Thursday, December 18, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Cell Phone Success

I am so proud of my "new" bionic ear. I gave it quite a test today and it passed with flying colors. The work-out was a lengthy cell phone conversation - - - not a call in the quiet of my own living room and not with a familiar, "safe" voice of a family member. I was in the passenger seat of a very noisy Chevy van with my "new" ear next to the window. It was Friday afternoon and traffic was heavy. I was talking with an acquaintance from Atlanta whose voice I was not accustomed to. Holding it to my ear to take advantage of the built-in t-coil and the T-mic, I never once needed to say, "Pardon?" or "Could you please repeat that; I didn't catch what you said."

This event means nothing to a person with normal hearing, but to this phone phobic who is deaf as a do-nut hole, it was a shining moment.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


During our prayer request time after Bible Study on Tuesday, Linda quietly exclaimed, with her eyes gazing at her hands, "I have one kitty." My mind immediately began to consider the possible reasons for her obvious distress: something has happened to her other cat? She's about to tell us about something terrible that has happened to her precious kitty?

Then I hear " . . . new doctor . . . in renal failure stage 3 . . . I'm waiting for blood test results . . . drinking more water . . ." and I begin to suspect that maybe I've misunderstood something. What's the matter with her darn cat?

Try as they may, these dear ladies who attend our neighborhood Bible study just can't seem to abide by the one-voice-at-a-time rule, especially during the prayer request time at the close of our bi-weekly gathering. Each one feels compelled to add what they know about the details of the prayer concern. With everyone talking at once about this and that -healthy diet, the negative impact of stress, a great aunt who had - I'm at the mercy of catching a word or phrase here and there from poor Linda who is seated across the large circular table.

And then it dawns on me. Oh, she said that she has one KIDNEY! I try to suppress a smile, which is certainly not an appropriate response to Linda's current tribulation. Hearing loss can still get me in trouble from time to time, even with two great cochlear implants.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Electronic Buzzing

The mystery of that occasional electronic buzzing sounds since my last mapping has been solved. I had assumed it was the wider IDR on my new program slot, but not so. Strange as it may seem, I figured it out when riding in Mom and Dad's car.

Gerry "looped" their car years ago so that my hearing-impaired mom could be a part of our conversations. All the passengers wear boom mics and Mom flips a switch on her remote which activates her t-coils on her hearing aids. Voila - - - our voices go straight to her Phonak aids and she stays in the "loop".

Well, we were pulling out of the driveway and Mom's knee rubbed on the boom mic protruding from the seat pocket. My Harmony ear made a crackling "kkkrrr" sound and I thought "Hey, what's this about?". She touched the foam covering the tiny mic and I heard a rustling sound again.

The light slowly began to dawn on me; I sensed the approach of an "Ah-ha" moment. I retrieved the mic, passed it up to Gerry in the driver's seat, and asked him to talk into the mic. Mom commented, "Sheila, I don't have my t-coils turned on yet." Gerry started talking and his voice was immediately in my right ear.

So . . . . mystery solved. My audi must have activated my t-coil on program #3 when she put the wider IDR setting in that slot. It's no wonder that I buzz when I get close to the TV or walk through those sensor panels at the drugstore. Since I prefer the 80 IDR for everyday listening, that buzzy t-coil needs to be moved to another program slot. Guess what I'm going to request next time I go to Tampa for another mapping?

Monday, September 15, 2008

CI Semantics

Oh, the world of techo-lingo abounds with cochlear implants. Words and acronyms, such as threshold, compression, spectral channels, RF, NRI, AGR, IDR, HiRes -P, HiRes -S . . . . what does it all mean? Well, the bottom line for me is this: if my audiologist works her magic on the computer and I hear better as a result, I'm a happy camper.

At my 6th mapping session today, I asked for a wider IDR for my last program slot, position #3. The letters IDR stand for Input dynamic range. The "standard" IDR default setting is 60, I think, and the maximum on my new Harmony is 80. This is the widest in the CI industry and a unique feature of the Harmony processor.

So what, you ask? The bigger the number, the bigger the sound window. That means that my world of sound has now expanded outward if I switch to slot #3. A wider IDR is designed to allow me to hear more loud vs. soft and near vs. far away sounds.

What have I noticed so far?

  • fuller, louder choir at church on Sunday. WONDEFUL!!

  • easier to hear a book-on-tape through the car speakers - the voice seems to "come through" better somehow

  • clearer sound on the TV - I catch more words without looking at the screen

  • hearing some soft electronic buzzing when close to the TV and when walking through the monitor thing-y at the drugstore entrance. I remember having this annoyingly loud with my digital hearing aids but not with my CI.

I've heard other CIers with Advanced Bionics refer to this IDR setting as their "music program" since softer softs and louder louds makes quite a difference for music buffs. After just one week, I think I like it as my daily setting. I may prefer to switch to program #1 in a noisy restaurant, but I haven't been out to eat yet. Humm . . . excuse me . . . "Gerry, . . . ."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Non-CI Moment

Some wonderful moments do not involve sound. It's no secret that I'm a butterfly lover, not because of their melody but because of their incredible symmetrical beauty and their remarkable power of metamorphosis. I even think the caterpillars are gorgeous.

I love providing them with host plants for their eggs and with flowers for the adults to feed on. I do the gardening and Gerry takes the photos - a good team approach.
This morning we were entertained by a visitor we'd never had before and who graciously allowed us to take his picture. I theorize that his resting posture may have something to do with the dreary week of downpours from Tropical Storm Fay that we've just endured. We've had a record-breaking amount of rain, deluging weather that is distasteful to butterflies as well as people. This butterfly is called a red-spotted purple admiral. Isn't he a charmer?

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Dad's Recovery

The ordeal is over. Well, at least the hospital part for my dear Dad. He and I have similar temperaments and now we have another thing in common: metal in our bodies. His is a metal plate with 10 screws in his upper left arm, fusing his broken humerus.

My miraculous CI sound was really put to the test throughout the day of surgery, and I silently thanked God for my bilateral hearing time and time and time again. When I heard Mom introduce me to one of the nurses, "This is our daughter. She is my ears.", the wonder of those words warmed my heart to the core.

While we were in the crowded waiting room during Dad's operation, there was a hall announcement of a code red emergency, something about a fire alarm on the 5th floor. I heard it and could tell Mom what was going on! While the room buzzed with numerous conversations and a TV mounted high up in a corner droned on with some news program to which no one was listening, the desk phone rang. Since I was seated close by and no one else seemed to be making a move to answer it, I picked it up. The gist of the conversation was something like this: "Is this a volunteer? (No) Are you a waiting family member? (Yes) Is Patricia D - - - there? (Excuse me?) Patricia D - - - from Daytona Beach (Sorry, what's the name again?) Patricia D - - -, D-E-E-N-G. (I'll ask . . . Is there a . . . .) WOW! Later I heard the all-important message about Dad and his assigned room number.

Based on names such as Graal, Lucretia, Mojak, and Chandra, you might guess that most of Dad's nursing staff were not as American as apple pie. Just as I would become accustomed to one nurse and her "signature" accent, her shift would end and another one would arrive. As soon as she spoke her first sentence, she would reveal yet another unusual dialect. To be fair, there was a Denise from New York and a Krista from Georgia or some place where a southern drawl as thick as spoon bread is commonplace. An oriental lady from admitting arrived sometime in the afternoon, toting a laptop and needing to ask umpteen questions which I'd answered at least a half dozen times already. She and I went out in the hall. I think I asked for only one repeat!

Gerry and I drove my parents home on Friday evening after an exhausting 2 days of hospital routine. Mom had been allowed to spend the night in a recliner and kept both her hearing aids on to tend to Dad's needs when the nurses were not around. Despite considerable post-op pain, I'm sure their own bed must have felt wonderful.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Next Step

I do not have and never will have a medical degree, but even I could see that the plan of letting Dad's broken bone heal itself was not working. Today's x-ray tells the tale. This is the picture now, almost a month later. So . . . on to Plan B, reconstructive surgery which will add metal plates and screws to his internal arm composition and a healthy scar to his external physique.

You'd think that once a person reaches his ninth decade, he would have basically seen it all and experienced most of it, but this will be a new one for Dad. He's been blessed with good health and has endured very few hospital stays in the course of his life. Next Tuesday, July 29, we will all have a new opportunity to experience God's faithfulness and His provision for Dad through the world of modern medicine.

Friday, July 11, 2008

White Noise

We had a delightful time yesterday visiting the home of Marvin and Jean Burhenn, the parents of my dear friend Denise Portis. Gerry and I took an alternate route home from Tampa (for my 5th mapping on my Harmony) in order to see Denise, who had flown to Leesburg, FL from Frederick, MD to enjoy a week's vacation with her folks. Their lovely home is truly Floridian, complete with an interior seascaspe theme of soft blues and sandy yellows and a screened porch with a glorious water garden. Denise, always the thoughtful hostess, had warned me that the water pump created substantial white noise and that conversation out by the water might be challenging. I was pleased to discover that I could still converse while we admired her dad's handiwork. I suspect this would not have occurred with only one CI ear - - - I wish I had thought to slip the headpiece from the magnet on one side and test out my hypothesis. Ah, the wisdom of hindsight . . .

And I didn't ask Gerry to take a picture of Denise and her daughter Kyersten either. Duh! Sometimes I wonder about my brain cell count.

Sunday, July 06, 2008


Dad's latest appointment with Dr. Nguyen on July 2nd was in a different office, so we dealt with new surroundings and different assistants and office staff. In the past, any new social setting would have meant anxiety and stress concerning potential hearing difficulties. It's so incredible to me that this does not even cross my mind any more!! Now I can just worry about my precious Dad!

The surgeon examined Dad's arm, checked his wrist pulse, pressed on the top of each fingernail, and said all the swelling, discoloration, and discomfort were "normal" after such a break. Now I ask you, does this look "normal" to you?

We are to return in two weeks for another set of x-rays to see if the separated bones are beginning to fuse properly. In the meantime, trying to flex the arm at the elbow (ouch!) should increase the blood circulation and help to reduce the swelling.

The healing process can seem so slow when you're hurting day after day and new bruises keep appearing. We are encouraged by the small steps of progress, such as a little less swelling, an easier time getting up and down, and a good night’s sleep.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Ordeal Continues

It's now 5 days since Dad's fall, so it's time for an update. By Sunday evening, his tender body was quite colorful, to say the least, and we were all anxious for Monday's visit with the orthopedic surgeon.

Dad was given the option of surgery to install supporting rods along the bone or to wear a plastic brace and then re-xray the arm in a week to see if the bone was aligning and the pain and swelling lessening. Dad asked Dr. Nguyen what he would do, but his response was, "I'll do what you decide." Dad chose the noninvasive option and the rest of the family nodded in agreement.

We then made our way south to another part of greater Orlando as Gerry headed north to work. The therapist at Specialty Braces removed the temporary splint and gauze wrappings, and Mom and I gawked at the exposed arm with all its multi-colored bruises and bulge. (Sure wished I'd thought to take Gerry's camera.) The two-piece brace was fitted over an arm sock and velcroed together for a tight fit.

It's now Tuesday and poor Dad is hurting. More swelling and pain than the weekend, perhaps from all the activity of yesterday and the pressure of the new brace. We're going back tomorrow to see Dr. Nguyen . . . .

Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Day to Remember

The unexpected, as inevitable as laundry, has a way of jolting us out of our complacency and helping us to re-prioritize. For me, a new experience also serves as a proving ground for the strengths and/or weaknesses of bilateral hearing. Yesterday (Thursday, 6/26/08) was one of those days for my extended family. It was my Aunt Jean’s 86th birthday, and I had planned a short low-key outing designed for 3 octogenarians, my parents and the birthday gal. First on the agenda was a visit to Gerry’s workplace to see how he prepares flowers for the florist and to ooh and aah over the beautiful things in this high-end gift shop. Then we were off to a nearby neighborhood restaurant for a home-style lunch, complete with a rich chocolate fudge cake with a single candle. Next on the itinerary was a stop at our church so that Dad, Mom, and Aunt Jean could see the progress being made on the new sanctuary building and to marvel at the scaled model under glass in our narthex. The last stop mid-afternoon was a return to the flower shop to give Aunt Jean her birthday gifts before driving her home.

All went as planned until the final entry into the flower shop. A portable metal sign near the door had blown over and apparently Dad did not see it. In a split second, he was down in a heap on the sidewalk, falling hard on both the sign and the concrete. Gerry and I helped him to a sitting position as the realization of the seriousness of the event took shape in our minds. All of us were jarred into prayerful action and began asking Dad about his precious physical body. Miraculously, Dad was conscious and coherent. Surveying the damage, we soon noticed that his left arm, just below the shoulder had an abnormal bulge and a 911 call was in order.
The last thing my shy, modest dad ever wants is public attention, so two fire trucks, at least five EMT’s, and gawking shoppers would not be his idea of a relaxing family outing! The EMT’s worked their magic on Dad, and I moved to the fellow with the clipboard standing next to Mom, knowing instinctively that she would need help in hearing his questions. Such an incredible blessing to be able to do this again for my mom! The inability to be her “ears” had been such a great personal heartache for me during those years when my hearing loss was so severe.

Back to yesterday’s saga ― we followed the ambulance through heavy interstate traffic and drizzling rain to a hospital about 10 miles away. Fortunately, the trauma center was not especially busy at 4:15 pm, but we soon realized that this fact did not equate to immediate and efficient health care. It took a whopping eight hours for Dad to get some painful x-rays, a temporary splint contraption, and more x-rays. After 11:00 pm we were finally informed that an orthopedic surgeon wasn’t available and that Dad could go home if he felt able. We should call for an appointment the next day, but since this would be Friday, we weren’t likely to get an appointment until Monday. Use ice and pain relievers and keep the arm in a sling.

My left ear, with its power-hungry older CI technology, died around 9:00 pm, and my pocket cache of batteries was depleted. After all, I’d planned a short outing, hadn’t I? Gerry had left the hospital at suppertime to make the 80-mile round trip required to take Aunt Jean home and then drive to our house to pack an overnight bag, including my all-important battery charger and spare batteries. With only unilateral hearing, I sensed the return of a bit of inner trepidations concerning not hearing all the words of those infrequent visits to our little cubicle by some medical person who would dart in, mumble something, and be gone almost before we had time to register their presence. Yes, I hear so much better in noise with 2 ears and yes, the old fears still reside just under the surface.

With Gerry’s welcomed arrival, I was relieved to be back in the bi-lateral business. We were all weary and anxious for resolution. My dear mother, ever the gracious one, requested care for Dad’s bloody abrasions before we were discharged. “Ah . . . sure . . . OK . . .” A nurse (?) was dispatched to do the deed. After viciously wiping and blotting his tender knee and forearm with some smarting stuff called sterile fluid, it became obvious that she was clueless as to how to proceed and needed to enlist the help of her ‘mentor’ who said, “ . . . blah, blah, blah . . . gauze and some tape.” Is it just me, or does this strike anyone else as both startlingly inept and unacceptable medical service? We shall see what Monday brings . . . . for now, we are all thanking God that Dad is at home and asking the Great Physician for comfort, healing, and guidance.

Monday, June 23, 2008

A Sentence Worth Reflection

One of my favorite quotes is from GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER. He said:

“How far you go in life depends on you being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in life, you will have been all of these.”

Every time I read this, it takes on new meaning. I suppose that's because I'm older each time I come across it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Testing out my localization skills

Localizing sound is something I get to re-learn now that I'm bilateral. The Grand Sierra Hotel in Reno had six elevators in the lobby area. What a golden opportunity to do some aural rehab every time we went up or come down from our room. I stood in the center, closed my eyes, and pointed to the "ding" of the arriving elevator. Observers, I'm sure, thought I was a bit "dingy".

How did I do? After 4 days, I was at 80% accuracy. Not bad for less than 2 months of surround sound, don't you think?

HLAA Reno, 2008

The older one becomes, the less likely it is to experience something for the first time. Our trip to Reno was filled with "firsts" and, therefore, most memorable to us. Come to think of it, it is surprising that we've never done some of these things, yet I dare say that we've also had some unusual overseas experiences that most people would say, "I've never done that.". In addition to this being our first time in Nevada, this was the first time that we:

  • Saw an airport with slot machines at the gates and in the lobby area.

  • Stayed in a hotel that charged a fee to print an airline boarding pass. Talk about "nickel and diming" - - - give me a break!

  • Ordered room service.

  • Ate chocolate-covered strawberries. We've had the opportunity on other occasions but always thought those 2 flavors would not go together. We were so wrong. Yummy!

  • Stayed in a hotel with a TV in the bathroom. I hear that our pastor back home has one in every room of his house.

  • Were in a bowling alley together. I'd never watched Gerry bowl. We've been married 18 years, for crying out loud!

  • Ate elk meat (Gerry says it tasted like beef and not at all like alligator.)

  • Saw an intersection with 6 crosswalks.

  • In downtown Reno, saw the largest bowling alley in the world - - - 78 lanes and the world's longest video screen.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Call of the Wild, Cohutta Springs, GA

There I stood in the center of the hillside facing the lake. If I had been in a swiss outfit in the Alps, you would have asked, "Is this a re-make of The Sound of Music? " The birds of north Georgia were in full song. I closed my eyes and slowly turned about 45 degrees, then another 45, and another. I began to sense that one particular group of sounds was coming from the direction of the porch. So I moved closer, continuing the head swivel to test for the direction of the chatter.

My ears, both of them, led me to the stucco walls of the lodge to a beautiful pair of barn swallows. They were having a tittery animated conversation, probably about the crazy woman invading their privacy.
Then I heard it . . . a faint cheep, cheep, cheep. Ah, ha . . . look up in the corner of the eaves, Sheila, and feast your eyes on the source. I was interrupting feeding time. Serendipity!!

Could it be that my brain is starting to localize sound? Maybe it was just the mountain air, but I couldn't have been happier!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Week That Was

I worked fulltime last week; it was a contract job to grade the portions of the Colorado standardized achievement test that could not be scored by computer. My group of 15 were scoring 3rd grade math. In retrospect, I was very pleased with my ability to hear and very disgusted with the work itself. Let me explain . . .

Picture an open space about the size of a football field. Fill the area with hundreds of waist-high cubicles each equipped with one computer and one chair. Position 2 trainers for every 10-15 people and you have an idea of the job setting. The first day was training day which meant that a team leader gave us instructions on the scoring criteria through the use of headphones.

The positives?

  • The job is over.
  • I got paid.
  • I could hear to do the job. This is no small thing, given the room size, acoustics, and verbal exchange on both sides of my cubicle. This would have been a near impossible hearing assignment with only one implant. My older C1 has a battery life of just over 3 hours these days, so I'd have been dead-in-the-water and missing the training while removing the headphones to change my battery.
  • We were permitted to use our cellphones at the lunch break. I could hear Gerry well using either ear.

The negatives?

  • My ears were really sore after training day. The headphones were the small earsize type with very little padding. Oh, my aching earhooks!
  • The task was an exercise in sheer monotony. Each day my computer was programmed to evaluate one test item, awarding each student a score of 0, 1, or 2 at my "click". The same question, again and again and again. On Friday alone, I scored a whopping 2,121 entries. Talk about tedious, fanny-fatiguing utter boredom!! Years ago, Gerry and I took a tour of a pretzel factory and came away feeling sorry for those poor souls. I told Gerry after the second day that I'd be happy to twist dough tomorrow!
  • Too many third graders have horrid penmanship. Don't teachers model how to use an eraser these days? I couldn't believe that what I was seeing was each child's best effort. No wonder the USA's educational ranking in the world is slipping fast.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

The Magic Flute

OK, I know it wasn't magic to the rest of the congregation, but to me it was so incredible. I could actually hear the flute part while we were all singing the hymns during church this morning. Our church really sings with gusto and our choir often takes off with embellishments and "extras" during the final verse. Yet the glorious pure tones of the flute came through it all. As usual, the strings and organ were also accompanying our voices, but I had never been able to hear the flute part until today - - - less than 3 weeks into bilateral hearing. It was such a moving and worshipful experience, a cherished CI moment.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Dual Intakes

Gerry calls these my "dual intakes".

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

False Expectations and Unexpected Outcomes

I've decided that I'd better start a list of the unexpected things concerning getting a second implant, because I probably won't remember months from now what I found surprising. I'm sure that there will be other bilateral users who might read my observations and think, "Oh, I expected that.Why were you surprised by that?" That's OK . . . I already know that these musings are personal to me and not relevant universally. So here goes, in no particular order:

  • Since I've never heard HiRes 90K sound, I expected to need to start there with my new ear and to work my way up to liking the Fidelity 120 sound. Surely I would need time to adjust to HiRes. Not so. The Fidelity 120 sound was super from the get-go.

  • I assumed that I would be lugging around two battery chargers when traveling, including cords and plugs for each one. So I thought my days of traveling light were history. Not so! My charger accommodates both my C1 and my Harmony batteries. Since I use only 1 Harmony battery each day (incredible!), the four slots in my charger are adequate for my daily battery use with both implants. An overnight trip really can still be just a carry-on after all. A pleasant surprise! (My kit came with a new charger, so now I have an extra charger as a back-up. Great.)

  • I thought that my ability to localize sound would be instantaneous (i.e., that I would know where a sound was coming from as soon as I became bilateral and that I would comprehend the sound in either ear). I did not realize that my brain would have to learn to determine directionality again, that this was a skill that would need to be re-learned over time. So far, I cannot tell where environmental sounds are coming from, but it's only been a week of surround sound.

  • I guess I thought that if speech sounded good from either ear, then it would automatically blend together when both implants were worn. Maybe I really hadn't considered that there might be some out-of-sync issues, that there could be some timing differences or pitch variations due to electrode positioning, old vs. new technology, etc.

  • I did not know that the new travel case that was included in my activation kit was such a nifty deal. This was a new accessory to me since it was not "invented" in 2000. I use it all the time now for our over-nights to my CI clinic for mappings. This sturdy, compact case includes a built-in dry and store, 2 meshed velcroed pouches in the lid, and dividers for recharged batteries, color caps, and extra ear hooks. So very practical.

  • I did not expect to be hit with vertigo problems on April 4, about a month and a half after surgery. From what I've now read about BPPV, its cause is unknown. It's probably something I've been predisposed to for years. I have never been able to handle motion rides at amusement parks and, as an adult, have tended to get nauseous in exercise classes if required to lean back and look up. I am likely to have periodic recurrences, hopefully few and far between. In the whole scheme of things, it's a minor "thorn in the flesh", isn't it?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

4th Mapping

I've now been given the go-ahead to wear both implants and I'm ready for the Bilateral Life!! Michelle, my dear audiologist, did a minor bit of tweaking of my C1, my old implant, and tested each electrode of the new Harmony. There was one frequency that would not become uncomfortably loud, even when programmed to do so. So Michelle just left it equal with the other pitches rather than de-activate this wayward one.

I already love the fullness of sound with two auditory nerves receiving sound, albeit not quite in sync as yet. The Harmony is a sharper, crisper sound than my C1. The "older" sound is fuller, more robust. So together, they are a nice mix of differences. I truly believe with time they will miraculously blend together, old and new technology becoming one in my noggin'.

Our Creator has engineered our brains for extraordinary achievement. My right ear was basically DEAD to sound for 8 years with no benefit from even the best state-of-the-art hearing aid, and it was made ALIVE in only minutes with the new Harmony. I still cannot believe it. Praise be to our Awesome God!

Sunday, April 06, 2008


BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo) can be awful. If you've ever had it, you know what I mean. There will be no pictures with this post as the scene would be too unpleasant, not to mention embarrassing. Gerry was on the phone with my surgeon after 11:30 pm on Friday evening, seeking advice concerning my vertigo and throwing up. Dr. Danner was so wonderful, staying on the line for over 20 minutes as he told Gerry how to do the Epley maneuver and calling in some prescriptions for nausea and vertigo.

It is now Sunday evening and I'm managing to type this brief account, so things are looking up.

Thursday, April 03, 2008


It seems that the problem-solvers at Advanced Bionics are always working to better our lives. The new smaller T-mic is just the ticket for me, I think. Time will tell if the reduced size will eliminate my sore spot, but it already feels more secure and less tender after 10 hours.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

3rd Mapping

It's hard to believe that it's been only 15 days since activation of my second ear. There was a time, many years ago now, when the suggestion of entering the sound booth to test my ears would immediately produce a feeling of dread. Today I welcomed the suggestion of getting a baseline score on the new Harmony. Twenty sentences in quiet - - - 97% accuracy!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


After another trip to the optician, I think the soreness from my glasses is now solved. The tenderness on the top of my ear is still an issue, but a thinner moleskin on the T-mic is helping. Such a minor thing, yet we little-eared people need to pass on our trials and tips. If only some other parts of my anatomy were also little!

Monday, March 24, 2008

2nd Mapping for 2nd Ear

I expected that I would see my audiologist this morning for a second time for my second mapping on my second implant. Not so, because she called in sick. (Do you think I’m enjoying the “ssound?) Michelle, my audi for today, has a different approach to initial mappings than Lisa and changed all 3 programs to 50/50 (50% T-mic, 50% processor mic) with each one differing in volume only.

She raised the thresholds on each pitch and encouraged me to wear the new Harmony by itself in order to mature that “baby” auditory nerve. Apparently, the emerging research is indicating that progress is much faster with the second ear if the primary, older one is set aside for a time. It is now predicted that the sound will be comparable after 4-6 weeks of solo work but would likely take 2 years if worn together. Wow! That's worth setting the wonderful surround sound aside for now.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Can You Hear Me Now?

No one would ever describe our church, St. Andrew's Chapel, as contemporary in style. We don't have a plexiglass pulpit, large screen monitor, or "worship team" of electric guitars on stage to lead us in praise songs. There would never be a skit or mini-drama as part of the Sunday service, and no applauding after a soloist or choral piece. St. Andrew's is classical Reformation faith in practice, complete with formal robes, candles, and a string quartet. Gerry and I love the quiet reverence and emphasis on worship.

Why am I sharing all this? Because when my beloved pastor, Dr. R.C. Sproul, mounted the pulpit to begin his Good Friday sermon, he did something very uncharacteristic and the congregation responded in a manner I will never forget. Watching this short video clip always bring a tear to my eye and a catch in my throat:

More serendipity

My serendipity today was an unbelievable sight rather that an unexpected sound. On a whim and for a change, Gerry drove home from "our" Wendy's by turning down a dirt lane to see if it would be a shortcut. We've lived here nearly 6 years and never checked this out. Not more than a few blocks from our house, sitting on an old wooden arbor, was a baby barred owl! Now there's a face that only a mother could love. In all our years, neither Gerry nor I have ever seen a wild baby owl up close and personal.

Ah . . . serendipity.