Sunday, November 20, 2005

What Am I Thankful For?

Our local newspaper asked readers to write a small paragraph on what they were thankful for so I submitted a short poem. . .

* (Sing to the tune of ``Raindrops on Roses'')
Sweet nothings from my husband, kind words from children,
Sounds of birds singing, leaves rustling in trees.
Coffee percolating and raindrops that fall...
These are a few of the sounds
That I'm thankful for.
Because I am hearing them for the very first time...
After receiving a cochlear implant
Just a few months ago!

Laurie Pullins, Maryville

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Before And After Hearing Tests

Click on this picture to see the full view. I have gone from a profound hearing loss to a MILD hearing loss with my CI. A true miracle and gift from God. I am truly blessed and thankful!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Pictures from California

Chris on the pier near Oceanside, California

Me enjoying the sounds of the ocean!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Leaving on a Jet Plane

I am making preparations to fly to San Diego, California tomorrow to see Chris! I have not seen him since I got my CI. I absolutely cannot wait to hug him and spend time with him because I haven't seen him since June. I want to hear his voice and hear the ocean with him. I've been busy loading songs on to my iPod so that I will have music to listen to as I travel. That will be nice because I've always had to sit in silence on airplanes. I also got my cables for my CI by FedEx and DHL yesterday and will have them for my travels! I wonder if I will be able to plug in my TV/HiFi cable to the TV on the plane to watch a movie in place of the earphones that they always pass out. We'll see. It will also be an experience to go through security with my CI but I am prepared. I have my card next to my driver's license in my purse that informs others that I have a electronic device in my head. I also wear a medical alert bracelet.

Some new sounds that I've heard lately:
  • Heard Riga walking on the floor above me while I was in the basement
  • Sounds of fall: leaves rustling in the wind and falling off the trees
  • Understood Steve talking to Marissa from the car in the dark without lipreading
  • Talked to Allison, my sister-in-law on the phone for about 15 minutes on Sunday night

I had auditory therapy today and did pretty good for my first appointment. I have trouble distinguishing words that begin and end the same but have a different vowel in them, like "pet," "put," "pout," "pot," "pat," "pit." Had the most trouble with "pit" and "put." I understood short phrases pretty well like "the cat is in the bag", "he looked at the sock", etc. The appointment was only 30 minutes and was over before I knew it.

This little electronic miracle has made such a difference in my life and my confidence level. I cannot believe that I was able to function for so long with my hearing aids as well as I did. But, it is because I was fitted with the right hearing aids at the right time and had good training. All this is helping me make good progress with my CI.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Give Thanks With A Grateful Heart

As I sit here this morning, I have my window open behind me and can hear birds singing outside. I am also listening to songs on my iPod and giving thanks and praise again to God for my new world of sound. Every day I continue to be overwhelmed with His generosity, blessings, and love for me. It is so exciting for me to hear things that other people take for granted. I continue to be awe of this new miracle in my life that has been given to me through technology. God is so very good and blesses me more than I ever deserve. . .

I heard a few new sounds this week. I heard a carbonated drink "fizz" over ice when I poured it in my glass. I heard my boss say, "I'll be back in a minute" as she walked past my desk. I wasn't even "listening" for her and was thrilled that I heard her. Jason is home this weekend with Maddie, his cocker spaniel. She is a very sweet and active little dog and her feet pitter-patter so fast on the floor when she is excited!

I am also happy to report that my tinnitus is going away. I don't notice it as much anymore. It seems to be settling down. I think my auditory nerve was mad at me whenever I took my CI and HA off at night because it was not getting any sound. So, it said, "Well, if you are not going to give me sound, I'll just have to make it up!"

I had my hearing tested this week with my CI and HA and tested with a MILD hearing loss! When I get a copy of my hearing test, I will post it. I tested in the 30 -40 hearing dB range and spiked at 20 dB at 6000 hz! This is a big change from the severe/profound range that I've been in for most of my life. Susie, my audiologist tested me with my CI alone and also with my CI & HA together and said that I DO benefit from my hearing aid. My hearing aid seems to round out the sounds that I am not getting yet from my CI. She also did not like the "spike" and says that Bill needs to round that out when I get my next map. That may explain some of the "echoes" and "tinny" sounds that I hear and may also explain why music sounds funny sometimes. On Monday I will have a speech comprehension test done to see how well I am understanding speech with my CI and HA. All this information will be so valuable to Bill when he sets my next map because he will know exactly what adjustments need to be made. (Look to your right on this blog and I will add a link on how to read a hearing test or audiogram. Click on the "NEXT" buttons.)

Susie shared with me that she has been praying for direction about her career and the hearing center that she works in. She would like to do more work with CI patients. Steve and I have talked in the past about how it would be so great for the hearing center to be able to work with CI patients and do the mapping, etc. But, they have to have the funds and resources and be connected with a specific surgeon that will refer them, etc. They also have to have special training from the cochlear implant companies and be qualified. Susie says that she refers at least 3-4 patients a week to Dr. Merwin and another doctor in Knoxville for cochlear implants but those patients have to go somewhere else for their appointments, evaluations, and mapping sessions. The business manager at the hearing center says that they cannot afford it right now. I shared with her that this hearing center has been my "home" for 12 years and that I feel safe there. I just know that there are others who feel the same way I do. I know everyone that works there and am comfortable with them. It was hard for me to leave my "comfort zone" to go to Knoxville and trust another doctor and hearing center with my ears but I really did not have any other options except to go to Nashville or Atlanta. Susie also shared with me that some patients HAVE to go to Nashville (which is three hours away) for their evaluations, appointments, surgery, mappings, etc. and that it is very difficult for them, especially if they have low incomes or transporation issues. She had one patient who was on TennCare and waited for hours to see a Dr. in Nashville, only to find out that the doctor or insurance company didn't have all her information and paperwork. It was hard enough for this patient to get to Nashville and to be turned away and have to start all over again was a big blow. I told Susie that "if they (the hearing and speech center) build it, they will come." I know there are other patients like me who would come to the hearing center for our appointments, mapping sessions, therapy, etc. I am fortunate that I can have my therapy there but I still have to go to Bill for my maps because he is associated with the doctor who performed my surgery. . .So, I will pray for direction for Susie and the Blount Hearing and Speech Center. . .

I am going to go work in the yard outside and do some "listening" on this beautiful fall day. I need to plant my winter flowers and rake leaves, etc. I also have "nursery duty" at church tomorrow and will get to hear the sounds of little children again!

I will close this entry by sharing with you that as I walk with Jesus every day and draw closer to Him, I find that my thankfulness to Him is an ever-growing symphony of praise that flows from my heart to His. As I look around me, I see that our world is full of heaven. There are so many riches that God has given to me and to you. He is always one step ahead of us and answers our prayers in ways that we never imagined. He puts people in our paths to show us kindness, love, and joy. Everything that we have comes from HIM. For that reason alone, my heart is full of gratefulness and thanksgiving.

Hebrews 13:15 (Amplified Bible) "Through Him, therefore, let us constantly and at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name."