Music!

I know…I know….I never did get around to my other music themed posts….maybe at some point!

The more I discuss music with my fellow CI buddies…the more I realize I did enjoy music more than most deafies did growing up. It seems like most of them didn’t enjoy music until they got their CI.

I can enjoy music with or WITHOUT sound…..is that weird?

I don’t know if that’s because I come from a musically inclined family (genetics?!?) and it’s natural or what…

Even to this day I can enjoy watching music videos without sound. I enjoy feeling music without sound. I enjoy reading lyrics without sound.

I also enjoy music with the CI….

I guess I never really realized how much I enjoyed music without sound…it was almost taboo to do so…..

I love the fact that I can enjoy music in so many different ways….with and without sound.

I used to know how to read music but I have forgotten how to. I really want to learn how to play an instrument this year. I can’t decide if I want to learn how to play the guitar or drums….or even the piano! I did take some keyboard/piano lessons when I was younger… I actually owned a recorder, harmonic, and keyboard when I was a kid.

Censored!

I was able to understand yet another word without lip-reading tonight!

However, that word…..was kind of an PG13 rated word….hence, I’m not going to post the 5th word I understood without lip-reading. 😉

I do think I will post yet another list at some point after one of my auditory training session just to show how off I can be on so many words. It’s really a trial and error game right now.

Sometimes I can come really close to guessing the correct word…other times I can be amazingly off. It’s kind of crazy how I can be sooo close sometimes and sooooooo unbelievably ridiculously off at other times. It’s more of a 50/50 thing right now.

I don’t want to post just the positive things. I want to post the negative things too. There are pros and cons to everything in life. The most frustrating thing I faced while researching CIs was that people tended to post only the positive things…so it was difficult to prepare myself for the cons also. I hope to give people a realistic perspective on CIs with an even balance of pros and cons.

Every 2 steps I take forward, I take 1 and half backwards. What I’m struggling with right now is that sometimes things sounds quieter than they originally did. I don’t know if that’s because I’m adapting to the sounds themselves or if I need a new map. How does one know if they need a new map anyways?!? I haven’t quite figured that one out yet….

It’s a gamble. It’s not something I can rely on right now. It’s fascinating to me from a science perspective…..

It is a lifelong process. One that I have came to accept and am learning to embrace. What keeps me going is when I realize I’m learning something new. It’s taught me that I really do love learning new things in general.

I didn’t really understand why so many people blogged about their CIs as a journey until recently. I have learned so many life lessons from my CI other than just learning how to hear. It is truly a journey. I guess initially I didn’t like the idea of it being called journey because to me that meant there was no real end to the journey….but I have came to accept that there is no end to my CI journey. It’s SO much more than learning how to hear.

The best thing about getting the CI is….

….nope, not just hearing…BUT….

….finally, accepting and being HAPPY (yes, HAPPY) that I am deaf…..

My CI is simply a tool….if anything else, it has taught me to be happy with who I am….and I am deaf…..and I am happy to be deaf, regardless of the frustrations it may bring at times… To me, that is priceless…..

A bit ironic? It took one of the most powerful “hearing” device to make me realize how lucky I am to be deaf…..

Once again, don’t misinterpret what I am saying….I am always and will always be thankful for what the CI has provided me. I am always amazed at what I have gained from the CI on a daily basis…..and I wouldn’t trade it for anything…just like I wouldn’t trade being deaf for anything else. I would be crushed if my CI failed but I would get through it and would fight to be re-implanted…

A bit confusing, eh? Welcome to my world. 🙂 My world is not black and white….it’s multi shades of gray…..

Colorado Part 2 of 2

EDIT: “I started snowboarding about 3 and half years ago” should be 2 and half years ago.

I was going to type up a journal style post of my trip to Colorado…then I realized how much detail and time that would require. 😉 I decided to keep this post somewhat short and summarize the trip instead.

I haven’t snowboarded a whole lot. I started snowboarding about 3 and half years ago. I would say I’ve snowboarded about a month total out of those 3 and half years. I’m somewhere on the intermediate level and am starting to explore some more advanced stuff. I still have ways to go before I can call myself an advanced rider. 😉

We had an awesome opportunity to hit up 6 resorts in 7 days. We got an amazing deal. Breckenridge, Vail, Steamboat Springs, Keystone, A-Basin, and Beaver Creek

I got to experience some powder for the first time! Powder is awesome…it’s like you’re riding on air. I also experienced what it’s like to get stuck in hip deep powder (when I say stuck, I mean seriously stuck). One black run we did was supposed to take us about 30 minutes, but I got stuck for a good 20-30 minutes giving us less than 5 minutes to make it to the lift before it closed (mind you, this lift took us out of the back bowls and onto the front mountain).

The first day of riding I actually got hit from the behind two separate times giving me a mini whiplash. I also managed to hurt my wrist. Dennis had to go to the ER for a dislocated elbow (owie). :-/ Other than that…we all made it back to Kansas in one piece!

This was a trip where I got to try a little bit of everything. I got to try some expert terrain, powder, riding through trees, riding down a half pipe, some mini jumps, moguls, etc. I also got to experience powder wells and a tree well.

I still need to fine-tune my basic skills especially my turns on packed snow/ice…and chair lift dismounts. Other than that….it was an EPIC TRIP!

Anddd…here are some photos!






Auditory Training

As you know I’ve been doing some auditory training…which has been coming along very slowly.

I truly feel like I’m learning a whole another language with a new sense (my so called “hearing”) at an older age…with an instrument that is very limited compared to natural hearing.

Sometimes I like to guess what sounds I’m hearing while doing auditory training. Keep in mind this is from an open set list (not closed) but I know these words will have a vowel in the middle and are generally 3-6 letters long. This is also done in an unrealistic environment setting (quiet with most background noises tuned out via auditory cable and no distractions).

The words in RED are words I tried to guess, and the words in BLUE are what I guessed. Some of my guesses are fairly close and some of my guesses are way off….it’s a start though.

The interesting thing is even though I may be way off in guessing the exact sounds…I oftentimes get the correct number of letters/sounds present in a word.

I have noticed certain sounds sound similar to me and I’ll mix them up. For example, I can oftentimes tell if there’s a t/p/k at the end of the word but I can’t always figure out which one it is.

I’m also horrible at guessing the first sounds of words. I do better with middle and end sounds.

I think I may start recording this every once in a while so I can figure out if there’s a pattern to the mistakes I’m making. This list is some of my better guesses. I eliminated the ones where I was wayyyy off! 🙂 This is out of about 20 words I tried……there were some words I couldn’t even start to guess the sounds of…

1) Sup, Sat
2) Peeve, ?ee
3) Fizz, Wheeze
4) Cut, Hat
5) Gel, ?al
6) Shin, Seal
7) Seek, Seat
8) Med, Set
9) Will, ?ell
10) Date, ?at
11) Mitch, ?etch
12) Set, Sit
13) Lash, Hash

The Most Challenging Thing

Every once in a while someone will ask questions as ice breakers at parties.

A common question:
“What is the most challenging thing you have ever done?”

For a while my answer has been, “graduate school.”

Not necessarily academically…although the style of learning/teaching was entirely different than anything I ever had and I had no idea how to work with that sort of approach. Looking back, I think it’s the best sort of teaching a person could have. Unfortunately, it’s not something I grew up with and I didn’t start out with the same learning skills everyone else seemed to have. It seemed like I grew up with an entirely different teaching style and with different classroom expectations.

That first semester was tough. I had no idea what I was doing in a place where many people couldn’t communicate with me, people didn’t always accept me, etc. I felt like everyone and everything was working against me that first semester and I had no one to turn to.

Things did get much better after that first semester and I had some of the most positive experiences in a classroom I have ever had. People actually wanted to hear my thoughts and gave me respect.

Basically, graduate school has been one of the most challenging things I have ever done for many reasons. I arrived in NYC thinking I knew who I was and quickly discovered I had no idea who I was. I had to reevaluate a lot of things. I left NYC with an entirely different understanding (a more positive one) of myself and the world.

I was basically out of my comfort zone the whole 3 years I was there but I’m glad I was. I learned to trust people and to trust myself. I learned I can do anything I set my mind to. I learned that I deserve to be respected just like everyone else.

It was also one of the best things I have ever done….