Activation Complete

A month after having my cochlear implant surgery, the implant was activated on Friday. After the audiologist said “It’s time to turn you on…are you ready?” I kept a straight face and said that I was, and she clicked something on her computer, and boom, activation complete.

I’ve done a shit ton of reading about cochlear implants over the past few months. As with anything that I set my sights on, I completely immersed myself in all of the information available, from ear anatomy to implant brands to user experiences. My husband jokingly told the audiologist that I probably know as much as they do by now that I’ve researched so much (someone was feeling ignored).

From what the audiologist told me and from what I’ve read, there was a range of possibilities for how activation was going to go for me. It was highly unlikely that I would be able to understand words, pretty darn likely that I would hear beeping and clicks and other noises, and possible that I would hear next to nothing. Being the optimistic person I am, I put my money on hearing sounds, but the sounds being so painful that I wanted to rip the implant out.

That wasn’t the case, fortunately!

When it was turned on, it was very overwhelming at first. I definitely heard a lot of sounds, but everything was robotic sounding and hard to make out what was what. After wearing it for a few days and working with the rehab apps I was told to download, I can actually understand some words already! (I plug the ear that isn’t implanted so I can practice with the implanted ear only.) Not so much with conversations, but when my husband plays categories and says a word or two at the time, if I focus really hard, I can make it out more than half of the time. That doesn’t sound very impressive, I know, but from what I’ve read of other cochlear implant experiences, this is really good! (It can take a year+ for some people to understand words at all.)

I bought a couple of skins to jazz up my processor. The Wonder Woman skin didn’t work out, but this Rebel Alliance one turned out nicely!


(Drugs) That’s What I Want

“It’s an easy surgery. You might not even need to take Tylenol.”

This is what the surgeon told me regarding the pain related to getting a cochlear implant. I was a little surprised, since I knew I’d need stitches and all, but cool — next to no pain and I’ll be back to normal in a couple of days, aside from waiting for the swelling and stuff to go down.

Not even.

The first day was the easiest. I was sore and had a headache, but that’s to be expected. Halfway through the second day is when it hit me and I was thankful that I filled my Vicodin prescription. Holy hell. This shirt hurts. It’s like the worst ear infection I’ve ever had combined with a burning feeling on my scalp, my jaw is locking up, plus muscle pain from being in an awkward position during surgery.


That’s what I thought at first. Now, I’ve walked around on a broken foot all day before, gotten tattoos, dealt with gallstones throughout a pregnancy…I didn’t think that I have a low pain threshold, but if all I needed was a Tylenol and I was still hurting, then clearly I have gotten weak lately, right?

Maybe not.

I went on some message forums for cochlear implant users and found that most people needed more than a Tylenol in the week or so after. Whew, so it’s not just me. That doesn’t exactly make my ear/head feel better, but it does help my ego a bit. (And really, I can deal with pain, it’s just when it catches me off guard like this…)

Today I found out exactly why it hurts so much. Skip to 2:19 to see the real deal.

They drilled a hole in that bone! OUCH!

I thought it was just a “We’ll make an incision, slip some implant shit in there, and stitch it up” deal. Nope. Now I don’t feel so wimpy for hurting at least, but it’s a good thing I didn’t watch that video before going through with the procedure.

My husband counted and I’ve got 22 stitches. Little Man said it reminds him of Darth Vader’s scar (except for the location of it and all, I guess), and being compared to Lord Vader is always cool. I would share the picture that I took and sent to my friends and family to gross them out, but I’ll be nice and skip it. Okay, maybe it’s less about being nice and more about not wanting to post my oily hair on the Internet. Maybe.

All right. Enough bitching from me. I’m off to neglect my house and watch more Netflix.

Surgery Went Well

Everything went well during surgery today! No facial paralysis from a nerve being cut, doesn’t appear to be any issues with some nerve connected to taste being cut, AND I can faintly hear music out of the implanted ear with my other ear plugged — that’s a great indicator that at least not all of the residual hearing was lost! I’m also not wobbly or dizzy. The implant area hurts, but that’s to be expected. Next week I get the stitches removed and then the implant will be activated in a month.


My husband said when the surgeon came out to give him an update, he said, “We were able to fully insert the canal.”

That’s what she said!

The people who do the implant kept telling me how I’d come in “to be turned on.”

Y’all implant people need to choose better phrasing, because I can only do that “mature 34-year-old woman” thing for so many seconds.

That’s what she said!

Also funny:

When my husband brought the kids home, Baby Girl ran in and wanted to know how Google Home was doing. This child was rather upset about me having surgery, but she didn’t say a word about it when she came in. She is low-key obsessed with Google Home (she is convinced a tiny woman lives in it) and that trumps mama. Boo!

Thanks to everyone for the positive thoughts! ❤

Tomorrow’s The Big Day

Tomorrow I have the cochlear implant surgery. I freaked out briefly and contemplated writing letters to everyone to be opened in the event of my death. (Anesthesia freaks me out.) I’ve calmed down a bit, though, and am not writing death letters anymore. I’m worried about a couple of things, but at least it’s not that. (This better not be a case of jinxing myself.)

I am a bit anxious about how my hearing is going to be over the following year. The doc emphasized yesterday that I’ll likely lose my residual hearing in the ear being implanted, which I knew. I picked out an array that is supposed to be more flexible and better for preserving hearing, so we’ll see. The big thing I’m worried about is how everything is going to sound once it does kick in (assuming it does indeed work for me).

“I’m really worried that Hanson is going to sound weird,” I told my friend. Yeah, y’all know I’m a bit obsessed with that band, but I don’t even care at this point, I’ll gladly let my freak flag fly. (And I’m so going to order a processor cover with the Hanson logo on it to wear out to embarrass my husband.)

“Maybe it’ll make you realize they suck and you’ll want to find good music,” my friend said.

It’s going to be interesting see how it sounds since I’ll be using a hearing aid in one ear and the implant in the other. The implant is supposed to sound kinda tinny, so I wonder if that sound will overpower my other ear or if it’ll combine together somehow. Hmm.

(Near the bottom of this article on NPR, you can hear how a piano sounds with normal hearing vs. cochlear implant. I thought they sounded the same, but my husband thought it was very different. If you listen, comment with your thoughts.)

My other concern is my hair. They’ll have to shave off a patch of my hair. Gah. I seriously almost said “Never mind” when my husband brought it up, since I hadn’t even considered it for some reason. I know, I know, if all goes well, it’ll be worth it, but I’ve had some shitty short haircuts. If the clippers (or however they’re cutting the patch) slip, then…shit.

All righty…I’m off to get the kids ready for bed, finish up an article since I’ll be off for a couple of days, and then listen to music with the hearing I’ve been accustomed to for the past 34 years, maybe do a doodle blog post, and go to bed myself!

I Regret Nothing…Maybe

Looking back through some old (and mostly private) posts, about three years ago, I was falling apart. Depression was worse ever, anxiety was bad, there was lots of family stuff going on, etc. — just a straight up clusterfuck. And then I made things a hundred times worse when I stopped taking my antidepressant and anxiety medicine on a whim. It makes me cringe so hard now just thinking about what a straight up mess I was.

Image result for inspiration get to where i am today

Okay, yeah, inspirational type things like that really aren’t me.

Image result for office laughing gif

If I were going to do an inspirational type thing, it’d be something along the lines of, “Yay, you’re less of a fuck up than you were a few years ago. Go, you.” (And now I really want to make that and post it in the comments section of the next person who posts one of those memes. Oh hell, I’ll do it.)

It’s been about a year since I saw my therapist. And in the year range since I wrote anything about my own mental health. And I never dance around those issues with my friends anymore, either. (I say “dance around” because those conversations were very limited and vague.) After spilling my guts the other ways for the better part of three years, it’s been weird not saying anything and kinda losing touch with myself, if you know what I mean. I went from being very in tune with my feelings, moods, etc. to, well, not. 

That kinda bit me in the ass a little, too.

A few months ago, I started having some heart palpitations. A few times per hour, I was having palpitations. Since the only other time I have had heart palpitations is when I was having an awful anxiety/panic attack, I assumed that my heart was about to kick it.

Husband: “It’s anxiety.” 

After waiting for my heart to kick it for a week, I went to the doctor.

New doctor: “Sounds like anxiety.” 

Me: I don’t think so…

<refers me to cardiologist, palpitations worsen>

Cardiologist: “I really think this is due to anxiety, but I’ll do an ECG.” 

That turned out fine, of course, but I still didn’t think it was anxiety. I figured that as someone who has dealt with anxiety pretty much forever, that I would know if anxiety were the culprit. I mean, yes, I was having anxiety and very much on edge a lot, but still…that wasn’t how it typically presented in me.

Psychiatrist: “What’s new in your world?” 

I tell her about the palpitations.

Psychiatrist: “Oh yeah, that’s anxiety, it might be time for you to start back taking a daily medication again.” 

Me, in my head: IT’S NOT ANXIETY.

Me: I don’t think it is. Doesn’t seem right. 

Psychiatrist: Maybe it’s not, but let’s give this a try for a month and see what changes.

I agreed.

Within a few days, the palpitations were gone. Hmph. Being the person that I am, I skipped them for a couple of days, and lo and behold, palpitations started back. So everyone was right except for me on this one.

That definitely showed me that I’m not as on top of the anxiety (or any of the other mental health stuff) the way that I was. Maybe if I had been mood tracking (the tracker goes through a bunch of symptoms on a sliding scale to show how you’re doing with anxiety, depression, etc.), I’d have put it together on my own without wasting a few hundred bucks on having my heart checked. (Or maybe not, it’s possible that I’d have never fingered something I associate with attacks with run of the mill anxiety.) Same thing with my moods — when I’m not diligent about tracking those and being aware of triggers, it’s easy for things to go south and get super irritable. Whereas if I’m more aware, I can tap out or do whatever it is I need to do to stay right. Not so much tapping out these days.

So, I guess I should add this to my New Year’s Resolutions list — track shit, lest I go in clusterfuck mode again. I’ve got an app downloaded to my phone, plus I was gifted a nice adult coloring book/marker set for Christmas. Everyone says it’s really calming, so we’ll see. I don’t anticipate having the patience for it, but it does look pretty cool.

Really, though, I think it’s extra important to be on top of things right now. As excited as I am about getting a cochlear implant, I know the risks. I know that I might lose the rest of my hearing in the implanted ear, that the sound quality might be awful (think sensory issues), that relearning to hear just might not work out, etc. I’m willing to take those risks because the possible benefit is huge, but I know that if things don’t work out or it gets too overwhelming or whatever, that I could be prone to falling into a bad depression. I guess that’s true any day, but more so with that situation, I’d think.

So, here’s to getting in touch with my brain again, so that I avoid the cringe in future posts. Scratch that — there’s always going to be cringe with me — so I’ll shoot for avoiding batshit cringe.

Next up — time to do a catch up on the family that doesn’t involve talking about what cute/funny thing they said. As much as I enjoy doing the Dorky Mom stuff, it almost pains me at times to only show my family/myself through that one lens. That’s the nature of the content and all, but still…

Till then.