Step One: Cochlear Implants

On Tuesday Hubby and I went to Baltimore for testing. It takes awhile to get “in” there. I was asked to post a snippet about it.

Terry and I headed to Baltimore around 7:00 a.m. We’d been gone for about 30 minutes when his cell phone rang. The chief audiologist at John Hopkins child was sick and she couldn’t come to work today. We could postpone, or see someone else. Needless to say we chose someone else! But the appointment was moved from 10:00 to 1:00. So Terry said, “I took the day off, so let’s hang out at the Inner Harbor for the morning”. Being as stressed asI was, I was easily “pliable” and agreed. We had a great time and bought a few stocking stuffers for the kids. We ate at the Cheesecake Factory and I had the biggest salad I’ve ever had put in front of me.

At 1:00 we checked into John Hopkins. I walked right past security because I didn’t hear the guards hollering, (the place is cavernous!) so Terry had to grab my arm causing me to drop all of my paperwork and MRI scans. I thought,”This is not starting well!” Grin!

We then checked into the Hearing Center on the 6th floor and I began 3 hours of testing. We thought it was 90 minutes, but I failed the initial tests right off. So they took me directly to stage 2. Stage one is your basic hearing tests of beeps. Stage 2 was simple words, rhymes, and open sentences done with, and without background noise. The unfortunate thing about these tests is that there was no face to read! In the sound proof booth, the voice was a man’s voice on tape! Terry was really cracked up because I kept leaning as far as I could towards the wall where the sound was coming from. He thought I was going to fall out of my chair! I did these tests first without my hearing aids and then with my hearing aids. I did pass, Woo-HOO! Or rather, I failed. Which is a good thing. NowI have to be cleared medically (I have a pronounced heart murmur and am aTBI survivor so they “may” find complications …. TBI: traumatic brain injury) then I have to be seen by a psychologist so they can screen that I have realistic expectations. (What? It doesn’t count that I’m married to one!?) Then I have to have a device information class which will make me anexpert on CI’s (or so I’m told) Then I have the surgery.

Whew! We are hoping that if all goes well I might be able to do this by late Spring/end of school year. The doctor and tests said based on the level of loss in last 3 years I will be completely deaf in another 3 years. (estimate) As late at night my speech is already deteriorating, they hope to do something before then. (Me too!) Their findings also showed that I have an unusual aptitude for reading lips, gestures, context, etc. I don’t know about that, as I think most HoH people read lips. I’ve met some that are phenomenal! Like “SueThomas F.B.I”! I’ve also taken a workshop or two with Gael Hannan too. (Is she the best or what?) I think because I’ve lost my hearing so slowly and have just “self taught” out of necessity. I don’t “GET” it all though. Just ask my family! I started repeating some of the stuff I THOUGHT I heard so that they can understand what it “sounds like” to me! (Like the time Terry asked if I put gas in the car and I tho’t he asked if I HAD gas in the car — he’s still nursing a sore arm!) Some HoHpeople read lips VERY well — I’ve met a few. Some do not. I’m notsure the “why” of this. I think I fit in between really. I miss far too much to think I’m “great” at it. If it happens, the implant will be done on “one” ear. This is usually the worst one. My ears are now “equal”, meaning I don’t have a “good ear”. So the choice will probably be mine. Immediately after surgery, I will be completely deaf in that ear for 4-6 weeks. Oh joy. Anyway, I’m just glad it’s all behind me. WHEW is more like it. Keeping my fingers crossed the rest goes well.
Denise Portis
©2006 Hearing Loss Diary

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