Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Its a noisy world out there!

I can't believe its already been 6 days since I got my CI activated. Everything is going past me in a whirlwind. New sounds..each day..hell sometime each HOUR.

Last night I hooked my Dad's speakers up to my computer and tried out voice chatting with some friends on Yahoo....and WOW! One of my best friends was totally blown away when I was actually able to understand a little what he said when he spoke slowly and clearly! I can't yet follow speech at a regular pace, but hey - this is a start!

Tonight I was walking past the TV at 11pm and the news came on. The closed captioning wasn't switched on, but I just happened to stop and watch it for a couple minutes, and was *totally* able to understand every word the announcer said!!! True- I still have to rely on lipreading to a point, but understanding what people are saying on the TV without the CC on is wonderful!!!!!

I'm finding that I'm only getting about 2 days out of my batteries with my preferred program. I have three to choose from (though being that I'm in a clinical trial, they won't tell me just WHAT each program is until later so that I can make a choice without bias.) I'm finding that I'm preferring Program 1 to the others. With Program 1 the sounds seem "crisper" and clearer. I have a greater sense of the different tonal ranges with voices and other sounds - like music. Program 2 is good too but sounds seem to be a bit muted, almost as if they are being echoed through a tunnel. I don't like Program 3 at all. Sounds are not clear, and everything seems to run together.

I will have to wait till mid-May to get re-mapped and have everything turned up a bit. I'm noticing a slight eye-twitch with a few sounds when I use Program 1 so that will have to be adjusted. I'm hoping that they will be able to figure out how to totally eliminate the twitching and re-add the 5 electrodes that were removed.

I was singing along with some songs again tonight - singing used to be such an important part of my life when I could still hear. Its just so wonderful to be able to embrace that part of life again. I was told that I might not like how music sounded, and/or it might take several months before I understood or appreicated it, but it seems to be coming back at me just like flipping on a light switch. I just LOVE MUSIC. It fills me with such joy to be able to play a song and understand it!

So I was playing some songs from the Oh Brother, Where Art Thou soundtrack (I'm finding that I like listening to bluegrass more than most other musics because the vocals are not overwhelmed by the music as is a common thing with a lot of other styles.) I was singing along with "I am weary, let me rest." My Dad heard me playing the music and came into my room and heard me singing along....ran upstairs and grabbed my Mom and dragged her down to my room and they were both listening to me sing....and Dad said I was actually singing IN HARMONY with the music!!!!!!! I didn't even know it, I used to sing very monotone, naturally being that I couldn't hear my voice - but both of them said that I was carrying the tune almost perfectly and I wasn't even trying! Blew me away (and them too!)

I'm going to see about getting voice/vocal lessons. If I were in Vancouver, Dr Pijl said he'd probably schedule me to have speech therapy, so we suggested voice lessons and he said that was a great idea. So I'm going to talk to a friend I have who has a daughter who sings and find out who her voice coach was and see if they'd be willing to take me on for an hour a week or so.

I'm amazed at what a noisy world it is. I'm also beginning to find the first sounds that annoy me. Repetitions seem to distract me - like my clock ticking (had to move it farther away from my desk.) I'm starting to be able to tune out some sounds - at first the fans on my computer seemed to be abnormally loud but now they're fine, though I can still hear them.

I came across a poem by Shel Silverstein (one of my favorite poets) that made me stop and think, because I could see it applying to me in the situation I am in right now. I told it to my Mom and she said it gave her shivers down her back...because she can see exactly what I mean regarding whats happening in my life right now.

The Bridge

This bridge will only take you halfway there
To those mysterious lands you long to see
Through gypsy camps and swirling Arab fairs
And moonlit woods where unicorns run free.
So come and walk awhile with me and share
the twisting trails and wonderous worlds I've known.
But this bridge will only take you halfway there -
The last few steps you'll have to take alone.

I think it fits - my CI will only take me so far in life, unless I'm willing to take the steps to work with it, and keep pushing my limits. It will only get better from here on - I know it :)

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