Friday, January 23, 2015

Tinnitus update; college

Since finishing the steroids, it seems the new tinnitus sounds have faded away.  I don't notice that annoying musical tune that I kept hearing over and over, and I think I was still hearing a bit of the crackling/tapping sound but it was very quiet and almost unnoticeable.  I am definitely happy about that.  I still have the usual old tinnitus as always (ringing or buzzing or even sirens...!) but I know that is something I will probably be living with for the rest of my life, and getting the implant didn't help with that.  But I am most definitely happy the new sounds are gone.  I can deal with the old usual sounds that I've had for ... well.. forever.  But the new sounds, not so much.

New semester has started at the college this week and so far so good!  Photography instructor is hard to understand, and he admitted to mumbling too.  He said he would try to enunciate more for me.  I told him I would be bringing in my FM unit, in hopes I can hear him better in class.  ASL 3 is going well so far.  The ASL class set up is interesting, as both ASL 3 and 4 classes are combined.  There are only 3 or 4 level 4 students, and maybe 5 level 3 students.  Interesting.... The ASL instructor is still trying to figure out a system to balance both levels in one class. 

In a way, I'm happy the new semester as started.  I have classes to take, stuff I can focus on.  I am really excited about the photography class; it is black and white film photography.  I took a class in 9th grade and enjoyed it!  Since I have decided to switch to General Studies for my major, I'm just taking classes that will fulfill the credit hours needed to graduate with the Associate degree.  Photography will be a fun one, for sure.  Have decided to do Intro to Music, which ought to be interesting.  There will be times when we have to listen to certain music that's associated with our text book, and I thought this would be an interesting way to do auditory training. Am also taking a Developmental Psychology class online, and a PE class (fitness training).  Better go find my AB Snuggies/Huggies so I can keep my Naidas on my ears while I'm working out!  I found one Snuggie so far, but don't know where the pack with the other snuggies are, so will have to dig through my AB boxes at home.  More than likely it will either be in my Harmony box, or my extra supplies box.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Denver trip

Made my way down to Denver with my mom and stepdad last Thursday for follow up and mapping. After Christmas, I started experiencing new tinnitus sounds in my right ear, which was obnoxiously annoying and driving me up the wall.  These sounds would keep playing over and over.  One is a musical tune that repeats all the time, 24/7, whether or not I have the processor on.  The other, at first, sounded like a bubble wrap being popped, but that evolved into more like rapid tapping/clacking/etc.  I only hear this sound if I don't have the processor on or if it's quiet. Augh!  Sent a few emails to my audiologist about this, trying to figure out what is going on.

So on Thursday, audie hooked up my Naidas to the computer (which was running slow that day, which frustrated the audie). She ran the impedance test.  Left ear looks like, right where the impedances need to be.  Right ear was a different story.  First few impedances were fine, but past that they were not where they need to be.  Her theory is that perhaps because the high frequency levels are still pretty low, they're not "kicking off" proteins that are gathering/building up on the electrode array in my cochlea, and perhaps that's why I'm having these new tinnitus sounds. She upped the levels a bit, made the 3rd slot to be 100% ComPilot only so I can listen to music (or whatever I'm using the ComPilot with) without also having to hear anything else around me. Yay!  Since the computer was so slow, we just did 3 programs on the Naidas, and we'll go from there with more upped levels when I see her again in April when she plans on coming up to Wyoming.  She did a quick hearing test on me in the sound booth, where I scored around 83% with just the right ear alone in speech comprehension with sentences. Not too bad! Higher frequency parts during the sentences I struggled with, but we'll keep slowly upping the levels as time goes on.

Mom and I went to lunch at the hospital cafeteria, then came back to the clinic for my appointment with the doctor. We talked about the new tinnitus sounds, and he wonders if there's some inflammation going on. The inflammation could also explain the off impedance results audie observed as well.  He looked in my ears, said everything looked good.  Called in a prescription for steroids, in hopes that would help if there is inflammation contributing to the tinnitus. He mentioned 2 different options, steroids, or diuretics.  Says usually get quicker results with the steroids, and only 5 days; whereas with diuretics takes longer to see results and one would have to take it for longer as well. So starting with steroids. Also requested to see me again in April. Wait what? Ok then.

Started the steroids on Friday after we got back home.  Got back into town around 3, so I was able to go to Walgreens to pick up the prescription, and also run out to the vet to pick up my dog from boarding. Yay!  Am almost done with the steroids treatment course, and so far no real changes with the tinnitus that I've noticed.  I'll finish off the doses and give it a bit more time, and keep in touch with the clinic.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Right ear is activated!

Activated and rolling!  We got to the clinic bright and early, mom was just far too efficient and on the ball.  Finally the clinic opened their door and we sat in the waiting room for a bit.  Audiologist came out and got us, and led us to her office.  Started with unpacking some of the stuff from the Naida kit.  Both Naidas came out, and we started programming one for the left ear first.  Took the headpiece off the Harmony and attached it to the left Naida, no big deal.  Got the left Naida programmed, and then started on the right one.  Went through the whole process of checking each electrode and setting comfort levels and all that fun jazz, and then she turned it on.  Oh man, the whole world sounds weird!  I did hear right off the bat, but everything had a high-pitched quality to it, like as if everyone (and everything) has sucked in some helium from balloons.  Audiologist kept making some tweaks here and there, and eventually got 5 programs installed onto the right Naida (P1 is what I'm currently using, P2 is same as P1 but with UltraZoom; P3 is louder P1; P4 is P3 with UZ; and P5 is louder P3).  Left Naida is essentially programmed the same as the Harmony, so P1 is normal, P2 is with UZ (P3 & P5 are the same as P1, P4 is same as P2).  Confusing isn't it?  Left ear is stabilized and I wasn't too concerned about making any tweaks/adjustments.  She also reprogrammed the Neptune to be used as a back-up for my right ear (same P1, P3, and P5 programs from the Naida).  Also, each of my Naidas has 2 sets of programs so it can go on either ear.  And my right Naida is already at IDR 70.  Audiologist wanted the IDR to be the same with both processors, and since I'm at 70 on the left, she boosted me up from 60 to 70 on the right.  I'm able to tolerate it so I was fine with that.

starting with the left ear first!
ready to get the right one going

whoa that sounds weird

We discussed upcoming MAPping appointments.  She would like to see me before Christmas if possible, but is aware of Wyoming's crazy weathers during the season so there is no guarantees we'll make it down.  Will see though.  She said she was even willing to get me in during a weekend, not a problem.  And if we absolutely can not make it down, I can always Fed-Ex a Naida to her so she can boost the levels.  Also said to definitely schedule an appointment with her when I schedule an appointment with the surgeon for 3 months out, not a problem.  We also checked to make sure the ComPilot was working, which it was, then we were sent out to wait for my appointment with the surgeon. 

Did a bit of waiting, I was called back, spoke with the surgeon's assistance (we talked about the vertigo and that it was indeed resolved, etc.).  Then more waiting, until the surgeon came in.  Talked about the recovery, the vertigo set back, he checked my ear, took stitches out... I brought up my concern of the top part of the incision looking off, and he said it looked fine to him.  Okie dokie.  Said to see him in 3 months, and then off to the scheduler's office I went.  Scheduled for January to see both surgeon and audiologist (follow-up to make sure ear still healed up nicely, and another MAPping).

Done, and done!  Mom and I hit the road to head back home!  At one point, I tried fiddling with the ComPilot, but couldn't get it to work, oh well.  We got back into town before 4:30, so I even had time to go to the ASL class at the college.  I did finally get the ComPilot to work after class at home, with my laptop!
the AB goodies!

all the parts and pieces in a box

marked, so I know this headpiece has 2 magnets (for the right side)

Now that it's been a few days, things still have that helium quality sound.  But then again, since I have been sick in the last few days, I haven't always been wearing my processors. I was sick and tired and miserable and just didn't care if I heard or not.  Now that I'm feeling better, I'm ready to do some auditory rehabilitation and hoping the helium quality fades away soon enough and things start sounding more normal.  The day after activation, when I was back at work, I got sick of listening to the air conditioning that I had to take the right Naida off for a bit (sounded like an ongoing whistling/feedbacking that wouldn't stop!).  Wind sounds like whistling, even my own breathing sounds like whistling.  Ahh, annoying!  At times I temporarily forget I now have a right cochlear implant, and I get to thinking "why is my hearing aid feedbacking so much?" and go to adjust it, then I remember "oh that's just the implant sounding weird!"  It's been a weird adjustment period.  But it'll get better!  Just wish the high pitched/helium quality will go away already, I'm quite annoyed with that by now. 

my activation video!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Vertigo is no fun!

Thursday morning, I got up and was about when I had a small sneezing fit. Shortly after that, I started to feel light headed and wondered what was going on, and hoped it would pass soon enough. I kept drinking my juice, hoping it would help. Nope, soon enough I was dizzy. I got dizzy enough to the point that I was steady on my feet anymore, and at times it felt like the room was spinning. Aw man!  I had to text my boss and let her know I probably wouldn't make it to work if the dizziness didn't let up. I went back to bed and slept some more. Still ultra dizzy when I got up again later. Basically, as long as I stayed still, I was ok. Texted myom so she knew what was happening. She called Kelsall's office and texted back with an email address for me. I emailed Kelsall's assistant and told her what was going on. Soon enough the office called in a couple of prescriptions to the local Walgreens that I use. Mom got the prescriptions for me. I started taking them, and just took it easy while camping out on my recliner once again. As each day pAssed, I felt better and better! Glad it was a short enough spell, it certainly wasn't any fun to deal with.

Am currently back in Denver today. Will be activated tomorrow first thing in the morning, then see Kelsall for the post op. Definitely looking forward to tomorrow!

Denver Deaf Expo!

Went to the Deaf Expo in Denver on Saturday with a friend, and I had a great time! There were a variety of booths, demonstrating different technologies, selling a variety of items, and sharing information. Matt "The Hammer" Hammill had a booth of his own as well, selling and autographing his merchandise and doing photos with fans. Friend and I had fun wandering around and checking things out. There were various presentations going on. Purple and Sorensen gave away prizes to winners ( they did various games/contests for the prizes, and Purple really put on a great show with their games! Lots of laughs and entertainment from the Purple crew! One game consisted of contestants wrapping the Purple assistants in toilet paper and I was glad I didn't volunteer for that with my recent vertigo episode). I got my picture taken with The Hammer and bought a couple of things at the Expo.  Now to incorporate this experience into my dead socials paper at the end of the semester for ASL class....

I really had a great time and am glad I went! Friend and I had a nice road trip, and a nice lunch at the Old Spaghetti Factory with an ASL teacher and 2 ASL students that made the trek down for the Expo. Good times!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Tea kettle, BEGONE!

Seriously, is there a tea kettle in my ear now?  That's all I seem to hear lately out of the right ear, a tea kettle whistling.  It's just tinnitus, but it's quite annoying!  24/7, it's random ringing or whistling.

Recovery still going ok.  Mostly just taking ibuprofen for pain, and have use an ice pack a few times to try to help with the pain too.  Still camping out on my recliner at home.

Did my first post-op sneezes a couple nights ago, and that was no fun.  3 sneezes at first, followed by 2 more.  Auugghh!  Allergies are horrible, seriously.  Still haven't blown my nose yet though, so that's good.  I remember when I first tried blowing my nose after the first CI surgery, and feeling a pop sensation.  Yeah, don't want to experience that again.

Got the iPod with me at work, in hopes that the music will keep my mind occupied and I won't focus so much on the tinnitus whistling sounds.  Right now it's a combination of music from the iPod and ringing/whistling.  Weird.   One more week, and the new CI will be activated and I will have the Naida CI processors!  And the stitches will be gone!

Friday, October 17, 2014


 I now have two cochlear implants, bilateral bionic ears! Now I just have to wait until the 28th to get the new one activated and get my Naida CI processors programmed. Can't wait!

We left late Monday morning and made it to Denver around 4ish. Got checked into the hotel and hangout for a bit. Visited with an aunt and cousin, then we all had dinner at Piccolos. Mm tasty dinner! I sure was stuffed when we finished dinner. Made a quick stop at King Soopers for a few things, then headed back to the hotel for the night.

Got woken up bright and early, ew. I got dressed, joined mom and stepdad downstairs and had a small bowl of yogurt. Went back up to room for a bit, then we headed out. Drove round for a bit until stepdad dropped me and mom off at Swedish Hospital area. Mom and I went up to the CI clinic, I checked in, and we waited... And waited.... And waited even more. An apprentice audiologist called me back and it was decided I didn't need a new hearing test, since my last  one was in August and I hadn't noticed any changes in hearing. Back to the waiting room and waited some more. 

Surgeon's assistance called me back and led me to an exam room. I answered her questions, then she left. I waited even more until Dr. Kelsall came in. We talked, discussed the plan, that sort of thing. I didn't have any questions for him to answer since I had already done all this once. He did say he would try to put the new implant in a similar spot as my left, try to make them symmetrical, but no guarantees. Fine, that's understandable. Then I was taken to the surgery scheduler's office. Was given a copy of the paperwork I had filled out, post op instructions, and prescriptions. Then I was sent on my way. 

Mom and I headed over to the hospital for the pre-admit/pre-op appointment. Checked in, we quickly checked out the gift shop, and then I was led to an office. Handed over drivers license and insurance cards, answered questions, yada yada yada. Then was led to pre-admit clinic. Waited a bit, nurse came and got me. She is a bit hard of hearing herself, and was completely understanding of my need to be able to lip read her. Went over medical history, confirming I am getting a right cochlear implant, that sort of thing. Then she prepped for. Blood draw. I warned her that I could be a tricky stick. She checked my right arm first and didn't see anything. Moved onto the left and she found a vein. She stuck me, which hurt! Two vials of blood taken, then I was done.

Mom and I walked over to the Walgreens inside the other end of a medical building on the campus to get the scripts filled.  Mom called stepdad to see where he was, he was still getting his haircut. Alrighty then, mom and I walked over to The Copper Pot across the street for lunch, since we were starved! Had some southern grilled cheese sandwiches and split a Mac and cheese. Lunch was excellent! More phone calls, stepdad now on his way. Mom and I went back across the street to wait. Got picked up and we went back to the hotel for a bit. Hung out in downtown Denver for a while with the cousin, and ended up having dinner at Fado's Irish Pub. Shepherds pie was awesome, mmm! Then back to the hotel for the night.

Wednesday morning, bright and early, mom got me up. I got ready and played with my iPad until it was time to head over to the hospital. Drove to the hospital and went up to the third floor. I got checked in and didn't have to wait for too long until a nurse got me. I followed her to the pre-op area, and got changed. Answered more questions, another nurse took vitals and got an IV started in my right hand. She made a bit of a mess of my hand ice, and both nurses tried to figure out how to best secure the line, since it was kind of a funky place to stick the IV. She mentioned it looked dangerous, where it was! Haha. They got it secured as best as they could, and I had to lay back for a bit as I was feel queasy. Started feeling better again and was sat up again. Mom and stepdad were brought back and we hung out. Kelsall stopped by for a few minutes, wrote his initials on my right ear, then he was on his way. Anesthesiologist came in, spoke with us, then went to check on the OR. An OR nurse came and got me, and I was taken to the OR. I scooched over to the table, and the nurses got me all strapped down while the anesthesiologist worked her magic. I was out!


marked and ready to go!

Woke up in recovery some time later, head and ear hurting, and still feeling drowsy. Nurse gave me an injection for the pain, andu dozed in and out for a bit. Then I was given some ice chips, oh that was nice. Also noticed a sock was off my right foot. Was helped to the bathroom, then into the wheeled recliner to be taken to the post recovery area. Mom and stepdad were brought back. Nurse went over instructions with mom, and I asked if I was getting a copy of the x-ray. She told my stepdad where to go to get the X-ray and he went and got it! Should be interesting to see this X-ray. Then he went to get the truck while I changed back into my clothes and was wheeled down. Pre-op nurse even came by to check on me real quick too, which was nice of her. Was wheeled down to stepdad's truck, loaded in, and off to the hotel we went. Off and on I would doze off some more, feel like I would be getting sick, meh.  Mom was concerned and kept watching over me, making sure I was ok.  Aunt sent over some munchies with my stepdad when he went to go get something for him and mom to eat. I tried a saltine cracker, ick.  Mouth was much too dry, the cracker just crumbled everywhere in my mouth. I eventually did have a few small bites of ice cream, then I crashed out after taking more Dramamine to help with nausea.  Rest of the night was fine, got up only once to use bathroom.  Played with iPad for a bit while I waited for the vicodin to kick in, then went back to sleep.

heading back to the hotel
Thursday morning, up and at them.  I slowly got up and dressed, packed up my stuff, and hung out.  Eventually we all loaded up the truck and checked out, and were on the road again.  We drove straight home, no stops anywhere. Yay, home sweet home!  well, it was mom and stepdad's home but home nonetheless. Mom helped me get the headwrap off, and oh did that feel good!  Ear was free and able to breathe.  Had some Wisconsin cheese soup, which was pretty tasty, and some crackers with peanut butter.  Eventually mom did take me to my apartment, as I really wanted to be in my home, camping out in my recliner, full control of my TV, that sort of thing. I can always text mom if  I need anything. Yep, nice to be at home where I can be comfortable and relax.  Even popped in the disc from Radiology with the X-rays, and they're pretty cool to look at.

on the road!

free of the headwrap! 

I did finally get some homework done for the online computer class today, and will do bits of other homework here and there.  Have a review paper I need to do for psychology, which I should get started on.  I have the article I want to review saved, just need to read through it, make notes and that sort of thing.

Not feeling too bad.  Still some minor pains and aches from the right ear/head area, which is to be expected.  Have had tinnitus 24/7, no surprise there.  I kind of figured I'd have all this tinnitus going on.  For a while last night it sounded like a tea kettle was whistling, that was fun.  So far so good, just taking it easy, taking the antibiotics every 6 hours, and the vicodin as needed.  Can't wait until October 28th to get the right implant activated!