Monday, July 28, 2014

Busy weekend!

Whew, I had a busy weekend, for sure!  Saturday, I waited for my stepdad and stepbro (and mom and nephew) to go out to my sister's to get the stove that has been sitting in her garage for most of the summer... Sis and her husband got new appliance for their kitchen in their new house, and since I've been wanting a flat-top stove, they kept the old one for me.  I did check with the landlord to make sure it was ok to do a switch (hey, they're getting the stove that was in my apartment back to have on hand for another unit that is in need of a functioning stove, and a bonus free stove in my unit!).  All good and dandy.  Finally was able to do the swap on Saturday. 

After everyone left, I started packing up some stuff while still debating on whether or not I should bring my dog out to Alcova Lake.  In the end, I left Bryan at home in his crate.  I grabbed the package of unopened Keebler's cookies, an unopened box of crackers, my video camera, a towel, sunscreen, the AquaMic for my Neptune, etc... and set out.  I actually just got onto Wyoming Blvd. when I realized I left my phone, so of course I went back and got my phone, then for sure set out to the lake.  About an hour's drive, but not bad.  Made my way to Okie Beach, and drove around slowly until I found the group of deaf folks that were already there.  A family were camping and wanted to do a pot-luck with anyone who wanted to come out.  We ate, chatted, hung out.  Some left early.  A few of us went out on the boat.  Before walking over to where the boat was docked, I switched from the T-comm/standard headpiece to the AquaMic, and stuck my iPhone in a plastic waterproof casing/bag that I bought, and off I went.  The boat ride was fun.  Got splashed on a bit, no big deal.  Got some pictures and a few short videos with the iPhone.  Enjoyed listening to the sounds of the boat, and the waves hitting the boat.  Those were some new sounds for me.  After boating for a while, we returned to dock, and everyone pretty much started packing up, ready to leave.  Wish I could have made it out to the lake a bit earlier but oh well.  It was still a good time!

Made the drive back into town, and decided to swing by downtown and check out the balloon fest that was going on.  Part of a street downtown were blocked off, and there were several hot air balloon baskets lining the street.  People were able to go to the baskets (or even get in) for photo ops, chatting with the balloon person, and pulling the trigger for the fire.  Every time a fire blast went off, I jumped.  It was loud!  Oh man!  But it was interesting to roam around for a bit and hanging out. Even ran into my mom, stepdad, and others in the family, so that was fun!

Yesterday, I finally hit up one of the pools at the apartment I live at.  The one closest to my apartment still isn't open/ready, not sure why.  But the other pool was open, so I walked over to it.  I enjoyed the swim with the Neptune on, just floating, listening to the water, the breeze/wind, etc.  One girl, who was swimming with her family, asked if I was listening to music.  I told her my device was to help me hear.  She was cool with it and went back to swimming with her family.  Was a really nice day for a swim!

 Of course, at random times, I would hear this clicking sound, coming from the Aquamic.  I remember other AB users mentioning this online, and that shaking the water out of the AquaMic helped for a bit.  So I shook water out of the Aquamic and it would be fine again, until the next time I went under water, then it'd do it again.  When I went back inside my apartent, I dismantled the Neptune, removed the battery, and put the naked Neptune and the Aquamic into the Dry n Store for drying.

Also, one of my appointments set for August ended up being rescheduled.  Turns out the surgeon is out of office the whole week of August 21.  Nice.  Made it work out so we'll stay in Denver an extra night, and I'll see the surgeon in the morning of August 25th.  Just really awkward timing, as first day of college classes is Aug. 25.  Not a big deal, I can work around it.  Two classes are strictly online, math is mostly online but with on campus class sessions (I will email the math instructor to give him a head's up), and the ASL class doesn't start until Tuesday, Aug. 26.  So I should be ok.  I'll have my laptop with me while we're in Denver so I can check in online and such.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Pizza Ranch Community Night: Success!

Wyoming Families for Hands & Voices did the Community Night at the local Pizza Ranch last night, and it was a success!  Nine of us came out to help with busing tables, greeting customers, and that sort of thing.  Ended up being a busy night, but it was fun! 

When we all were there, we were given a quick tour and run down of what to do for the night, and then we were released to eat from the buffet (Pizza Ranch's "payment" for our volunteering to help), and to get to work.  Most of us ate a bit, while others started working.  Eventually all of us were all over the joint, talking to customers who were asking what the organization is about and what we do (providing support and awareness for families of deaf/hoh children), busing the tables, delivering pizzas for the Buffet Your Way, gathering tips/donations, selling raffle tickets for six different raffle items (baskets/package type of prizes), and that sort of thing.  We were busy from 5-9 p.m., and even helped with clean up in the dining areas at closing time.

Just from tips, raffle tickets, and donations in general, we brought in over $1000 for Wyoming Families for Hands & Voices, which is awesome!  We still haven't heard how much we got from the 20% of dine-in/delivery sales yet.  Either way, it was a very successful fundraiser, and our team is welcome to come back again in the fall or winter to do another Community Night!  We have more fundraising events coming up in August before the Hear in the Dark 5k event, and I'm looking forward to helping/participating at those events as well, and any other events Wyoming Families for Hands & Voices put together!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Appointments set.

After waiting to hear back from my stepdad on when would be a good time to go down to Denver, I shot off an email to the CI clinic with a couple of possible days for August, and she got back to me with 2 appointment times for Aug. 21.  I am booked to have testing done with the audiologist in the morning on the 21st of August, and to consult with the surgeon that afternoon about going bilateral.  I'm looking forward to this appointment, to see what comes out of it and see if it's possible to get the second implant with Medicare coverage.

Since that appointment is a ways off, I'll be keeping myself busy in the mean time.  There are plenty of days when my boss will be off on vacation so that'll be some extra work for me at work.  Of course, I'll have my iPod with me to make work more tolerable ha.  I do get tired of hearing phones ringing, people walking/talking, machines going, etc.  Music is always a nice change.

In other, more happier news... I am an aunt once again!  My sister had her baby girl last week... 5 weeks early, but baby is doing well.  Still in the hospital for a bit more care, but healthy and well.  She's such a cute, beautiful baby.

Also, I have been preparing for the Hear in the Dark 5k for Aug. 15.  I have been slowly adding to my glowy/light up stuffs... Let's say I really hit up the dollar store one day, buying a bunch of different glow necklaces and bracelets.  I also found some light-up swords at Walmart for like $5, so I bought a blue one.  They're kind of like the light sabers from Star Wars.  I'm pretty stoked for this 5K!  Had so much fun at last year's.  Wyoming Families for Hands and Voices also have some other fund-raising activities happening this summer, which I plan on going as well.  I so can't wait for all this fun stuff to happen!

 my stash of goodies for the 5K!
 my dog checking out my new light sword
 just having fun!

Ah, hearing aid news.  My audiologist's office ordered some of those colored hooks for the Phonak hearing aids.. so I may go in one of these days to get one of them, just for the fun of it.  Not sure what color I would get yet, I'll have to look at them and decide.  I also changed the tube for my earmold over the weekend.  I was watching some TV, and the hearing aid kept going ultra quiet on me all of a sudden.  Changing the tube resolved that issue.  Now there's an orange tube on my hearing aid, replacing the old green one I had.  Love that I can use different color tubes and such!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Neptune Swim!

I hit up the Aquatic Center to go for a swim today!  And I took the Neptune,  obviously!  First time I've got to swim with the Neptune, finally!  It was fun.  I felt kind of odd, being by myself... but oh well!  I enjoyed listening to the pool environment, the water, and even hummed and snapped my fingers under water.  I also went down one of the water slides (the winding curling one, whoooo!!!)... of course as soon as I hit the pool, the AquaMic came off my head.  No big, I put it back on and kept on swimming and hanging out.  Excellent way to spend the first day of summer!

Last night, I started getting this crazy idea of videoing my pool adventures with the Neptune.  But alas, I don't have anything that would keep my iphone or camera safe... I did order some waterproof cases from Amazon, so maybe next time!  And next time, I shall perhaps kidnap a nephew or someone for even more fun at the pool!  :)
BIG Thanks to Advanced Bionics for the wonderful waterproof Neptune!  I love it!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Considering going bilateral

The last several months, I have thought of going bilateral... Getting my right ear implanted.  I do like the bimodal approach I've got going right now, but still find myself struggling to make sense of what I am hearing, especially noisy situations.  And I am still very highly dependent on visual support.  I feel if I get the right ear implanted, that I could possibly do better.  Hear better.  And there is also the possibility that getting the implant may possibly help with the tinnitus that I've had going on in my right ear for as long as I can remember.  If I don't have my hearing aid on, then I end up with a bunch of ringing/buzzing/whatever in the right ear, and it drives me crazy.  The hearing aid drowns out the tinnitus sounds for the most part, but from time to time even the tinnitus will be too loud that the hearing aid doesn't help.

I have emailed my audiologist, and she just got back to me today, basically saying it could be possible for me to go bilateral with Medicare coverage.

I spoke with Dr. ***** and I think we can get it covered if you want to pursue a 2nd implant.  Medicare rules state that you must be able to meet their qualifications with your current implant – and since we implanted your poorer ear; I think you would meet their guidelines.  Let me know if you want to pursue a 2nd implant.

 Since I had my bad ear (dead ear) implanted, there's a good chance I will meet Medicare's CI coverage criteria and they will cover it.  When I first sent the clinic an email regarding the possibility of going bilateral, the office person right off the bat said the clinic did not do bilateral implants for those who have Medicare coverage.  Which I thought was odd, since I was hearing from other implantees online who were able to get bilateral coverage with Medicare.  So I emailed my audiologist, and she spoke with the surgeon about this, and got back to me saying it is possible.  Medicare does not say anything about bilateral implantation in their criteria, does not say they only do unilateral implantation, that sort of thing.  And just knowing there are other adults who were able to get the second implant coverage, I knew there was a possibility it could be possible for me as well.  But of course, had to contact the clinic/audiologist and have them do some research and discussing.

It would be nice if I could get the second implant done this summer, before school starts up again in September.  But who knows if that would be possible.  In the meantime, I will keep in touch with my audiologist, and discuss this with my family, and consider my options.

I just feel like I would do better if I had bilateral implants, and was able to take full advantage of all the new features available with the Naida CIs from Advanced Bionics.  They have UltraZoom, which I've heard is handy for noisy situations, and they even have bilateral features as well.  A single implant processor wouldn't be able to use UltraZoom, one would need to be bilateral to take advantage of that feature and DuoPhone, and some of the other features.  My hearing aid audiologist had to call Phonak and get help with creating a specific program on my Naida hearing aid for noisy situations, since I couldn't use the Zoom features since I only had one hearing aid.  So if I went bilateral, I think that would open up my world even more and give me more opportunities to take full advantages of the current new technology, and improve my hearing more.

It's a lot to think about, for sure.  But I am indeed seriously considering going bilateral.  My implant picks up on more sounds that my hearing aid doesn't pick up on (clock ticking, and other random little sounds like that).  Just on Saturday, I was over at my mom and stepdad's house, talking to my mom, and I realized I was hearing a clock ticking in the living room.  I removed the headpiece for a few minutes, and couldn't hear it with the hearing aid.  I'm just amazed with what cochlear implants can do.  Been a bit more than 2 years, and there are always new sounds I encountered that has me amazed at the technology available, and wishing for more.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Hear in the Dark 5K!

The Hear in the Dark 5k run/walk will be taking place in August!  Woot!  I'm looking forward to this event.  Hear on the Range last year was so much fun!  So I thought I'd get the word out.  I'm even going to try to do some fundraising for this as well.  Wyoming Families for Hands and Voices is planning this event (last year they teamed up with the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund in which Justin Osmond and team do 5k walk/runs in various cities as part of their Run 4 Hearing campaign).  Last year's run was a huge success, it'd be awesome to see another awesome turn out again this year!  Run/walk along the river, various activities available for children/families... should be great fun!
Check out my fundraising campaign for this event at

Monday, April 28, 2014

Busy few days

Been a busy few days!  WYHI last Friday was a lot of fun.  Sure was fun seeing all the kids skating at the roller skating rink.  Some were just learning how to skate and needed some help, while others skated flawlessly with no problems.  Sure had a great time chatting with some of my former teachers and interpreters, and other folks who are in the deaf education field.  The open-captioned movie showing of Rio 2 was fun as well.  A very cute movie, I liked it.  Friday was definitely a great day!  By the time I got to work after WYHI, I was tired, and worn out when I got home.  So tired that I really shouldn't have been messing with kitchen appliances... uh, oops, made a mess out of my cherry smoothie with the small Ninja blender. 

Saturday, there was Deaf Ice Cream social at the Dairy Queen.  Many ASL students showed up to practice their ASL skills with the local deaf community.  I always like to go to the DQ socials, enjoying ice cream and socializing.  Well, actually, I like going to any of the deaf socials going on.  Just getting out and socializing with the deaf community is always fun!  And eating out is always a bonus for me.

This morning, I saw my CI audiologist and had my CI processors adjusted.  Audie and I talked for a few minutes, so she could find out how I was doing with my CI, volume levels, etc.  Ended up bringing down the volume in general a bit, so that I can get off the 8 o'clock position with the volume wheel (now I'm at about 9 or 10 o'clock position) and still have the option to turn down the volume if needed for noisy situations.  The higher frequencies were also brought up some more.  The first year with the CI, I just could not tolerate the high frequencies at all; it was just too much and overwhelming.  But over the last year/year and a half, the audie has been slowly increasing the higher frequency levels a bit at a time, so that I could get used to them.  Hopefully now I should be able to hear emergency vehicles from a bit of a distance instead of being extremely quiet while right next to my car.  My hearing with the CI was also briefly tested in the sound booth (beeps/tones) and apparently I did pretty well with that. 
When I go home, I'm also to switch over to my brand new never opened T-Mic, just to see if I get better clarity or if the original T-Mic (which I've been using for 2 years now) is still clear enough.  If everything sounds the same between new and old T-Mics, then I'll keep on using the old one and keeping the new one for back-up/replacement for when one of my older T-Mics (I have two, one on the Harmony and one with the T-Com for the Neptune) finally bites the dust.  My mom came to my appointment this morning, since it's been a while.  She didn't really know what was going on though.  She's not quite familiar with the process of programming the CI, the different programs and options available, etc.  Was still nice that she could come though!
Anyway, both Harmony and Neptune are the same again basically.  Same programs.  P1 is the old P2 on the Harmony, P2 has the adjusted volume settings and higher frequency level gains, and P3 is the same as P2 but with Optima added on.