Monday, May 28, 2007

In Memory. . .

Steve's father, James L. Pullins, a Korean War veteran, passed away two years ago on Memorial Day. He was a kind and gentle man and we miss him. He died just before I got my first cochlear implant. But, he knew I was waiting to get insurance approval for it. How I would love to hear his "storyteller's" voice one more time with my new ears. . .Today we are remembering him and all those who have gone before us, serving our country. We are thankful for all of the Armed Forces that make the United States of America free. Enjoy the following video and God Bless America. We will not forget.

The Star Spangled Banner by Thom Ferrell

Friday, May 25, 2007

Happy Birthday Chris!

Today is Chris' birthday. . .I will post his pictures soon when I get a chance! He is living here at home with us until he leaves for school in Phoenix, Arizona in the fall. We are so proud of the man he has become! Happy 24th Birthday, Chris!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Five Week Old Puppies

I took these pictures tonight. I was trying to get all eight puppies before they climbed out but two were already out when I snapped the picture! I spent some time on the front porch tonight listening to them play around my feet. They make little grunting noises when they are picked up. I sat outside with them for quite a while and enjoyed it while listening to the wind in the trees and the light rain.

(Benne - your puppy is the third one from the right in the second picture.)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

No Batteries

Well, the inevitable happened tonight. My rechargeable battery in my right (new ear) CI died on the way to Bible Study tonight. (I normally change my rechargeable battery after 10-12 hours because they don't last all day but I forgot.) I thought, "No problem, I have batteries in my purse." Well, I didn't. (They were on my desk at home when I changed my batteries yesterday on the other CI and were under a pile of papers.) So, I had to sit in Bible Study tonight listening with just one ear and it was a struggle. I've gotten so used to hearing well with BOTH ears that it is difficult to go back and hear with just one CI. About halfway through the lesson, I decided to switch ears to see if I could hear better (I was listening through my older and left side). I actually heard better with ONE EAR on my NEWEST side. That was the ear I favored from the beginning before both of my surgeries and it is true now with both CI's. If I had to do it over again and only had one ear to choose from, I would do the ear that is favored the most. That was one of my questions when I first started my CI journey in 2005 and I just answered it tonight. I didn't want to do my *favored* ear in the beginning because I heard best with it (even though the audiogram said it was my bad ear) and wanted to save it just in case the surgery wasn't successful. Two ears is definitely better than one but if I had to choose only one ear, the favored ear wins, hands down.

I continue to make good progress hearing bilaterally. Tonight was one of those nights where I was glad I was able to hear with at least one ear. Otherwise, I would have plunged into total silence when my battery died.

Note: If most people are right handed, they are most likely *right-eared*. The same holds true for left handers. Test yourself and see which ear you put the phone up to when you answer it. :) (I'm right handed but deal & play cards with my left hand).

Friday, May 18, 2007

Four Week Old German Shepherd Puppy Pictures

Four Week Old Puppies
Milk Bath! This was their first feeding of formula from a saucer. They got milk everywhere!

This one is Red (we have them color coded) and he is the runt. And my favorite.

This one is White and he is black and tan. Isn't he pretty?

We are having so much fun with the puppies. We put up a kennel outside in the front yard last week because they were outgrowing the box they were born in. They were all in the kitchen last night and were SOOOO NOISY! I never heard such a racket from eight little puppies! Poor Riga, she is like the "little old lady in the shoe who had so many kids she didn't know what to do!" She has started weaning them so we've been supplementing them with formula and puppy food. All of them weigh over 5 lbs each now except the little one who only weighs 3.8 pounds. I'm going to have a hard time seeing them leave when it is time for them to go to new homes.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Marissa Graduates!

Graduation Family Picture
Marissa and Wesley - Best Friends Forever!

Marissa with Brad and Chris

Last weekend was a busy one with out of town guests for Marissa's graduation. Her Baccalaureate was on Sunday night and the graduation was on Monday night. Here are some pictures until I get a chance to write!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Arthritis Walk

Today was a rainy day and perfect for staying inside but instead I walked for the Arthritis Walk at Maryville College this morning. My processors are definitely going in the "dryer" tonight! I walked with some of my coworkers from work. My group (Alcoa Tenn Federal Credit Union) was the top fundraiser in our area for the walk and came in first place for the fourth year in a row! We usually walk around the loop three times but took a shortcut on the second round because the rain was pouring down so hard. The sound of the raindrops hitting my umbrella was pleasant and reminded me of the times I used to walk barefoot in the rain with my sister, Kathy, when we were younger.

We enjoyed our Virginia Tech visitors last weekend but they came and left too quickly. I spent the weekend cooking for them. We had pork chops on the grill, scalloped potatoes, homemade oatmeal rolls, hamburgers with the fixings, Brad's favorite cookies (Snickerdoodles), & Kathy's signature baked beans, just to name a few items. College boys love to eat! They were relaxed and glad to have a place to get away for a little while. The boys hung around and watched TV, went bowling with Marissa and Chris, and slept. Brad and his friends even came to church with me on Sunday, which was nice because they were able to thank everyone for their *Party in a Box.* The box had almost 80 pounds of food in it for them! Brad and the boys didn't say much about what happened but did say that the campus was "different" now and will never be the same. Many of the students took their grades they had at the time of the shooting and have already left for the semester, making the Virginia Tech campus seem like a ghost town. Brad says there are police everywhere. Most of his friends are done with their classes but are hanging around until the semester is over because they won't see each other this summer.

Our puppies are growing and getting more vocal all the time. It won't be long before they start climbing out of the box! Their eyes are open and they are trying to walk on all fours. I had a *CI moment* this past week with Riga. One of the things that my implants have allowed me to do is hear the dogs at the door when they want to come inside. When I put one of my processors on the other morning after my shower, I heard Riga barking. She wasn't in the hallway waiting for me when I opened the bedroom door. She never barks unless she needs to and it sounded like her "let me in now!" bark. My first thought was "Oh no! Someone left her outside all night long and forgot about her!" I ran to the laundry room to check on the puppies and there was no Riga. Opened all the doors going outside and still no Riga. I heard her bark again and this time I realized that she was in the basement. She had gone into Jason's room (probably to sleep on his bed for a little while) and apparently the door closed shut behind her, leaving her trapped inside! Jason's room is right below our bedroom, which explains why I heard her the first time. Those puppies had a feeding frenzy as soon as their mommy stepped in the box to check on them!

Last night Steve and I were talking about the difference between my CI's and my hearing aids. I don't ever have to wear another ear mold again and do not have to worry about my ears "whistling" like they did with the hearing aids. My ears don't hurt anymore because of the ear molds and I don't make *noise* at unwanted times with feedback from my ears. Those two things alone are HUGE. Also, having two CI's isn't any harder than keeping up with two hearing aids. I just have to change the batteries more often. We do not have a single hearing aid left in the house since I gave them all away. Steve said the next hearing aid that comes in the house will probably be his! And I'll have to help him hear! I told him that maybe by the time he needs a hearing aid, there might be a *mini-cochlear implant* available for him. Technology is amazing and who knows what the future will hold. . .