*I N H A L E S*
*E X H A L E S*
As the sun rose from the east, the rogue Nevada rays found their way through my wafer thin eyelids somewhere around six in the morning. I bobbed up out of my bed within five seconds because I wanted to waste not a moment here! Laurie was practically ready when I tore the sheets off. Jennifer was still trying to find out which way was up, but she was not letting go of the coffee mug. I decided to hop into the shower with my eyes closed in fear that I would let out a blood curdling scream. I worked some mojo on the ladies hair and kicked up the mojo on my face a notch :) As it would turn out, all three of us were ready in no time at all and we officially started the HLAA 2008 Convention.
Jennifer ran downstairs before Laurie and I got ourselves to the elevator. It did not take long to have my firsthand experience of how bilateral CI's have better localization because Laurie had a much easier time of being able to tell which elevator opened up. Apparently they "dinged." I'll be damned if they dinged because I couldn't hear it. It didn't take any time at all for a game of "lets find the elevator" to became a running joke among us. The bilateral users beat us unilateral users every time.
After marveling over Laurie's localization skills, we met back up with Jennifer and the Nashville crew. We got some coffee and breakfast before we went to register for the convention. Of course, we had to take pictures since there were many cameras swarming all around us. Aside from the lights flashing and twinkle stars floating in front of me, there was a certain honorary photographer from Kentucky that got goosed. That left us hysterical laughing. Shortly after that, we giggled our way to register for the convention and I met Cheryl Heppner and her hearing dog Galaxy. Cheryl is the convention reporter that you see here as well as the executive director for the Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons.
There, we got a snazzy blue bag to hold all our paperwork, schedule, information, and a huge name tag connected to a lanyard. Something told me there would not be a case of mistaken identity at this convention. No sirree, not here. I loved wearing name tags because that took the stress right out of introducing yourself or vice versa. I can't tell you how often I have screwed up names in those critical greeting moments that could make or break a future relationship. I want to show an example by introducing you all to my imaginary pal, Jake.
"Hi, I'm Abbie and you are?"
"Hi Abbie! I'm Jake."
"J - A - K - E."
"Oh! Jake. Nice to meet you!"
I have had far too many conversations like this but if Jake wore a name tag, BOOM, instant karma! The name tags won me over in a big way. :)
The exhibit hall was next on our list and boy, was I unprepared. This was Geeks-R-Us for the likes of me. I was overwhelmed with all the booths, gadgets, and toys for me to fool around with and buttons to press. There was something for everyone! Just check out this list of exhibitors!
Advanced Bionics Corporation - Cochlear Implant company. For those who do not know, I have Advanced Bionics.
Alternative Communication Services
American Academy of Audiology
American Speech and Hearing Association
Alliance for Telecommunication Industry Solution (ATIS)
Canine Companions for Independence - Unbelievable program!
Clarity, a division of Plantronics and leading supplier of amplified telephones, notification systems, assistive listening devices, and other communications devices for the Hard of Hearing and Deaf communities.
Cochlear Americas - Cochlear Implant company
Comfort Audio Inc
Costco - They sell hearing aid batteries, in bulk.
Consumer Electronic Association
Dry and Store - I own one and I strongly suggest this if you live in a humid climate.
Eye Movement Integration: Theory and Practice
Gallaudet Leadership Institute - A program to improve the quality of deaf professionals, leaders, consumers, parents, and community advocates in deaf-centric organizations.
HARC Mercantile LTD. - Assistive listening devices
Med El Corporation - Cochlear Implant company
National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID)
Oticon - Manufacturer of hearing aids or the politically correct term is hearing instruments.
Panasonic - They have the best cordless phone that I have ever used in my life.
Phonak - Manufacturer of hearing instruments.
Quick Caption - Provides real-time captioning, video captioning, transcription services and REMOTE real-time captioning.
sCOMM - Provides UbiDuo™, a portable, wireless, battery powered stand-alone communication device that facilitates a simultaneous face to face communication by two displays and two keyboards.
Siemens Hearing Instruments - Manufacturer of hearing instruments.
Silent Call Communications - Provides deaf alerting systems smoke detectors for the deaf blind alerting devices deaf-blind electronics.
Sorenson Communications - Video Relay provider
Sound Clarity - A site very similar to Harris Communication.
Sprint Relay and Sprint WebCapTel - These guys get two thumbs up from me! They provide Relay and online telephone captioning.
Teltex - aka Serene Innovations - Specializes in amplified phones, TTY's, unique notification and Smoke Detection Systems.
T-Mobile USA - Wireless phone provider with deaf and hard of hearing plans.
Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) - Leading trade association involved in telecommunications, broadband, mobile wireless, information technology, networks, cable, satellite, unified communications, emergency communications, and the greening of technology.
Ultratec Inc - CapTel phone
Verizon - Verizon center for solutions for customers for disabilities. I happen to have one solution: Lower your prices.
just as soon as I can remember who is who!
You can see how that kept me busy for quite some time. I didn't have T-Coil activated but that didn't stop me from ogling blackberries and trying out the different gadgets. I was meeting so many people including the very lovely Barbara Kelly who is the deputy executive director and editor of the HLAA magazine who is a delightful and wonderful human being. I was so eager to start putting a face with all the wonderful people that I have been in contact with. I found myself in a constant flux of exchanging signs, hugs, or business cards with others. I can't remember the last time that I talked that much in a twenty-four-hour period. I talked so much that my throat became parched, but there is nothing like pink lemonade cure that :) Later on, Laurie and Jennifer decided to attend the HLAA's state chapter meeting and I was having way too much fun being a social little butterfly, so I opted to flutter around the exhibit hall some more until opening session....
To be continued!