Monday, June 23, 2008

Smiling and Nodding

The big birthday party yesterday for my brother and his friend really put the CI to the test. Amazingly, I was able to have extended conversations with several different people, including a nephew I had always had difficulty understanding---but not this time!

So many years wasted smiling and nodding, pretending to understand but missing so much. That's not who I am anymore. I feel so much more connected to the world, in tune with what's happening around me. Doing laundry, I can hear the washer upstairs, so I don't have to keep running upstairs to see if a load is done. I can hear the my dog breathe and know whether he's settled or restless without even a glance. I called my wife a few days ago and . . . well, see, that is the amazing thing. I called my wife! On the phone! I could talk to her when I wanted to, and hear her voice. I haven't used the phone for something like 15 years!

C.I. moments? Heck, I could fill notebooks. Sometimes I really take it for granted, already, I think, but every once in a while it just *amazes* me. The people who make these devices, the surgeons who implant them, the audiologists who map them---they are all angels doing miracles. The fact that it's technology does not make it any less of a miracle.

Of course, now that I don't need to wear my hearing aids anymore---my audiologist and my rehab specialist both say I had better wear one; I want to keep that other ear stimulated just in case. Unlike some, I lost all residual hearing in my CI ear. I used to love my hearing aids for what they did give me, even though they were annoying and not water resistant and uncomfortable and so on. The CI, though heavier, leaves my ear completely open and it's *so* much more comfortable than the hearing aid ever was. But now the hearing aid is just a nuisance. I don't have better comprehension with the hearing aid; it does seem to balance the sound out a little bit and music is better with it, but mostly it's just a pain. So I'm working on it.

Oh, if any of you out there don't know about this yet: web captel is *amazing*; it's so much better than relay. You have a normal voice connection, and the operator types what the other person says, but you only need to read that if you actually missed something. If you do mostly sort of okay on the phone, as I do, web captel is *wonderful* for when you miss. On the phone, when I miss something, it tends to elude me no matter how many times the other person repeats themselves, and that's very frustrating. I only miss the ability to thank the operator at the end of the call.