Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Happy Fall, everyone!

Wow the summer sure went by quickly - in fact the entire year seems to have zipped by! Far too fast for me - will somebody please slow the clock down???

I'm back in college and loving it. I was able to get A's in my Algebra and Chemistry classes I took during the Summer term, and now I am taking Physics and Calculus. I'm still amazed on a daily basis what a difference my CI makes in regards to the classroom setting.

I can remember taking math classes in high school and it was such a horrendous struggle. I'd *always* be behind, because it was a constant game of 'catch up' - either I could lipread the teacher and miss copying down the notes on the blackboard, or copy down the notes, but miss the explanation as to what they meant. Not anymore - its so fantastic to be able to take my own notes, and at the same time understand my instructors. They are just great, and so easy to understand as well - though my Calculus instructor is NOT easy to lipread - he has a full beard, and I have turned off my CI a couple times to see if I would have been able to lipread him had I been in his class pre-CI, and it would have been impossible.

But most recently, the "highlight of hearing" for me has been my nephew and niece. My nephew is almost 3 years old and talking nonstop, and its so wonderful when he comes up to me and says "Come with me Auntie Neece!" (he can't say Dyniece yet) or "Watch me to this Auntie Neece!" He is just so amazing and its wonderful to be able to converse with him. My niece just turned 1 year this weekend, and she's just learning to talk. She'll say "Hi, Hello, wow, please, yes, no, mama, dada, wama (grandma), and attempts to say 'neece' when she sees me (mimicking her brother).

I still have "CI" moments regularly - two weekends ago, my Mom and I were watching the World Equestrian Championships on TV, and I asked her to turn the CC off because it was blocking the horse's feet during the dressage and jumping competitions, and I was able to understand the announcers perfectly. It was so wonderful.

I'm using the phone more and more - not just for friends and family now, I will call to order a pizza, make reservations at a restaurant, or an appointment at the doctor's office. My confidence is growing by leaps and bounds.

Its so wonderful when I can just casually converse with a total stranger without struggling to lipread them. Its especially nice to join into conversations at college with my classmates, and just shoot the breeze. There's so much I missed out on when I just had to rely on lipreading. Family gatherings are especially enjoyable, because although my family made every attempt they could to include me, there were still so many instances where I'd have to ask my mom to interperet for me, and now that is an extreme rarity - usually only if there is loud music, or background noise washing out their voices (like a fan blowing, or the babies crying.)

In August, I flew out to the States to visit my sweetheart, and although I've flown many times, I was always very nervous about perhaps missing a flight because I didnt' hear an announcement, or not understanding the customs agents, etc. This time it was wonderful. When I explained to the security screeners that I had a CI, (as well as a spare with me) and that they couldn't go through the X-ray machines, they had no problem with that, and did visual inspections and sent me on my way. On the trip back to Vancouver, when I told the attendants that I was deaf prior to boarding (because the entire seating area was PACKED, and it was very noisy,) when it came time to board, she came and got me and bumped me up to First Class!!! Wow that was a wonderful experience as I had never flown First before!

So that's the latest news. Will update again soon!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Long time, no update

I know I've been lax for the last few months here on the blog. Flog me with a wet noodle - I'll do better, I promise *grin*. I go back to St Paul's for a re-map this Thursday so I'll put a long update after that and let you know how things have been. I've just been so busy with college classes, studying, tests, and life in general.

Monday, April 10, 2006

CI Forum

I thought I'd let you know of a new forum for people who either have cochlear implant or know someone who does or works with those who have CI's

From the site:

"The purpose of this site is to mainly become a source of information for people all alike - there are alot of misconceptions out there about cochlear implants and right now it is time to get the facts straight and right. "

It's nice to finally have a "positive attitude" type CI forum, because it seems that on 90% of the deaf forums out there, any talk about CI's turns into a war with people on each side of the fence trying to get the other side to listen and it just doesn't go anywhere. There are so many deaf individuals out there who liken CI's to genocide or the end of the Deaf World. It gets tiring, so it will be really nice (at least from my perspective!) to find a place where we can talk about CI's and our experiences without being flamed.

The address is: http://cochlearinfo.com

I hope to see you there!!!

(EDIT - Unfortunately, the site is now down. It will be missed.)


I've also found a FANTASTIC quote by Michael Chorost, who wrote Rebuilt

"When you become a cyborg, you're no less human than you were before"

I agree!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Amost a year already!

I can't believe that in 2 weeks it will be one year since activation!!! Where in the world does time go? And what a year it has been!!!!

I've been lax with updates but everything's been pretty much a constant since my last mapping. Every day, sounds become clearer, every day there's a new experience, a new understanding.

I think that, the hearing factor aside, the biggest change has been in *MYSELF.* My confidence level is unbelievable. No longer do I hide in the background when friends and family meet. No longer do I walk with my head down, so that I can't catch somebody's eye and then not be able to understand them if they try to engage me in a conversation. No longer do I say "No, I'd rather stay home." when asked if I'd like to attend a gathering or a function. I walk with my head up, I talk to total strangers, I've even caught a few guys flirting with me in stores (THAT'S a new experience!)

With the confidence in my hearing has come a confidence in my life pursuits. Backing up a bit - I dropped out of college back in 1996 (Rochester Institute of Technology) due to a combination of having my funding cut off, and making some bad decisions. As a result I never got my degree, and have always wanted to one day return to school. I've decided that is what I am going to do. This April I will be attending classes at the local university to refresh all my basic sciences/math's then next January I plan to apply to both British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) and Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) in their Medical Laboratory Technology program!!! I'm HOPING I can get into NAIT as have heard they are the best.

Three weeks ago I went to the local hospital and met with the assistant director for the medical lab there and he gave me a full tour of the lab, answered all my questions about the job requirements, the environment, and received his opinions on the programs offered by both BCIT and NAIT. He was SO enthusiastic, and being as they already have one deaf employee there (she's a lab assistant), he was very non-biased about deafness. I did mention I was also considering simply going into a 10 month lab assistant program that was offered at a different school but he told me that it would probably be in my best interest to go to BCIT or NAIT and become a fully certified lab technician, as that would open the doors to more jobs, and a more challenging work environment. Everybody he introduced to me was so nice and so enthusiastic, and there are a LOT of jobs available and a shortage of lab tech's so if I can get into BCIT or NAIT, I'm pretty much golden.

He strongly reccommended NAIT, as his lab will be accepting intern students from that program starting this summer. Previously they'd been taking students from BCIT, but have decided that NAIT's program is more along the lines of what they want, and that is what he's encouraging me to reach for.

I met with another lab tech today - she works independently at the local doctor's office (they have their own "on site" laboratory) and she too said it’s a fantastic job, she loves it, she is encouraging me to follow my dreams, and thinks I'd be great in this kind of position. I'm feeling very very excited. What I aim to do is spend the next year re-taking my Math, Chemistry, Physics and Biology courses - now I already have these "college level" but it has been 10 years since I left RIT, and I think it would be best if I refresh myself and ALSO...I am planning to take these classes WITHOUT THE ASSISTANCE OF INTERPERETERS!!! By taking the refresher (adult education classes they call them) courses at the local university I will be able to assure myself that I *can* follow the instructor and do the course work without extra assistance. I'm very excited and I admit, a bit nervous, but the more people I talk to, the more confident I am that I will be able to do this!

2 years ago I would NEVER have attempted this - but I'm ready. Isn't it wonderful?

Dr Pijl e-mailed me the other day to set up my one-year post activation assessment and that will be in May. We'll do a re-map, do some more tests, and possibly try re-adding one more of my elusive electrodes and see what difference that makes. He's also asked me to write out my "CI Story" for their newsletter so I'm going to go back through my blog and use that as the basis for it. It will be wonderful to share my story with everybody else in the CI program at St Paul's!!

So...wow..almost a year....a life-changing year.

I'm loving it!

Monday, January 09, 2006


Another hurdle for me!!

I had an appointment later this afternoon with my job counsellor but I'm still feeling like I was hit by a MACK truck from this flu bug, so I was waiting for Mom to get up and get her to call them and cancel/reschedule.

I had the number

Picked up the phone

Turned it on....turned it off... "I dunno if I can do this"

Turned it on....turned it off..."WILL I be able to understand them?"

Turned it back on...dialed...*deep breath*.... spoke to the secretary, cancelled, rescheduled, - he's out with the flu too she was going to call me in about 10 min.


I DID IT!!!! My FIRST phone call that *WASN'T* to my family or my boyfriend!!!

I'm starting to believe more in myself and what i can do!