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Week 1

I had the surgery done on December 3, 2011. Surgery itself really is a piece of cake–no pain in the head, it’s really all the drugs that they gave me that made recovering challenging. It took a good three weeks before I was completely myself again.

On January 11, 20100 (cool, 1/11/11) was the day I went to the audiologist (plus an intern) to become “activated.” That’s when they figure out how much sound my brain can handle before turning the processor on. My friend, Julia who went with me thought it was going to be something simple “like chucking it on.” It’s much more tedious than that—a long procedure in which they hook my processor up to a wire and I have to count how many beeps I hear—very low ones, soft ones, high ones over and over and over. When they’ve gotten enough data, then they turn the whole dang thing on. Even though it wasn’t as bad as the first one, it was still just as shocking and overwhelming. It feels like I’ve been electrocuted—a shock of white light passes through my whole body–and paralyzes me just for a second or two. And, then I can feel my blood pressure rising, breathing shortens and I’m holding back the tears.
Both of complete shock to the system and of complete joy. Joy because the whole procedure works and I’ll have another whole new world of sound, once again.
So, what’s new?
  • I feel more balanced. The world suddenly seems even.
  • Music is more broken down for me–it’s hard to describe, I now notice even more parts to the music, less compartmentalized. Because I’ve never heard these things, it’s really hard to put them in words. I keep seeing the sounds in pictures rather than the sounds itself. I definitely turn the music waaaay down. Golly, how did anyone ever enjoy the loud music with me—they were all way too nice!
  • Wow, last time I wrote about Elyza, I wrote about how much she whined. Well, most of the whining is gone, but boy, she is loud. I would use my hands as a signal to patiently tell her to lower her voice. It’s really amazing how much she has adapted to accommodate me. She sounds so sweet and cute.
  • I was doing stop sign duty last week, every car has to stop and then go again. I couldn’t believe how heavy the cars sounded (see, there I go again, talking in visuals). The sounds made the cars look much bigger than they already were. I was surprised that each engine had its very own sound. Some were smooth, most were clunking in between (probably not a good thing, right), some even had clinking, and it all sounded like the engines were working so hard to get the car going again. And, even the sound of tires going over gravel–completely new.
  • Coughing and sneezing. I was never a germaphobe until now! The coughing, wow, they really come from deep in the belly, and up the throat and out thy mouth—and suddenly I can see all the little bitty whittles of spit floating all over the room! If not on the room, then all over the hands, and if not on the hands, then all over their clothes! Sneezing! Loud! Same thing, you make sure you sneeze far, far away from me—don’t you dare to get that sound of snot close to me! I was in the elevator and someone sneezed! I was grossed out–and someone was kind enough to say, “Bless you.” I was horrified that you can bless a person simply for sounding so disgusting. For the first time, I didn’t even acknowledge a sneezer! I couldn’t wait to get out of that elevator–out of that germy little space!
  • My voice. I like it. So sweet and soft! However, I can now hear where I”m not clear or annunciating a word very well. That’s going to take some time to figure out how to speak more clearly consistently. I do get a little stressed with the adults because I can feel all the eyes and ears watching me–expecting me to perform perfectly and counting my little misunderstandings. However, when I’m around my students, I do notice that I speak much slower now that I can hear myself. They’ve mentioned to me that I’m speaking more clearly.
  • Radio. Every now and then I catch a lyric that I totally understood. But, goodness, the commercials! They’re horrible! I had no idea what they advertised—“Are you feeling lonely? Do you need help finding someone? Are you sick of being single? Blah, blah blah” My goodness, children hear these things. How about, “If you are 20-50 pounds overweight, how would you like to get paid for losing weight?” The commercials are so geared for adults—but there are millions of children listening to these things–it’s not so much what they see on TV, it’s also what they hear daily. As of now, I’m really struggling on whether or not to allow Elyza to listen to the radio. It’s so degrading.
  • I’m hearing lots of little things. Last year, it was boiling water–now it’s steam, the noise before water starts boiling. How cool, there are stages of sound from still water to boiling water!
  • Words are just much clearer. I’m able to hear my name being called at a quieter level and from further away.
That’s all I can think of for now. As I’m writing this blog, I”m still ever so thankful that I can still take out my processor and escape the daily noise!
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About Amy Pogrebin Bremenstuhl

Life is noisy~ in a messy way. I thought I'd try writing about surviving the hearing world every day for 365 Days.

2 responses »

  1. I am so grateful for this technology. This is truly a miracle. Love,Mom

    Reply
  2. I continue to feel more in awe of you. Thank you for writing this. I really want to read the book… And you do have a beautiful voice. See you soon. xoxo

    Reply

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