $60 noise-canceling earbuds Black Friday for $19, spent $2.15 at the fish department in Petsmart and fixed myself a good way to listen. My first listening adventure with CI side only....Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid. I think I did pretty well. I let my eyes get ahead of the voice a couple of times and lost my place but was able to find it again without cheating and sticking in the other earbud. I also took the thumbprints test at the listening room and scored 38%. Not great but not hideous either considering my new ear is less than a week old.

Friday, November 25, 2011

What? My ears aren't bleeding?

After some mid-morning shopping, Caleb and I went to lunch at Panda Express (his favorite) and a movie. He picked Arthur's Christmas and I picked the theatre (Frisco Cinemark) since I wanted one with captions. Movie was great and my CI and I did fine. After the movie he conned me into going to the mall. Not just any mall....Grapevine Mills.....a pretty darn big mall......on Black Friday. I bought him a new LEGO mystery guy ($2.60) and me a new pair of jeans ($7.66) then hit Chik fil A for a brownie and Dr Pepper. That's when the noisyness kicked up. Mr. Silly....started singing....loudly.....about donuts.....opera style. He did this................all.....the.......way.......home......all 45 minutes of drive worth. My CI was screaming but he was being funny and I actually understood some of it....mostly "donut". Just about the time we walked in the door my battery died......I was thankful.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Much to be thankful for this year. Excited to be hearing. Dinner went well. I did have to "accidentally" knock off the headpiece when Grammy tried to sing along with the dancing Frosty the Snowman was just more than I could take. ;)

The robots are beginning to morph into Minnie mouse. Hoping in a couple more days that they will become even more voicelike. I got to thinking that a CI is kinda like that StarTrek: TNG episode with the mind-controlling video just relax and it all falls in place.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The first 27 hours

I was activated at 1 yesterday and wore my CI from 1 till bedtime around 9.
Turned on this morning at 7.
It is now 4 and my brain is very tired. I'm also impressed my battery lasted 9 hours.
Taking a little break before dinner.
We are going out to Chili's complements of my fellow librarians. Gift cards rock. :)
It will be my first restaurant experience with this kind of sound.
For just one week after surgery. The headpiece bites a bit after a while but nothing too serious.
So far, I have identified:
car blinkers (which are annoying)
the Stealth app (which was annoying enough to require an ice pack - Thanks Caleb)
Inkles the Cat
Fluffy the Guinea Pig
voices from other rooms (with some degree of understanding)

It still sounds like a robot but is improving all the time.

I heard Caleb over the which he goes "you heard that?....what is this, crazy day?"

Surprise! Activation 2 weeks early!

Went for my post-op and "equipment orientation" yesterday (11/22/11). My audi came out to get me already looking like the cat that swallowed the canary. She asked if I wanted to try going ahead and! COURSE! Now up till this morning I was still kinda freaked over anything touching that ear but I can hardly tell it's sitting there. We did the range of beeps thing.....then had some laptop issues....more really sounds like my crickets went musical...or at least rhythmic....but they help. It's high, it's's not REALLY voices.....but it is so helping my understanding....and it's already mutating. It gets better and better. Right now I can hear myself type. I heard the cat. My husband started tapping his leg....I heard sounded weird until I realized that's what it was but I heard it! She told me that she did test me in the Operating Room and that she had to double check that she wasn't on demo mode....that all 16 were firing textbook perfect. YEA! I did have to have a stronger magnet as I still have some swelling. She said program 1 may last me a bit longer because it will get louder as the swelling goes down. I have 3 programs (varying loudness) and go back Wednesday Dec.1 for my next map then Tuesday December 6 for another (which would have been my activation day). As for the surgeon...he just looked at my incision site, said good.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Day 6: no complaints

Feeling pretty good. Being careful not to do too much. Caleb has been really helpful today as asside from giving me a bill for $Infinity for a single skinny peanut butter cup, he's been pretty reasonable, too. ;) Tomorrow I go back to get looked at and to pick up my equipment. It won't get turned on till 12/6 though.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Day 4

I've really done very little but sleep since surgery so there's not been much to write about. I'm feeling considerably more awake today and will give it a try.

Yesterday I took off the pressure bandage. That helped alot. It was a bit scary to take away the protection it provided but now I can really tell that the sore spots I have are mostly where it was rubbing and/or digging in. I am a bit freaked by the fact that the top of my ear seems glued to my head. I'm sure it's probably just residual ick holding it together but I'm not going to go messing with least not yet. I have some itchy spots but that's mostly where the hair he shaved is getting stubbly. My hair is really greasy, nasty, icky....and I can wash it Monday. I may be brave and do it Sunday night. The doctor told me Monday but the paperwork said 3 thinking I can fudge just a little. Maybe.

I woke up a bit lightheaded this morning. I can't really say I've had a vertigo attack or anything. It's gone really well. I'm actually thinking I was hungry and dehydrated. A couple of glasses of water and a breakfast burrito seemed to help alot. Mom is delivering lunch....wonder what we are having. I'm thinking we may need to re-think the Thanksgiving plan of steak. I can't open my mouth very wide and that much chewing might be hard....but it's still a few days away.

I'm very glad it's Thanksgiving break now so I can't possibly feel guilty about not being at work. I have a feeling Caleb is going to want me to do more than I'm up to though. Andy is off all but Monday so they can keep each other entertained.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Warning: Gross Pictures Ahead!!!

For those that want to see the innards of my ear and the awesome electrode array that will let me hear ya go.

The day after...

Today is brought to you by the letter z because that's what I've done zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Feeling decent but insanely sleepy.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Surgery day...the official report

I got there at 5:45 and went to prep about 6:10. They took me in promply at 7:30 but not before I'd been able to grill my surgeon to be sure he was 100% using AB. He's a nester, by the way....I asked that, too. I don't remember a single thing from 7:30...scooting over to the surgery table and waking up about 9-something needing to throw up. They got me some good meds added and I was SOOOOOO sleepy. I was insanely groggy till about 11:30 when they had me move around some. I was discharged about noon. I catnapped during the hour-long ride home...nothing eventful. After a nice cup of chicken and stars and sweet tea, I had about a 2-hour nap. Right now I have a sonic burger plain with ketsup on order and plan to have pain meds and a nap to follow.
They gave me sprite to sip in the hospital and now I have an insanely painful case of burps....pressure....ouch. Tinitus....the crickets are still with me but now at a cricket convention. Occationally they fine the karyoke machine. Comes and goes.
The surgeon even gave me pictures of my ear, the stitches, the array (inside....eeeew), etc.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The day before

Pre-op day. Doing something I won't be allowed to do tomorrow....having breakfast. I'm torn between wanting to go early and get it done and not wanting to be there at 5am. I'll find out this afternoon what time we'll be doing this thing tomorrow. I hope I'm remembering everything I need.

Yesterday I went to the chiropractor and got my elbows and shoulder back in line. Nice massage....good and deep. Kinda sad that I can't use the marching ants (TENS machine) anymore except lower. Don't want to cause a short in my head or anything.

Roxy is staring at me. She wants my breakfast. She's a good girl. Yesterday someone posted about training your own hearing dog. She does pretty well with telling me there is someone at the door but not sure beyond that. Pretty sure we'd not want to take her out to dinner. :)

Thankful today for the support of my friends both new and old. It's awesome to have found such a supportive group as Hearing Journey. There is a chat tonight with the Advanced Bionics CEO. That should be cool. Glad to have my team holding down the fort at school, too. It's all shelved. My desk is a mess but what else is new. I'm surprised I left emptyhanded yesterday and didn't bring home work. I can always create work though. ;)

Off to haircut, lunch and pre-op.....

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Buddy Meets the Kids

This is the week that I'm telling my students about my CI. They are meeting Bionic Buddy, too. I'm reading his story to Kinder, 1st and 2nd and just talking it out with 3rd, 4th and 5th. I'm also doing a sizable pitch on hearing safety and not listening to devices with the volume cranked. While that's not what happened to my hearing, it all gives the same bad result.

It's funny how the different ages react differently to things. The K-2 pretty much gave me the pep-talk on how surgery doesn't really hurt because you sleep right through it. ;) The 3rd-5th were more interested in approving the colors I chose. ;)

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Just a few thoughts since it's been over a week since I blogged:

I survived week 1 of bookfair and it went really well.
I forgot to get change.
These kids are bringing real money...not just the baggies of pennies my old group did.
Did I mention I need change?
I'll be open 6:30-6:30 on Thursday....I think I may be crazy.

We went camping with Yogi this weekend.
We had tons of fun.
I love the bed-warmers in our camper.
I'm glad we remembered the heater this time.

I had a thought (deep)....if hearing loss is often noise-induced, isn't hearing aid use like a self-fulfilling just cranks it right up there and knocks out more hair cells.
My appologies to the guy at is nothing wrong with the order's me. I just can't give up my happy hour just cause I'm deaf and the kid isn't with me to translate.
17 days till surgery.....37 till activation. Yea!!!

Last night at Yogi, I had a Zombie Chef.
Tomorrow he's going to be a mad scientist.
For a kid that is afraid of scary, we are doing an awful lot of Halloween.
Wonder how much candy I can swipe. ;)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Getting closer

Another week done. This really wasn't a hard week but I'm wiped out anyway. My bookfair comes on Monday so maybe my tiredness is anticipation of the exhaustion that the next 2 weeks will bring. Bookfair is fun, incredible, amazing...and exhausting. The kids love it! That's the best part....that and getting "free" books from all that work....sweat equity. ;) I'm probably crazy but I plan to let the kids check out library books AND do their wishlists during class next week. It's gonna be busy.

I printed the Bionic Buddy book today from the Advanced Bionics website. I'm going to read it to my kids the week after bookfair and tell them that I'm going to go get an implant like Buddy so I can understand them when they ask for things. I'm thinking I'll send home a page explaining what we talked about so that parents will know, too.

Sometimes I think "I can hear so much stuff....why do I need this" and then little Glen asked me for Calvin and Hobbes....and it took 5 tries with 3 different voices....and I got it....but I admit it was just a guess. Yes.....I DO need this.

"I want a book about ____________". Andy commented a couple of weeks ago....."you get everything but the important word".....the thing is.....the important word isn't guessable. Other things....grammar, syntax, sentence flow....those are's the important thing that is illusive. "I want a book about".....well....that's my world. The WHAT it's about is the part that could be anything....dinosaurs, football, flowers, Pokemon, Guinea Pigs, Helen Keller, cooking, zombies, presidents, cats, UFOs,......the possibilities are endless.

I've decided to take off the day AFTER activation...and go experience sound. I know this thing, no matter how well it works, is going to be emotional.....and I'd like to get a few "what was THAT?!? experiences over with unwatched. I plan to go to the park and see if I can experience birds, leaves, footsteps, tennis balls. I plan to go to the mall and experience heels (not on me!), background music, people. I might treat myself to Rosa's and see if tortilla chips sound as nasty as they did with hearing aids.....I hated hearing myself chew. I might even go see Breaking Dawn and see if vampires still mumble. I'd probably need to try Sonic, too....or Taco Casa....and see if drivethru's are as bad an experience as they are now....I sure hope it's better. A trip to 6 Flags will be in order soon, hear the joyful screams. ;)

Mostly I want to hear kids.....MINE mostly. He gets so frustrated with me. He's also tired of being my drivethru interpreter. He's a good kid.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Change of plans....but not too bad

I got an email yesterday that Dr. Peters will be out on 11/14 and I'd need to re-schedule my surgery. After 24 hours of stressing about when it would actually end up, I finally got it fixed. My date is changing to 11/16 but that is actually better. Before my pre-op would have been Friday 11/11 and I'd have had to tweak my week with the kids to get them all in. With pre-op being on the 15th and surgery on the 16th, I can finish the earlier week intact and not really miss as much time. I'll still have the rest of that week plus the whole week of Thanksgiving to recover. Something to really be thankful for this year. :) Another plus is that the next Diary of a Wimpy Kid book comes out on the 15th so Caleb will have something to entertain him during the wait while I'm in surgery.
Today I visited the chiropractor for some work on my poor stressed neck muscles. This was likely their last visit with the "marching ants" aka TENS machine. Electromagnetic thingies and Cochlear Implants don't mix.
I'm sure I'll continue stressing.....afterall they ARE about to cut into my head and stick stuff inside, but at least it's getting closer and everything is coming together.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It's a date!!!

I'm getting my cochlear implant on Monday, November 14th! That will put activation somewhere around December 5th. They also wanted to confirm what type I want and what color. I'll be sporting a jazzy silver metalic Advanced Bionics Harmony. Still getting the details on the color splash overlay options.

Monday, October 3, 2011

As time stands still.....

I'm getting impatient. I have read so many things, surfed for so many answers, read the brochure like 100 times. I either need new and exciting info or I need to get this show on the road. Saturday I have the psycholgical evaluation. That's the last hurdle before setting the surgery date. I'm kinda stressing about this one. I have started filling out the major strengths....WAIT! What? I don't wanna. ;) I can just picture myself being plopped on some couch expected to spew out my life's fears and I can't understand the questions because I can't read their lips. I'm probably just building it up to something bigger than it is. the papers, they ask if I finished jr high.....I finished grad school, ok? The balance test wasn't near as exciting as I'd rollercoasters or gyroscopes. :( My insurance letter came in approved....sorta. All it said is that they DO pay for this sort of thing but not that they are approving mine. Maybe they have to set the date first. So....when is time going to start moving again?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

What a week!

Monday was my appointment for screening to see if I'd be a good CI candidate. I'd been sent to Dr. Peters by Dr. Rohn a couple of weeks ago and anxiously waiting. I got there insanely early. ;) After more beeps I could feel but not hear and words I could hear but not understand, it was official. I'm getting a CI. Seriously, I got 0% on the word recogniton test....0!!! There are tons of things that have to be done first so I jumped right into them. Once insurance approves, they won't be waiting on me.....getting all of it done...most of it this week. After seeing Leslie and Dr. Peters, I was off to the MRI. Now, I'm a serious grade AAA chicken so the "with contrast" bothered me. I HATE IV's. HATE. The first spot they tried....didn't work....but I have a nice bruise to show for it. 2nd one went fine. I have to admit, as medical vampires go, the dude did pretty well. So.....$702 and 20 minutes in the MRI machine letting the various hums entertain me.....a bit of dye in the IV and back in for a while longer....I admit.....I almost napped. I think that was probably the only time by brain has let me really think all week....the rest is a bit blurry from whizzing by. Then came the audio/verbal therapist....I have to remember to bring a Playaway with me to my next appointment....she was totally excited at the thought of those for audio therapy. That came Thursday. Friday brought the balance test. This one was painless but sorta dissapointing. As someone that loves to be shook up....rollercoasters, spinning things, etc....I was hoping to be strapped into a gyroscope or something. It was weird. Imagine laying on a table with blacked out side of which is a camera. I had to keep my eyes open to the camera could read whatever it was reading.....and count backwards from 3's....all while they blew cold air in my ear. Then I got to name cities by the alphabet...Atlanta, Boise, Chicago, get the point. Now I'm waiting for the appointment with my family doctor to say I'm ok for surgery (Monday) and the phych appointment (October 8th). Kinda wondering what that one is going to entail.....I mean.....I have 56 graduate hours.....I'm sure I can figure out how to use the thing.....I WANT I'm GOING to use the thing. That and insurance clearance is all I need. I'm getting awesome support from my new friends at Hearing Journey and have already connected with a couple of Advanced Bionics people that are totally awesome. All quite a whirlwind....but hopeful that it's all going to be totally worth it.

Friday, September 23, 2011


Huh? That's been my most used word for the past 18 years. Way back in the 1993/1994 school year I was a 3rd year band director.....and I lost the flutes. No, they didn't go anywhere.....I just couldn't hear them anymore. That was just the beginning. After hearing tests that my insurance didn't cover and doctors and tests that it didn't cover either, I was told to "go home and learn to live with it" I did.....for a while. Around 1997, I bought my first hearing aids......pricey little gadgets that helped.....some. By 2007, I bought more....probably needed them long before that. This time insurance helped....some. This summer, the sweltering 2011 wild crazy new library building, book shelving, color tagging summer....a good bit of what hearing I had left.....went to join the flutes. So....that's how I'm going bionic. I'm about to get myself a cochlear implant. I'm not kidding about the bionic part either.....the one I'm getting is from a company called Advanced Bionics.