Thursday, December 13, 2012

ASL Silent Dinner

I went to an ASL Silent Dinner tonight, which one of the ASL instructor's put on at the On The Border restaurant. I've never been to this sort of thing before, so it was a first for me.  I've been wanting to socialize more, so thought this dinner would be fun.  At first I wasn't too sure what it was going to be like.. Knowing me, I prefer to speak. I use sign too, but I still usually end up using my voice while I'm also signing. But tonight, I managed to keep my voice turned off. This dinner was for ASL students' benefit, to use their ASL skills they've learned, without using their voice, and having the opportunity to interact with deaf individuals that were invited and showed up. Three of us that are deaf showed up. It was quite fun! At first, I felt a bit awkward being there. I've always been a pretty shy person, but I do want to come out of my shell. Only way to do that is to get out there, and socialize!  It was just a really fun experience, and I most definitely will like to attend future ASL Silent Dinners. I think there's another one in May so hopefully I'll be able to attend again. Just fun seeing the ASL students communicating in sign with one another and having a conversation. Even the waitress that waited on us was an ASL student at a local high school, so even she got plenty of practice tonight!

Off topic: I did pick up on a "new" sound with my implant after I left work.  Emergency vehicle sirens. I was pulling to a stop in the left turn lane at a red light, and up ahead an ambulance and a fire truck was approaching the intersection and making a right turn. I heard the sirens with just the implant on! I've heard sirens with the hearing aid in the past (but only when the emergency vehicles are really close by). I didn't hear them until they were right at the intersection making the turn. It wasn't very loud, kind of quiet really.  Not as high pitched either, but that's just how it is with my implant at this time.  I was at a wedding last night too, and they had bells for the guests to ring for the bride and groom.  The bell is high pitched with the hearing aid, but not as high with the implant. It's just fun to find different things that make sounds and compare them with the hearing aid and with the implant.


I finally got registered for 2 our of 3 classes at the local college! I was supposed to go to the college on the afternoon of Nov. 30 to meet with an advisor and to get registered. Well, unfortunately, there was a murder-suicide that happened on campus in a classroom that morning, so all events and classes for the rest of the day were cancelled.  I was then scheduled to see the disabilities coordinator last Thursday afternoon... That got rescheduled as well. So finally I saw the disabilities coordinator today and got registered. I was planning to take an Elementary Algebra course redesign class, English Basic Skills 2, and Medicial Terminology.  Medical Terminology was all full, but I am on the wait list in case a spot opens up. So for now, it looks like it'll be two classes for the Spring 2013 semester. The disabilties coordinator and I also talked of using the captioning service for at least the English class, and got a plan wrote up and signed off on.  The math class is mostly done on the computer at my own pace, with some video lectures (which has captioning), so I really only need accommodations for the English class. No interpreter, I think the captioning will be enough.  I do better when I can read the text, the signing just doesn't stick with me.

The disabilities coordinator did type up a letter to send to the English instructor of why I needed the captioning accommodation, mentioning that I just recently got my cochlear implant and need the captioning for support.  He asked me a bit about my implant and how I was doing, how does it compare to the hearing aid, etc. 

Now I just need to meet with my Vocational Rehab. counselor next week and actually sign my plan, and hopefully get an FM unit ordered as well. And I see the disabilities coordinator at the college again the week before classes start so he can get me set up with the captioning device. Cool beans!

Monday, December 10, 2012

latest going ons

This morning, I headed over to the local college to the ASL Class Christmas Party. I only just found out about it on Friday, and the instructor said anyone from the deaf community were welcome to come by. I thought why not! I need to get out and socialize more. So I went!

And not once did I turn on my hearing aid the whole time. Shoot, I haven't touched the hearing aid the entire day today.  I did fairly well at the party with just the CI alone.  But then, it was an ASL class so people were signing.  I did see an old friend from middle school there, she's been taking the ASL class. Awesome! We chatted for a little while, which was fun, and hopefully we can keep in touch via Facebook. I chatted with a few other students there too. One is the son of an audiologist in town, and he was curious about my implant.  It was just fun.  I did have to ask for repeats here and there, but everyone was fine with that.  I'm glad I went!  Also, on Thursday evening, another ASL instructor (from a nearby town) is doing an ASL Silent Dinner at a Mexican restaurant too, and she has invited deaf folks to come as well so the students can interact with Deaf folks using ASL. I plan on going.

I did also stop by the deaf school library to visit with Jo.  I haven't seen her in maybe 2 months, so it's been a while. We had a nice time chatting and visiting. And she even pulled up an email which contained a link to an interview of a few deaf employees of Boeing (here's the link in case you want to watch, it's pretty interesting to watch!  One of my longest time friends works for Boeing! I had no idea he worked on the planes, so it was interesting to watch the video. She also asked me if I would email her twin brother about the cochlear implant, as he's possibly thinking of getting one and his place of employment's insurance would help pay for it. So I'll have to send him an email and answer any questions he may have.

Monday, November 26, 2012

What was that sound?!

On Saturday morning, I headed over to the mall to meet up with my mom and sister to do a little shopping. Mostly we were trying to find something to wear to my step-brother's wedding next month.  We hit up a variety of stores at the mall, browsed around, found something here and there.  At one point, we ended up at Payless to look at shoes. Found a pair of shoes that I could wear for the wedding, which mom bought for me.  While we were at Payless though, I was hearing this high pitched type of sound. I asked mom and sister what the sound was, but they didn't hear it. I was starting to think maybe it was just the tinnitus in my right ear.  After mom purchased my shoes, we went back out into the mall and were waiting on my sister.  There was a Salvation Army person ringing a bell in front of Sears.  Aha! That was it! It was the bell I was hearing. Mom told her about my implant and that I was hearing the bell inside Payless, and she thought that was pretty neat. She rang the bell for me and that was definitely what I was hearing. My sister was impressed that I could hear it in Payless, which was quite a distance away from the bell.  Mystery solved! That was pretty cool though.

I also was hearing my mom's car keys and remotes hitting each other and making noise. The little things I'm picking up on! Pretty amazing technology!

Monday, October 29, 2012

I now have the T-Comm!

I was oh so very rudely awaken by my dog at about noonish today.  I was oh so cozy in my bed, dreaming away, when all of a sudden I was hearing my dog barking up a storm and he was also bouncing all over my bed. BRYAN!!! STOP! Then I realized he must've been excited due to someone being at the door. So I bolted upright, jumped out of bed and fled to the front door. Grabbed hold of Bryan's collar so he couldn't attack whoever was at the door, took a quick peek through the peephole... Hey it's Fed-Ex Man! Opened the door, gave him my signature and took the package from him. Yay! My T-Comm has arrived!

Fed-Ex Man left so I closed the door.  I didn't tear into the package just yet though. I had to feed the dog and get myself together.  After I had gotten dressed, I then opened the packaging, and started assembling the T-Comm with the Neptune processor.  Found my spare headpiece (which was still new in its original box), found a spare Harmony headpiece cable, got the Neptune and the UHP neptune cable out of the Neptune case, and got everything plugged in where they needed to go.  Then of course I had to fight with the Neptune a bit, to get the Control to sync. Finally, it synced! I ran over to my computer, pulled up iTunes and found all of my random cables/etc that I use for listening to music. I wanted to try the T-coil setting, so I tried the MusicLink telecoil earhook.  Heard nothing.. uuhh.. Got my headphones out and tried that. Still nothing.  Checked the volume on my computer and it wasn't registering the music playing from iTunes. My desktop is a little funny about that sometimes, so I shut down iTunes and opened it back up again. Then finally I was able to hear the music!  Switched out to the telecoil earhook again, aww yeah! It was great!

the T-comm in its packaging

found a spare magnet from one of my headpieces that is broken... nice!

Neptune with the T-Comm, and the Harmony

T-Comm on the ear

Now I need to find my Phonak FM unit so I can experiment with the FM set up again with the Neptune and T-Comm.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The T-comm!

The T-comm accessory for the Neptune processor from Advanced Bionics is now available in the United States and Canada! There's an introductory price of $150 now until April, then it'll be $300.  You'll need a headpiece with a BTE cable, a T-mic and a UHP cable to use with the T-comm.  I'm pretty excited!  I already have one ordered, and from my understanding, you can use it right away without having to program the Neptune to use it (and it can also be used with the PSP processor as well).  The T-comm also has telecoil built into it, ready for use as well. Pretty cool!  The T-mic capability will definitely come in handy when I use the FM on the Neptune in college. I'm definitely looking forward to using the T-comm!

Also, the T-comm comes in the same 3 colors as the Harmony; dark sienna, silver and beige.  Check out these spy photos of the T-comm from the HLAA convention in June. There's a switch on the T-comm so you can use T-coil alone, T-coil + T-mic, or T-mic alone. When you use the T-comm, the headpiece mic will be disabled and the T-mic will take over. You cannot use an aux only program with the T-comm.

Call or email AB's customer service to order a T-comm (or 2 if you're bilateral) at 877.839.0036 or

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


On Sunday, I was over at my mom's house hanging out a bit. And helping her and my stepdad clean out their garage a bit. Boy, there was a bunch of sounds! Mom opened the garage, oh that was loud. Things got moved around (and some of the things being moved were quite noisy and loud!), taken inside and put into the storage room downstairs, swept up, etc. Eventually the floor was cleaned off and stepdad was hosing it down and getting all the dirt out.  Mom and I had also started making some plans on Halloween decorations as well, figuring out what to put out, where will everything go, etc.  At one point, I was looking at the leaves on the ground, and then started steping on them. Oh, I heard that! It sounded kind of like a crinkley kind of sound I thought. So I kept finding more leaves to step on so I could listen. Then mom went over to the pile of leaves next to the house and stepped in the pile. That was really noisy! I preferred the sound of stepping on individual leaves.

Yesterday, Allison the audiologist came to town to do mapping appointments with her clients. This is her third visit here, and yesterday was quite busy for her! More people are coming here now to see her, which is great. And she still stops in Cheyenne too. Anyway, I got to work and noticed I had an email message from someone at the implant center saying Allison had a cancellation and if I could see her at noon. Oops, it was 12:30 then. Nope, I'll stick with the 4:30, but was asked to arrive at 4:15. No problem! I got to the Special Education building by maybe 4ish, I forget. Chatted with a mother and her daughter a bit while they were waiting for the daughter's appointment time with Allison. They saw her, and my good friend Jo showed up. She's been wanting to see one of my appointments, so I let her know when my appointment was, so she could come if she wanted. And she came. She also peeked in on the daughter's appointment, since she knew of the mother and daughter. Soon enough, it was my turn! Allison did a quick beep/tone test with my implant on, and then made some adjustments to my MAPs. No major changes. She just brought up some of the lower frequencies. The higher frequencies were left alone. She said she could write a letter stating I need an FM unit for college if needed, she's very supportive of that.

I'm still waiting to hear back from the hearing aid audiologist's office about the pricing of the FM unit. I stopped by on Friday and left a piece of paper with the assistant with the specific FM transmitter and receiver I was looking at so she could get the pricing information, and wrote down my email address for her. Still haven't heard anything yet.  I'll give it a few more days. Hopefully I'll hear back soon enough so I can get the information to vocational rehab.

I also have contacted the head of the math department at the college about my Compass test scores, and of my Algebra experience in the past. She said there is a 0920 course redesign, which is self-accelerated and I could possibly get both Elementary and Intermediate Algebra done in one semester. I could work quickly through the more simpler stuff, spend a bit more time on the stuff that I have trouble with. I contacted one of the instructors that deals with the course redesign for more information, and I'm considering taking this course next semester. I think it'll be right up my alley.  I have forgotten a lot of the elementary algebra, but I'm sure I can pick up on it quickly enough. Slowly making progress with college plans!

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Vocational Rehab says they may be able to help with the costs on the FM unit for college.  I'm looking at the Inspirio transmitter from Phonak, and the ML10i receiver to use with my Naida hearing aid.  I already have an MLx receiver at home, which I used with my Supero hearing aid. I have tested it with the Neptune processor a few months ago, and it worked well.  My HandyMic transmitter is too old, and doesn't even hold a charge anymore. I first got it in 2000/01 when I got my Claro hearing aid (and it's been replaced a couple of times too). I didn't really quite like it enough for classroom use (after using it in different classes in 9th grade), so it was mostly used for listening to music with.  But with the Inspirio, it should be a better system.  I also have a Comtek FM unit at home as well, but the receiver is a bit beat up and I don't have a T-coil mode on my implant processors. Plus, I would rather use actual FM receivers instead of T-coil, you just never know if there will be electronic interferences on T-coil mode, which can interfere with listening to the instructors at college!

I have called my hearing aid audie's office and asked about costs, and the receptioninst said she would have the audie's assistant get back to me on the information. Hopefully I'll hear from them soon enough.  CI audie Allison did mention in an email that the cost for both FM and receiver would be around $2400. Once I have the cost info, I'll let my vocational rehab counselor know and we'll take it from there.

Will be doing the Compass test at the college at about 5 today. I went earlier, but found out they are doing some construction in the Compass testing room. So they told me to come back at about 5 to take it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Figuring out my life

Lately I've been trying to figure out what to do with myself. Last month I had an appointment with a counselor at the local Vocational Rehab. to discuss the possibilty of going back to college.  Since then, I've slowly been thinking things out, and trying to make plans.  I would like to head back to college starting next semester, with a goal of going for the radiography program. The radiography (x-rays) program combines my interests of medical, photography and technology. And it's a 2-year program, which I think I can handle. I've also been in contact with the local college's disabilities coordinator getting some more ideas and suggestions as well.  I found out I'd need to take at least 3 math classes, an english class, and some health related type classes before I can even apply for the radiography program.  Pre-calc is a prerequisite for the program, so I'd need to have Elementary and Intermediate Algebra.  I've already done Elementary several years ago, and passed it, but it's been too long so I'd have to retake it (and started to take Intermediate, but the class I ended up in was more fast paced and I just got lost yikes).  I plan to go to the college on Thursday morning to take the Compass test as the Admissions office needs that on file. I also have filled out an application for FAFSA and for college admissions as well.  Vocational Rehab will work with me on my goals.

I do know the college has CART (captioning) for use for students, and I plan to use this accommodation in the classes I take. I don't think I'll ask for an interpreter. Having an interpreter isn't always useful/helpful for me, but seeing the actual words/text will. So I think CART will be great! Really wish the college had CART when I tried college several years ago. May try an FM system too, if I can get a hold of one. I should ask if Vocational Rehab. would help with this. Don't know if the college will have a unit I could use with both hearing aid and CI. Got some things I need to inquire about, or figure out!

I'm pretty eager to get things going, and really do hope I can get into the radiography program.  The program's application process takes place in February of each year, so hopefully by 2014 I'll be ready to apply. I also looked into the Occupational Therapist Assistant program as well, but I think I'm still leaning for radiography.  Hmm!

X-ray ideo of CI electrode going into a cochlea

This is a pretty neat video! It's an x-ray video of a Med-el cochlear implant electrode going into a cochlea.  Check it out!

I think this is pretty darn cool!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Angel Sound

Here's a closer look at the Angel Sound Training auditory rehab tool available for download:

different module options

auditory training similar to Sound and Way Beyond

noise module

melodic module

open onset module

music module
Angel Sound Training has a lot more to offer in terms of auditory training than Sound and Way Beyond, including more advanced sessions as well as an expanded music training section. Very useful!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Angel Sound

There is a new auditory rehab software that can be downloaded to your computer called Angel Sound. It is the new Sound and Way Beyond, with a bilateral training module, more advanced training modules and more.  And it seems like it's a free download as well, so that's a bonus!  I haven't tried it out yet, since I'm not at home at the moment.  But I will be downloading it to my laptop this evening and giving it a try, of course.  Just thought I'd share this for any folks with cochlear implants who are wanting more tools for their auditory rehab.  is the link. You can also email them and request a CD-rom of the software as well.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Snuggies! and more

I finally broke down and ordered a set of Snuggies from Advanced Bionics (on Wednesday). I was able to place the order through email with AB's Customer Service.  She emailed back a receipt that I had to sign and send back. Of course, I don't have access to a scanner at work so I got the fax number from her to fax the receipt back.  First attempt failed, but the second attempt went through.  She said she would get them shipped ASAP for Friday arrival.  Thursday, I got up and took my dog out only to trip over a Fed-Ex box under my welcome mat. Talk about quick shipping! Wow! 

I opened up one of the Snuggies (there's 3 in the set), and looked at it.  Too big!  Then I realized there was this little piece of plastic holding the ends of the plastic tube together to make the ring. Oohh.  I popped one end off, put it around my ear to "fit" it and cut off the excess.  There we go, now it fits!  Slipped one of the ring over the Harmony processor (which was tricky, as I had nail decor stickers on the side of it and the ring tried to move/knock some of them off).  Slipped smallest ring over the earhook (I had the Direct Connect earhook on the Harmony), attached a PowerCel battery to the Harmony and slipped the last ring over it and tried it on.  Yay!  I shouldn't have to worry about the Harmony falling off my ear now.

this is how the Snuggie looks on the Harmony.

on my ear
It works quite nicely.  Just taking me a bit of time to get used to putting the Harmony on and wrapping the Snuggie around the ear as well.  But it feels comfortable and that's all that matters.  Didn't want to have to resort to using an earmold to keep the processor on, as I didn't want to deal with an itchy/sore ear just from the mold.

And also, it seems like the PowerCel Plus battery lasts me maybe about 2 days.  I wore it most of the day yesterday, took the battery off last night without putting it on the charger, and put it back on today.  So far it's still going. Just thought I'd find out how long a single PowerCel lasts me just so I know.

Also, Thursday evening was the Hands & Voices Pizza Party at the deaf school building.  I only just found out about it the previous night when a parent posted a notice to our local deaf community's deaf social facebook page.  So I RSVP'd.  Why not? It'd be fun.  A few families were there. A mom with 2 kids who have bilateral AB implants, a mom with a daughter who has a Cochlear device, and another mom whose son has a Cochlear device as well. There was also a mom with a little baby, who is due to get some hearing aids next week.  Another family arrived after a while with a 3 month old baby girl who has hearing aids.  It was fun socializing with everyone, and watching the kids play. Some of them asked about my implant progress and what was this and that  like, etc.  The moms with the babies were asking about the implant too, wondering what it was like.

Cochlear Implant Online contest for Ear Gears!

Want a chance to win some free Ear Gears for your cochlear implant or hearing aid?  Go check out Cochlear Implant Online's page about the contest! Deadline to enter is August 25 at 5 p.m. EST, and is open to international readers.

To to the Gear for Ears website to see what selections they have available.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


On Monday, as I was leaving the post office down town, I heard a sound.  I thought it sounded like a helicopter, so I looked up towards the sky. At first I didn't see anything, so I kept searching.  I then spotted a helicopter not too far off. Amazing! Hearing the helicopter, and figuring it was the helicopter making the sound before locating the actual source, that's pretty awesome I thought. I didn't have my hearing aid turned on then either.

I think it was Sunday night when I decided to give the Amelia Bedelia audiobook another try on my laptop. Had the hearing aid turned off, and I was using headphones plugged into the laptop.  At first I couldn't figure out what was going on (turns out the person was doing a brief introduction at first). But then she started narrating the Amelia Bedelia story.  This audiobook CD has background music, so it's tricky.  But I was able to pick up on the 2nd page and keep up with the story.  I couldn't do that at all when I first tried back in April.  There are 3 more Amelia Bedelia stories on the CD, so I'll tackle those at some point.

Also, I did download a few free children's books from iTunes onto my iPod Touch.  A couple do not have audio with them, but the rest do.  I think I must have downloaded maybe five books.  I did listen to one so far, but haven't tried the others yet. I'll have to remember to look for "contains audio" when looking for more books to download to my iPod, as not all books will have audio.

Friday, July 27, 2012

I heard my watch tick!

After seeing some of the discussions from some Deaf folks on Tumblr (some of them have recently gotten cochlear implants), talking of what sounds they never heard before or don't remember hearing.... microwave going, clocks ticking, etc... someone even mentioned a watch ticking.  That got me thinking. I have a watch! I should see if I can hear it.

So today, I picked up my watch off my desk, held it up to the T-Mic on my Harmony processor, and waited. At first I didn't hear anything.  But I kept trying, and soon enough I heard a quiet "tick, tick, tick..."  Whoa!!!! Amazing! I got all excited and kept listening to the ticking for a few minutes.  Wow. I have NEVER heard a watch ticking, so it was a pretty exciting moment.

Friday, July 13, 2012

MAPping day

Yesterday, my alarm went off at 9 in the morning, my bed shaking me awake. Slowly got up, got dressed, got my dog fed and walked quickly... Grabbed all the stuff I had packed and threw them into the trunk of my car, then "stuffed" my dog into his crate in the backseat of my car and off we went! I took my dog to the vet and dropped him off for boarding, then went to work. Got the fire calls taken cared of first, then waited and waited for the rest of the public records to arrive.  Turns out the employee who picks up the public records from the police station was sitting in at court for a report. Whew, hadn't counted on her having to go to court, as my stepdad wanted for us to leave town at noon! Finally at about 11:30ish, we got the public records and I immediately got to work.  The boss took the easier two public records and I got the inmate roster and the police calls in.  Because Tuesday was a parade day and there were no public records then, I had 2 days worth of police calls from the local police department (and I should have gotten the Tuesday police calls on Wednesday instead of yesterday!).  Oh well.  It was barely noon when I got done and clocked out.  Pretty much ran out of the building, hopped into my car and headed to my mom and stepdad's house. Of course, it was lunch hour so there was quite a bit of traffic to deal with.

As soon as I parked my car in the driveway, I jumped out and grabbed my stuff and put them in stepdad's truck, then went inside the house to find mom and stepdad.  "It's about time!" Sorry!! We grabbed some lunch from Hardees and hit the road! Stopped off in Cheyenne to refuel and continued on our way. Made it into Denver after 4 and got checked in at the hotel, the same hotel we stayed at for my earlier CI-related appointments. Sat for a few minutes, then left to head to the salon step dad's sister works at. Did some waiting until the sister arrived. Stepdad wanted to get his hair cut and such and his sister is always happy to do the job. She cut my hair a bit too. She noticed I had some short hair on the left side from where the surgeon shaved the hair for the CI surgery. She also made sure I wasn't hurting anywhere around the ear either, she must've seen the bumps or grooves from the implant surgery.  No pain at all.  We all went to dinner at Piccolo and the food was great. Mom, step dad and I then headed back to the hotel for the night.  I went straight to "my room" (we always get a suite at this hotel), got my laptop out and just chilled.  Took me quite a while to get to sleep, even though I was tired.

Mom got me up bright and early today (8:30, really?). Got dressed/ready, yada yada, we grabbed all of our stuff, loaded up the truck and checked out.  Stepdad's sister told us to check out Duffeyrolls Cafe (or something like that), saying they had really good cinnamon rolls. So that was where we went.  The rolls weren't too bad.  Since we still had a bit of time to kill before my appointments at the CI center, we drove around for a bit. Even went into a sporting goods store (Sports Authority, was it?). Soon enough stepdad dropped mom and I off in front of the Swedish Hospital Medical Complex, and he took off to get some more flowers/items for the flower shop.  Mom and I headed in, I checked in, and we just hung out.  She flipped through some magazines, and I played with my ipod touch. One of the assistant audiologists took me back for a quick hearing test with the right ear. Then waited some more. Finally (at about 11:45 or so), I was called back to Dr. Kelsall's office (the whole office was running a bit late, since there had been quite a few drop-in's). Kelsall looked in my ears, made sure I didn't have any problems with the implant. Told him of my progress so far with the implant, haven't had any pain or aches lately. He was happy.  Then back to the waiting room.  Recognized a kid that arrived/checked in for his evaluation appointment from WYHI in May, and Mom and I chatted with him and his family for a bit. I showed him my CI equipment, since he was curious about it.

Allison then came out and got me, and told mom she could come back with us too. Mom was pretty excited about that. We were introduced to Allison's student, and while Allison was doing something out of her office, we talked with the student about my implant experience and how amazing the technology is and that sort of thing. It was fun.  Allison came back in, and we got to work! Talked of my progress, she checked both of my processors and they were working as they should. She also tested the T-mic to make sure it was still fully functional (well I would think it would, since I haven't used it for a few weeks due to using the Neptune).  Told her I was ready to go back to the Harmony, the Neptune's been driving me crazy.  The dials on the control gets messed with far too easily, I keep losing the headpiece often, I hear the hair brushing over the mic on the headpiece, etc.  She turned up the volume on the Harmony, then sent me to the sound booth with the student for a quick test with the implant on.  Push the button when I hear the tones, OK.  Slight improvements from the last test, but not much and Allison wasn't too happy with that.  But it's still early enough so I'll get there eventually.  She then did some more fine-tuning of the programs for my processors. Brought up all of the levels, turn up the bass levels, and put the same set of 3 programs on each processor. Excellent! At times when I would put the processor back on, it would be pretty loud at first until the ClearVoice kicks in.  I'm still at Medium for ClearVoice, which is fine with me.

Then we all went into the soundbooth since Allison wanted to see my progress with the implant.  She started off by having me hold a card with different pictures on it (ice cream cone, airplane, hot dog, shoe, etc.) and she would say the words and I'd repeat them back.  The first 3 I got right, "Meghan, are you sure your hearing aid is off?" Yes, it sure is! We did more words and I got most of them.  Then we did a different card, and I did pretty good with that too, mixing a couple here and there.  Then she said some sentences, and that one I had more trouble with.  Some sentences I got, and the others I did not get at all.  There was one sentence, like one of the last ones she said to me, and I only heard 3 words, but the others in that sentence I didn't quite hear but I was able to piece it together anyway. I definitely blew Allison away with my progress, as she wasn't expecting for me to have made this much progress just yet.  So that was pretty cool. And mom was just happy for me.

After the booth testing, we were good to go.  Yay!  Was a great day! I am still completely amazed with the cochlear implant technology.  To think, I've been profoundly deaf in the left ear for possibly almost 25 years, and to actually be able to hear with the implant (even if everything has a bit of an electronic tone still), ..... it's just amazing.  I am so extremely happy I finally got the cochlear implant and to be making some progress with it. Very exciting stuff!

Anyway, we were done with my appointments, so mom called stepdad to find out where he was, and we waited for him to get us.  We hit the road and stopped off in Loveland for lunch and a stop at the Tommy Hilifiger store.  Headed on to Cheyenne, stopped off to refuel again, and get drinks/snacks, then kept on going until we finally made it! Of course we had to stop off at the flower shop first to unload the truck. Hung around for a bit, then finally made it back to the house.  I hit a button on my car remote while I was still sitting in the truck to pop the trunk on my car, and stepdad was a bit confused when he saw me still in the truck and the trunk on my car was open... Hehe.  Yeah, was a good trip, exciting day.

And I am ready for a 2-year-old's birthday party tomorrow afternoon.  Once again, it's a full out pool party at his grandma's house in the backyard (few inflatable pools all over, slip n slides, the whole works). Last year, just a tiny itty bitty splash was enough to make my Phonak Naida hearing aid go crazy (until I ran it through the Dry n Store overnight, then it was fine).  But this year, I am waterproofing the Neptune and leaving the hearing aid behind.  Or, at least bringing a small case to stick the hearing aid in for safekeeping.  Should be a fun afternoon, that's for sure.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Fun with magnets

Went over to Mom and Stepdad's house for a Father's Day BBQ.  I went over at about 1 or so since mom has texted me. I chatted with her with just the implant alone for a while. Then we went out to get some ice, and I started having a little more trouble making sense of what she was saying while we were in the car driving, so I turned the hearing aid on. That helped. Got the ice, an ice cream cake, and headed back to the house to finish preparing for the BBQ.

Eventually everyone showed up, we all ate, the little boys ran amuck and played and had fun. Step-bro was having fun throwing random things at my sister (and probably everyone else too). At one point I ended up with a couple of bottle caps in my hands (the ones step-bro and sis were throwing back and forth).  Oooo... I know some CI users can get paperclips to stick to their head, so I just had to try... I flipped the headpiece off, and stuck the smooth end of a bottle cap to my head where the internal implant/magnet is at, and it stuck! Everyone thought that was cool and funny, and I just got a big kick out of it. It was a weak connection, but hey it was something! I even stuck the bottle cap on my headpiece and it was tricky to get the bottle cap off without also taking the headpiece off. But yeah, was just a random fun magnet moment I had.

Step-bro did suggest I stick a nail to my head for Halloween, and I'm thinking about it. Who knows, I may do something like that for Halloween.. have something sticking to the headpiece (so I can still hear what's going on) and see if that will weird trick-or-treaters out. We'll see!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sounds everywhere!

This world sure is full of sounds!

One evening, I took my dog out, and there was a bird in a tree. I was watching the bird, and listening to it chirp. Kind of neat.

We had a thunder storm one night, and I heard thunder a couple of different times with just the implant alone. Whoooaaa! 

On Saturday, after I drove a friend home and was ready to return to drive to a grocery store, I realize the rain drops I was hearing on my car was pretty loud (I still had my hearing aid on at this point). So I turned off my hearing aid, and I could still hear the rain drops with the implant. That was pretty exciting.

Today, while I was on my way to work, I saw a fire truck pull out of the station with its lights flashing. I stopped as it got onto the street and heard the sirens going, with just the implant alone. It wasn't very loud, but I was able to hear it. Cool!

One night, I decided to try out the Neptune in the shower. As soon as I got under the shower water, the water was hitting the Aquamic and it was loud. But it was fun! And another day, I took a bath with the Neptune. Submerged my head under the water, that was interesting.  Hey, had to try out the Neptune in wet settings, I mean why not!

Also, today, I decided to take my ipod to work with me. So I swapped out the ear hooks on the Harmony so I could use the direct connect.  Ended up snaking the direct connect cable under my shirt just so it wouldn't randomly get caught on something. I started off listening to Hanson's "Middle of Nowhere" album, as I am most familiar with that album. Music sounds extremely different, very odd and electronic, but for the most part I was able to make out the lyrics to most of the songs. There was one song, which happens to be one of my favorites, and it sounded terrible and I couldn't make sense of the lyrics. Wow. But it was still fun, listening and figuring out what song was playing and trying to catch the lyrics. Had more trouble listening to Hanson's "This Time Around" album, I only recognized maybe half of the album, the other sounded too different. Even listened to a little bit of Michael Jackson, which was fun.

There is this one sound that happens at work. I've been hearing it for weeks now, but I cannot figure out what it is! It sounds like the gate on my dog's kennel flopping back and forth, hitting the kennel if it's not latched in the car... Sounds exactly like that. But, there's no dog kennels at the newspaper so it's definitely not a loose gate. So what the heck is it?! I'm going to have to ask around and find out, otherwise it's going to drive me crazy.

I can hear the phone ringing. The sounds the pre-press machine makes when it's spitting out pages, ugh it's annoying. Definitely can hear the wind very easily, as it blows right into the mic on the processor.  I've just been hearing this and that, some sounds I can figure out, others have me stumped until I investigate.

This certainly is a very interesting journey with the implant so far. And I'm eager to keep on going!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tinnitus stinks!

I have been trying to go without the hearing aid for a few days, so I could just rely on the implant and get the practice in with just the implant alone. But ooohhh, the tinnitus! It's horrible! Loud, obnoxious, continuous, it never ends! The tinnitus is in the hearing aid ear, and if I don't have the hearing aid on, it kicks in. It was fine first thing this morning, but then I put the implant on..... and soon enough the tinnitus was kicking in because I hadn't put the hearing aid on. I didn't wear a hearing aid for most of the day yesterday, and for a while I was fine. But by late afternoon/early evening, there was that constant high pitched sound going on, and it didn't quit the whole night.

It pretty much goes on 24/7 with no hearing aid and the implant going. If I take the implant off, then after a while the tinnitus starts to settle down it seems.  It's kind of weird. And it doesn't help that my right ear is sore and I really don't want to stick an earmold in that ear irritating the sore, but I just can't take the tinnitus anymore.  I have not noticed any tinnitus with the left implanted ear, it's only with the right ear as always. The only way to get the tinnitus to shut up during the day is if I put the hearing aid on and make noise, but when I want to just focus on the implant alone, it gets tricky.

I did email Allison about all this, and she replied saying to keep the hearing aid on (after activation, she said to try to take the hearing aid off for at least a couple of hours a day, which I've managed to do until recently with all this tinnitus activity). Still wear the implant too, but have the hearing aid on, don't worry about isolating the implant at this time. Ok, I can do that. But I will turn off the hearing aid when I do auditory rehab on the laptop. I don't typically do the rehab for more than 15 minutes at a time typically, and I only do the rehab maybe twice a week if that. Sometimes I'm too tired when I get home I don't even want to bother with the rehab.

Now, if the sore in my right ear would just disappear already so I can wear the hearing aid more comfortably again... Neosporin, do your job! I usually get this type of sore (my primary doctor once said it looked like swimmer's ear when he checked my ear once quite a while back for this same issue) at least once a month or less. Gets kind of annoying. Would be nice to get rid of the hearing aid and just implant the right ear too. Then no more earmolds, and be done with the annoying hearing aid feedbacking, no more sore/itchy ear as a result of the earmolds.... yeah. Maybe someday I'll go bilateral (more than likely I will if it gets to the point where a powerful hearing aid just isn't cutting it for the right ear anymore).

I am still making slow progress with the implant alone. As long as I can lipread/have visual support, I can usually keep up with just the implant alone. Sometimes I'll ask the person to repeat if necessary, but I can usually kind of figure out what was being said.  Yesterday, I did hear a bird chirping in the tree while I was out with my dog. I found the bird in a tree, so I was watching it and every time it open its mouth, I heard a sound. Definitely was the bird!  And the other day, I'm fairly certain I heard some loud thunder with just the implant on.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Some progress

Yesterday was Mother's Day. I went over to my mom and stepdad's house to spend time with my momma! A couple of different times, I turned off my hearing aid so I could use the implant alone for practice. Mom and I talked on the bench swing in the backyard, and as long as I could lipread her, I was able to make sense of what she was saying (although she did have to repeat here and there). My sister, her husband and their son came over too. At one point my sister and mom got to talking of making some pepper poppers, and I clearly heard my mom say (while she was several feet away by the grill) "let's make some!" and I clearly heard my sister say "I'll help!". I didn't even look at my sister when she said that, but I knew what she said. That was pretty exciting!

Everything still sounds electronic at this point.  But I am hearing voices, they just sound electronicish. My bro-in-law asked if he sounded like a robot, and I said yeah, kind of. He thought that was pretty cool.  I don't really exactly know what robots sound like, but hey ok! But yeah, electronic voices, electronic everything.

I also ordered "Sound and Way Beyond" from Cochlear (it's $25 from their webstore, plus shipping/handling), so I have another resource for auditory training. It arrived in my mailbox last Thursday, and I wasn't expecting to see it until sometime this week. But hey! I played with it a bit on my laptop. The tones portion, that one was really tricky. Some tones I couldn't even hear at all, and at times they all sounded too similar I couldn't tell which one was the different sounding one.  But the environmental sounds, and the difference between male/female voice, I didn't do too bad with. That's all I've done so far with Sound and Way Beyond, but I'll work with it some more. I don't use my laptop for auditory rehab on a daily basis, it depends on my mood and how mentally tired I am.

I've been very slowly making progress with the Alice's Adventures in Wonderland audiobook. Before the mapping on April 23, I made it to Chapter 5. But when I would try to follow along with Chapter 5 (I was also reading along with the Kindle app on my laptop), boy oh boy I just kept getting lost so quickly and easily. Over and over and over, I'd try again, changing the volume and the speed of the speaker's voice, and just couldn't do it.  But last week I gave it another try, and I was able to get through Chapter 5! At a few spots I kind of got lost, but was able to pick up again with the next sentence. Will have to keep going and get through the whole book before my audiobook rental expires again.

Am up to Program 3 on the Harmony right now, so soon enough I'll switch over to the Neptune and work my way through the 3 programs on that. When I get to Program 2 on the Neptune, then I will FedEx the Harmony to the audie and she'll load up more programs on it for me.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

CI activation video

Here's my cochlear implant activation video. It is half an hour long since I didn't edit it or anything.

Friday, April 27, 2012

New CI info website

A Call for Help Gets Answered, a new and comprehensive website aimed at helping current and future users of cochlear implants and their families, announces the website launch today.

A need was identified to help others better navigate their journey to receiving a cochlear implant, whether for themselves or for a family member such as their child. And cochlearimplantHELP has been created to help them wherever they are on their cochlear implant journey.

Whether just starting to learn about cochlear implants or a seasoned cochlear implant user looking for ways to connect to a favorite piece of electronic equipment, cochlearimplantHELP has what you need.

Please take a few moments to peruse the site, and feel free to link to it or share it freely. can be found on the World Wide Web at

Check out this site! Pretty neat stuff.

Monday, April 23, 2012

MAPping today!

Had a MAPping appointment with the audie from Denver today. She makes 2 trips up to Wyoming each year to do MAPping appointments with her Wyoming clients, once in the spring, and again in the fall. It's really great she does this.

My grandparents drove down as they were curious about the process. They arrived at my apartment and we hung out for a bit, chatting and playing with my crazy dog. Then we took off for the Special Ed. Services building, as the CI audie likes to "take over" the school district audiologist's office and sound booth. My appointment was at noon. My mom, sister and nephew were already there just hanging out. My sister was curious of the process too, and mom pretty much kept the nephew busy during my appointment.

Got into the office and sat in a chair. Allison swapped out laptops (the client she saw right before me has a Cochlear device). She now has to bring two laptops, one for Cochlear users, and the other for AB users. She got my Harmony hooked up, but the computer wasn't picking up on it at first so she had to make a phone call. But soon enough the laptop was reading my processor, yay! She was a bit nervous as she had a client coming from another town who is also an AB user as well. She brought up the high frequencies a bit, in hopes I would be able to pick up on the 'S' and 'SH' sounds better, and loaded up ClearVoice! My old Program 3 is now Program 1 (I was on Program 3 for about a week), Program 2 is similar to 1 but with the bumped up higher frequencies and CV Medium. Program 3 is higher volume of Program 2.  And on the Neptune, we decided to add 3 more programs to it (same as 2/3 on the Harmony, but with even more volume). She says maybe by May or June, I will probably have to send her a processor so she can add more volume or whichever and send it back to me, then I'd see her again July 13th.  I also gave her a copy of the DVD of my implant activation, and she asked for my permission to use it with other clients or something. I told her go for it, use it for whatever! Gave a copy to my grandparents as well.

Allison also tested me real quick in the sound booth. Just playing the tones and seeing if I could pick up on them. I was getting up to 50-75 dB range, but nowhere near 25 like she was hoping, but it's still early yet. Says to take it easy with the auditory training, to not rush into it or train too hard. Oh no problem there. I haven't even been doing the Listening Room CLIX traning on a daily basis. Maybe every other day or so. It depends on how I'm feeling by the time I get home in the late afternoon (if I'm really tired or not).  Also did a quick test of 'baseball' or 'airplane' first, then eventually 'baseball' and 'toothbrush'. Ok, toothbrush and baseball is still reallllllly tricky to figure out, but I already knew that just from the Clix practice, getting words mixed up on that too. I'll get it eventually, will just gave to keep working at it and letting the brain figure everything out.

Then I was done! We left and headed to the ihop for lunch. I realized I was hearing the air conditioning going in the car, so I turned off my hearing aid, pulled the headpiece off then put it back on. I heard the AC, then it tuned out! Kind of cool. I did start getting a bit of a headache on the left side of my head during lunch, so I turned down the volume.After lunch, grandparents dropped me off at home so I could get going to work. Drove to work with my windows rolled down for a short while, didn't hear the windy sounds. And at work, I don't have to listen to the AC going. Before, without clearvoice, the AC was like a "whrrrrrrrrrrrrl" going on in my head, but now, nada. CV is quite neat! Have since been very slowly turning up the volume a bit to see how I'm tolerating Program 2. Am to keep an eye on any face twitching going on too, as sometimes the stimulations from the implant's electrode can sometimes cause the facial nerve to twitch/react, which hasn't happened yet.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Listening practice

Tonight I decided I needed to check out the Listening Room at  First, I just browsed around, seeing what the Listening Room had to offer. Navigated my way to the Teens/Adults section, Listening Activities, Discrimination Activities. Ooo Clix! I've heard/read of that while lurking through the forums. So I downloaded the Beginner's Clix program, and got that up and running.  I did the 10 lbs Warm Up first, repeating the sounds so I could get an idea of what they sounded like. Then I did the Test - On Your Own, which covers all 10 levels. Certain words or sounds were very tricky, but I ended up scoring 70%, which I think is not too bad at all! And I am hearing little bits of speech sounds here and there. Like 'aaaAAAaaa', I'd hear the AAA portion more than the aaa's. That sort of thing. Very interesting. I am really happy with the Clix program so far, and will continue to work with it. I wasn't hearing ALL of the sounds or words, just little bits here and there. Mostly I was experiencing the sensations, so during the test, I'd listen, look at the words, repeat the word/sound if necessary and click on what I think the word/sound is. It's definitely a tricky process, but hey, my left ear needs all the practice it can get, right?

I even played with Cochlear's Hope app on my iPod touch for a bit tonight as well. I have the lite (free limited) edition, which you can download to your ipod touch/iphone/ipad from iTunes or the App Store. I forget how much the full app costs, but I figured the lite edition would be fine for now. It may be more aimed for kids, but it's still listening practice. There's a picture that comes up, with a word under it. You tap the screen and the device will say the word. I will tap the picture a few times to repeat the same word over and over.

There is also another app available at the App Store/iTunes that's free and called Hear Coach. It's made by Starkey Labs, and several folks from HearingJourney were raving about it. I tried it the other day but couldn't make sense of anything so I think I'll wait and try Hear Coach again another time. Just level 1 is overwhelming for me so far.

I also got out my Phonak FM unit (the Handy-Mic transmitter, and the mlx receiver that I originally got with my Phonak Supero hearing aid), and it works great with the Neptune! That was a fun experiment. Have the transmitter charging up so it's ready to go whenever I want to use the FM.  I used the  audio interface cable that was in my Neptune box and plugged the Neptune into my laptop for the Clix program. Works great too! Of course, if I want to use the direct connect with either processor, I have to use it with battery operated devices. So I can use it with my ipod touch or my laptop if they're not plugged into the wall.

Here are the scores I got tonight:

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

1 week since activation

It's been 1 week since activation. Still hearing electronic tones and feeling sensations for sounds with the implant. I have been noticing though, if I wear my hearing aid alone, it's fine and I hear "normally" with the hearing aid. But as soon as I put the implant processor on, it's like as if the volume on the hearing aid has been turned down. Is this because my brain is trying to balance out both ears? It gets so confusing as it's still tones and not actual sounds in the left ear, and normal sounds in the right. As soon as I take the head piece off, hearing aid ear is back to normal again. Just find that interesting. I've also been trying to keep the hearing aid turned off as much as possible so the left ear gets all the practice. I have slowly worked my way up to Program 2. For a few days, I would start off at Program 1, and when I feel like I'm not getting much of anything anymore, then I'd bump up to 2 with the volume turned down, and slowly turn up the volume. Yesterday and today, I've been starting off with Program 2 with the volume down, easing my way up to the 12 o'clock position with the volume wheel.

I've also been feeling something poking through the skin behind my left ear, right along the groove in three different spots. Definitely feels like some stitches have been left behind. I had my primary doctor look today, and he says there's definitely something (he couldn't pull them out, they're kinda stuck). He was thinking they were just scabs at first, but then he took a closer look with tweezer and more lighting and yep definitely seems like stitches left behind. Have sent a message to Kelsall's assistant and am waiting for a response.

I think I am hearing the turn signal ticking in my car when I drive (I've been keeping the hearing aid turned off in the car). At first I could just feel it, but lately I think I'm starting to hear it a bit. It's like my brain knows the actual sound it's making from the right ear so it's connecting it to the left ear. I can't tell if I am definitely hearing it, but it seems like it. Definitely slow progress!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Turned on!

My implant was turned on today! Such an exciting day!

We made the trip down to Denver yesterday. Got up at about 7:30ish and got going. Made it over to the implant center and waiting for my 9 a.m. appointment with the audiologist Allison. She ran a bit late so we weren't take to her office until about 9:20 or so. That was fine. We got situated in her office, and Allison brought in 2 suitcase-type boxes, and both of Advanced Bionic's monkeys, Buddy and Melody! Oh I figured I'd see Buddy, but I certainly wasn't expecting to see Melody too! So that was pretty exciting. I got my video camera ready and handed it over to my stepdad so he could record the actual turn-on. Allison dug through the boxes, pulled out the Harmony pieces needed. Got a Powercell plugged into the charger so it could charge up while we were getting the Harmony processor tuned up and loaded. One magnet was definitely not enough to keep the headpiece on, so she had to get another magnet out of her own box (apparently the OR lost a magnet when they used my headpiece to test my internal implant during surgery...!).

My Harmony was connected to the computer, and Allison ran the NRI test. She said she would run the NRI test again after about 10 minutes, so we could see the difference in numbers of the electrodes' responses. One electrode had a high number (24), so she thought there was an air bubble or something. Then she ran through the volume/sensitivity levels, and I started feeling and hearing the beeping going on. Whoa, weird sensation. When we got to the higher frequencies, I was overwhelmed pretty quickly, so Allison kept the high frequency levels low enough for now. Got everything loaded, ran another NRI test so we could see the difference in the numbers (the electrode that had the 24 number dropped down to 6.4, which was much better!). Then she turned me on! Stepdad recorded my reaction and all. I was hearing beeps for every sound that was going on, and feeling a lot of pulsating going on in my head. My brain even felt like it was vibrating! Very weird stuff. Even felt like a heart beat going on in my head for a little while there too. Allison played with the volume some more, saved that set for Program 1, and increased the volume for Programs 2 and 3 so that I can work my way up over the next couple or so weeks.

She then unhooked me from the computer, and had me play with the dummy Harmony so I could get a feel for how to take it apart and putting it back together while she loaded the programs to my processor. Then I put it on myself, took me a few seconds to find the magnet in my head of course. I'm sure once I've gotten enough practice, I'll get the headpiece on in the exact right spot without hunting around much. Yahoo! I've been turned on! Put all of my random accessories/pieces back into their respective boxes, and handed them over to my stepdad to take out to his car.

Loaded up stepdad's car, then mom and I got out again so he could take off to get to the wholesale house to pick up some things for his flower shop. Mom and I walked down to the Copper Pot for lunch. Burgers and mac and cheese, and oh it was quite a tasty lunch. I randomly turned off my hearing aid here and there, just to "listen" with the implant. Still just beeps, which is to be expected. We then found a Walgreens, got a couple of items there, then headed back to the building the implant center is located at for my 1:30 post-op appointment. We hung out in the lobby, as we still had more than an hour to go before the appointment. Again I turned my hearing aid off and on here and there, and played with my ipod and blackberry. There was this guy with his little boy that sat in the lobby with us for a while, and they and my mom struck up a conversation. Eventually, they left, and we headed up to the 5th floor. Sat in the waiting room a bit longer. Finally I was called back to Dr. Kelsall's office, and waited a few minutes in there. While waiting, stepdad returned. Kelsall came in, we talked, then I sat in his special chair. He turned it around and leaned it back so he could remove the stitches. He also looked inside my ear as well. Said everything looked good. He did spot some blood under the ear drum, but he said that would clear up on its own. Set up another appointment for July 13 for a follow-up with Kelsall (will possibly get an appointment in with Allison for this day too as well), and then I was free to go!

Allison will drive up to Wyoming later this month for appointments with her Wyoming clients. I will see her again sometime on April 23 here in town, whenever we get a time set up. She gives her traveling Wyoming clients preference on time, and the locals will get whatever time she has left basically. Understandable! She said we may try adding Clearvoice then, but we'll see. I'm to try to use the implant as much as possible with the hearing aid off (even just 2 hours a day with hearing aid off will be good). My brain needs to be trained! I haven't heard out of the left ear for so long, so it will definitely take some time before my brain starts making sense of the sounds coming in through the implant. So in the mean time, I'll be hearing a lot of beeps/electronic type of sounds. None of it makes sense, and I do feel a lot of random sensations depending on what sound is going through the implant.

Most of the afternoon, it's been sounding like a busy signal, like when you call someone on the phone but it's busy on the other end. Similar to that. At one point, just before we got to Cheyenne, I heard/felt a truck driver's horn I think. Later on during the trip, I got the sensation someone was knocking on my head... Then I heard something similar to someone tapping on an empty aluminum or tin can. But for the most part, it's the busy signal I'm hearing.  And my brain is already confused with the new implant, that I'm having trouble making sense of speech with my hearing aid in the right ear. Too much going on for the brain very confusing stuff.  Also, after I had been turned on, Allison did a quick speech test with me. She covered up her mouth, and said "airplane," "ice cream cone," and "shoe." I was to tell her which one she was saying. The first few tries, I didn't get any of them. But then I got 5 in a row correctly. I didn't hear the actual words being said, but I felt the sensations in my head as she said them, so I was able to figure out which word matched the sensation I was experiencing. Very weird.  And it's kind of like a shock/blast to my head when the door closes and such, very strange stuff. Hopefully over time, my brain will start making sense of all this and sounds will sound more normal instead of just a bunch of beeps. Will just have to keep exposing the implant processor to different sounds and let my brain figure out everything.

As soon as I got home, I pretty much dove into the boxes, starting with the Harmony box. Got the Powercell charger plugged in and set up to go, read the info/instructions on how to work everything. Same with the Neptune box. I put the Neptune together and put the magnets in the Universal Head Piece (UHP) that came with the Neptune, so that I can use it tomorrow instead of the Harmony. My ear is still a bit sore/tender from the surgery, so I'll give it a bit more time to heal up before trying the Harmony again. Alison put the same 3 programs that are on the Harmony on the Neptune too. She did say if I should reach Program 3 and feel like I need more before I see her on the 23rd, to let her know and I will Fed-Ex a processor to her so she can up the volume some more. Hopefully I can hold out until the 23rd though. I am going to try to spend a few days on Program 1, then progress up to Program 2, then 3 after that. But let's see what my brain wants though.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Surgery day

Today went fairly well, the surgery was a success!

We were at the hospital by like... 7:20ish or something like that this morning, when my actual check-in time was for 8:15. But, stepdad wasn't sure about the traffic conditions and rush hour in Denver, and if we'd run into some traffic, so we headed out pretty early. But no big deal. I got checked in with the registration desk, and then sent over to sit in the lobby. One of the check-in ladies came over to me after a short while, showed me my wrist band to make sure the info on it was right, and put it on. She also gave me a sheet of paper full of those medical bar codes to take with me upstairs.

We found the elevators and went up to the 3rd floor, and proceeded to the surgical waiting room. Stepdad got bored or antsy so he got up and roamed I guess. Mom and I chatted a bit, I played some pinball on my blackberry, and checked Facebook. Used the bathroom, then met the interpreter, Beth, in the waiting room. She was pretty nice. At about 8ish, a nurse named ... Angie? came and got me, and took me to the pre-op area to my bed. Left me alone for a few minutes so I could change into the hospital gown and non-slip socks and got comfortable on the bed.

She came back, took my vitals, we talked. She got Beth and brought her back. I answered Angie's questions. She was going to draw some more blood (they have to do a pregnancy test on all women of child-bearing age, regardless), but then decided we could skip it. She asked me if I was absolutely positively 100% sure I was not pregnant, and I confirmed it. That was good enough for her. Got the blood pressure cuff around my right arm, oxygen-pulse monitor in my left ring finger, and she took vitals. Then proceeded to try to get an IV going (which failed). Couldn't get the IV in my left hand, so she stopped and went to find another nurse to try it. Angie came back with a warm compress and wrapped it around my left arm to try to get the veins to show up better. The other nurse showed up shortly, and she got the IV in the crook of my left elbow. Mom and stepdad were allowed to see me then, and we just waited and waited, chatting here and there. Angie wrote "yes" on a piece of medical tape and stuck it over my left ear, confirming it's the left ear to be implanted.

Dr. Kelsall stopped by, and we talked. I told him I had gotten the antibiotics and the ear drops picked up, but not the pain pills. He was confused and thought it was odd I hadn't gotten my pain pills, so he wonders if the Walgreens I typically get my scripts from withheld it or something, since the Walgreens did call him to confirm the prescription. He wrote a new prescription, and said I didn't really need the ear drops as they don't generally prescribe ear drops. Oh really? He said to use if it I did end up with some drainage but not to worry much about it. He left and the anesthesiologist swung by. He was very nice and informative. We went over the medical history quickly, he checked out my bloodwork from yesterday and was pleased with it. Told me of the process of anesthesia and said he'd be there the whole time monitoring me. I told him "you better be!" jokingly and we all laughed. He said he'd have a very special margarita waiting for me in the OR, then he disappeared.

Angie came back, along with 2 more nurses that would transport me to the OR. Gave my glasses to mom so she could hold on to them, told them I'd see them later. Angie gave me an injection of Versed, and the other 2 nurses wheeled me away from the pre-op area. Ended up in the OR and they helped me over to the table. A warm blanket was placed over me, the anesthesiologist placed monitor pads on me and got me hooked up. I don't even remember if he put a mask over my face or what, as I was out pretty quick. When I slowly started coming to, I was in recovery, thinking "it's over already?", noticed I was on oxygen, and went back to sleep. I was in and out of it for a while. Another nurse there checked on me often, and even gave me little bits of ice chips. Dr. Kelsall stopped by, gave me a thumbs up and told me everything went well. I think I asked him if he definitely got the Advanced Bionics device in and he nodded "oh yeah!" Nurse injected some pain med into the IV to help with the pain, as my whole left head was hurting.  Even felt like I had a migraine in the left side of my forehead for a while there. Eventually she gave me an injection of something different for the pain, which made me feel warm and tingly and I felt like I was floating off. That pain med knocked me out quickly enough, and I slept some more.

Nurse did wake me up after a short nap, and helped me move from the bed into a recliner-like chair that had wheels. She got me some Sierra Mist to drink, with a straw, and moved me to the post-op area. Yet a different nurse took over and promptly took away the straw, saying I can't use straws as it can cause some pressure. Oh got it, makes sense. Was fine with me anyway. She was about to go get mom and stepdad when I told her I thought I was going to be sick. She gave me something to hold on to in case I did get sick, but it didn't happen. Came back with mom and stepdad, and they had bought a toy frog from the gift stop. Frog's dressed in a green rain jacket, has an umbrella, and he dances and sings or something. I don't know, I didn't have my hearing aid on for a while. Stepdad disappeared to get himself something to eat, and to get my pain pills prescription filled at the nearby Walgreens).  The nurse gave me some saltine crackers, graham crackers, and even a chocolate pudding so I could try to eat something. I took little bites of this and that, finding it odd I could take with only the right half of the tongue. But I knew taste disturbances was common with CI surgery, but just a weird experience.  She also brought me a ginger ale to see if that would help with the nausea as well. Also gave me a dramamine and a pain pill to take, which I did. But shortly enough I got sick and the pain pill came back up anyway. Blech. We tried the pain pill again, and it stayed down. Still was experiencing pain, and the pill was taking its sweet time kicking in, so she asked if I wanted to try morphine. I decided yes, but before letting her inject it, I had her help me to the bathroom first! Walked very slowly, feeling a bit wobbly but not too off balance, so that was good. Back into the recliner, she injected the morphine, then another nurse replaced her for the evening. I dozed off for a bit, tried eating a bit more saltine cracker and drinking a bit more ginger ale.

Soon enough it was decided I was well enough to be released. The nurse went over the discharge instructions with mom while I kind of dozed off, then got a wheel chair. Mom helped me change into my pajamas after the nurse removed the IV and all the monitor stuffs. Got into the wheel chair, and we headed down to the main entrance, where stepdad was waiting (he did come back after having a burger and mom sent him to get the car). Got in, and off to the hotel we went. He did drive kinda crazy so I was doing what I could to not get sick again. Got to the hotel at 6ish, stepdad dropped us off right at the entrance, and mom and I went in together. I got up the stairs fine, moving slowly and holding onto the railing. Got into the room and went straight for the bed. Took my antidepressant, got settled in with the Sea-Bands wristbands for nausea on my wrists and dozed off again. Woke up at about 8ish free of pain yay! Decided I felt like I could tolerate eating a bit. So far not too  bad. Am feeling a bit of pain now, so I've taken another pain pill, along with my first dose of the antibiotic. Just relaxing, somewhat watching TV, and sort of lurking online.

Plan is to head home tomorrow. Will definitely keep the Sea-Bands on, just to be on the safe side.  Will be nice to get back home, and I may even stay a night or two at mom and stepdad's before going back to my place.

After the surgery was done, Dr. Kelsall spoke with my mom about how it went. Turns out, he did run into some ossification which was kinda deep in the ear or something. Deep enough that the MRI didn't see it. But, he was able to drill through it, and was able to fully insert the electrode. Yay! And they tested the implant in the OR to make sure it was working, and there was a response! I guess they don't normally get responses when they test the implant in the OR, so this is good. Don't really know exactly what sort of "response" this is all about, but hey I'm just happy to know they got a response. Got a couple of weeks for the incision to heal up, swelling to go down and such, then we'll come back April 3 for activation and post-op. I have actual sutures behind my ear, and not the dissolving stuff either, Yeah, removal of the stitches ought to be fun, right? I can head the head bandage off tomorrow, but will probably wait until we get back home to remove it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

the day before

Got up at 6 a.m. this morning and took a quick peek out my window to see my car was still covered in snow from the previous day. Hoped there wasn't also ice covering the car hidden beneath the snow. I got dressed and piled up all of my stuff next to the door, and made sure I had everything I needed for the trip. Then I went outside to deal with my car.  Yep, ice on the car, kind of thick too. Darn it! Took several pushes of the "Unlock" button on my car remote and finally the stupid car unlocked. Started it up, turned on the defrosters, and got to work. Scraping ice off the car sure is tiring work but I eventually got it (even after trying the de-icer my sister got for me... that just kind of made a bigger mess instead). I eventually packed up all my stuff in the car, cleared up my windshield as best as I could (using the window washing fluid as that had antifreeze stuff in it too), and made my way over to my mom and stepdad's house. Eventually we got all of our stuffs in his car and we hit the road, first swinging by McDonald's for some breakfast.

I ate my breakfast sandwich and hashbrown, got comfortable, and doze off to sleep. Quick refuel stop in Cheyenne, and we kept on going. We finally arrived at Denver and went to Chili's for lunch. Just as we were pulling into Chili's, I got this relay message in my email: RelayOperator 1557F
(f) i am a hospital provider my name is lois we have to cancel for appointments in denver for tomorrow uhm as i have not been able to obtain an authorization from wyoming medicaid and we cannot contact your doctor

Ahhh! Wait a minute! Medicare's supposed to be covering the surgery, and from what I had been told, we didn't need a pre-authorization from Medicaid for them to cover the remaining 20% that Medicare didn't cover. What's going on?! So I shot off an email to the CI surgery coordinator so she could help get this figured out. Tried to call the CI center with the relay app on my blackberry with no luck. While we were seated, I did end up getting another message from the same person at the hospital. RelayOperator 80774M
meghan this is lois from swedish medical center in denver. you can disregard my earlier message your surgery is still on. you do not need to call the doctor. lois.

Whew! I calmed down, and ate a bit of my lunch, and we checked out. Stepdad dropped mom and I off at the hospital, and left. Mom and I made our way over the office building where all the different medical offices are since I had a pre-op appointment with Dr. Kelsall first. I checked in, signed some forms (consenting to the surgical procedure, consenting to a student audiologist observing the surgery, that sort of thing). Mom and I sat and flipped through magazines and chatted. Surgery coordinator got me and we talked of what went on during lunch. Turns out Medicaid wanted a paper trail of everything going on, so she had faxed everything over to them. Said everything was still on for tomorrow, no worries. Whew!  Went back to the waiting room, and was eventually called back to Kelsall's office. I waited a bit longer in his office until he showed up. He said my MRI results were still clear, no signs of ossification or blockage, yahoo! Definitely great news there. We chatted a bit about the surgery, he answered a few of my questions and such, and confirmed we're doing Advanced Bionics in the left ear. Then I was sent back to surgery coordinator's room so she could make copies of the paperwork I had filled out earlier to take with me to the hospital. She also wrote down directions so Mom and I could find our way to the pre-admission area.

Finally we left the CI center and walked over to the hospital. I checked in, answered some questions, handed over my insurance cards and such. We were led to the pre-admission area and met with the supervising nurse so she could get my interpreter request taken cared of. More waiting, then shortly after 3 a nice nurse named Pat led us into a small room. We went over my medical history, list of meds I take, allergies, all that stuff. She also drew some blood just to make sure my count was normal. Then we were done! Yay! All set for tomorrow!

We went outside the front of the hospital, about where stepdad dropped us off at. Mom had to call him to let him know we were done and to get us. Got to the hotel for a bit (stepdad got our suite while mom and I were at my appointments), had dinner with stepdad's sister and niece, then back to the hotel. It's been a long day, and I'm tired.

Still not quite sure if I'm nervous yet or not. All I know is it's been a long day so I will probably get to sleep soon enough... Whenever mom and stepdad get back from snack hunting. :) Hope everything goes smoothly tomorrow with the CI surgery! We will spend the night at the hotel tomorrow night, then head home Thursday if I'm up for it.

Oh, it turns out my dad won't make it. He was going to drive up from New Mexico, but he ran into some road closures in Raton (due to snow) and had to turn around. Darn it! The weather sure has been pretty nutty lately.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Nice start to my week...

Before taking off for work, I checked my emails real quick at home. I saw that I had an relay message..
I m reminding you megan of your appointment and the pre admit clinic at swedish please arrive at the information desk in the lobby of the hospital at 12:45 bring your insurance card photo id and a method of payment if you have a copay for the surgery also we ask that you bring a list of your medications and dosages

Wait, what? .... My pre-admit appointment's supposed to be at 3:00 p.m. March 20th. UUuhhh, I checked my blue book which I wrote down all of my cochlear implant related schedules, questions and notes. Original pre-admissions appointment was scheduled for March 13 at 1 p.m.  Um, wait a minute! That appointment should have been rescheduled!

So I drove to work, as I needed to get to work. Then I pulled open the relay message email again, and started an relay call to the hospital. Got the info desk and they connected me to the Pre-admit area. Found out that my reschedule appointment was never set in the first place, and that I was expected to be seen TOMORROW. Oohh boy! I quickly shot off an email to the CI surgery scheduler person, and also stayed on the line with the pre-admit desk. I told them that the surgeon's office said she had rescheduled my pre-admit appointment to March 20th in the afternoon, and Pre-admit said that was not in their computer at all. I told them I was coming from out of state for the surgery on the 21st, so I wanted the pre-admit for March 20th. They were able to schedule me in for March 20 at 3 p.m. for pre-admissions. Wow. This is quite the start of my week, ha. She also asked if I wanted to have an interpreter available for the appointments. I thought on this, and told her I can usually get by with my hearing aid and lip reading. She said I would probably be fine for the pre-admit appointment, but for the 2 hours before surgery I might want to have one handy as there'd be different medical staff personnel coming to talk to me and such. Ok, fine, go ahead and line up an interpreter for then. She asked if I would want an interpreter available for my parents too, so I had to tell her my parents were hearing, not deaf. Ok. Then I had her tell me the full instructions for the pre-admit appointment (I wasn't sure if my emailed message had gotten cut off or if that was it). Ok, need my insurance cards, ID, list of meds and doses, and form of payment if there's a co-payment. Got it.

Ended that call with everything all cleared up, and shot off another email to the CI surgery scheduler person and told her of my phone call with pre-admit, that I got everything taken cared of. I should be good to go now. Whew.  My boss is out of the building this week, so this was what I needed to start off my week with.  Now that I have the appointments confusion taken cared of, now I can focus on my work. Hard to believe next week I'll be back in Denver, for pre-op and pre-admissions on the 20th and surgery on the 21st. Still not feeling nervous or anything yet, just ready to go I guess.