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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ci Activation

I had my cochlear implant activated today. That's a really big
day. I've waited so long for this. Hard to believe it finally
happened. I thought I'd never make it to this point.

Unfortunately, the appointment wasn't so great. Once again, I
didn't have an interpreter. I'm not sure what happened. No one
ever showed up. I had to use my mother as an interpreter. She
only knows fingerspelling and she's really slow with it.
That's fine for us for communication. But she's really not up
to interpreting.

For every couple of sentences that were spoken, my mother would
fingerspell one word. Just the main idea. So I really didn't
know what was going on. Mostly the audiologist and my mother
talked about me, but not to me.

I have never liked this audiologist. Maybe I went in there with
a bad attitude. But since I didn't have an interpreter and
everyone was talking about me, I think I had the right to be in a
bad mood.

The audiologist hooked up and activated my new CI. She turned it
up, up and up a little more. Finally, I could hear sound.
Except I wouldn't call it "sound." More like crappy noise.
She clapped and it sounded like a dog barking. Her voice
sounded like a semi-truck zooming past.

Then we went over the equipment and left. She said my local
audiologist will make adjustments later. That was it.

I don't think it's supposed to be like that. They are supposed
to program the processor. That's called "mapping." I remember
from the first one, going over all the tones and soft sounds and
loud ones and then practicing listening. We didn't do any of
that. The only thing I listened to was clapping.

With both processors in, things sound a little better. My right
ear tries to tell the left ear what it is hearing. This might
sound weird, but I've been most successful in the bathroom. I
could hear the clear sounds of my zipper going up. My pee
sounded like pee. Well, actually, it sounded like Niagra Falls
but it was still flowing water instead of blaring noises.
Sorry if that sound disgusting but it's a start.

Some sounds are making me dizzy. Every time JD slams the
front door (which is often,) my world starts spinning. I need to
try the remote control and turn down the microphone sensitivity
until I get in for a real mapping.

I'm trying to be patient and not rip the thing off my head. I
know it starts slow. I know I might not get speech
understanding. But what I'm experiencing right now is pretty
crummy.

Well, it's the first time this ear has heard in 25 years. I
guess that is something to celebrate. All electrodes are working
and there is sound. It's not a failure. I just have to work at
hearing now.

Wow! The phone just rang and it sounded like a phone. Maybe I
shouldn't be so negative after all. I just need to get this baby
mapped.

On the comical side, it is a real trip trying to get the
processor on. Keep in mind that I've been doing this for twenty
years. I should know what I'm doing. Yet everything is
reversed and awkward on the other side. It takes me at least
ten minutes of playing to get it in place. It's a humbling
experience.

After the appointment, we went to Steak and Shake for lunch. I
got a cookie dough milk shake. Now that's the stuff life is
made of. I'll take slamming doors any day for another one of
those.

Stay tuned for more CI updates. Next appointment will be on
Wednesday with the good audiologist.

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