Monday, March 20, 2006

Six Months of Sound

"As long as I live, I'll hear waterfalls, birds, and winds sing." John Muir

It has been six months since my CI activation. It is also the first day of spring. I continue to make small but steady improvements. I'm still experiencing CI moments, which remind me how much progress I've made this past year.

I really, truly do love hearing the birds singing! Yesterday morning when Steve woke me up for church, I wasn't quite ready to get up yet. He told me that the birds were singing. I asked him to bring my processor to me and open the windows even though it was 40 degrees outside. I just laid there in our bed for about 20 minutes listening to them. What a glorious sound that was and is for me. This is my FIRST spring hearing them! I'm anxious to hear more of the different birds as they return to our area. Using my bird identifyer sound cards, I am trying to distinguish between the different bird calls. I hear the sparrows, titmice, robins, and cardinals. Most of the time I hear many birds all at once.

I also have a new phone and I love it. In January, Susie, my audiologist, gave me a form for a captioned telephone called CapTel. It is availabe to deaf and hard of hearing persons in states that offer CapTel Captioning Service with their relay services. The hearing disability section has to be verified and signed by a qualified audiologist or specialist. It is free for Tennessee residents but I don't know about the other states. I filled out the form, mailed it in and forgot about it. The phone came earlier this month and I've been using ever since! I use it mainly to check voice mail (which is wonderful because I don't have to wait until someone is home to check it for me) and to make appointments. The CapTel phone allows a caller to hear the other person AND read the text at the same time. A relay operator automatically picks up and is invisible in the background coding the captions on the phone and I can read it as well as hear it. It is great phone practice for me. But, there are a few drawbacks associated with it. One is that when someone calls me, the captions will not work unless they call a toll-free number. So, if you want to call me at home, call 1-877-243-2823 and then enter our home area code and phone number. Another drawback is when I make a call, there is a delay between the spoken voice and captions. So, I try not to rely on the captions. I can look at them if I miss a word or sentence or if someone talks too much or too fast. Also, the phone is hooked up to our land line and has lots of static. Steve says we have a "dirty" line and has trouble with it, too. I hear better with my cell phone but don't have captioning there. To read more about Captel, you can go to the CapTel website.

Last Friday I had lunch with my friend, Susan Underwood (her blog is on the right under Susan's Journey to Sound). I met her a year ago and feel like we have been friends forever. We met at a Chinese restaurant and talked for two hours! It is so nice to be able to talk to another friend who understands the every day struggles and triumphs of cochlear implants. She and I both need new "maps" on our processors this spring so we are going to make a "girls' day" out of it and go together to try a new audiologist that is about two hours away. We'll do lunch and get mapped! Not your normal idea of a girls' day out but will still be special. We also have another CI friend, Lydia, who may be interested in coming with us, too. Lydia was one of the first people to receive a cochlear implant in Knoxville 11 years ago and is sooooo sweet! In a year's time, I have met and made acquaintances with more deaf and hard of hearing persons online and in person. Another new CI friend is Suzie in BC (her blog is on the right, too) and we stay in touch through emails. She has had a difficult time with her CI experience and my heart breaks for her. She was reimplanted with her CI today and is embarking on a new beginning. I am thinking good thoughts for her! (Have you noticed that I have three new friends named Susie, Susan, and Suzie???!!!)

In closing, take time to listen to the birds of spring. "A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song." ~Chinese Proverb

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