Sunday, January 29, 2012

Activation Update..

That was a brief activation post but honestly I was exhausted. I was put on nights at work (which I don't mind at all) so my early morning appointments no longer work as well. I only got a couple of hours sleep before going to activation and then needed to stay up all day to go back to mornings at work for Friday and Saturday.

So much has happen in the past 2 days it is hard to get it all together. Voices are wonderful if I am paying attention. If you speak a distance from me then it is harder if I don't know you are speaking to me. I have so much to learn yet. This experience is both thrilling and challenging. A good example of this is what happened to me yesterday afternoon once I got home from work. I have turned on sound again to the television, computer etc. so all these sounds are new. I can hear the television and pick up a word here and there but not good yet. It will get better. After work I was sitting here at the computer and I kept hearing "tones" but I couldn't figure out what it was. It was like 3 or 4 tones in a row almost like a warning beep. I thought at first it was coming from my processor and it was trying to warn me about something but I had no clue what. I thought at one point it might be the computer making tones as I was doing things but that wasn't it either. It turned out to be my cell phone! I had a text message. :-) I have never heard that before! How neat!

I am amazed at the things I can hear already. We have these large birds in our neighborhood that make a very loud noise. I was inside and could hear them about 50 feet from my house! There are some pitches I am not hearing at all but that will all change once my brain figures this all out. I had a friend come over last evening and it was so neat to be able to sit outside (not much light) and be able to have a conversation with her.

When first activated the audie will set it up and in the 3 program slots have the same program with an increase in volume as you progress. As the brain get use to this, the volume lowers. More and more is added until things start to "settle down". I asked her how long she thought I'd be on program 1 before I needed to switch to 2. Everyone is different so she had no idea but told me it could be in as little as an hour from then but she wanted me on 3 by next Friday when I go back for a "tune up". By Saturday morning I was still on program one and a little concerned not really knowing what to expect. I did notice my voice was calming down a bit so I thought my brain is getting use to hearing my voice! Not what was happening at all. LOL I needed more volume and didn't even know it. I guess my voice is suppose to be loud to me and I will get use to it. A couple of hours after I got to work, someone told me I was talking louder again. I changed to program 2 and that did the trick. My voice was normal again and things did actually sound better. Not having any sound at all for 2 years has made this difficult to judge. A few hours later she told me I was doing it again so I went to program 3. I also had to get my friend to come in and set my television to a comfortable level because I had no idea if it was loud or too soft. I want to practice with the right volume but had no way to know where that is.

Along with still being tired from surgery and work, rehab can be very tiring too. I am trying to take it slow and not over do it. Sometimes harder said than done. I have had my new Kindle "read to me" while following along with the text. I know it doesn't sound that difficult but it proved harder than I thought it would be. I have my car radio on a talk radio station so anytime I go somewhere I am listening. Most of that sounds like mush but I am hearing certain words here and there. I try to put enough together to at least figure out what the discussion is about. LOL I also went to an online site set up for rehab that was nice. Again much harder than I thought but on the easiest settings I scored 88% my first time. :) Granted, some of it was guessing but I will take that for my first try.

Today is only day 3 and I see improvements everyday. Hearing my cell phone, a knock at the door. I don't think speech can get any better. It sounds normal to me but then again, I'm not a good judge of things right now and could be wrong.  Road noise sounds like static and that is annoying but I know it will get better in time.

The new theme in my life.... "What's that noise?" :-)

Friday, January 27, 2012


Activation was yesterday and was so much more than I ever dreamed possible.

My SIL and I arrived a little early and I was so nervous. Once we were called back and my audi got everything all hooked up she first had to set the tones for a comfortable level. That was strange. She had to raise it quite a bit before I ever heard anything. When I started hearing the tones, they didn't sound like tones at all! It sounded like 2 ducks quacking. This made me laugh but I was also wondering, "is this what I am going to hear?". She said she was going to turn it on and then asked "how does that sound?" which brought the tears. Not only could I hear her voice, I knew what she said! Bring out the box of kleenex! She made a few clicks on the computer and we talked a bit. I heard and understood everything perfectly. My voice was very loud and her voice was soft. She says this will settle down which it has some. I will be back in more detail but for now..... I'm tired. I am working tomorrow so calling it a night early.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

First Week Back At Work

I made it! LOL There are two problems with working. One is I have to wear safety glasses. The other is my energy level is not where it needs to be. The RX safety glasses I normally wear are out of the question. With the swelling (which is getting much better) I can not handle having the "arm" of glasses on my right side. So, what I have done is, I am wearing my regular glasses that I have removed that arm and putting generic wrap around safety glasses over them. These are light weight plastic and bend easy so no pressure. I also had to get a strap to hold them on! Sorry, no pictures! LOL This is a busy time at work and everyone is working 12 hour days. No way can I do that! I did get them to put in my note to return to work with 8 hour days max. The funny/sad part is all this week I have been in bed before the others have been done working. It has been exhausting. By 6pm I can't go anymore so I am real curious as to how next week will go. I did email the nurse and ask if I could get a note for next week but I got no response. I have really been discouraged by the lack of response from this CI center. They know email is my only means of communication with them but still I get no response.

Next week is activation. Yes, I am very nervous! I have no idea if I will hear voices or just beeps but I do know I will have sound again. I am so hoping I have made the right choices because there is no changing things now. 5 days to go....

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Post-Op Visit Yesterday

My post-op visit went well. They tested my implant and all 16 electrodes are working so that is great news! I am healing nicely but still have some swelling which is to be expected. This is the reason we have to wait 4 weeks before being activated. The neatest thing was to actually get to see the Neptune! OMG it is so small, I was shocked. The pictures do not do it justice. I will be going to another BEA meeting tomorrow which will be all about the Neptune. I can't wait! There are so many choices to make. Colors, cable lengths etc. and it is so hard to decide without knowing what you might like better. So many places I can wear this so I need to get the right cable lengths for where I will wear it but I don't know. I am hoping that tomorrow's meeting will answer some of those questions for me.

I am really getting nervous about activation now. I have no idea what I will hear when they turn it on. My hopes are so high and I am trying hard to keep my expectations low but that is so hard to do. Hearing anything will definitely be a blessing but I am worried if it all sounds like mush, how will I handle wearing this and listening to that. 12 days to go until I find out.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Day 9

I guess this is not as easy as I thought. *sigh*
I really felt pretty good. Not much ear pain although some swelling and is tender but that is expected. I've had no balance issues or dizziness. No jaw pain or nausea and all my food tastes just fine. Ok, I do understand I just had surgery. The surgeon said it was ok to return to work if I felt up to it and I did. It didn't take too long to find out that I am not ready yet. Here is how it all happened...

On Tuesday I returned to work. I have to wear safety glasses and that was a problem. I had thought about this briefly (I should have thought about it more) and got some moleskin to pad the incision wear my glasses would hit. After trying multiple things, I gave up after 4 hours deciding there was no way I was wearing those glasses. Too much swelling and way too tight. When I got home I got busy trying to come up with an option. I did find one and it worked. I worked 8 hours on Wednesday. I was very tired at the end of my day but I was expecting that. So we get to today. I woke up this morning with a lot of pressure around my eyes. Getting ready for work I noticed that I am developing 2 black eyes! Now, bruising of the face/neck area is normal after this type of surgery but I have had none until today, 9 days post-op. That seems a little strange to me. I worked 2 hours before I gave it up for the last time. I am taking next week off. I did email my surgeon 9 hours ago and have gotten no response so I assume I am ok. I have an appointment with him next Friday the 13th and will see what he says then.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Day 6 Post-Op

To sum things up so far...
Day 1 and 2 were painful and I got little sleep. Day 3 and 4 were better as I was able to take Advil and slept a lot both days. Day 5, I actually put clothes on instead of PJ's and went to my brother and SIL's for dinner. I took no Advil this day and felt good but tired. Today day 6, I woke up with pain in the ear again. I have been planning on returning to work tomorrow but now I am second guessing that. The pain is easing up so perhaps it was because I was lying flatter than I should.

I have learned a lot this time around. I hope to be able to do this again for my left ear and if/when I do things will be a bit different. I did have one of the best surgeon's in the country doing this procedure and I am thankful for that BUT if he refuses to listen to me then I will have no choice but to go elsewhere. I do not blame him for his "tight rope" on pain pills but I am not the average bear here. I will not go through the first couple of days again without pain meds I need. There is another top notch surgeon in Miami so I may be heading there for the second one. We shall see.

I also learned to tell the hospital the day of surgery what not to give me for pain after the procedure. I am thankful the syringe was labeled and I saw it or it would have been much worse. All in all this procedure was not too bad but I think the next could be better.

I am going to drive for the first time today. Just a short trip but I need to see how it goes before I attempt work for 8 hours.