Wednesday, July 29, 2015


It's been ages since I've posted! Things have been insane since the last update, which was... well I don't even remember.  I still plan on posting about the Academic Bowl trips with photos attached and all that jazz.  I just need some more time in my day it seems.

I've been let go from my newspaper job in late May. That was a shocking surprise, but once I got over the shock, I was okay with it. I have been unhappy for a while there, so now I had no choice but to get serious about job hunting. So job hunting I did!  Of course, it was awkward.  Being deaf and trying to get jobs can be tricky.  The jobs always want to call when they want to set up interviews and such.  I'm still not ready to handle phone calls, and just about went out of my mind trying to figure out a solution for this.  I use the Sprint IP Relay app on my iPhone, but relay calls can be slow and awkward, especially when the caller isn't sure how to deal with it. I downloaded a couple of different captioned call apps, and decided to give Hamilton a shot. I absolutely wish InnoCaption was up and running again, they were truly the best app, with real live operators and the captions didn't lag much.  Anyway, I did the best I could with my job hunt. Did a few interviews, only to either not be hired or never heard back.

I did set up an appointment for a mock interview through the local vocational rehab. That was a complete disaster. I wasn't feeling all too well that day though, with my back hurting and my mind being all out of place. Came home feeling depressed and hopeless, only to get a call from Walmart saying they wanted to do an interview for the very next day. Okay! Did the interview the next day, then waited for the call back about orientation. Never did get that phone call, so I called them and found out they had tried to call me to no avail. Dang! But I made it to orientation and have been working at Walmart since around mid-June. The department managers are nice and understanding, and willing to answer any questions I have and work with me.  There have certainly been incidents where I just plain cannot make sense of what some customers want, even when they act it out. Those are always tricky, and I always feel bad that I can't make sense of what they want. But I'm working hard at Walmart, and doing the best I can to help customers when they need help. There have even been several mis-hearings as well (pinto beans or pickled beets? massager or mixed nuts? 16 or 60?). I stock shelves in the consumables department, which I am happy with.  It's pretty much a full time schedule (scheduled for 40 hours a week), 5 days on, 2 days off each week.

Soon, Walmart will not be my only job. I was contacted by someone at the state department of education, and she told me she was creating a couple of part time positions at the local Library Services for the Deaf and HoH. Awesome! For a few years, the library resource specialist and I have talked of going through the old photos and files and doing some archiving, but it just never happened.  But soon, the archiving project will finally get started! Not only will I be working on the archiving, I'll also be helping with the coaching of the Deaf Academic Bowl students, and doing community sign language classes with the other person who is taking the second part time contract position. There will probably be other tasks as well, but these are the three I'm aware of at this time.  I'm really looking forward to getting started with this job! They will work around my Walmart schedule, so that'll be nice. And for the fall semester, I only have one class on campus and the rest are being done online, so that shouldn't be an issue with working around my college schedule.

Also, after the visit to Gallaudet University in April for the National Deaf Academic Bowl, I started reconsidering the idea of attending Gallaudet... and filled out an application and sent it in. Gallaudet University has a Deaf Studies program, which really grabbed my attention. I have always been fascinated with Deaf Culture, Deaf history, and American Sign Language. I figured this program would be right up my ally, and it can be done online! Score!  Weeks went by, with emails back and forth with the admissions office at Gallaudet, and my having to gather transcripts and information and a video of why I want to join the program, etc., I finally got the acceptance notice.  I got the acceptance notice in email one day, and the official acceptance packet from UPS at my door the next morning! I was definitely very giddy with glee at the acceptance! After reading the acceptance letter, I also found out I could get a scholarship, which is amazing! I followed up with Admissions, and it turns out the scholarship is if I attend Gallaudet on campus, there are no scholarships for doing the program online. Well shoot. I was counting on staying at home, continuing with my job at Walmart so I can pay my bills, and doing Deaf Studies online. I'll just have to figure out a way to pay, see if there are any scholarships out there, see if FAFSA would continue to help (I've been receiving the Pell Grant for 5 semesters, and possibly again for this fall semester at the local college), etc. I already know Vocational Rehab won't be able to help as I just saw my counselor yesterday. Ah well, I'll figure out something somehow.  For now, I'll focus on finishing up my last semester at the local college and getting m Associates degree in General Studies, and going from there.  I do would like to spend at least one semester on campus at Gallaudet, just so I can get the full experience. Doing so, I would be able to see more of Washington, D.C., something I have been wanting to do for a while.

I'm most definitely going to be one busy gal soon enough!  Well, I'm already busy enough with my Walmart job, but I'll just be even busier when the library job starts and the fall semester starts. Yay! Here's to hoping I don't completely 100% lose my mind at some point :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Just had a tune up!

CI audiologist came up from Denver this past weekend, yahoo!  I was so worried she was going to come up towards the end of April, while I was in Washington D.C. with the Wyoming deaf academic bowl team for the nationals.  Whew!  Saw her at about 9:30 in the morning and made some adjustments to both processors.  We were able to significantly increase the higher frequency levels on the right processor (they are still a little low but we're getting there!), and increased the volume all across the levels a bit.  Ahh, much better.  More higher frequencies turned up means I will be able to pick up on more speech sounds that uses the higher frequencies.  We turned things up a bit with the left processor as well, and did Program 2 on both with UltraZoom and ClearVoice High.  Audiologist also enabled the setting so that I can just push a button on one processor and both Naidas will chance settings at the same time.  Much better!  Couldn't do any testing, for some reason the speakers in the sound booth weren't working.  Maybe next time I see her.  Still using just 3 program slots on my Naidas, which I'm happy with.  Program 1 is usual everyday program, 2 is for noisy situations, and 3 is 100% compilot.  Could have added 2 more, but it takes a while to cycle through the programs on the Naidas (there's a delay when changing programs, which I do not like).

Yesterday, I went to get some lunch for mom and myself.  We agreed on Dairy Queen, so off I went.  I didn't really want to get out of the car to get the lunch, so I decided to give the drive-thru a try.  First time I've ever used the drive-thru at a fast-food joint, and it was a success!  I was able to understand the speaker with no issues.  I was giddy when I got back to the house with our lunches and told mom all about it.  Yay!  Usually I just park and go inside to order to go.  But not on Monday!  I may start using the drive-thru more often at certain places.  Probably not McDonald's, they have 2 lanes for the ordering process and that just seems confusing.  Mom says she has a hard time at McDonald's because of the 2 lanes (speakers are loud so it's hard to tell which speaker is going off), so I'll avoid their drive-thru.

WYHI is this coming Friday.  Except, I won't be at WYHI.  The Wyoming deaf academic bowl team will be gathering at the library to practice for the nationals (we leave NEXT weekend for D.C.!), so I'll be at the library since I'm a co-coach (will do a write up about DAB in a separate post).  I'm pretty excited about going back to D.C., as I've been wanting to go back and visit, and appreciate D.C. more now than I did the 2 times I went as a child.  Wyoming Families for Hands & Voices is also doing a Family Fun Night this coming Thursday evening as well, and I'll probably go after ASL class, since I'm on the board.  Why not?  Might be fun!  Don't plan on going to the open-caption movie Friday afternoon for WYHI.  Not a movie I want to see, and I have 2 appointments that day so I'd be better off going to work for the afternoon and going to my 3 p.m. appointment.  Friday shall be a busy day!

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!