Thursday, August 20, 2009

CI's and the Bedroom

If you have a CI, and are planning on purchasing a new bedframe, you may want to stay away from iron and metal frames. (In the picture, see the gray round thing a few inches from my ear?)

You could be sitting up in bed talking with your spouse, and all of a sudden they think you're lookin' mighty sexy. You respond with a certain look that confirms you're on the same page. Then *zap* - your magnet has left your head and onto the bedframe, taking away your 'oh baby' moment!

The minute your CI magnet leaves your head, you're back to living in sudden silence --> a rude awakening.

My magnet has left my head when getting out of my car, and *zapped* to the car door; it's left when standing near a garage door, and *zapped* entirely from my head and continued to ascend with the roll-up door!

In short, there are some places that your magnet and processor will immediately leave your head to go to another source, and there's nothing you can do about it --> but, think twice when purchasing bedroom furniture ;-)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Day of Exhiliration

I realize this won't be as 'exhilirating' to you as it was to me; but, that doesn't matter...a miracle occurred for me today, and when it did, I wanted to kind of dance and celebrate right down the eye doctor's office hall. But, I simply smiled, stayed calm, and thought to myself as I looked at my doctor, "You have no idea that what we just did was a first, and a miracle." It was so effortless. About five years ago, I went for my first exam for prescription reading glasses. Two years before that, I was fine with Costco's three-in-one-pack; but, it was obvious my eyes were weakening, and needed to have them checked out. Ever since, I've had annual eye examinations. So, I had my annual visit this summer (July '09), and decided I would like to try contact lenses instead of having to wear glasses all the time. Today was my one-week visit to see how I was faring with contacts. My doctor had me put my face into the slit lamp, and to look through the lens scope. He would be looking from the other end with a flashlight-like scope. Miracle #1 - I didn't even think, "I won't be able to understand him through all of this equipment. I can't read his lips." Didn't even cross my mind. Miracle #2 - I heard him say, "Can you read the letters on the wall?" I read them allowed. Miracle #3 - "I'm going to look inside your eye. Look at my earlobe. Now look up. Look down. Look straight at my earlobe again." He moved away and said, "Perfect. Your eyes look very healthy, and the strength seems perfect for you. I think we'll stick with what we have." This is when I was smiling and thinking..."Oh my goodness! You don't even know what just occurred. It's even greater than getting contact lenses. I heard you perfectly. I heard, obeyed, and my ears work." I went into the lobby where my husband was waiting for me, and it was THEN that I began talking with my emotion of exhiliration. He would understand. "Randy," I said, "I was in the room, and for the first time I never had to have the doctor move away from the equipment in order to explain to me that he would want me to look at his earlobe...then he'd examine...he'd have to move away again and tell me to look up...then he'd examine...he'd move away again and tell me to look down...then he'd examine. Then he would do the same with the other eye." I heard every single word he said.

Monday, August 3, 2009

What Caused My Deafness?

I was born severely hearing impaired, and became profoundly deaf by my early 20's. The reason? Neural deafness (dead nerves, dead ganglion cells, etc.). Dead nerves caused hearing to be missing from my high tones down to mid low tones. The dead cells caused clarity of sound to come across as weak, muffled, and distorted. Therefore, there wasn't enough available components working within my inner ear to send messages to my brain in order to hear properly. My inner ear never allowed me to know the direction from where sound came; so, just like with the cochlear implant, I have to find and locate the sounds I hear. That never changes nor improves. Also, hearing through an implant provides a broader spectrum of sound (both high tones and low tones), and tries to help with clarity; but, it's never going to be 'normal'. It IS, however, a new avenue to train one's brain to hear as never before. Lip-reading and people-reading became my survival. I was never put into a deaf school, nor taught to sign. I remember my hearing specialist telling my mother that if I could continue to communicate in the ways that I had naturally adapted to, that my world would be much larger and full than in a deaf world alone. So, that's what she did. The implant is digitally produced with artificial cells, and sends the outside sounds to my brain, and my brain thinks I can hear. The implant is sort of a "new inner ear", allowing my brain to now process and "hear" sounds. So, hearing is actually in the brain; the ear itself is simply intricate components that send messages of sound to the brain. There were parts of my brain, concerning hearing, that had never been used; so, we had to see if my brain was going to be slow in processing the new sounds. When I first started hearing through the implant, sound came across more slowly than the lips I was reading. It's the same as when the sound is not lined up with a movie picture. They told me that my brain would most likely catch up, to give it a week or two and see if it gets better...or, it would always be slow...but, sometimes, the brain in that area never improves (it can kind of 'die' too). Thanks be to God, my brain caught up, and has been on overload ever since :-)