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!! a year....a life-changing year.

I'm loving it!


hopeful said...

I am a 38 year old mother of 4.I just read "Almost a year already.I want to say thank you for that story.I am hearing impaired and have an see about a CI.I am a little scared.I have heard some stories of people who hated the CI sound,etc. I want so very badly to go back to work (it has been 12 years now) and I was not sure what someone like me could even do.I also have a BIG confidence issue.I avoid EVERYTHING!I Guess that if I am approved for an implant I should go for it.I hope my journey turns out as happy and positive as yours. Thanks again, hopeful

Anonymous said...

just hopping from journal to journal about CI users.

Noticed you're at RIT as well...I'm a RIT student as well.

I got my CI on July 10 and July 19 (surgery twice due to complications).

I'm so glad that the CI has made your life so much more positive. I hope the same for myself!

And I agree with you about being a fence-straddler, it's very difficult.

my blog is at