Stopped at an Intersection

I’m at yet another intersection in this CI journey. Sometimes I can go thousands of miles on the same road without any curves, bumps, hills, or stop signs. Sometimes I reach an intersection and I’m not sure which direction I will go in next. Sometimes there are tons of bumps, hills, and curves.

Sometimes things seem to get worse with discriminating sounds and auditory rehab. I’ve learned that I usually need to just ride this out because things seem to get much better a few days afterward. It’s like I have to take some steps back before I can go forward. I’m not sure how much of it has to do with the brain figuring out how to process sounds or the mapping itself. I think this time it’s both. I do have a mapping appointment next week so hopefully that will help a bit.

Sounds are always distorted to me but they’ve became more and more distorted lately. At the same time I have been able to sort through layers of sounds a bit better. I think my brain is not sure it’s supposed to do with the auditory information it’s receiving.

Anyways, just because I said I would record some of my personal experiences as I go for myself.

–I was stopped at a red light waiting to turn left and I also had music on. At some point I said to myself “Huh? That beat wasn’t there in that song before. Wait a sec, that’s not even a music beat type of sound.” It took me a minute to realize that I was hearing the turn signal. This may not sound like a wow kind of event to many people. To me, it was wow because I was able to peel apart the layers and tell which sounds were the car, outside noises, turn signal, and music.

–I visited a friend in Oklahoma for her baby’s first birthday (cutest baby ever!). It was interesting to watch how the baby reacted to sounds. She kind of reacted in the same way I do which is…hear something–>look confused—>look around—>find the source of sound–>light bulb moment. She’s about 9 months ahead of me in terms of “hearing.” 😉 I didn’t realize how much babies vocalized!! It was really cute.

–After eating dinner at a friend’s house in Oklahoma the baby was crawling all around the kitchen. At some point I heard something but couldn’t see the baby. I asked where the baby was and she was nearby another friend. I knew what I was hearing was not baby sounds…it was something like a sack being rustled or something being shaken. I ignored it because I’m so used to being “wrong” when I think I hear something. A couple of minutes later it was discovered the baby had pulled out a bag of crackers from a sack and had smashed it to pieces.

–I do wear my CI every once in a while when I go to the neighborhood pool because I’m curious about the sounds. One thing that has thrown me off is that some sounds aren’t as loud as they were with hearing aids (e.g. screaming, yelling, etc.). The pool isn’t as loud as I expected it to be. With hearing aids it was usually just this one constant sound. With the CI I can tell there are words being said but have no clue what they are.

Just a few examples of how I’m sorting through sounds. I do hope my brain starts to cooperate with me again soon or that the mapping next week will help with auditory rehab. It is frustrating whenever I reach an intersection and I feel like I’m just sitting there.

In the mean time I need to go and get some things done before meeting up with friends for some tennis with (it’s been 11 years since I’ve played tennis…shld be interesting!).

I Love Learning!

As I get older….I’m realizing how little I know.

I always thought that as an adult I would know everything. I’m finding there’s more and more I don’t know.

There’s so much I want to learn about the world I live in and a lifespan just doesn’t seem long enough. 😉

I have decided I need to start a list of things I want to learn so that when I have some downtime I can do some googling and wikipediaing!

To Take or Not To Take

I’m going on a camping trip in a few weeks with some friends. I keep mentioning to them that I’m not taking my laptop, sidekick, iPod, etc. I just want to be free from those sort of things for a week (except my camera which doesn’t count). I then wondered about my CI.

One thing I like about vacations is that it gives you a chance to be free from everything. There have been times where I have felt the need to wear my hearing aids and other times where I decide I want to be free from them. It’s a bit different with the CI now that I’m hearing a more with it.

Do I take my CI or not? Do I want to worry about losing it? Worry about water damage? We’re going to be camping and doing physical activities….I really don’t want to mess with something that costs so much especially when I have a talent for losing things on trips.

While I never went more than 2 days without wearing hearing aids in NY…I would occasionally take a day or an afternoon off. I liked the idea of just being free and seeing the world in a different way…a way that was “normal” to me (no sounds). I also liked the idea of knowing that I could function without relying on my hearing aids.

This topic came up a few days ago with another friend, Dennis, who also has a CI and will be on this trip. He is planning on not taking his CI. That made me feel better knowing someone else would consider not taking their CI because I’m not too sure too many people would fully understand why I would even consider NOT taking it.

I thought about it a bit more and was trying to figure out why I was having a hard time deciding. There are 4 of us who will be going…3 of us are deaf and one is hearing. One person seems to benefit from his CI really well, another one doesn’t use CI/HAs, one is hearing, and then you have me…..the person who has a CI but doesn’t rely on it for lipreading yet….the CI newbie…the CI user who doesn’t really fit into a category. I realized that if it was a group of all hearing people that I would definitely take my CI whereas if it was all deaf people I definitely wouldn’t. However, it’s a mix.

It’s not so much about hearing things per sec. It’s more about me wanting to be able to experience the world from the same pov that everyone else in the group does. While I can’t fully experience it in the same ways, I can get an idea of what it’s like. I then realized that I actually have the capacity (to a certain degree) to experience things on this trip in 3 different ways with 3 different people (CI user, hearing, and deaf)…which is kind of cool. Then again this is a camping trip and I associate camping with nature and freedom….which I associate with being deaf because that’s who I am naturally.

Now I know why I kept putting this post off. It’s hard to explain my train of thought on this.

As of right now I am NOT going to take my CI with me on this trip. I do not want to be distracted by random sounds, I do not want to waste time trying to figure out what I’m hearing, and I do not want to worry about it getting damaged/lost. I’ve always missed out on more things visually when I use HAs/CIs. We’re going to Colorado and I want to be able to take in everything I’m seeing rather than missing out on some of the fine details because I’m hearing things.

There’s also something refreshing when I know I can do just fine without relying on technology. I need that reminder every once in a while.

The only downside to not taking it is that it’s going to be brutal for me to get used to “hearing” again after a whole week of complete silence. Even at this point I still flinch a bit when I put it on in the mornings after going all night without hearing anything….let alone a whole week……

It will probably take me less than a day to readjust to not “hearing” on this trip whereas it could take several days to readjust to “hearing” afterwards.

Ok, I better get going. I’m heading to Oklahoma for the weekend!

Last Year’s Trip to Europe: Days 0-2–KC, Chicago, Dublin, London

So…last summer I went backpacking in Europe with a friend, Tara.

Tara came up with the idea of doing a day-to-day blog a year after we went since we never got around to blogging about our trip.

I’m going to post a link to each post as she updates her blog for the next couple of weeks as a review of our grand Europe adventures (photos included)!

Day Zero:

Day One:

Day Two: