Mildly Interesting

How on earth did I used to be able to write a post almost every day and some days multiple posts per day? Now I’m just sitting here wondering what the hell has happened lately that is interesting enough to write about.

Saw Black Panther. Liked it a lot. Michael B. Jordan might just be my favorite new actor. (Although he’ll always be known as Jamal from Hardball.)

Bought Justice League. Liked it. My Wonder Woman crush has gotten stronger. My husband and son are slightly concerned at this point. My shoulder slipped out of its socket last night when I pretended that the sheet in the floor was the Lasso of Hestia and tried to whip it. Yay, loose joints…and oops.

We discussed who could play Batman if Ben Afleck is out and have agreed on Ryan Gosling or Idris Elba. Leonardo DiCaprio would be acceptable, but he doesn’t do franchise films. We do not like Jake Gylenhaal for the role. Someone needs to contact Warner Brothers and make them aware of the Batman think tank we’ve got going on. 

(And speaking of Batman, Baby Girl hasn’t called him “Battan” in forever.)

Watched the first season of The Handmaid’s Tale. Loved it and wondered what took me so long. Also started watching Sherlock and am digging it. Martin Freeman, y’all, swoon. I know he isn’t the typical actor to swoon over, but swoon nonetheless.

Maybe that’s why I don’t have anything terribly interesting to write about — I’ve been watching too much TV lately.

My kids should be providing blogging material, but I don’t suppose Little Man calling another kid a shitbucket would be enough for a whole post. (He didn’t call him a shitbucket to his face, but asked me in the car if he could say what was on his mind, I said “sure,” and then he told me that. That’s my new favorite curse word.) Baby Girl has kicked Little Man and my husband out of the family again, but the hilariousness of that is starting to wear off.

Ooh, I can write about some drama, though. My kids have been going to a gymnastics place since last summer. There was some mama drama with one of the moms of a kid who was in Little Man’s class. Her child is 8 and is a little shit, but he gets that from his mom, who is a big shit. No matter what her kid does (pushing, hitting, refusing to do whatever exercise they’re doing, stopping for a game break), it’s fine. He’s just a boy and boys do boy things, after all. If anyone asks her son not to do certain things, then she’s ready to throw down.

The kid screamed in Little Man’s ear repeatedly a couple weeks ago. Little Man, who has auditory sensory issues, told him to cut it out and was visibly upset, covering his ears. The instructor told him to stop. I told him to cut it out. The mom told him that no one else is the boss of him and that he doesn’t have to listen to anyone else and told him to get his shoes and left. I since found out that she was asked not to bring him back, so yay.

Eh, that wasn’t as interesting as I thought it’d be.

There was almost some family drama last week. I purchased a concert DVD of my fav band online and watched it with Baby Girl. She claimed my man as being hers. Seriously, after asking the names of the guys in the band, she pointed at one and said, “He’s mine.” Uh, wtf, Baby Girl, where did this come from? You aren’t 11. (I remember having many arguments with my cousin over claiming guys in Bop magazine at this age.) I claimed him as being mine many years ago, so back off.

Are y’all dying of boredom yet? Because I am.

But ooh! Something kinda interesting — I got in the booth at my audiology appointment on Friday. I was only able to do one of the tests because of some tech issues, but on that one test in quiet, I was able to understand 96 freaking percent of what was said. This was testing both the implanted ear and the other ear without a hearing aid. I don’t remember what the score with both crappy ears was prior to the implant (it was ~40 percent with hearing aids in noise,  so I’m guessing it was probably around that in quiet with no aids), but my audiologist went slightly nuts and danced around the office. I know my comprehension in background noise wouldn’t have been anywhere close to that (and that’s always been the biggest problem hearing wise), but still…96 percent and only one month in!

Okay, enough of the mildly interesting rambling post. Maybe next time the juices will be flowing.

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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!

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.

Funny:

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!

The A**hole is Strong With This One

Screenshot 2015-03-05 at 6.25.12 PM

As someone who has had a severe hearing loss from birth, I often have to ask people to speak up. As long as I’m aware that someone is speaking to me (making eye contact) so I can focus and there isn’t much background noise, it usually isn’t a problem.

Unfortunately, background noise is hard to escape. And hearing aids still do little to help with that. So I have to ask people to repeat themselves more often than I’d like.

That doesn’t sound like such a difficult request, does it? It’s not like I wait for someone to finish delivering a long speech before I let them know I need them to speak a little louder, so it shouldn’t be that much of an issue.

Well, it often is.

Thinking back to when I was in school, I can’t begin to tell you the number of eye rolls, scoffs, and rude comments I’ve gotten because of my hearing. More people than not will repeat what they’ve said in the same tone (or even lower, frustrated), and it’s pretty common for people to just tell me “never mind”–other students, teachers, family members.

That bothers me. A lot.

Add to that the fact that some people associate being hard of hearing with being stupid. I have my moments, but I’m not an idiot, typically. Far from it, always at the top of my class, even though I would rarely speak up because I was afraid of mishearing something, responding inappropriately, and being laughed at (experience). I’m sure that my hearing has a lot to do with my social anxiety.

So, that said, imagine my reaction when I saw this today:

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That flew all over me.

The worker couldn’t make such a simple accommodation, but could take the time to write out that rude response?

There just aren’t words. Not nice ones, anyway.

Some of these guidelines for law enforcement officers communicating with people with a hearing loss from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Americans with Disabilities Act resource page should be reviewed with the postal worker. They’re good tips for anyone, really.

• Speech supplemented by gestures and visual aids can be used in some cases.

• A pad and pencil, a word processor, or a typewriter can be used to exchange written notes.

• A teletypewriter (TTY, also known as a TDD) can be used to exchange written messages over the telephone.

• An assistive listening system or device to amplify sound can be used when speaking with a person who is hard of hearing.

• A sign language interpreter can be used when speaking with a person who knows sign language.

• An oral interpreter can be used when speaking with a person who has been trained to speech read (read lips). Note: Do not assume that speech reading will be effective in most situations. On average, only about one third of spoken words can be understood by speech reading.