Two weeks post-activation

Website PHOTO Linda (1)

Allow me to introduce Linda Daniel, my audio-verbal therapist. Think: Annie Sullivan.


I can’t decide if I’m in recovery or on a honeymoon; perhaps both.   The novelty of hearing so much sound is not wearing off and the idea that it could get even better keeps me working at recovery.

I spent the weekend at my son’s crew regatta in Tulsa hanging onto my husband for balance.  Walking on uneven river bank I was reminded of the Carole King song, I feel the earth move under my feet–but not in a good way.  It’s as if my vision is processed through a hand-held video camera: first I move my eyes and then, an instant later, everything inside my head follows.  And then back again in the other direction.  But let’s consider the bright side:  three weeks ago I would have made sure my husband walked on my right–so I could hear him with my good ear.  Now I make sure he is on my left–so I can hear him with my former bad ear, which is now, in many ways, my new good ear.  What’s a little temporary vertigo compared to that?

I understand now why activation is normally scheduled for three weeks after surgery. After only two weeks, the scar behind my ear is too tender to wear my sunglasses, so wearing a behind-the-ear processor would be painful.  Lucky me, this is a non-issue for my Rondo, but I am using a stronger magnet (number 3) to keep it securely attached to my still-swollen scalp.   The head needs time to heal in order to accommodate the devices.

My personal Festival of Hearing continues and here are some highlights of the week:

  • I met with Linda Daniel, (see photo above), an audio-verbal therapist who knew as a small child that she wanted to work with the hearing impaired, facilitating communication between mothers and babies born without hearing, and helping children and adults adjust to their implants.  Imagine Annie Sullivan working with Helen Keller.  For me, working with Linda is like having a personal trainer for hearing with Linda encouraging me to do listening exercises (which is like doing sit-ups) and me doing them as long as she is there to encourage (enforce) me.
  • I went to the Dallas Symphony, a little apprehensive, afraid that concerts my husband and I enjoy would no longer be feasible since I’ve heard music is not so good through a CI.  To my delight, I could hear the flutes.  Music is better.  After only two weeks, music is good.
  • My first Girls Lunch I was excited to demonstrate my improved hearing and show my friends how much easier communication would be going forward.  Unfortunately, lunch happens in restaurants where we have group conversations–two things that will always be troublesome for me.  So, while a girls lunch is always fun, it was not the best place to impress my friends with my new ear.
  • Everyone sounded a little snarkier to me this week, the result of too much bass in my “map” (I sound like I know what I’m talking about…) which Leslie, my audiologist, corrected with a click of her mouse at my two week appointment.
  • I’ve noticed that I am refusing to say the word ‘what’ and this is causing a little trouble for me.  I’ve told myself the word ‘what’ is for people who can’t hear, and now that I’ve been auditorily transformed, I want to erase that word from my vocabulary.  When someone speaks to me and I don’t understand, instead of saying ‘what’, I say nothing and wait it out.  Some people, faced with silence, automatically repeat themselves, others don’t.  I confessed the whole thing to Linda Daniel (my audio-verbal therapist) and she reminded me that cochlear implant hearing is not a replacement for normal hearing.  I still need the word ‘what’.

I know I need to get over myself.



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