Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hearing Well Enough to Decipher 'Meaningful' Phone Calls

I've come to realize there are close friends/family who only call when they want something. *Aghast!*

They mix it up with just a bit of news, and then it comes ... the real reason for the call ... "Gina? Can you _____________ for me?"  "Gina? I don't know how to _________________. Will you do it?"

And, I always say, "Yes".

I'm a nice person; an over-flowy, full of love, sickening type --> so, helping people is as natural as, well, eating!, in my book; but, I don't want it to be the only reason one calls ... especially if you're someone important in my life. Don't take advantage of the overly-nice me.

Therefore, I'm analyzing this here and printed form. The reason I must do this is because I usually talk to myself--out loud--in order to get through particular processes; but, those who catch or overhear me talk to myself most likely resolve that I'm crazy --> and we can't be having that. Also, if I'm left to myself with such thoughts to ponder, it may take longer than necessary, since the process may snowball from one episode to others from the past until I become one big blob of ridiculousness.

Since I've never been to a therapist or counselor (not that I need it, of course), I assume we would discuss the matter, and then somehow it would fall in my lap of how I'm going to change, since the other person certainly isn't going to....hmmmm.

Then, I'd imagine a really liberal, smartalec therapist who would derive that I'm the entire problem since I allowed the other person to use me in such a way; and, therefore, I'm the one at fault, not the selfish perpetrator person who called.

Do I continue to give in? Do I say, "No"? Do I address the problem and make it known to the person? --> No, I've already answered that question...don't want to make them think that I've got this hangup; so, I'm gonna deal with it and move on.

Self-Help Analytical Summation: 
A.  Sometimes, still give in. 
B.  I'll try really hard to say, "No" when I feel I should - no matter who the person is to me.
C.  Pray about this - give everything to the Lord in prayer - ask the Holy Spirit to lead and guide.

Session is over

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

CI Hearing -- Via Computer Program

My son, Chris, and I

People think cochlear implant patients have surgery to hear, and voila, we hear like the rest of the world.


We now hear sounds...and most of those sounds have to become deciphered and learned. That takes time. For most of us, it's the beginning of a new life --> we begin to learn to hear.

Learning is identifying the sounds we hear, and making sense of it all...which, in turn, causes us to say, "So THAT'S what the wheels on the bus sound like." "Crickets make THAT much noise? Impossible!"

It never entered my imagination that the cries of a precious newborn baby could be so disturbingly annoying.

If we never had hearing before -- or, if we were profoundly deaf most of our lives -- then sound was imagined by us. 

I was born severely deaf --> I imagined most sounds.

Whenever I'd see a bird, I imagined it having a sweet, high-toned, "Tweet, tweet, tweet," thanks to storybooks, and watching Snow White sing. But when I received hearing, walked out my front door, and heard a black crow, I just about died  was flabbergasted. "God in heaven above...what were you thinking?"

Cochlear Implant hearing is a computer program, through a processor that sits on my ear like an hearing aid. It sends sounds from the outside world --> to the implant inside my head --> to my brain = my brain now thinks I can hear.

My particular implant has the capability of accepting updated and improved programs = updated/improved hearing. But, when my implant's processor is uploaded with new information, my brain has to learn to make sense of those new sounds. 
In short, I have to learn to hear again. 
The good part is it doesn't take as long as it did when first implanted.

Implant hearing may not be the real thing; but, it's better than not hearing at all.

Friday, November 5, 2010

My Youngest Daughter's Point of View


I can't honestly say that having a mother who was deaf had any lasting effects on my life. I was born with my mother being deaf, and didn't know my life to be any other way.

I learned to speak slower and more clear to her so she could read my lips. I never had to learn sign-language, because my mom could speak clearly, and was a seasoned lip-reader. It was second nature to me to adjust my speed in speech with whomever I was conversing with.

I remember having to repeat myself a lot, and sometimes that could be frustrating; but, it was never an issue.

The biggest effect on me, in terms of my mom, was when she first got the cochlear implant, and was suddenly, amazingly, able to hear me on the phone. This changed everything. I think if her mechanical hearing were to fail her now, the adjustment back to having a deaf mother would be a difficult one.

This is from me, her mom ;-)...Ashley was in college when I received my implant...and she lived hundreds of miles away to attend the university; so, being able to communicate on the phone, for the first time in our lives, was a really big deal. All of my children were grown before I truly heard their voices -- for me, that was the biggest deal of all. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

My Husband -- Before I Could Hear & After

I'll never forget when Randy asked my dad if he could marry me. Dad took him in the backyard and said, "You know, Gina has a little bit of garbled hearing; but, she really can't hear - it's important that you understand. Your children could be born that way." Randy said, "She's not deaf as far as I'm concerned. I love her, and want to marry her. Do I have your blessing?" My dad told him he would be honored to have him as a son.

As long as I've known Randy, he has spoken to me as if I was normal--or so I thought.

Randy would always talk to me throughout the house, no matter if he was upstairs, and I was downstairs, KNOWING there was no way I could hear him. He'd talk to me while taking a shower with the glass steamed up, and there'd be no reply. He'd talk from another room, and enter to where I was, awaiting a reply...and I'd just say, "Did you say something?", and he'd repeat (without any attitude). Always as calm as can be. Day after day, year after year.

I would ask him, "Randy, why do you talk to me when you know I can't hear you?" He'd just smile, shrug his shoulders, and say, "I don't know", and give me a kiss.

That's Randy.

He never waved his arms around to get my attention. Never threw Nerf balls at me. Never flipped light switches on and off unless he knew I was the only one home, and didn't want to scare me if he had just come home from work.

But, when I had cochlear implant (CI) surgery, and could then hear, I noticed something that he would do that I never noticed before. It was weird to me. We would be driving somewhere, and he would start a sentence, and stop in mid-air. It would sound like this...

"Do you want?"...

And I would wait to hear the rest of the question; but, he'd say nothing for a few seconds. Then...

"Do you want?"...

I'd look straight ahead and answer, "Do I want what?"

He'd be in shock, then I'd be surprised by his gestures, and wonder what in the world was going on with this good-looking man I married. 

He'd be kind of hurt by my response, and say, "Well, I just wanted to know if you'd like to see a movie or something." And I'd say, "Well, Randy, why aren't you saying that?" And he'd say, "I don't know."

I didn't understand why he was asking me half of a question, and he didn't realize he was doing it...until a couple of months later. It took me that long to realize what was going on. All these years, before I could hear, it took two or three bits of conversation until I realized he was saying something to me, then I'd look at him, which gave him the 'go ahead' to utter an entire sentence, and we'd finally have a conversation.

I couldn't believe he formed this charade into a life-long habit, and never--I mean NEVER--became irritated with me. He patiently waited until he caught my attention, and would then finish a sentence. Once I started hearing, it caught him by surprise that I heard the first time. This became a new dilemma -- our new little hurdle to overcome as a married couple ;-).

It took an entire year to break the habit, and we found that I have far less patience than he has. I would say, "Randy! Say the entire sentence the first time," and he'd reply, "I can't help it that you can hear so well."

~Married since February 1979.