Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!!!

I wanted to wish you all a safe and happy Halloween! This was my first bionic Halloween and I decided to be a bionic flapper! Little things I have learned this Halloween is that wearing a wig keeps a CI on no matter what the activity is. Whether it would be dancing the Charleston, cabbage patch or playing pool, it is on there like Velcro. A little beauty tip for you. I discovered over the course of this month that many people shell out money for motion activated sound effects for the OUTSIDE of their house. I never heard a witch’s cackle, an eerie ghostly moan, or thundering sounds before. I have only heard those sounds when I’ve gone to haunted houses which I’ve contributed mainly to the sound system installed. Now I can hear it walking up the steps of friend’s houses. Spooky :)

For the record, I do not advocate smoking in any way!

Have a happy Halloween!!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

So many websites, so little time...

I don't know about you guys but I'm a bookmark fanatic. Once I set my sights on a site that is articulated with delicious bits of information, it manifests itself as a part of my little bookmark family before you can say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. What does a girl like me with a list of bookmarks longer then her entire family tree do to keep up with them all? If you scroll down (after you are done reading this please) and have a little look see at my bookmark section, which a majority of the links represents blogs to other bionic buddies, parents of their little bionic ones, and other deaf related sites. You will notice that it is a LONG list.

Abbie does not exactly have what you people call TIME on her hands to go checking up on every single one of these sites and the many others that are unrelated to the topic at hand. In the olden days, I would get comfortable and click happy with my mouse until my eyes just about crossed over to the other hemisphere. I am proud to announce that those days are over and long gone thanks to Google.

Google has developed a product called Google Reader, which receives the universal kudos sign from me. Besides accomplishing the task of being the answer to all my prayers, it shows the updated content of my bookmarked sites in one convenient place. Does this happen to pique your curiosity my fair readers? I thought it would! Did I mention that it is free? Now I know I have your undivided attention.

All you need to do is create a Google account. Personally, I would go for the whole shebang and get an email address at no extra cost (it puts Hotmail to shame.) Once you get your brandy new Google login and password, log into the Google Reader site. You will see layout that looks similar to your inbox. Click on Add Subscription and type the address to a site or search for new ones, for example (hint: copy and paste) and click Add. You have subscribed to that site. When I update my blog, it will show up in the Google Reader site and you will be able to read it as if you went to my blog site directly. Another option is if you see this little orange icon (my icon is green) that says RSS Feed or Subscribe to: Atom on a site that you interests you, you can click on it and it will ask you to add to Google Reader automatically! Either way, just try it, you won't regret it!

I have subscribed to a variety of sites such as blogs, news, gossip, MySpace, Xanga and other random sites that interest me. What was once disorganized chaos is now organized bliss thanks to Google Reader. Can I get an Amen?!

This weekend was full of CI moments but I want to share my last one because I will post the others tomorrow. I went broccoli crown shopping at my local supermarket who has installed self-check out modules. I am walking down an aisle that had nothing to do with broccoli, but it was near the self-check out modules. I heard loud and clear, "Please place item on the belt" followed by a loud beep and the "Please scan your next item." I stopped dead in my sandals and peered behind me to hear "Please select your method of payment." Considering I was halfway down the aisle, I thought that quite an accomplishment. I gave a pat on my ear for a job well done.

I resumed broccoli shopping and grabbed bok choy for the ride. Once I was done, I got myself situated at the self-check module, I hit the button for English, and this thundering boom talked to me, "Please scan your member card or scan your first item now." Geez louise, it was so loud! No wonder why I heard it half way an aisle. My thoughts quickly deferred to the countless of times I have utilized the same self-check station to avoid talking to the cashier, actually to avoid communication period. It was almost inconceivable the countless of times it was barely audible. A nanosecond later, it is conceivable and currently is reality to me. Hearing is not something to be taken granted. To reaffirm that, I look up to scan my surroundings while I'm gritting my teeth listening to the booming female mechanical voice obnoxiously instructing me to scan my next item, I saw a young girl reading a gossip magazine signing as happy as she can to her mother.

I got excited to see someone signing because that gave me a little comfort that maybe I am not the only deaf one in my area. Then it dawned on me I could only talk through her mom because I do not sign, but it was a comfort nevertheless since I can count the number of deaf people I've seen in my area on one hand. I wanted to walk up to them and say "HI! I'm Abbie and I'm deaf too!" or something to that effect but less cheerleadery. I never got the chance because they left while I was being instructed to bag my items by the drill sergeant hiding in the self-check module.

I came home with little more then I intended. A soothing feeling I am not as alone as I think I am in this world and bok choy.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Hear Ye, Hear Ye!!

I bring good tidings and links too!!! Advanced Bionics, the company that manufacturers my beloved cochlear implant, magnet, chip and all has posted a link to my blog under their Peer Support link.

Click here to check it out!!

AND my bionic buddy Jennifer who going bilateral in a mere 12 days is featured on there too!! She is the beautiful buxom blonde right underneath of me :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I'm a greedy little audiophile.

My fourth mapping was yesterday and I have "Advanced." I dig this snazzy music program over my base program. I love the wider dynamic range and voices sound pretty. Voices jump out at me in noise, in the car, in quiet, you get the idea. Oh, music sounds pretty good too. :) I’m very greedy as far as sounds go. I like it and want it all and I want it now! In the beginning, my audi stuck me in the booth did a tone, sentence and word test. I scored 44% on my sentences compared to 0% pre-activation. The word tests, lets just say I need some work LOL, 8% :) but compare that 0% pre activation, it is a leaps and bounds. She said that they don't normally run tests until 3 months after activation. Regardless, I'm ecstatic with the results! From just two weeks ago, there is already an improvement!

Pink represents the tone test I just had done yesterday.
Red represents my left ear prior to being implanted.
Blue represents my right ear without my hearing aid.
Green represent normal hearing

Since I liked the IDR of 80 and the music program, she tweaked the music program and added higher frequencies to it to become my base program. Now paper and plastic are back to being loud again :) She went through some sentences covering her mouth and I got every single one with the high frequency emphasis. She lowered the volume to 306 to eliminate the twitch. At my last mapping, she went through each electrode raising the volume to see if it was one electrode, not the case. The conclusion is that it might be a combination of electrodes that are giving me the 'oh so sexy spastic eye look'. I did the math the combinations are endless. She programmed the CI along with my hearing aid in to see if I need the volume in my left ear and so far, it is working out well. If I take either the CI or the HA off, everything sounds soft. Perhaps my brain is getting use to having two ears again. Next time I go and see her is when an Advanced Bionic audiologist will be present which is going to be within the next two-three weeks. Once I find out when the audiologist is available, I will let you all know.

Overall, this nifty little gadget impresses me every single day. This weekend I was cleaning out the shed and then I heard two DISTINCT MALE voices or two baritone females, you never know. Lo and behold, there were two men hanging out on the roof of my neighbor's house that is a good 80 feet away. Before I couldn't hear anything that was 8 feet away much less 80 feet.

On the way home armed with a new map, I wanted to stop by a mall that is close to the hospital. Since someone neglected to grab the GPS at home and I had no idea how to get there from Philadelphia. Hell I didn't even know how to get there from Jersey. Thanks to the trusty GPS technology installed on my phone, it guided me right to the front entrance of the mall. From there I entered the golden palace of make-up otherwise known as Sephora. I am walking around practically convulsing with excitement at all the different products, I hear behind me, "May I help you look for something?" I felt like I had an Elvis moment because my eyebrow must have went up in a permanent state of perpetual surprise. I turned around and there was a very happy Sephora employee smiling waiting to assist me. It is so much easier to shop without purposely avoiding communication with anyone.

Signing off as the greedy audiophile.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Impotence drugs linked to sudden hearing loss.

This little snippet links sudden hearing loss with popping those "BLUE PILLS". There is always a catch somewhere.

U.S. regulators on Thursday said warnings about the risk of sudden hearing loss linked to popular drugs for impotence, including Viagra, Cialis and Levitra, would be added to the drugs' labels.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration was prompted to look into a possible connection after a published report of a man taking Viagra, made by Pfizer Inc, who suffered from sudden hearing loss, a rare condition.

Eli Lilly sells Cialis and GlaxoSmithKline Plc sells Levitra.

A further review of the FDA's side effect data found 29 cases of sudden hearing loss with a relationship to the three drugs. In two thirds of the cases, the hearing loss was ongoing, the agency said.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Breast Cancer Awareness

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Millions of people wear pink clothes, accessories or don pink ribbons. There are walks held all over the United States to raise awareness. Almost 200,000 women and MEN are diagnosed each year with breast cancer. The reality of breast cancer is as real as the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink and the blood in our veins. Today at work to support the cause, we donned our pink ribbons and attire. Just a simple act of wearing a particular color acknowledges those who have been diagnosed, survived or lost someone in the battle. Unfortunately, it just takes one person, whether it is you or someone else to be diagnosed with breast cancer that propels an emotional roller coaster that once experienced, it is forever etched in your mind. It is only then that the awareness of breast cancer is truly turned in to reality because you begin to question your own mortality while they are faced head on with their own. Could it happen to me? Is it happening to me now? Does it run in the family? How do I stop it? Then it leads into question of how I can help them cope. What is the right thing to say? Do I ask questions? Should I not ask questions? What can I do? Do I hug them? It is unsettling when no one has the answer.

When I discovered that someone I personally know had breast cancer, I thought to myself all of those same questions. This woman prior to being diagnosed if she stubbed her toe, she was down for a week. Since she has survived breast cancer, she has become the epitome of strength and courage for all of those she has touched. The definition of survivor is one who lives through affliction and perseveres after and she truly represents that. Not all the donations, walks, pink ribbons, or harmonious outings geared towards raising awareness together could have created the profound impact on me as Pam did when she was diagnosed.

The point I am trying to make is do not wait until you are face to face with the reality of cancer. There is no time like the present to support the cause. Here are some links below.

This site requires just a single click to fund free mammograms. It takes two seconds.

CI Moment

This morning I was at work passing through an office to get to the fax machine in what I call a walk in storage closet. Passing through, there is a woman I work with name Pat concentrating so I sprinted passed her because I did not want to bother her. Pat is a cool chick, she was one of the few that felt my magnet on my head. I'm half awake trying to remember whether the document goes face down or face up in this fax machine.

"Whose there?" I hear Pat say.

"It's me." I reply.

Mind you, there is a wall separating Pat and I.

"Abbie! You heard that?!" Pat said.

I peer around the corner and I see Pat sitting right in front of the doorway, with eyes as wide as a kid in a candy store.

"Yeah Pat, I heard you." I replied nonchalantly.

"I can't believe that! Now before you would have never heard me before right?" Pat said.

BOOM! It hit me like an espresso shot. Talk about a super delayed reaction. I told her no I would not have heard her. We spent a couple minutes going back and forth, about how well the CI is working for me. She was so genuinely shocked and happy for me. She was beside herself.

Truth of the matter is that before I would have not been able to hear her even if she were standing right behind me. When I just had my hearing aid, I always had a hard time understanding Pat for some reason. With the CI, I discovered the reason being because her voice has a high frequency pitch. Now I have no problem understanding her face to face, or even through a wall.

These little cochlear implant moments sure do sneak up on you.

Monday, October 15, 2007

A weeks worth of thought...

It has been four weeks since I was turned on and I cannot believe the difference. Not just in what I hear, but in how I feel. I feel that I am on a path to rediscovering myself. I am doing a complete overhaul on my life, pulling out the weeds so to speak. My self-confidence is slowly coming back. I do not feel as socially repressed. I will admit I have withdrawn into my own little world. I use to work out like crazy, go out on a whim, and take little trips to nowhere just because I wanted to. Since I lost my hearing, I lost interest in all of that. On the other hand, since I have lost my hearing, I have gained interest in what really should matter. I feel secure in my surroundings. I can hear a car coming up behind me. I can hear someone answer me through a wall. I can hear a fire alarm whereas four weeks and one day ago, I could not hear one if I held it right against my ear. It is a sense of security that has been given back to me by simply inserting a circuit board with a tail in my head. I feel that the ability to accomplish tasks without placing a burden on anyone is within arms reach. To do things myself, gain a sense of privacy, and achieve independence would be my poetic justice.

The one thing that has affected me, as thick skinned as I might appear is how my speech is perceived. I'm conscientiously aware of how I am speaking at all times. The idea of someone commenting on my "accent" turns my stomach. I would fight like hell to hold my tears back, which I am doing now. Humiliation rears its ugly head when a stranger out of nowhere ask me where I am from when I am at a store, amongst friends, or worse, a friend notices. I have received more comments regarding my speech since February then I ever have in my life. I started for the first time in my life, keeping my mouth shut. I began to think to myself maybe people were afraid to tell me, that they did not want to hurt my feelings. I suppose there was no right or wrong way of saying it to me. I contemplate that it would be like me asking someone if a tube dress made me look fat and did not want to hurt my feelings. Regardless if I was left looking like an overstuffed sausage or slurring as if I have been hitting the bottle a little too much, I'm starting to feel that I can talk candidly without the weight on my shoulders of wondering if they are judging my speech.

Nuff about that though! Since my audi Jennifer turned off my auto gain compression, it has been a blessing in disguise. An ambulance went by me while I was driving and I heard it approaching without having to look in the rear view mirror. With the auto gain on, it sounded like when you are talking on a cell phone and you lose signal, it cuts out. Very annoying. I am reading this book called The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, and it has a woman with a very slight Indian accent narrating the book. This is my first audio book with a woman narrator and I am able to follow along fairly well. My next mapping is on Monday, so I will have to see what she has in store for me then.

For those who like CSI shows, CSI Miami aired an episode last Monday called "Inside Out". It featured a deaf girl that was killed and she had a cochlear implant! Sure, they killed her off, but you can see the magnet stick to her head and everything!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Third Mapping!

I was so tired, House was on last night, and of course, House won. I ended up getting home from my mapping much later then expected because the valet somehow mixed up my keys with another ticket. I was just happy that they let me go through the keys because they originally thought the keys were dropped somewhere. Mistakes happen, no big deal, moving right along.

A review of my last mapping had these settings:

Base program is HiRes-P with Fidelity 120, IDR of 60 with extended lows and a gain in high frequency. My audio mix is 50/50 Mic/Aux.

Sounds have gotten a softer or my brain might have started ignoring them. I doubt my selective hearing will ever go away. So what’s a girl to do? Pump up the volume!! But pumping up the volume brought a not so nice sensation in the back of my left eye. Otherwise, I was picking up speech fairly well. I was reading the Winnie the Pooh book which is so gosh darn riveting and picked up words here and there. Music is coming through ok. I am still having a problem with certain sounds cutting out.

My noise program is HiRes-P with Fidelity 120, IDR of 45 with an audio mix of 50/50 Mic/Aux.

I didn't really get to use this because I maxed out the volume of this program within a week.

My music program is HiRes-P with Fidelity 120, IDR of 80 with an audio mix of 30/70 Mic/Aux.

Ahhh...what can I say about this program? This is a *pretty* program for me. I love what I can hear on it. I could hear people talking 25 away in a store. Only downfall is that I can hear crickets on this program, shudder.

Before I continue, I want to explain what HiRes-P and Hires-S are, I don’t want to lose readers in the technical mumbo jumbo ☺

HiRes-P is the program that tells my implant to process sound by sending electrical pulses to two pairs of electrodes or four electrodes causing them to fire all at once. When they fire, my brain interprets the electrical impulses as sound.

Think of it this way:

Imagine 16 soldiers lined up in a row for target practice. These soldiers represent the 16 electrodes wrapped around my cochlea.

If the general said "Soldiers, on my command do a HiRes-P formation"

General says, "Go!"

First four soldiers fire once.

General says, "Go!"

Next four soldiers fire once, while the first four soldiers are recovering.

General says, "Go!"

The next four soldiers fire once, while the first and second sets of soldiers are recovering.

What is happening here is when the four soldiers fire at the target, more damage is inflicted. When four electrodes fire at once, it means that more auditory information is being sent to my brain. Make sense? I hope so!

HiRes-S is a program that tells my implant to process sound by sending electrical pulses to one pair of electrodes or two electrodes causing them to fire all at once. When they fire, my brain interprets the electrical impulses as sound.

Back to the range! The same 16 soldiers lined up in a row for target practice.

If the general said "Soldiers, on my command do a HiRes-S formation"

General says, "Go!"

First two soldiers fire once.

General says, "Go!"

Next two soldiers fire once, while the first two soldiers are recovering.

General says, "Go!"

The next two soldiers fire once, while the first and second sets of soldiers are recovering.

When the two soldiers fire at the target, damage is inflicted but not as fast as the HiRes-P would. When the two electrodes fire at once, it means that only two electrodes are sending auditory information to my brain. This program does not like me.

IDR means Input Dynamic Range, which means the higher the number the bigger the window of sound is available to me. The smaller the number, the smaller the window. Big window=more sound, little window=less sound.

Anyhoo mapping results!!

I keep a little journal of what I can hear in a memo pad, so I whipped it out at the mapping and told Jennifer everything that I have documented. Try picturing a very girly cop taking notes, and you have me at a mapping. She worked her magic with alleviating the twitch. She gradually raised the volume and increased the pulse width. She didn't want me to lose power if I absolutely didn't have to. She did say my comfort levels were above average. The number that it is set at is escaping me but I believe it is 316 but do not quote me on that. It muffled the twitch some but not completely. She tried to see if it was a single electrode causing the twitch. That was not the case. She tried taking me off Fidelity 120, and I was not happy with what I wasn’t hearing. Since I was started with a Hires-P program, she tried switching me to Hires-S and I *hated* it. I think she said one syllable and my brain started frantically firing all the neurons it can for me to blurt out SWITCH IT BACK!!! So she did switched it back and my brain was happy. I'm in the long haul with the HiRes-P program. She took off the extended lows filter and that seemed to do the trick. She took off the auto gain compression on my base program to see if that was causing the cutting out. Today I noticed a big difference; it didn't cut out when the phone rang and the psycho in me was able to sit calmly at my desk suppressing the insatiable urge to rip the air conditioner out of the window. Ahh, such is bliss.

Jennifer ran off some sentences and words that I had to choose which one she said with her mouth covered. I did not even look at her. I think there was 30 different questions and I got one wrong. Darn F words.

My new settings are now:

Base program is HiRes-P with Fidelity 120, IDR of 70 with an audio mix of 50/50 Mic/Aux.

My noise is party program is HiRes-P with Fidelity 120, IDR of 45 with an audio mix of 50/50 Mic/Aux.

My music program is HiRes-P with Fidelity 120, IDR of 80 with an audio mix of 50/50 Mic/Aux.

She decided to stick me in the booth and do a tone test comparison with my last map and the new map she just created for me. The results I posted are with the new map yesterday. Jennifer said I am doing extraordinarily well. I felt like I was in first grade again receiving my first A+ when she said that.

I received the go ahead to welcome an old familiar friend back home. She said I can wear my hearing aid again!! Life is good, life is really good.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


A picture is worth a thousand words and quite frankly I am too tired to come up with a thousand words. My third mapping went great and I will post a blog about it when I am able to keep both eyes open at the same time. Jennifer my audi decided to do a tone test in the sound booth and this is the results of it :)

Green represent normal hearing.
Pink represents the tone test I just had done today.
Red represents my left ear prior to being implanted.
Blue represents my right ear as is.

I sat outside of the hospital waiting for my car staring at the audiogram waiting for the letters to magically start dancing. I'm surprised I was able to blink! It was definitely a perk me up from the slap in the face that the Yankees didn't win the playoffs this year. :(

Hate to cut this short, hearing rain on roof for the first time, will post tomorrow!!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Just Imagine...

Just before I had my surgery to repair a deviated septum in February that led me to experience complete silence, I started researching cochlear implants. This is all before I discovered forums and blogs that are only a click away. My primary doctor's office was clueless with whom I should contact. They actually asked me what a cochlear implant was. Therefore, I figured a good starting point would be an audiologist! I broke out the Google super pages and started searching. I thought there would have been at least ONE person in the area that dealt with cochlear implants. I made a phone call to a so-called audiologist that I had never seen or talked to before in my life. The result of this phone call was disturbing. This audiologist stated that there is absolutely no way that I would be considered a candidate for cochlear implant based solely on how well I was hearing him on the phone.

That right, you read it right the first time. This glorified hearing aid dispenser diagnosed me as an unsuitable cochlear implant candidate just by talking to me on the phone. In his professional opinion, that a stronger powered hearing aids would be more suitable. He further went on to say that a cochlear implant does not sound like a hearing aid and I am better off sticking with hearing aids. Who knew audiologist can sound like a used car salesman? Just imagine if I took that preposterous professional opinion and did not seek out a second one. I would be sitting here stone cold deaf today. Instead, I opted to disregard it and research it further. I wanted to contact someone in the medical field that did not give me a face of utter confusion when I mentioned cochlear implant. My perseverance paid off in insurmountable amounts. I am hearing more then I ever have in the short time I have been walking on earth's terra firma.

Since I have off today for Columbus Day, I woke up a little later then usual on this fall morning with an expected temperature of 87 degrees, a gentle breeze blowing the leaves around and the thought occurred to me. If that absurd phone call happened to me, it had to have happened to others. I can only imagine how many others an experiencel like that would have stopped them dead in their tracks. To the others that have had a similar experience to mine and accepted it as their final retort, my suggestion to you is look further. The chances are the audiologist that you see to have your hearing aid adjusted is not a trained cochlear implant audiologist. They are two different species entirely. Seek out a reputable cochlear implant clinic. Here are some links track one down.

My personal preference was to find a clinic that dealt with all three of them. Diversity is the spice of life and I wanted that familiarity extended to my choice of implants. It is important that you double and triple check if the clinic and the doctor are covered under your health insurance because it is not cheap.

When I had my deviated septum surgery, I had to disclose that I was deaf and yadda yadda yadda. It turned out there was a nurse whose daughter has a cochlear implant who came to talk to me before I was wheeled in. Her daughter was born completely deaf and the cochlear implant was nothing short of a miracle for them. The nurses eyes was welling up with tears as she told me a story that her daughter can hear her name being called from downstairs. It was touching. The reason why I am telling you this story is that I felt it was kind of a prodigy because shortly after being told that story, I was wheeled into surgery and I woke up completely deaf.

I made some milestones last week. It was a crazy week at work. I had a training session on Wednesday in a relatively small conference room, oval table and all. There was about six chatty people total in this room and I was able to follow along with no problems. I was able to tell who was chiming in their two cents and immediately was able to turn to read their lips. I can say with confidence that I left that training session with comprehending at least ninety percent of what was said. Before my implant, I would dread this type of situation because my eyes would eventually glaze over in frustration and nod occasionally that I get the gist of the conversation.

Thursday was another training session, but in a computer classroom setting with a projector screen. I sat right in front of the instructor and everyone was behind me or to the right (my implant is on the left.) When other people in the class would pipe up with questions, I was able to tell who was talking and turn my head to read their lips. I felt very confident that I understood at least 80% of what was being said. Before my implant, I would have learned everything I needed to by watching the instructor move his mouse on the screen.

On Friday, I had another experience of being surrounded by several people discussing business in the hallway. Surprisingly, I was able to follow along with whoever was chiming in. Keeping up with the rate that politicians talk is no easy task. :) Friday night, my mother was practicing with me covering her mouth and running off a list of states and countries. I did fairly well but I think it was because I knew the subject matter and it was not hard to associate the sounds with the proper name. Even with my audio book, I can look away and pick up words here and there. I can't wait to see what tomorrows mapping will bring.

Just imagine, it has been only three weeks since I have been activated!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Llightning fast!!!

I have so many computer towers in my hallway to repair for various software/hardware issues that if I get any more; I have to walk on top of them to get to my bedroom. For those who do not know this, I repair computers and I reopened for business last week. I spent a better part of the second half of last week and all weekend doing diagnostics. Since I am a walking computer, I might as well surround myself with them. I am one amongst the circuitry!

Moreover, the question of how my little chip in the left ear doing? It is doing fan-flippin-tastic! I hear so much more with the CI then my hearing aid. It has exceeded my expectations. I refuse to call it my right ear my good ear anymore because it sounds ghastly! Last night I removed the CI and plopped the hearing aid in. I sounded bizarre and I could not hear the TV or my dog walking on the floor. My immediate thought was “I have been missing so much.” Shortly thereafter, I put the CI on again and all was right as rain. Although I prefer when I wear both, it gives me a more balanced sound.

Sounds that were loud to me last week are now soft. I had a horrible time last Wednesday trying to adjust to the beloved air conditioner that is located right above my sunny little cubicle. I did not know what was worse, the static from the radio that was located behind me or the air conditioner. I was not a happy Abbie. However, arriving at my sunny little cubicle on Thursday, the atrocious noise from the air conditioner gotten softer and I was able to pick up little things from the radio again. My frown turned upside down.

I did have a great moment last week at the library. I went over to get this book called Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell to read along with the audio book. As I was rapidly scanning the Dewey Decimal numbers, I heard something that sounded like:

“Fleas ga to turkination usk” Hmm, I totally understood that. Then
it said it again.
“Pease ga to circulation desk.” Say what?! It
said it a third time
“Please go to the circulation desk.” Are you
KIDDING me?! I just heard over a loudspeaker for the first time in my LIFE!
I used the phone today to call a computer to give me a confirmation number. I understood it! I am miles from understanding speech though. I still need to read lips or I am a lost cause. The tinkling sound when someone talks is dissipating in the background. Although, last night I was reading my Blink book and I stopped to watch TV. This one man started talking and for some reason, I was picking up an accent. I asked my mom if he had an accent, and she goes “Yes dear.” I happily nodded. Then I asked her if it was an Irish accent, and she goes “Yes dear.” I chuckled to myself.

Random sounds that I am hearing: acorn hitting my roof, my keyboard sounds like a keyboard, mouse-clicking sounds like mouse clicking, music is sounding prettier every day, water has a melody to it, crickets (unfortunately but fortunately I only hear them with my music program with the IDR of 80), cars pulling in to the parking lot next to my sunny little cubicle, my puppy Bella low growl when she is guarding the window, and the friggen air conditioner.

There are things that need some adjusting. It is a well-known fact that humans crave affection. One sign of affection is the mere ability to wrap your arms around someone and give them a hearty squeeze. The universal sign of love is hugging. People do it. Pets do it! Hell, they even have a national hugging day (January 21!) I love to hug but I have to learn how to hug without the gosh darn contraption flying off. One incident, I got a hug and then all of the sudden my bionic ear fell to the floor. Yeah, that was awkward. Another incident, I gave a hug to someone and when I started to let go, my bionic ear went flying off. Due to my lightening fast reflexes, I caught it mid air. Is there a secret to this or something? With my hearing aid, I cocked my head at 90 degrees to avoid the horrendous hearing aid whistle. Now what do I have to do with my CI? Purchase a snazzy pair of earmuffs to give someone a hug?

Another adjustment that I have made involves the sink or basin depending on what part of the world you are from. Now when I first got my CI, I had a bad omen of something happening over a sink. When you get that unsettling feeling of something not quite right, this is your subconscious telling you and you need to listen to it. Since I cannot avoid using the sink because I wash my hands all the time, I have opted to be extra special careful. I am going to tell you why. Saturday afternoon, I managed to climb over a couple computer towers to get to the bathroom to wash my hands after cleaning a couple computers. You can always tell when the computer has been in a smoking house. It is disgusting. I’m going to town on my hands, lathering those babies up, water is running a gallon a minute, and I start to rinse my hands off. I feel a slip. Well, thank goodness for my lightening fast reflex because I managed to catch it before it went fishing in my sink. Since that episode, I now stand a good three feet away from the perimeter of the sink. Of course, my mother was just heart broken to hear that I have terminated my imaginary chore of washing the dishes. There is no way that my CI is going scuba diving.

The sense of normalcy is beginning to settle.