Saturday, December 10, 2005

Quick Update

The Christmas season is in full swing and I feel like a long tailed dog in a roomful of rocking chairs! I hardly have time to sit and think and be still! But, I am being quiet for a little while this morning so I thought I would share a few thoughts before I get too busy. I don't even have my music on yet - I need some quiet time.

I'm enjoying the sounds of Christmas - I hear music everywhere I go - in the stores, in the car, at work, and even on my iPod! The other night I was listening to my iPod while I was working on my computer, Steve came upstairs and said, "Are you listening to your iPod?" When I told him that I was, he commented that he was yelling at me from the bottom of the stairs and I could not hear him when he called out to me. I told him, "Now you know what I went through all these years when you couldn't hear me while wearing headphone when you were listening to music!" We had a good laugh about that.

As far as hearing new things, I've shifted from trying to listen for environmental sounds to concentrating on understanding speech. Therapy is coming along and Susie says I'm making progress. Right now I'm having trouble telling the difference between the "k" sound and the "t" sound. It doesn't matter if the sound is at the beginning or end of a word or if it is used in a sentence, I still can't get it. But that will come. Susie is wonderful because she explains to me why it is hard to hear certain sounds like the "t" and "k". It is because there is a slight difference in the frequency rate. Try saying and hearing the difference between "eat" and "eek", "meet" and "meek", "sheet" and "sheik", "till" and "kill". I asked Susie if I would be able to hear those sounds if my processor was programmed a little higher and she said probably not. It is just a matter of training the brain to recognize and hear the difference between different sounds. I am hearing words and phrases when I am not really concentrating. I still get things mixed up, too. For example, I heard one of my coworkers say "purchase security" and I thought she said "social security."

Last night I went to a Christmas party with the ladies from my church. I got lost trying to find the house. Luckily, I had Tina's phone number in my purse so I pulled off to the side of the road, found my T-Link in my purse and set it up with my cell phone. When Tina answered the phone, I told her that I was lost and that I needed her house number. I heard her say "fifty one forty one" but had to ask her if it was "five one four one" or "six one four one" because I couldn't tell if she said "fifty" or "sixty". I also heard her say that she had balloons on her mailbox. I was about 3-4 miles away and was able to find her house. It felt good to be able to make a phone call for help without having to struggle and drive around at night when I didn't know where I was.

I've gone to several other parties this past week. Went to the annual Christmas party for work at the Hilton. It was very noisy there! It was interesting to hear 50+ pieces of silverware clicking and scraping on plates as people were eating. I could hear voices laughing and talking. I normally don't like to go to parties because it has always been a struggle for me to carry on a conversation with so much noise around me. But, I have a program on my processor that minimizes background noise (BEAM) for me and allows me to hear the person I'm talking to. It is probably my favorite program on my processor. It's great. I had to sit up close to hear the program because Steve and I sat at a table in the back of the room. We had two different soloists and they sounded so beautiful and made me cry.

I also went to our monthly SHHH (Self Help for Hard of Hearing) meeeting on Thursday night. I was in charge of organizing it so I went early to set up the room with Christmas tablecloths and decorations. We had a good turnout and it is a great support group for people with hearing disabilities. We all have something in common and understand the struggles of living with a hearing loss. I had to smile when we had to leave because we all got out our umbrellas in the rain to protect our processors and hearing aids!

Tomorrow I will be sharing my testimony during both services at church. I'm going to share how I have received a wonderful gift this year because God uses the hands and minds of people to work miracles. And how this electronic miracle allows me to hear like I've never heard before. It is so exciting for me to hear the sounds I hear that others take for granted. It is a true and real blessing from God and I claim it as His work through the hands of His children. During the holiday season we are constantly trying to find the right gift or present to give to others. You are given gifts from God. You come as a unique "package" filled with special talents and a purpose to serve. When you live in a way that exposes your "specialness" and use your talents in that purpose, you are a blessing to others, no matter how small or large. The best gift you can give to someone else is YOU. You can make a difference with a kind word, thought or deed. I can hear because someone used their God given gifts and talents to create this cochlear implant for me and for others who cannot hear. This is such a joy for me and is a very real gift from God. I still look the same on the outside but inside my "cup runneth over!" God has shown His goodness to me in numerous ways through other people. For this I am thankful. No matter how big or small your gifts and talents are, you can impact someone's life in a very special way. So, pause and listen to God this season so that you can hear His purpose and plan for your life and what He wants you to do with it.

"Use the talents you possess - for the woods would be a very silent place if no birds sang except for the best." ~Henry Van Dyke


SooZ said...

I am tearful and so happy at your experiences, Laurie. I have hesitated to attend noisy parties for the same reasons you state in your blog. I was so happy for you as I read about your phone call.

You are a dear angel - I love reading of your relationship with God and it so inspires me. I wish I could have attended the service to hear your testimony.

Love, your fellow CI buddy in B.C.,


Anonymous said...

Laurie, you are so insightful and evoke such beautiful realization that our life has greater purpose than the pretenses that busyness and self-fulfilment lead us to believe. Your gentle words are a stirring reminder that I was made to love, to share, to give, and then to be blessed by how I matter to others ... that in THIS way of living I FIND myself. May you be blessed in return for loving so many of us through storying your journey. In you I see God, and through Him the good in me through his loving gaze.