Monday, September 19, 2005

Of meetings and phone calls

I've been busier than a one -legged man at an ass kicking contest lately. Between helping my folks renovate the bathrooms here (bad things always come in threes and we're having to renovate every single bathroom!), volunteering for a multitude of events with my Dad's amateur radio club, and trying to figure out what kind of job I'd like, I've not had much time to update.

Things haven't really changed all that much since my last update. I'm still using my old program simply because I prefer the way things sound and I can't recognize/understand speech as well when I'm hearing the high frequencies. Like I mentioned in my previous entry, I will probably have Dr Pijl add maybe one or two of the high-end electrodes instead of all 5. I don't like the "Pee-Wee Herman" sound it gives everybody.

I've had a few more "firsts" since last updating, however. Last week there was a town meeting here, regarding proposed mega development/overdevelopment changes, and the majority of the town members were trying (without much success unfortunately) to get the town council members to listen to their opinions. I was there helping out, but way at the back of the hall, but I was still able to understand what the council members were saying. I was also able to understand quite a bit of what the individual speakers were saying even though they had their backs to me when they addressed the council. The PA system was much nicer than the one at the bluegrass festival which kind of "washed out" everybody's voices. In fact - my next door neighbor (whom I've heard give speeches before and whom I've talked to several times since getting my CI activated) gave the first speech and I was able to understand about 90% of what he said. Which just reinforces that once I get to know the way somebody speaks, everything just kind of "flows" from that point.

But the BIGGIE was yesterday morning when I got a call from an Aunt and Uncle, who asked my Mom if they could "talk to me." It was one of the most amazing experiences to just be able to really *TALK* to them and understand what they were saying. My uncle has such a super-deep voice and he came through clearly. He said I'm a "motor-mouth" now (like I ever stopped from when I was a child???) but it’s more that as a result of my CI I've developed a measure of confidence in myself and my speech that I never had before. It was just an amazing experience to be able to converse with them, and its giving me even MORE confidence to continue using the phone with others. To date I've spoken on the phone to Dr Pijl, my Mom and Dad, my brother, a couple of my friends from online (some were harder to understand than others but we *tried* at least!), my boyfriend, and now my Aunt and Uncle. Baby steps, but each seems to have a direction and that’s what makes it so amazing. My Uncle said he never stopped believing that one day this would happen (my boyfriend said the same thing - he and I have known each other since 2001.)

I would like to say the same thing - but honestly I can't. I was too *afraid* to hope that hard, on the off-chance that it wouldn't happen. It was easier for me to simply say "we'll see" or "maybe one day" and leave it at that. Let it hang in the hands of Fate - at least that way I wouldn't have been setting myself up for a big disappointment.

Now there is just so much opening up to me. I've kind of been a recluse for so many years, hampered both by my own shyness and my deafness. I'm trying to figure out what kind of occupation/job I would like to do - as I've not been working for a while now. I've held many
jobs, but nothing that really had a direction or the opportunity for any kind of advancement. I'm ready to take steps to change that but the problem I'm facing right now is "what do I want to be when I grow up?"

I've been meeting with a employment counselor who is encouraging me to try to get out and talk to people in various occupations and see if perhaps that’s where I would "fit in." Then once a decision has been made he'd help me take the steps to either get the required training or even college courses required to go into that field. The problem I'm facing right now is that even though I have my CI I know I have limitations, and I really *DON'T KNOW* where I'd fit in the best. I don't have a college degree although I have 4 years towards a communications degree with a background in the sciences. I LOVE administrative type jobs but 99% of them also require me to use the phone all the time and that's still a difficulty and not very realistic. Without a degree its really hard to sit and think of what kind of job I could do that I'd be happy doing for the next 30 years. I'd LOVE to maybe somehow find a way to work with other CI recipients in a way that could help them too. But I don't know...

That's enough bathering for now. Until next time...enjoy the fall sunshine :)

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