Sunday, February 26, 2012

Relaxing at the Spa

I decided to treat myself to a nice massage at a local Spa.  It's usually something I only do when I am on vacation but I needed a nice treat now.  It was a beautiful sunny Saturday morning and I made my way to the Spa just minutes away from my house.  I drank a cup of Aveda's Comforting tea as I waited for my appointment.  When the time came, my masseuse led me into a serene room with beautiful music playing.  It was my first visit so I filled out a form, then I was onto my massage.

Oh, it felt good.  Her fingers soothed away the tight muscles and stretched the bones.  She massaged the shoulders and back and I could feel the tightness slip away.  Slowly, my body transitioned to a relaxed and peaceful state.  As I relished the feeling of those soothing fingers working away my stressed body, I realized that I was enjoying this beautiful serene music.  This is new, up to this point, I hadn't been able to enjoy complex musical sounds.  I embraced this new auditory experience and let the soothing hum fill my ears as her fingers worked.  I smiled.  I didn't ever want to leave this room.  The beautiful music or those soothing hands.

When the appointment was over, I asked her if they had a CD of the music that was played and she said I could just go to Target and look at the LifeStyle Relaxation CDs.  I went to online to their website and listened to several samples of music.  I'm going to get a new one soon.  I just might get several.  I should check out Adele - I haven't listened to her yet.  She's all the rage this year at the Grammy's.

Someone recently asked my sister what was the coolest thing she heard so far and she mentioned hearing the birds singing.  I haven't really had an opportunity to enjoy them yet.  The adjustment in October opened up my hearing world and the last one in January really fine tuned things.  Most of the birds had already left Minnesota by October and the ones that stay behind don't really sing.  They sing in the spring though.

In the spring.... in the spring.  I look forward to hearing the birds sing.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Seven Months

It's been a little over seven months since activation day.  I was happier after my adjustment in October, but things were even better with the adjustment I just had on January 17th.  My hearing has stabilized and there isn't going to be much change as far as what sounds I have access to.  I have all the access to sounds  that I can possibly handle.  What will change from this point is my ability to understand what I am hearing.  This is what takes time.

I'm on track though.  My audiologist said that they like to see cochlear implant recipients plateau before they reach their one year anniversary, I hit this in 7 months.  I did better in my hearing tests and in one of them I scored 10% better (47% to 57%).  Dave and I got a kick out of some of the silly sentences I had to repeat like "the horse's head is on the bed".  Would you believe I got one that right?  When I first heard it, I thought "that can't be right".  I did get it though.  It makes sense - this is a better test of what I actually hear rather than sentences that have enough context for me to fill in the blanks.  I'm an expert at that - I've had years and years of experience filling in the blanks!!

I brought up that music still wasn't that enjoyable for me and she said that some people are never able learn to enjoy music after cochlear implant.  There is some music I enjoy such as Techno.  I do not enjoy orchestra music or strings at this point.  Kind of makes me sad.  I watched the first few American Idol shows and as far as I could tell, none of those kids were any good.  I'd be like "she's terrible, horrible vibrato" and the judges on the show would be like "Best singer of the day!  Blah, blah, blah."  I still say they don't have any talent.  But now I literally wouldn't know would I?

Weird thing happened that day at the Mayo though.  I got up early in the morning and decided to run over to the clinic to do my blood test right away.  Dave got up and showered while I was out.  I went into an elevator that had three people that were already in there and suddenly my device was acting strange.  It would cut out for a split second and follow with a quick beep.  It did this several times while I was walking toward my destination in the clinic.  It had never done that before.  At first I wondered if the people in the elevator had some kind of device that was beeping but then I realized it was coming from my cochlear implant.  Then I wondered if they had some kind of device that was causing mine to go funky.  It kept doing it even as I was separated from everyone that was in the elevator.  I changed batteries and I thought it quit, but then I realized that the hearing settings weren't working correctly.  I have four hearing settings, one for everyday hearing, one for music, one for focus (to focus on what's in front of me in noisy situations) and one for noise (somehow it brings noise down a little).  The hearing was strange and I could only fix it by keeping it on the music setting.  I told my audiologist this and she said occasionally devices act "hinky" and they need to be replaced.  Just like that, she ordered me a new one from the company and I was to send them the defective one.  I have two devices, so I was able to use the other one.  I'm very impressed though, the new piece was in my hands the very next day. It's a good thing that it happened while it was at the Mayo!  My mom said God must have been watching out for me!

A few days ago, Dave & I went out to dinner and my cousin Rana joined us for dinner at Chili's.  She was sitting in the back seat and we were chatting.  I wasn't paying much attention to it, but she suddenly commented that she could tell that I could hear better.  I was able to converse with her without looking at her while she was talking.  It was a nice feeling.  

I think my challenge is to learn to listen.  I've spent so many years tuning out noise.  I've learned to ignore it.  I was at a grocery store and there was a guy standing close to me saying "Excuse me, excuse me".  I faintly heard him say it, but I ignored it.  It didn't dawn on me until he nudged me (gently) that I was blocking his path and he was politely trying to ask me to move.  I was embarrassed and happy at the same time.  I heard that!!  Oops I wasn't paying attention!!

Another neat thing that happened is Jamie called me on my cell phone while she was driving and we chatted.  She was on her way to visit my cousin Ronda's family for the weekend and wanted to pass some of the time.  We chatted for a long time.  I could hear most of what she said.  The only problem I have though is that my house has an awful buzzing sound that is very loud when I have my device on telephone mode.  And it's very hard to hear people when I'm on the phone.  No other house I've been to has that awful buzzing sound.  It's like trying to get reception in a bad cell area, I try to find the best spot in the house with the least amount of buzzing.  So far, the best spot is on my bed and only if I face a certain direction.  (sigh...)

It gets better and better.  I wonder what things will be like on my one year anniversary.  :o)  Better get back to my audiobooks and practice some more listening!