Sunday, November 2, 2014

Right ear is activated!

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

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

whoa that sounds weird

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

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

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

all the parts and pieces in a box

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

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

my activation video!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Vertigo is no fun!

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

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

Denver Deaf Expo!

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

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

Monday, October 20, 2014

Tea kettle, BEGONE!

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 17, 2014


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


marked and ready to go!

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

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

on the road!

free of the headwrap! 

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

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

Monday, September 29, 2014

October is going to be BUSY

Lots going on in October!  Getting a second cochlear implant, with surgery on Oct. 15, and activation and post op set for Oct. 28.  There is also a Deaf Expo in Denver on Oct. 25th, which I so badly have been wanting to go to for a long time now.

I did pre-register for the Deaf Expo a few months ago and then forgot about it until some of my friends were discussing going and making plans.  I asked if it was okay if I joined their group, and they were cool with it.  It should be fun, a little road trip with some friends.  I've never been to a Deaf Expo before, so I'm excited to go!  And it would be a bonus to write of my experience at the Expo in my ASL paper on socializing at the end of the semester.  Why not?!   It should be a fun and interesting trip with the 4 of us traveling in one vehicle.

I have already given my audiologist and the office person who makes the official orders my choices for the AB Naida options.  I'm asking for the Pirate Caribbean Blue Naida processor, Pirate Caribbean and Petrol colored UHP color caps, black short UHP cables, the 230 size batteries, and the ComPilot.  I found out that since I'd be getting only one kit for both of my Naidas (since the order is considered for one ear), I'd only be receiving 2 batteries in the kit.  Uhhh.... O_o  I will most definitely be ordering extra batteries after I've been activated, so I have spares on hand.  And I may even order some of the disposable batteries option later on down the road too.

ahh, look at that color!
Yep, that will be 3 trips down to Denver and back, whew.  Add to that, it's also Halloween as well!  My favorite holiday, for sure.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Denver Trip #2!

Sunday morning rolled by, and I was up and at them early once again.  We were on the road at 9 a.m. heading back to Denver!  Quick stop in Cheyenne, made it to Denver.  After getting checked in at the hotel, mom and I stayed while stepdad went to the Rockies game with his son and grandson (hey hey, the Rockies won!).  Mom and I had lunch at Chili's, got a few things at King Soopers, and just hung out in the hotel, relaxing and taking it easy.  After the game, we all headed over to Casa Bonita for dinner.  I remember my first time going with the middle school class 13 years ago for our Spring Trip, and the fun I had with my friends.  It was fun watching a gorilla pick on a lady and a zoo keeper guy trying to catch the gorilla running amuck in the restaurant (there are several performances in that joint!).  Lady ended up off a cliff into a pool... haha.  I don't really know what the story was, I couldn't hear a word!  It was so noisy inside, it was nuts.  After we finished eating, we got up and roamed around, did some exploring.  There's a cave to explore, which was fun!  We watched another performance (Black Bart and a sheriff), which resulted in Bart ending up in the pool.  More exploring, and we hit up the arcade so my nephew could play some games for tickets to redeem for prizes.  It was pretty fun!

on the road!
Casa Bonita!

the water fountain in front of Casa Bonita

got a new light saber from Casa Bonita!

Next day, up and at'em early on, once again!  Made our way down to Swedish Hospital and got to the clinic.  I filled out some paperwork, updated information, blah blah blah... Then I was called back and led to a room.  I chatted a bit with the surgeon's assistant while she got some information from me and verified stuff (and confirmed I did indeed get the Prevnar 13!).  Then she left, and I sat and waited.. and waited... and waited.  Good thing I had my iPad with me, I played on games on it while I waited.  Finally the surgeon came in, and we discussed implanting the right ear.  He's all for it (good candidate and all).  Mentioned that since he did run into some ossification with the left ear, there is that possibility of it happening again with the right ear (MRI and CT scan both didn't catch the ossification of the left ear).  Confirmed that it'll be Advanced Bionics again, he mentioned the newer implant (the Mid Scala), and I told him I was thinking maybe October would be a good time to do all this.  He was cool with that.  Then we were done discussing, and the surgeon's scheduler walked me to her office, and from there she scheduled everything!  Pre-op for Oct. 14, surgery morning of Oct. 15, activation and post-op for morning of Oct. 28.  Whoa!  She wrote down all the times/dates onto a dark pink sheet of paper and handed it to me, and told me to call if I had any questions, and then I was free to go.  Mom and stepdad certainly weren't expecting for everything to have been scheduled already, I wasn't either. 

ready for the day!

everything's all scheduled and on this piece of paper

After we left the clinic, we headed back to the hotel so my stepbro could follow us as we made our way to the Denver Zoo. It's been 13 years since I last visited the Denver Zoo, but I enjoyed it.  Lots of walking, seeing all the different animals.  We even rode the mini train as well, which was fun!  My request was to see the primates, which we did last. Yay!  Didn't see very many monkeys/primates though... Oh well.  Was still fun anyway.  After spending a few hours at the zoo, we exited and sat on the benches and chatted for a bit with stepdad's sister and niece (his niece joined us at the zoo).  I scoped out the gift shop, and even bought a stuffed Gorilla. I collect monkeys, and wanted to add a gorilla to my collection!  From there, mom, stepdad, and I hit the road to head home, finally.  It was a long day, and a long trip home.  We did stop in Cheyenne to have dinner at Chili's, and to fuel up.  Ran into some rain storms, but we made it back into town at about 9.  Ooohh it was a long day.  Was really nice to get back home... of course I had to go to college classes the very next day!  I missed the first day of classes due to the appointment with the surgeon, but first day is usually orientation stuff, getting familiar with the class, that sort of thing.  So I wasn't worried about missing anything important.
Denver Zoo!

about to be kissed by a bronze snake!

new gorilla friend!