Saturday, June 20, 2009

Brought to Tears

As I lay awake at 3:00 A.M. to reflect on the passing of the last day, I am still moved to tears. I came to a realization three things. One, I am so blessed with a fantastic family everything from a mother who taught me how to speak to the husband who accepts every step of my hearing loss to the daughter who just loves me for me. Second, I have the incredable work(school) family and friends and even wonderful dance family. They really look at me for me. These are the people who brought me itune cards when after I had my surgery, held my hand as my dizziness affected my walking down the hallway, drove me around for 3 weeks, and supplied pudding for my recovery. Lastly, I finally meet a group of people I have been either chatting, blogging, networking, or facebooking for the last 2 years. I walked in a room and was in awe of the fact that there stood people wearing cochlear implants, just like me. I found an amazing group and an amazing company.

I came home after the Advanced Bionics get together to a jumping jelly bean of a 10 year old girl. She asked did I meet Miss. Abbie, Misiss. Jen and see Ms. Laurie(remember we are in the south, we address adults with Miss.) She was over the moon for every detail. Alex and Jenna wanted to know everything that was said and done. Jenna who is normally not this hype unless she has Lasester or Starbuck, was just so happy. Finally it hit me at 3:00 A.M., these wonderful people are just like her mom. We may have different hair, different heights, different avenues in life, but to Jenna we are a group of people like mom, deaf with cochlear implants. I never realized she also needs this connection with CI users too.

As I talked to my family(and Vanessa) about this moving experience, I was brought to tears. I realized that not only has my hearing journey effected my life, but the lives of Jenna, Alex, and the wonderful people I call true friends.As I was moved to tears last night, I looked up to Alex and Jenna also crying. Then I realized this hearing journey is not just me, but the wonderful people in our lives that we share it with. As I tear up now writing this I can't wait to take Jenna to visit the exhibit hall. I want to take as many pictures of everything to Jenna and I this is our Disney World trip. I trip of a lifetime. Thank you all for sharing this Hearing Journey with me.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

the top 3 CI embarrassing moments

Now that I have enjoyed this fantastic technology for almost 2 years, It is time to reflect on the 3 most embarrassing moments. Not the gosh moments, the oh my goodness how did that happen moment. The I want to hid under the rock moment. I have had so many interesting moment, that I wanted to just point out my 3 top aha moments.

Number 3. Watch your ears when opening up the garage door.
When my dad died, I went home to attend the funeral. The ever so helpful daughter decided to open the garage door for mom, see my younger sister, Heather, damaged the door with her Georgia driving. Needless to say the automatic door opener does not work. Someone has to lift the door open each time. Since of course I am the wonderful daughter I am, I said I would lift it after we got back from the funeral. Oh my I forgot, the door is metal, my ears have magnets, the two don't mix. I got my head too close to the door and bam, no double bam, both cochlear implants attached themselves to the door. At that time, I received my Hercules strength and whipped up the door, CIs attached. My mom and sisters ran out of the car to assist in bringing that door down. All I could think of what would dad do? I'm sure he would have laughed so loud, just like we did as two perfectly attached implants hanging from the door. Needless to say, I am never asked to handle the garage door again......So rule number 1, stay away from garage doors.

Number 2. Don't get too close to the door moment
As a teacher, I get called to the office daily. One such visit, I decided to make sure no one was in Jane's office. I peeked inside the door, just a peek. Little did I remember, the doors have a metal frame around them. I ever so magnet happy right implant left my head and attached itself to the door. Just then I heard come in. I'm trying with all my strength to grab that implant off the frame. It seems my right implant just loved that door. So very embarrassed, I pulled that loving door implant off the wall and marched in. So since then I am reminded of this every time I enter the office - don't get too close to the door, you might lose a CI. So rule number 2, don't get too close to metal doors.

Number 1 - top 1 - Don't change the battery while driving the interstate at top speeds.
Guilty, guilty, guilty.......if my CIs goes dead, I want to change the battery at first notice. I don't care if in the middle of teaching class, walking the hallways, storms, or even driving. I have gotten good at doing it really good until driving back from Vanderbilt on day. I took off old stick to the door right implant to change its battery. Now the right one has an attitude, it likes all the attention. So I whipped it off to change the battery. I slide off the dead AB battery. I did this elbow driving to unzip my battery case and pull out the battery. I got it out ready to enter the hearing world again, when old right just fell to the floor. Oh course I panicked as it lay on the floorboard right by my gas petal. I tried to kick it to me, would not move. I tried to reach down, oh course I'm too short to feel for it. I did everything except the one thing I should have done, pull over and get it. So after around 5 miles, common sense kicked in, pull over get the implant and get home. I feel so intelligent, finally. So rule number 1, don't change the batteries in the car if driving.

Oh forgot this wonderful event, We had storms in April and May. I'm not sure when this happen, I think the first week of May. If any bad weather approaches Clarksville, my principal makes all children and teachers come into the building. Of course I forgot my pocketbook. With a tornado warning, I just wanted to be out of the portable. I did remember my blackberry :). Both batteries died. I sat in silences for over an hour. As soon as the warning went to a watch, my assistant called the office to ask if I could go back out to the portable to get my batteries. My principal was yelling in the phone, NO WAY, she better not go out to the portable. So Final rule - Always grab batteries to carry at all time.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

CI batteries, recession, and deaf moments!

I ponder why have I dropped off the bloggingsphere. I wonder why. The only reason I can think of is the state of the world events. Anyone who knows me, knows two things about me: I am very emotional about anything and everything and I am a big history geek. I live for historical events: elections, news, historical facts. I spend my free time researching Presidents. I only have two more classes to get my B.S. degree in history. My lifetime goal beside being a chef is to work as a Presidential historian. Okay you get the point! The state of the world is very depressing. This recession, which by the way has been in place for at least the last 14 months, breaks my heart to watch my cherished daily news. Everyday it is another layoff, a bank failing, or stimulus. I find myself feeling the pain of others and doing what I can to also keep my family from any experience. So in the end I have to turn off the news, back away from the Internet, and pray for the leaders of the world. (Just a side fact that President Roosevelt did not solve the Great Depression in his first term in office. He was re-elected because people trusted him. The Great Depression was not completely ended until after the end of World War II, so 1929 stock market crash until 1945 the end of World War II. )

Now on to what has been happening with me.

Yesterday, Vanessa and I were at the Dollar General Market shopping, looking and just talking. The lady in front of me had the usual food items, the hot dogs, toilet paper, and can food. She also had $30.00 in her hand. I picked up her telling the cashier to stop when she got close to $30.00. The disadvantage to not being able to hear it all, I did not know if that is all the money she had or if she forgot her checkbook or money. I struggled to hear, but was not able to make it out. I was too embrassed to ask Vanessa. The only thing I will ever remember is my lack of doing anything. Since I worried if I heard it wrong, should I have asked if she needed money? Should I have volunteered to help her? One of the disadvantages of not hearing is I tend to not seek out. How do I deal differently next time?

The dancing Queen:

My wonderful daughter dances. Not just dances, but competition dances. This requires long hours at the studio. Since I live on the other side of town, if I don't go to the YMCA then I stay at dance and just wait. I have fallen on this Twilight wagon. I wanted to read the first novel quickly and of course dance is so noisy. The noise reminds me of a rock concert. Can't concentrate, can't read, no problem, just take off my magnets and enjoy the quiet. The dance teacher, Carmen, said she needs my CIs. Sorry my secret weapon against noisy times.


I am getting ready to order my first set of Advanced Bionic batteries. I must say it has been fantastic not having to buy batteries weekly. It did remind me of growing up with hearing aids. My family was poor, real poor. My mom would not eat dinner so the children had food. I never knew what the "good" cookies or cereal tasted like until I was an adult. For some reason even if we did not have food, I always had batteries for my hearing aids. Mom said it was more important then her dinner. And you know what, that is something I will never forget! The country maybe in a recession, people losing jobs, families struggling, but let's not forget the important lesson in life, cherish your family the material items don't matter, they can't support you or hug you or even comfort you. So hug your family!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

writer's block

I am experiencing some block. I have a lot of ideas swimming in my head. I hope to get the sharks out and write more. I have so many ideas, CI moments and fun times going on, but mostly my life is just about less stress and more normal. See ya later.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thin Gowns and warm hearts

As I get older, I appreciate the advancement of prevented medical care. I know my body is not what it use to be, and I rely on my doctor to direct me to the latest procedure. Well 2 years ago, I had my baseline mammogram. This mammogram is used to get a good read of the breast in order to have film to compare it to later on in life. Well they found Breast Calcifications. After they were removed, I was told to have regular mammograms at 3 months, 6 months, and a year. After a year of clear mammograms, I was scheduled yearly to make sure everything is normal.

My family history is directly related to breast cancer. My mom is a stage 3 breast cancer survivor. My Aunt Barbara is also a breast cancer survivor, as well as my Great Uncle. With this family history, my sisters and I regular schedule our mammograms. There maybe nothing I can do to stop breast cancer, except self-exams, yearly test, and of course awareness. The only good news in my family is my mom tested negative for the breast cancer gene. Her sister tested positive. Oh my aunt is a fighter, nothing can keep her down, not breast cancer, not tongue cancer, not cervical cancer, not even stomach cancer. She takes that treatment and goes about her life. She is my hero.

Now my regular scheduled mammogram was on the 6th of November. The feared called came on the next Friday. I was to return to the office for more film. They found a density change. So on November 21 at 7:00 I walked into the office. I was taken back and put into that thin cold robe. After three more breast pancakes, and pancakes that should not be humanly possible, I was placed into a room to wait. Several women came in, in the same thin robe in the same cold room. Each attached in a kinship of waiting for answers. I may never remember there names , but I will always remember the stories and faces. They listened to my fear and worry. I listened to their worries. And together we helped each other through! One lady I will never forget had stage 4 breast cancer and a mastectomy. She was there for her follow up test. After 4 years, she comes in every year for a mammogram. After sitting there over an hour, she said, I wish they would just let you so you can get on with your life. There was not need to thread water. Oh I agreed, I just wanted to stop threading water and get on with it. You can't tackle a problem without answers.
Another woman had a "scare" and called back for more film. She was finally told after 1 hour, our group cheered for her, as she was given positive news. One lady had a history of cancer and has had several lumps taken out. Her view was one year at a time. You can't change it, just be in charge of the treatment. This ever following group of ladies of all race, religions, and age bonded of a test that is painful, embarrasses you, and finally can rob your body. We sat in thin gowns laughing, crying, and cheering. When I went back for my ultrasound I knew they would be there to hear my outcome. They cheered as I told them, I had to come back in 6 months but so far so good.
As I left Vanderbilt Breast Center, I will be forever in debted to these wonderful strong women and technicians who helped guide my strength through 3 of the longest hours of my life. Thank you my mammogram group, may each of you have great test returned.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cochlear Implants and Ear Infections

Well what a last few weeks! I have been battling double ear infections. After two rounds of meds, a shot and decongrestion, my doctor has announced the ear infections are gone!!!!

This is the latest round of ear infections for me. Since bilateral cochlear implant surgery July 9, 2008, I have had at least 5 ear infections. I don't remember ever having as many ear infections before. So I am wondering if ear infections are common side effects of having cochlear implants? What are the reasons behind ear infections in relations to not having usable hearing in the ears. Why have I had an inability to feel the increase in fluid and pain? And finally what can I do to keep from this infection occurring. Now that I have formed my questions, I need to start googling.

If any of you know any information, please pass it on. I learn so much from all of you.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

How do you feel about being deaf?

How do you feel about being deaf?

I read that question just this week, of course it made my mind turn and think. The only answer I could come up with is this, while I accept my deafness, it doesn't mean I like it. It does not mean I haven't tried all available technology, so I can have access to sound. It doesn't define me. It just is.

So how do you feel about being deaf? Do you accept it, dislike it, neutral, or love it?