Sunday, June 25, 2006

Talking on the Phone

Okay, Okay, I hear ya! I know it has been a while since I have given you an update. I've had several people comment that it is time to post again so here it is. My new favorite thing to do is to talk on the phone. I'm not perfect but conversing on the phone is getting easier every time I practice. I'm surprising family and friends on their birthdays or special days or I call just to chat. In the past few weeks, I've called my brother Dan, Aunt Trudy (twice), Aunt Martha Sue, Aunt Rosina, talked with Suzie from BC (my new online CI friend), my father on Father's Day, and most recently my cousin Marlene, on her birthday. These are people that I have rarely or never talked with on the phone in my entire life! I prefer to do the calling because I have my T-Link hooked up to my CI and HA so I can hear with both ears. I will answer the phone and if I have trouble, I'll tell the caller to let me call back after I get my T-Link on. I still talk to Steve and the kids and my sister several times a week.

Talking to Suzie in BC: It's great to make new friends online and to be able to talk on the phone, too! Suzie and I have never met in person but we email and chat on the computer. We leave our computer screens up and type what we cannot understand and that is good practice for us. She is making good progress with her CI (see her blog on the right). I hope we can visit on the phone again soon.

I also have a special adapter at work from Radio Shack that I can plug my T-Link in to and am taking phone calls from my coworkers within the credit union. I'm not quite ready to take calls from the "outside" yet. I am pleasantly surprised at the ease of my conversations, though I still struggle at times. I still tend to get nervous, hot, and sweaty if a phone call gets a little difficult. That happened about three weeks ago and Suzie in BC reminded me recently to write about it. Since I am responsible for receiving and sending wires through the Federal Reserve at work, I have several security steps that I have to go through to be connected to the Federal Reserve. Well, three weeks ago I forgot my password to get on the site (I have to change it frequently) and got locked out of the system. In order to get BACK in the system, I have to call them on the phone myself and tell them that I am locked out and unable to enter my password. I then have to hang up and they will call my supervisor to verify that I actually made the call. My supervisor then hangs up and they call me back, giving me special instructions to get back in the website. I am not allowed to have help with this for security reasons and cannot be on speakerphone or anything of that sort where someone else can hear the conversation. In the past, we've been able to have special exceptions made in order for someone else to speak on my behalf. This time when I took the call I wanted to try it myself. I could understand the person on the other line. I did have to explain that I was hearing impaired and that I needed her to speak slowly and clearly. She gave me my new password, one character, letter, and number at a time. It took awhile but I got it and repeated it back to her. She was so patient and understanding and I appreciated that. Right after I hung up the phone, my phone rang again. I thought she was calling me back but it was a man on the other line saying something about "property." I immediately got hot and flustered and still could not understand what he wanted. I asked him if he was calling about the property that we recently purchased and he said no. I also explained to him that I was hearing impaired and would get someone to help me with the phone. My coworker, Cindy, came over to my desk and took the call for me. It was the State of Tennessee calling me and the guy was trying to tell me that the CD that I sent them earlier for "Unclaimed Property" was blank and that they needed me to email them the information from my computer. (I'm also responsible for accounts that are unclaimed after five years and have to report those to the state). By the time I got done with those two phone calls, I was breaking out in a sweat and was ready to take my clothes off! I'm normally cold at work because the accounting department is so cold with the air conditioning. Not this time!

I had another phone call last week from a coworker and had to get help again. She was asking if part-time employees got paid time off for bereavement pay and I just could not get the word "bereavement." Once I know who is calling and what the subject matter is, I do okay.

I'm pleasantly surprised that I can hear on the phone. I can remember being able to talk on the phone in my 20's and have had to depend on others, TTY/TDD's, relay services, pagers, text messaging and the Internet since then when I couldn't do it anymore. Each time I have a good phone call, it just makes me want to reach out and call someone else! It is so wonderful to have the phone back in my life again. I use more personal minutes on my cell phone than Steve does! I'm discovering that different people have different patterns when they talk. For example, my Dad says, "well anyhow" or "anyway" between sentences and that gives me enough of a break to process what he has just said! I'm still "phone illiterate" and have had to ask for help on how to make and transfer calls at work. Also, I need to learn "phone etiquette" and wait for my turn to talk - I feel like I interrupt the other person when I think they are done. I do best when others talk slowly and clearly. Loud is not always better. Some people are easier than others.

Another plus is that we changed phone carriers at home. We combined our phone service with our cable company and pay one price for cable TV, highspeed Internet, and phone service. We now have voice over IP instead of using the phone through the phone lines. For once the sound quality is clearer and better. Steve says it is because the phone line is digital now instead of analog. We also have unlimited long distance, which I'm thrilled about because I can call ANYONE without having to worry about going over our minutes!

Yesterday we spent the day at the lake with some friends. My cell phone got wet when a wave washed over the boat into my bag. It quit working and started making a funny beeping sound so we turned it off. Even after taking it apart and drying it with a hair dryer it still wouldn't work. I was afraid that I was going to have to buy a new cellphone and figured I didn't have anything to lose by putting it in my special Dry & Store for my CI to see if I could dry it out. If the Dry & Store is good enough for a CI, it can't hurt a cell phone. Low and behold, it was working fine this morning when I turned it on! Later, someone told me that it is not a good idea to dry a cell phone with a hair dryer because you can fry the parts. Also, I was lucky that it was fresh water that got in my phone. If I had gotten salt water in my phone, I would have had to rinse it with fresh water before drying it out because the salt can corrode the parts. So, I learned something new today. I'll have to let the Dry & Store company know what other uses it is good for!

If you have a birthday or special day coming up, you might get a phone call from me!

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