Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Reason to be Happy

A couple of wonderful things happened recently.  My daughter sent me a text saying "I LOVE MY JOB!!".  She had just started a new job last Friday (Nov. 18th) after being hired on the spot the Wednesday before.  A well known independently owned coffee house in Boulder, Colorado.  She is thrilled with the opportunity to work for a coffee house that has a lot to offer her in experience.  I am happy for her.

My mother sent me an email letting me know that my sister who had her cochlear implant one month after I did called and talked to my dad for the first time in several years.  My sister mentioned to me that it had been over 5 years since she talked on the phone.  My mom was out shopping at the time she called, so my dad had the opportunity to talk to her.  My parents are thrilled that she talked on the phone.  I am happy for this momentous occasion.

I am happy for me too.  I had an adjustment on October 27th.  It was a major improvement for me.  I finally reached that turning point where I know it's better.  I've turned that corner and it's only the beginning.  I often find myself surprised by the occasional things I overhear.  Just a couple of weeks ago, I was on a flight from Colorado when suddenly I heard "... we have Coke products... we have Pepsi products ... blah, blah, blah and we have blah, blah for three dollars and blah, blah for five dollars..."  I didn't hear every word but you can tell I picked up enough to realize that they were talking about the snack cart.  Wow.  I didn't even know that they announced what was on the snack cart.  All those years of flying and I didn't know.  And here I used to agonize whether they carried the beverages I would want (other than the obvious Coke and Pepsi products) and what snacks would be available.  I would always ask for the cookie, but it wasn't always there.

I was flying back from Colorado because I had taken a road trip to Colorado with my daughter Jamie.  She had quit her job a few weeks after college graduation, took off a few months and stayed with us for a few of those weeks.  When it was time for her to leave, I rode with her back to Colorado.  We left the house at 2 in the afternoon and drove until midnight.  South on 35 down to Des Moines, Iowa then west on 80 through most of Nebraska.  It was a glorious day.  Beautiful skies all the way into the late evening hours.  We chatted and talked about many things.  As it got dark, it was hard for me to hear what she was saying, so I encouraged her to turn the music on and listen to that.  I turned my attention to my iPad and played a little Solitaire and Aliens vs. Plants.  I'm kind of hooked on Aliens vs. Plants, they are out to eat my brains.

Jamie plugged in her iPod and listened to her favorite tunes.  I began to notice that I was enjoying some of the music.  At one point, I thought a techno piece was playing and I asked her if it was and she confirmed it.  I mentioned that I actually liked the piece that was playing.  She looked at me and smiled.  We both knew that this was a big deal, this is the first time I enjoyed myself listening to music.  Without telling me, she searched her iPod and selected a song she knew that I would know.  I forget what the first song was, but when I heard it and recognized it, I smiled at her.  She went through a bunch of songs to see if I could recognize them.  Some songs I could recognize by the tune and others by the words.  We sang along with some and just enjoyed others.  Eventually, she pulled out her Joan Jett tunes and away we went.  Two girls road tripping with Joan Jett blaring on the speaker in the middle of Nebraska on a starry night.  Life is good.

Talking to people is easier than it used to be and I hear a lot more of what is said.  I think I'm distracted by the fact that they sound different but I can still hear what is being said if I just focus.  I was on a conference call with my team the other day and I could hear a lot of what was being said.  I am familiar with these voices though.  I was on a conference call a few days before that and I couldn't hear a word.  I'll be honest though, I am terrified of having difficulties on the phone so I haven't opened up the phone lines so to speak.  I am just not ready.  Slow and steady there.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and I'd like to share what I am thankful for.  There is so much to be thankful for this year.  I know it seems obvious, but here it goes.  I am thankful that I am alive in a time where the technology exists to give me better hearing.  I am thankful for the skilled surgeons and specialists that we worked with at the Mayo Clinic.  I am thankful for my friends and family who shared this journey with me and encouraged me every step of the way.  There were times I despaired, and they reached out.  I am thankful for my daughter Jamie who came and stayed with me for a week while I was adjusting to hearing through the cochlear device for the first time.  I treasured that week with her even though my hearing was so confusing at that time.  I am thankful for my sister who took the same journey and we were there for each other. There is nothing like having someone who knew exactly what you were going through.  I am thankful for my husband who went to every single appointment with me and helped me make the best decisions.  He never complained about the 2+ hour drives each way to the Mayo Clinic or the times we had to stay overnight in Rochester in order to make our appointments the following morning.

All my love to those who were with me whether it be a few minutes or every step of the way, your kindness and encouragement means a lot to me.  An acquaintance of mine said that I must have a whole new outlook on life with this new hearing.  I do and I'm sure that as it gets better I will come to appreciate this gift of hearing.  I can't wait for the next surprise.