Last Days of Residual Hearing

Me with my mother, sisters, and cousins for Three Birthday Weekend in Charleston.  Note the tiaras.

Me with my mother, sisters, and cousins for Three Birthday Weekend in Charleston. Note the tiaras.

In case I got cold feet, the Girl’s Trip to Charleston with my female relatives served to remind me of the profound nature of my hearing impairment and how lucky I was to have an opportunity to act.  Every group conversation in every noisy restaurant where I could not keep up served to reaffirm my appointment in the operating room.

I would sit at the table with a smile on my face, looking engaged enough to be involved but not so engaged that someone addressed a question or remark my way.  I have enough energy to strain for about one hour before I am exhausted and ready to quit asking people to repeat themselves and stop trying to understand my way into a group conversation.  But my trouble is not limited to noisy restaurants and groups; I can no longer understand one person in a quiet room without reading lips.

The alternative is to stay home.  And as I reach the limits of my ability to participate in the hearing world I increasingly understand why many choose that option.  My husband, friends, and family are very generous in accommodating me but there is a point where it just becomes a waste of energy to try.  But I don’t want to stay home.

On the day before surgery, my husband asked me if I was nervous.  I said I was not.



Pre-Op TO DO List


The BEFORE picture.

I reached the point where I was ready to commit to a cochlear implant and called to schedule my surgery.  But like Dorothy arriving in The Emerald City to ask for a new ear, it wasn’t that easy.  Before a surgery date could even be discussed with The Great And Powerful Oz I would have to fetch a few broomsticks.

I exaggerate.  Various doctors and technicians were required to examine and certify me cochlear implant-ready before proceeding.  Following is the list of people and procedures that signed off on me:

  1. Audiologist to make sure I’m REALLY deaf
  2. Auditory-Verbal Therapist for a preview of what’s to come
  3. Psychotherapist to make sure my spirit is ready
  4. Internist to make sure my body is ready
  5. Brain MRI–last chance for an MRI before magnet installed
  6. Chest X-ray: just checking…
  7.  VNG Test: videonsytagmography where cool and warm air was blown into my ear while I counted back from 100.  (I passed)
  8. And if that wasn’t enough, I was sent to the pharmacy for a pneumonia/shingles vaccination.

When I arrived for my pre-op appointment with Dr. Peters, I felt the confidence of one who has accomplished a demanding mission, actually showing up with the infamous broomstick.  But I’m totally on board.  If there is any reason I should not have a device implanted in my skull, I would rather know before the drilling occurs.