Friday, August 31, 2007

Van Gogh did what to his ear?!

Reporting from the same darn recliner in my living room.

I'm still taking one Percocet a day. I do not see foresee Tylenol in my future soon. Today was yet another uncomfortable day. All I did was lounge on the recliner and slept between Percocet poppings. Everything on my left side of my face is sore. It starts from my eye and radiates to my cheek, my teeth, my jaw, my ear lobe, my head. It all aches! I have not whined through my entire recovery yet because this is suppose to be a small price to pay for the big boom. I just have one thing to say, what the hell was Van Gogh thinking when he decided to hack his ear off?! He was definitely a few colors off a full palette. Holy crabapple, I can't even begin to fathom the very idea of what he did.

It has been five days since they did the old buzz cut and my hair is already starting to grow. I heard from the grapevine that pre-natal vitamins helps hair grow at an amazing rate. I wonder...

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Attention Homo Sapiens, Attention!

Reporting live from my micro fiber plush recliner located in the living room filled with sunshine from the northwest.

This is an official CI news update.

I have the tendency to nod off several times a day, which I contribute to the Percocet. I have taken steps to reduce the Percocet from two tablets every 4 hours to one every 4 hours. Tomorrow, I am going to start taking plan old Tylenol. Boring, I know.

I religiously clean the incision with Hydrogen Peroxide and apply Polysporin twice a day. My mom noticed that there is a small patch of redness at the end of the incision but no sign of infection or discharge. We put a call in to the doctor just to double check that there is no reason to sound the alarms. My hair is looking downright ridiculous.

It is hard to describe the “pain” in my ear. It feels like a headache behind my ear. If I bend over, yawn, swallow or hiccup, it begins to feel full. If I straighten up or lay down, the fullness sensation goes away. I have started to feel little fluttering sensations around my stitches. My little nerve guys are beginning to wake up ☺ I wish they would wake up in the top of my ear though because it feels heavy.

My neck has loosed up some since I used an ice pack and the results are simply delightful. It no longer feels like I slept the wrong way. In exchange for that delightful feeling, I can see the god-awful ugly bruising around my eye, neck, ear, and incisions. When the pain medication wears off, I tend to stiffen up. I would say today has been the most uncomfortable day so far. The left side of my face is just very sore.

My spirits are high and I feel energetic. I am being forced to suppress this happy feeling because I don’t want to hear a certain shrilling voice, “ABBIE! You need to rest!” Sigh. I’m forced to do simple activities like watch the boob tube, eat chocolate covered strawberries and play with my little puppy. Watching TV is getting exhausting because the batteries in the remote control are going and it burns a few extra calories then what I want to getting to the channel I want to watch. I just ate the last of the strawberries. My puppy requires constant attention. My puppy pounces up on me with a ball and uses her entire head to roll it to me to engage in a game of play. While she is in her play stance, I grab the ball and throw it within a 6-foot range. This goes on for several minutes before she gets tired and resumes her beauty sleep. Then I resume mine.

Since the good doctor killed the tinnitus in my left ear, sounds are coming through much clearer in my right ear. For example, my mother is making dinner and she is creating such a racket with banging pots and pans. I had to turn around and ask her are you always this noisy making dinner?! After I said that, I realized how long it has been since I have not heard banging pots and pans and immediately told my mother to bang away. I was grateful for hearing it.

That concludes our report, good night and good luck ☺

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The first day of the rest of my life.

Being bionic is rough work. I am exhausted with lounging around on the recliner all day long. I spent last night wrapped in that sadistic headband with bows that kept slipping down over my left eye. I felt like a pirate all throughout the night. I woke up every four hours to take my perkies because my incision was sore. I missed the moon eclipse by 10 minutes! DOH!

I remained stationary for most of the day. I took pressure bandage off around noon and continued to pop my perkies. I felt free from the evil grips of those gauze bows. The doctor did not shave much hair off. My mom said the stitches are very fine, resembles a very good plastic surgeon handiwork. The left side of my neck is stiff and beginning to develop bruises. I have to use hydrogen peroxide to keep it scab free and Polysporin twice a day. I discovered a couple little cuts on my lips from the breathing tube. I spent most of the day drifting in and out of sleep watching TV and emailing back and forth. The highlight of my day was I just drove down the street to go get my mail.

I got some sweet cards in the mail. I got flowers and balloons delivered earlier today from a friend of mine. It amazes me that in the world that we live in today that I manage to have a fine collection of generous and kind friends that will take time out of their day to drop me a note to see how I am doing. I am truly blessed to be surrounded by them. How many people can say that they have a bionic friend? :)

Monday, August 27, 2007

I'm officially a bionic baby!! :)

Darn gone it folks, I went bionic! Here is the recap.

7:30am - My famished self and the rest of the clan arrived at the hospital. I got myself checked in and signed a few papers so the hospital can get paid. The infamous bracelet got slapped on the wrist and I was sent on my merry little way to prep.

8:30am - I got into prep and got changed into my stylish cotton gown and little blue booties. I warned the OR nurse that she had only ONE shot of getting that IV in me and that was it. She did not get it in on her one and only chance and happily obliged by my wishes. Whew! The last time I had surgery, it took the nurse six times until she finally gave up and handed it off to another nurse who knew what she was doing and got the IV in. All the while, I was passing out, sweating, and seeing stars. They gave me the oxygen mask and all was made right. I refuse to go through that again.

9:00 to 10:30am - My spirits were high. I was cracking jokes because my mom and my dear friend Philly and George were upset. The anesthesiologist and an attending doctor came to visit and introduced themselves. While I was trying to bribe them with some home made cookies to convince the mean doctor not to shave my hair, they were going over a few things with me. One of the doctors asked my mother if she and my good friend Philly, who is around the same age as my mom were all related. This is classic. My mother so innocently replied, "We are both her moms." The look on the doctors' face confirmed that they thought my mom meant that I was the pride and joy of a domestic partnership. We all had a gay ol' time laughing at that!

10:30am - I was left alone until the good doctor came to visit me. He asked me if I was ready to roll. After nodding affirmatively, I began to bat my baby blue eyes, and begged him not to shave my hair. He did not fall for it. I pouted the whole way being rolled to the OR. Meany!!

11:00am - With the red carpet rolled out, I arrived at my destination, the OR room! The realization still has not sunk in I was going bionic. It was not until the anesthesiologist put the mask on my face to put me to sleep that I realized, pardon my French, "Oh shit, I don't want to do this, stop!" *snoring* I was officially checked in at the pillow department of the Cochlear Implant factory and there was nothing I could do about it. Resistance was futile.

2:45pm - I woke up very groggy but not nauseous. I immediately took notice that there was no tinnitus in my left ear, no sore throat, no dizziness and little pain in my left ear. Hot damn, this is great! I got some water and started waking up little by little. My mother and Philly came to visit me. They commented on my cute little headband, little did I know they put made bows out of the gauze where my "horns" would normally be. Sick joke. The good doctor told me them that they had a little trouble getting the last electrode in but finally got it inserted. I got some water, Jell-O and gray chocolate pudding! Gordon Ramsay would have been all over that chocolate pudding, it was disgusting. I do not suffer from that metallic taste side effect as you will see later on in this post.

4:00pm - Discharged and on my way home!!! They gave me some perkies and sent me on my merry way. I got a philly pretzel and munched on it on the way home! Washed it down with some diet coke.

6:00pm - I arrived home after getting my perkies and sat my tushy in my recliner and ate some more :) There isn't a darn thing wrong with my appetite. I knocked out for a few and then woke up to blog and answer some texts. I made myself some little english muffin pizzas, had some strawberries, and had a sugar free Popsicle (girl has to watch her figure after all, LOL).

I feel pretty darn good compared to the other surgery I had. I'm going to check in at the pillow factory and let you know how I'm doing tomorrow.

Thank you for all your prayers and support :)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Strength is irrelevant, resistance is futile. I wish to improve myself.

I'm off to join the collective, the most wonderful collective of all!!!

I don't think I am going to have a problem sleeping tonight. I was like a crazy pregnant woman diagnosed with nesting syndrome today. This is what I have accomplished since since 7:00 this morning.

  • Went out to breakfast with my mommy and the best neighbor in the whole wide world! (you can't have her, you just can't, she's all mine.)
  • Food shopping (it is tough but someone gotta do it.)
  • Mowed my brand new lush green lawn with the worlds heaviest lawn mower :)
  • Wacked some weeds, pulled some weeds, and sprayed the suckers so I don't have to do it again in a weeks time.
  • Operated the leaf blower for the hell of it, it is fun (just wanted to blow the weeds in the other direction instead of raking them up)
  • Rearranged my sun room furniture (I was bored)
  • Gathered up the garbage and she shoots, she scores right into the trash can for 2 points.
  • Popped some bubble wrap (Truly liberating)
  • Washed, dried, and folded and/or hung three extra large loads of laundry (and yet I complain every morning I have no clothes, pfffft.)
  • Sweep and/or vacuumed, washed, and scrubbed the floors (lemon scented floor cleaner is bliss)
  • I cleaned all major appliances back to the sparkling showroom status.
  • I cleaned and disinfected the telephone, doorknobs, bathroom sink, tub, and last but not least the porcelain god.
  • Posted a couple "Extra, Extra, Read All About It!! Surgery Tomorrow!" on a couple cochlear implants websites.
  • Lastly, I talked to the anesthesiologist about my medical history via my mother.

I'm pooped.

Signing off to join the collective!

P.S. Thank you all for your kind words, thoughts, and prayers.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

A time to plant, and a time to get implanted.

I believe last year around this time I was hiking at about 1,100 feet in the Appalachian Mountains. I distinctly remember discovering this massive clearing full of wild flowers and exotic looking butterflies flitting all over the flora. Beyond the wild garden was the steepest valley covered with the dark green trees tops. It was the perfect backdrop to the organic activity in the garden. The valley was illuminated by bright clear blue sky with the afternoon sun beaming above. The moment was perfect, almost phantasmagoric. One I could never forget because yours truly who is normally a camera happy citizen was so overwhelmed I forgot to put down my bear mace down to snap a flick. Doh!

365 days later, I opted not to become one with nature, but with technology. I am shacking up in the lovely achromatic operating room held at knife point by the man in white. The good doctor will wriggle the implant deep into the very bowels of my inner ear. Once in, reinforcements are called in to make sure everything is up to par. Then he will do some fancy blanket stitch to prevent everything that I got up there from oozing out. Instead of discovering plants, I'm the one getting planted. On the bright side, I won't need fertilizer.

All of this will be starting at my arrival at 8:15 Monday morning. Something tells me I am not going to bright eyed and bushy tailed for this venue.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Its the call we all been waiting for....

Tomorrow between the hours of 3 to 6pm EST is when I receive confirmation on what time they want my freshly shampooed head at the hospital on Monday. Oddly enough, I am like the sponge of useless knowledge and yet I cannot soak up the fact that they are going to be drilling a hole in my head and putting this contraption in my ear. I spend my free time reading about others going through their candidacy process, surgery, activations and their new hearing moments. As a result, I am so amazed with how they are making out that I put myself on the back burner.

It is all so surreal to me, like tye-dye pigs with rhinestone collars soaring through the air.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Activation Video

Just like Google, I can find everything I want to watch on YouTube! I found this very moving video of a cochlear implant being activated. This was the first time she heard her mom and dad. I'm getting misty eyed just watching her.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Magnetism is one of the Six Fundamental Forces of the Universe

In six days, it will be integrated in my repertoire of fundamental forces as well!

I cannot help but chuckle every time I go to open up the refrigerator and there lies a magnet. The contemplation of being able to take that magnet and stick it to my head is hysterical. The very idea of it is futile but it will be something that no one else can do. I can imagine that will go over big at birthday parties. Parents could hire Abbie the Magnetic Clown and kids would have a blast throwing magnets at my head! There could be games like pin the magnet the clown! On second thought, no. Cross of the career of clowns for me.

No clowning around here.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Just like the Energizer Bunny...

I keep going and going and going.

I have 7 days to go and then it is scalpel time! Pardon my morbid sense of humor. I am delirious. I just want Monday morning at whatever godforsaken time the hospital wants me to be there to arrive.This weekend flew by at the speed of light. On Friday, I attended the end of the season softball bash at a fellow player's house. The house was gorgeous, hard-scaping was magnificent, pool was beautiful, and the food was delicious with a capital D. By the end of the night, all my energy was consumed trying to keep up with conversation, but I had a great time nonetheless.

It was a beautiful day on Saturday. I did some shopping and I attended a spa party! I tried numerous beauty treatments. None of them made me look like Heidi Klum but it was relaxing. I had this stuff put on my face that gave me a patina effect. Then the chair happened. I am going to nickname this chair Chocolate because it is just as dreamy as chocolate. Chocolate is a torque up pedicure chair for your own personal use! I felt so relaxed between the treatments and the massage. Later on, that night, my friend and I decided to try our hands at making hair extensions. We eventually gave up and started looking into some technology to modernize the process. It was coyly named "Mom with the sewing machine."

Then Sunday, a few wonderful hearing friends and I went to the NYC Deaf Festival at South Street Seaport. We arrived at Fulton street hot off the subway, and I had no idea which way was east. It did not take me long to find out, all I had to do was follow the deaf people. It was everyone's first deaf event and it was a learning experience for all of us. It was a good time with the music, the vendors, and the food. I think it would have been better if I knew sign language. Not all was lost because we learned some sign here and there. We learned how to say thank you and success. Sign language is a beautiful way to communicate. I wanted to find someone who had a cochlear implant and failed miserably. We had good food at Uno's. I was very impressed at their quality of food. I would say the experienced has been a success, thank you all!

Then today at the office was business as usual at my not-so-sunny little cubicle. I was so jaded this morning from my weekend :) It was a very hectic day. My tinnitus was mild this morning. I thought I was going to need a rubber room last week! I faced reality this morning that my residual hearing in my right ear is going and fast. Things that I heard a couple weeks ago I am barely making out now. This morning I had to use someone else's desk to make a quick copy. I had several people behind me and they were trying to get my attention. I did not hear a single word. I was able to be hear some environmental sounds. I turned around to get the copy and I saw that they all had the infamous grin on their face of "Hellllllo, we are trying to get your attention!" Words were exchanged and I walked out the door with my tail between my legs, figuratively speaking.

It is a dog-eat-dog world out there and I'm happy I can still hear mine bark.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Left vs. Right

I began to research the left vs. right brain theory. Primarily due to when I get the hardware installed, I was curious which side is dominant in speech development. I get that the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body and right side controls the left side of the body. Now Google might not be the most trustworthy source of information but I left my Grey's Anatomy book at Barnes and Noble. So Google will have to do for now. Grand Ol' Google has indicated that the left side processes language, logic, and organization. All the while, the right brain is used for artistic ability, emotions, tone, but no language center. Interesting.

My left side of my brain has been proactive in language and speech development with my hearing aid in my right ear all these years. It is a safe assumption since it houses the language center. On the other side, my brain has been inactive as far as auditory stimuli in my left ear, but that has not always been the case. I have auditory memory from when I use to wear a hearing aid in my left ear years ago. I cannot remember using the phone with my left ear. Throughout my cochlear implant candidacy, not one person suggested to implant the right ear since it houses the language center. It was suggested that I do my right ear on the basis that it has more stimulation but either ear was up for grabs. Did I pick the wrong ear to do first?!

Now my left hemisphere wheels are turning. When the implant is activated in my left ear, my right side of my brain is going to be in for a rude awakening. Am I going to have difficulty understanding speech? Does this mean that I will appreciate music and sounds of nature more then the spoken word? Albeit I have the auditory memory, will my left side help my right side remember? I am going to snoop around and ask some left ear implantee's how well they have done.

This is a far-fetched hypothesis created by daydreaming through a thunderstorm. Bear with me. I am curious if dominant sides of the brain and the ear chosen have anything to do with how well a person responds to a cochlear implant. Does a dominant left or righter's have an easier time adapting to a cochlear implant? If your left hemisphere were dominant, would you benefit from having the implant inserted in your right ear? I would think a person would excel beyond expectations in that case. If your right hemisphere is dominant, does your music appreciation increase while your speech discrimination is hanging in the midst? I have not the foggiest idea. What if both sides of the brain aided speech discrimination with just one cochlear implant installed in either ear? Now that would be the ideal situation..... on paper.

Time for me to find out which side is dominant! I have taken four online tests to determine which side of my pretty little head is dominant. All four tests came out I use each side equally. I am perfectly balanced. :) 50/50. Half-and-half. Even steven. Here are the results from one of the tests.

Abbie, you are one of those rare individuals who are perfectly "balanced" in both your hemispheric tendencies and your sensory learning preferences. However, there is both good news and bad news.

A problem with hemispheric balance is that you will tend to feel more conflict than someone who has a clearly established dominance. At times, the conflict will be between what you feel and what you think but will also involve how you attack problems and how you perceive information. Details that seem important to the right hemisphere will be discounted by the left and vice versa, which can present a hindrance to learning efficiently.

In the same vein, you may have a problem with organization. You might organize your time and/or space only to feel the need to reorganize five to ten weeks later.

On the positive side, you bring resources to problem solving that others may not have. You can perceive the "big picture" and the essential details simultaneously and maintain the cognitive perspective required. You possess sufficient verbal skills to translate your intuition into a form, which can be understood by others while still being able to access ideas, and concepts that do not lend themselves to language.

Your balanced nature might lead you to second-guess yourself in artistic endeavors, losing some of the fluidity, spontaneity, and creativity that otherwise would be yours.

With your balanced sensory styles, you process data alternately, at times visually and other times auditorially. This usage of separate memories may cause you to require more time to integrate information or re-access it. When presented with situations that force purely visual or purely auditory learning, increased anxiety is likely and your learning efficiency will decrease.

Your greatest benefit is that you can succeed in multiple fields due to the great plasticity and flexibility you possess.

That about sums me all up.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Opus of the Plague

At this point, I wish I was a computer equipped with satellite-shielded speakers, which are immune to interference. I feel like my ears are vintage computer speakers that are affected by electronic interference of something as simple as a remote control! It sounds like I have a AM radio station in my ear. I suffer from tinnitus. This episode that I am currently having in my ear is driving me BONKERS for the past week. It sounds like the inside of a seashell is inside my head amplified ten times.

*banging head on desk*

I feel like this cat right now.

You would think I would be use to this by now since I have had tinnitus since I lost the rest of my hearing in my left ear. It never use to be this bad. I use to have a well-behaved left ear. I use to be able to lay me down to sleep and wake up with ears that have normalized overnight. The older I am getting these cacophonic episodes have gotten longer, louder and diversified in sound. It only affects my left (dead) ear but it is so loud that it actually takes over my other ear. The sounds range from this lovely melody of the ocean that I experiencing right now to buzzing, beeping, hissing, whooshing, and roaring. It is the opus of the plague to me.

Peculiar things would start the onslaught of pungent noises. If I cracked a piece of hard candy with my jaw a certain way, the music begins. I have learned since then to stop chewing hard candy since I do not want to end up with old English men teeth. If I was horsing around and just happen to land on my feet just so, here comes the static. Cold weather brings it on regardless if I wear a hat on my head or not. It comes on for no reason too and can last for up to over a week. Why? why? why?!

I do not remember me putting my John Hancock on a piece paper allowing my head to be the host of a foreign sound taking up residence in my auditory system. Who do I have to call? Tinnitus Busters?

On a brighter side, I got two more weeks to go until my surgery. Yee-haw!!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Gold Mine of Audio Books for FREE!

I have to share this amazing website with you guys.

Auditory Rehabilitation is of the utmost importance after getting a Cochlear Implant. After I get the surgery and then turned on, the rehab starts. It is the same process if you break your foot. After it heals, you have to do some physical therapy to get it back up to snuff. The same principles are applied with the ear. Tools like Books on CD and MP3 will help my brain get use to listening sounds out of my left ear again. I have to retrain my brain with the speech provided on the audio books that this is what speech sounds like while I am reading along with the book in my hand. I just have not looked at the library inventory yet.

What was I waiting for? I decided to go over to the library with a friend of mine. Instead of doing my usual gossiping with her, I decided to observe my surroundings for once. While she hunted down some sort of weird tomato book, I found the Adult books on CD section. I snooped around and started a mental inventory. In the corner of one of the shelves, a bookmark caught my eye that said Free Audio book Downloads. I snatched one up and headed back to work.

This is the greatest find for me since sliced bread or lincoln logs. I do not know which one came first for me. Anyway, the bookmark had a website, that I went to as soon as my fingers hit the keyboard. Shortly thereafter, I realized that this website is the answer to all my auditory rehabilitation. I am going to download the unabridged audio books and then check the book out in the library so I can follow along. How is easy is that? is a website that collaborates with libraries across the world to offer free Audio Books, E-books, Music, and Video. All you need to have is; a library card, download and install the free Overdrive Media Console software, and Windows Media Player 9 with the security update that can play the protected content. Depending on the audio book that you download, you can burn it to a CD or upload it to your MP3 player. Unfortunately, this does not work with Ipod’s or Mac’s. One day it will, one day. There is always ways around it. Here are the pertinent links so you can see if you can take advantage of this!

Search for your Library
Search for your library first and see if they offer free downloads.

Download the free Overdrive Media Console
This will download the content and play it.

Download Windows Media Player 9
In case you don't have it or you would like to upgrade.

Instructions on how to install the security update for Windows Media Player 9

I have complete confidence that I am not going to run out of rehab materials for quite some time.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Whoa, its 20 days away?!

Mood: Anxious

Since I was mainstreamed all my life, I have not had the opportunity to meet other hard of hearing or deaf people. I could count the ones I have met up on one hand. I lack the ability to sign. I can barely do the ABC's but I am a master at the big one finger salute. I never thought to seek out others like me. It was not until I started researching cochlear implants that I came upon all these sites full of people just like me. I never knew how comfort felt until I realized there are other people out there that feel the same way. Right down to the same quirky little habits that we have all unknowingly adapted.

For example, I have a habit of just smiling and nodding during a conversation. I get so tired of trying to follow the conversation because it is like watching the Wimbledon every single day. I hate tennis and I am in dire need a chiropractor :) People wonder why I have such a short attention span and tend to drift off in space. It is mentally exhausting to try to follow the voice. I opt to my mind my own beeswax. I love gossip but not at the lengths I have to go to get it. That is what is for.

It is nice to know that I am not the only one that dreads nighttime affairs with no floodlights underneath everyone faces. I cannot hear or see anyone lips without light so I end up sitting there looking like an anti-social hermit. Believe you me I am anything but anti-social. In fact, I am quite the quaint little social butterfly.

Another one is that when every one starts to laugh, I laugh even when I have no idea what they are laughing about. I detest looking like a pudding head, so I laugh. Even worse, I do not want to appear that I lack the sense of humor to enjoy a clever banter, so I laugh some more. It is a rotten feeling to discover what is so humorous after everyone else has enjoyed the moment. It ruins many a moments when someone has to explain what is so funny. It is just these little things that normal hearing people will never understand.

However, it makes me feel all sorts of warm inside when I get told that I act like that one would never know that I can't hear. It is 90% due to my super duper black belt lip-reading skills and the other 10% is the sounds I can barely hear. I teeter totter between planes of reality. I just don't know where I fit in.

I decided to go to the NYC Seaport Deaf Festival in New York on August 19 to see if I can meet some great people, learn about the deaf culture, and get some food while I am at it. I do not know the first thing about the deaf culture, but I am determined. I know more about the Spanish culture then I do about deaf culture. I cannot even begin to express how happy I am to have some wonderful friends that are going with me to support me. They are my rock stars :)

This honorary rock star is going to put down her drum sticks and close her eyes.


Monday, August 06, 2007

Harmony makes small things grow, lack of it makes great things decay.

I am totally digging this quote.Harmony makes small things grow, lack of it makes great things decay.

I just came across it today and thought what a perfect title for my next entry! It is now on my top five list of favorite quotes.

The HiRes 90k implant or Johnny Five's pet mouse as I like to call it has a sidekick, the Harmony Processor. On the outside, the Harmony resembles a behind-the-ear hearing aid on steroids. The only difference is that it has a small cable with a quarter-size magnet at the end. The components work together in perfect harmony (pun intended).

Harmony Processor on the left - HiRes 90k Implant on the right.

So what does this Harmony do? It processes sound. :) The Harmony has two built in microphones that listens for sound and sends it to the processor or the mini computer. The mini computer converts the sound from analog to digital.

A prime example would be if you have digital cable service. You decided to give up the trusty rabbit ears and upgrade your service to digital. The big clunky box that the cable man brought over is a digital converter. It converts analog TV signal to digital. The result is a clear picture and increased audio clarity. I can vouch for the picture but the audio do not quote me on.

After all that digitalizing that goes on up in that processor, it ships the signal up the cable and into magnet at the end (transmitter) which transmits the signal to the magnet on the implant (receiver). The implant takes the signal, sends it down the tail to the electrodes that are wrapped around the cochlea. When the electrodes receive this signal, they stimulate the auditory nerve by sending out little jolts of electricity or firing that my brain will interpret as sound.

In essence, I will be available if you need something posted on the refrigerator since a magnet is always an ear away. :) I kid, I kid.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Every clarification breeds new questions.

Since I posted my entry about HiRes 90k Implant, I have received a flood of questions. So I thought this is the perfect place to answer them!

1. Is it instantaneous that I will hear? Nope folks, I have to wait to be turned on (Details to follow) and get your mind out of the gutter.

2. Will it cure my hearing? No, there is a 50/50 chance that it might work or not work for me. It will just help me have the sense of hearing. My type of hearing loss is sensorineural hearing loss. It means that a majority of the hair cells on my cochlea bite the dust. The only possible cure is stem cells, which I am not holding my breath for.

3. Am I getting both ears done? I am just getting the left one done but I am not nixing the idea of going bilateral in the future. The idea of hearing in stereo is something I have not done since I was 12.

4. What will my recovery be? Let me tell you what it is going to be like. It is going to me sitting on my fat derriere in my recliner watching HGTV all day with my “private cook” at my every beck and call. However, I should be back to my sunny little cubicle in a week.

5. What are the side effects? Oh, your usual run of the mill anesthesia reactions, facial paralysis, numbness, change in taste, dizziness, and meningitis that I have already taken the vaccine to prevent. Before you freak out, the pros outweigh the cons tremendously for me. To be honest, the only thing that was weighing on my mind is the facial paralysis. Until, I discovered during the course of surgery I will be hooked up to a facial nerve monitor just in case the surgeon gets a little too close for comfort, it will ring the alarm.

6. Are you scared? Not right now. I am jittery more then anything. Who knows how many pairs of shoes I will buy from now to then .

7. How do they perform the surgery? For whatever demented reason that you wish to watch how this surgery is performed, your viewing pleasure is located here, Cochlear Implant Surgery If I tried watching that, TIMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMBEEEEEER! Abbie goes boom.

8. Why did I pick Advanced Bionics Company over Cochlear Americas or Med-EL? Anyone who knows me will know I do my research about a product. The information that I gathered about the companies themselves, reliability, customer support, technology and the room for advancement without further surgery was overwhelming. When it came crunch time, I felt AB’s devices felt the most comfortable and comparable to the familiar settings that I have with my hearing aid. I felt that the benefits that Advanced Bionics offers is more in tune with my lifestyle.

9. Is one company superior to the others? From what I read, current CI users say no but they will back their product up. It comes down to what will work for you. Cochlear Americas seems to have a larger market of implantees. Advanced Bionics and Med-EL has had some recalls on their product in the past. I feel that because a product has had some recalls does not mean they are substandard. These products are still made by humans who screw up.

10. Am I excited? You bet your bottom dollar I am! Any hearing that I could gain from going through all this will be like winning the lottery.

I have procrastinated enough. I must fold the damn t-shirts.

Au revoir folks.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

The twisted irony of it all...

For the first time since February, I was forced to use my cell phone for something other then texting. On my way home from work, I saw a minor car accident. Before I proceed, it was not a bad one. Everyone was fine but a bit shaken up which is to be expected. It was about 200 feet away from me, and I did not hear the crunching metal-to-metal, plastic snapping, and rubber squealing associated with my own personal experience in car accidents. I grabbed my cell phone and headed over to see if anyone was hurt. Everyone had ten fingers, ten toes, and no bleeding. Thank goodness, no one was bleeding because the sight of blood makes me pass out. I would have needed an oxygen mask. Then it hit me that I had to call 911.

WHAT!? How am I suppose to do that?!

I think I went as white as my dress. My initial thought was to hand my phone off to someone else. I was surrounded by the parents of the baby boomer generation and none of them looked technologically perceptive. Note that I am not passing judgment but you just had to see the group of folks. I started to walk away staring blankly at my phone trying to form my introduction speech for when I dial 911. Then a lightening bolt hit me! A very dear friend of mine was training to become a 911 operator. She gave me the scoop on what order they ask questions. If I state the information in that order that it would minimize the operator asking me question. Now, what was the order again?

I remember her telling me that they always ask the location first, and then the emergency.


I remember her telling me that they will ask if anyone hurt.


I remember her telling me that they will ask your name and telephone number.


Easy as pie, I could do this. I dialed 911 and hit send.


I turned my hearing aid way up and I heard the faint ringing sounds. It sounded like 5-6 rings before someone picked up. Someone finally picked up and it sounded like

- 911, what is your location? (Hot damn, my friend was right!)

I calmly relayed the mental script to the operator with the introduction that I am deaf, please bear with me. I did not hear a few things but after several repeats, I eventually understood. It was successful call for the most part. I continued to wait until the cops got there. Then my cell phone starts buzzing and I look at the number. I did not recognize it but maybe it was cops because they have not arrived yet. Here we go again....

-Do you see the police officer?
It actually sounded like dew utee list officer to me.
-No, I do not.
I reiterated the location again.

Before my next breath, the cops arrived.
Whew... I was shaking in my sandals...

Friday, August 03, 2007

Today is one out of the next 25 days to go.

And how does this New York Yankee fan spend her day? Sweating about two pounds off over the course of four hours and it was worth every ounce :)

Today was spent at the New York Yankee Stadium on the HOTTEST day of the summer. I knew it was going to be a scorcher when I started my car up to see the temperature being 86 at only 9 o'clock in the morning. We got to there by bus and it dropped us off a few block away from the stadium. The minute you stepped off the bus you felt the frenzy and the excitement. It is something that you never forget once you go experience, but each time is like the first. It is the perfect example of deja vu. I was hoping to be part of history while my favorite player Alex Rodriguez made his 500 home run. Alas, that did not happen because the score was 13-8.

This is the first game I had attended since my sudden drop in hearing. With the assistance of the multi million-dollar sound system that the Yankees have in their stadium, I could feel the beat of certain songs. The faint rendition of Star-Spangled Banner that was played in the beginning was barely there. I will tell you what I did hear. The roar of the crowd, the cheers, the clapping, and the chants. The sheer volume was wonderful. It takes a crowd of 54,869 for me to be able to hear something without my hearing aid. Not too shabby :)

That was the last game with my hearing aid. The next game I go to will be in the new New York Yankee Stadium which is opening up in 2008. I will be sporting my new toy for that one, magnet attached and all. I wonder how it is going to sound then. It will be a new experience all around. It will not feel the same since the new stadium will lose its vintage ambiance that the old one has. Then how could it sound the same? It will be something to look forward to in the future with a sense of nostalgia in the air.