Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Medical Alert Tattoo

I've been thinking about this for quite some time and thought I would put this out there for comments, ideas, and suggestions. . . .

Because I have bilateral cochlear implants, I wear a medical alert bracelet that has my name on it, that states that I have a cochlear implant, and that I cannot have an MRI for any reason. What if my bracelet falls off in an accident? Or my processors? What if I cannot speak for myself and no one else is able to speak for me? No one would know unless they knew me or found my identification and medical information in my purse.

Should I get a medical alert tattoo somewhere on my body so that it is permanent and always there in case of emergency? If I got one I wouldn't want it to be too large. . . maybe the size of a quarter or my current bracelet. Is there even such a thing? If so, where is the first place someone would look for medical identification? Or what part of the body is noticeable while preparing a patient for an MRI or medical procedure? Has anyone ever gotten a medical alert tattoo? Would you do it for your child or family member for any medical condition? If you needed a medical alert tattoo, where would you put it? I'd love to know.

Or, if you are a nurse, doctor, paramedic, or EMT, where would you look?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

It's SNOWING. . . .

. . .in West Virginia! Apparently it is snowing back home in Tennessee, too. I've been traveling in Morgantown, WV with my husband on business this week. We rented a car and drove up here Sunday evening. We stopped in Wytheville, VA for dinner and met up with our son, Brad, and his sweet girlfriend, Caitlyn. They both go to Virginia Tech and we were glad to see them. West Virginia is a beautiful state and the drive here was very pleasant. It was 15 degrees on Monday morning we woke up and we were COLD! I've worn my cuddle duds (long underwear) every day this week just to stay warm. (I also have a huggy hubby to keep me warm when he isn't busy working!) We've had three days of snow and flurries and have enjoyed every bit of it since we don't see that much snow down South.

We stayed at the Hotel Morgan, a beautiful historic hotel in Downtown Morgantown that has been recently renovated. The downtown area has unique shops, restaurants, & businesses. The first evening we were here we ate dinner at Maxwell's, which is a local favorite. Steve and I had a very nice Valentine dinner last night at the restaurant on the top floor where we could see the whole city of Morgantown & West Virginia University. Yesterday a friend took me to an old glass factory that has been turned into a mall filled with antiques, shops, and restaurant. Cute!

Our room was very nice with a king sized bed, chair & ottoman, desk, TV, and all. What is interesting is that we had a handicapped room, which is set up for someone with a wheelchair. The doorways were wider than normal. The bathroom was very spacious and had all the handrails and safety items that a physically handicapped person would need. The sink was not in the bathroom but was in the main area so that a wheelchair could fit under it. There were two peepholes on the door, one for a regular person and one for the handicapped. But, there was one small problem. . . the TV had NO close captioning! There was no menu or CC option anywhere on the TV. It must have been an older TV that wasn't up to date with the close captioning requirement. This "missed detail" was an example of how the normal hearing population try to accommodate the disabled but forget about those who are hearing impaired. I also forgot to mention that the room is on the THIRD floor. Wouldn't a physically disabled person need a room on the first floor? If there was a fire or emergency and the elevators weren't working, how would a physically disabled person get out? I'd be curious to know if the hotel has a plan to "Go to Room 306 in case of emergency."

Anyway, I stopped at the front desk and explained to them that I was hearing impaired. I asked if there was some way they could switch out our TV with another one in the hotel that had close captioning on it. There was no response for a while so I changed into my exercise clothes and went down to the lower level to the fitness room. There was a TV in there that I could watch while I rode on the bike AND IT HAD CLOSE CAPTIONING!!!! After I got done exercising, I stopped at the front desk again and asked about the TV, just in case I missed them while I was downstairs. They said they couldn't find one and offered to move us to a different room. We were already settled with our bags and all and didn't want to change but I did tell the clerk that the TV in the fitness room had close captioning. The clerk told me that I was welcome to take the TV from the basement to my room if I wanted to. I thanked him but said that I couldn't do it (actually I cannot lift anything more than 20 pounds for health reasons!). Later, I heard a knock on the door and it was the guy from the front desk bringing me the TV from the fitness room! He switched it out in a matter of minutes with no problems. Even the remote control that was in the room worked with it, but I still had to push the menu buttons on the TV to access the CC. I really appreciated the extra service and told the guy that he deserved some points for going the "extra mile" for me (but he lost some when he told me to move the TV myself)!

Yes, I can hear with my implants but there are times when we appreciate the close captioning feature while watching TV. If Steve is talking on the phone, I can mute the TV and still understand what is going on. Or when I have curlers in my hair in the mornings because I cannot wear my processors. I like to watch the morning news and weather while getting dressed. We're so used to having the close captioning when the TV is on that we miss it when it isn't there. Also, the voice and sound quality from TV is not always that great and is hard to understand sometimes without a little help.

We've had a busy week working with one of our clients but I enjoy traveling with Steve. And we are thrilled that we get to spend Valentine's Day TOGETHER! That doesn't always happen since he is on the road a lot. Happy Valentine's Day to all of you who read this!

Later. . .As we were driving home, I looked at our receipt for the hotel. Steve had checked a box for "hearing impaired" when he made the reservation. I asked him about it and he said "Yea, the fire alarm on the ceiling was set up to have a flashing light in case of fire." So, I guess it was "a hearing impaired room" after all.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Nashville Pictures

Downtown NashvilleI'm home again but I'm unpacking and repacking my suitcase for another trip. . . here are some pictures from the weekend. Enjoy!

Aunt Nelda and LaurieJennifer and LaurieFriends Forever!Jennifer, Laurie, & Susan (A New Friend!)

Friday, February 08, 2008

New Processor, New Places, New Sounds

I have time for a quick post this morning. I'm currently in Nashville for my Governor's Council meeting and am staying at the Doubletree Hotel downtown. When I'm in a new place I usually hear new and different sounds. And I'm alone so it takes me awhile to figure them out.

Last night when I returned to my room after a nice dinner downstairs, I heard a faint bell ringing. I thought maybe I had a message on my room phone but the light wasn’t blinking. There wasn’t anything in the room that would make that sound. Then, I opened the window and saw a church below me! (I’m on the 8th floor). It looks like an old church in the midst of tall buildings. The bells were ringing from the church steeple and it was a great sound! I heard them again this morning at 6 a.m. when I put my processors on. Love it. This is the beginning of Lent and the sound of the church bells was a reminder to me that God is with me everywhere I go. I can also hear people walking and talking in the hallway outside my door (which is bolted and locked and I'm tempted to put a chair in front of it for extra security!). I can also hear the sounds of the streets below me - construction machinery backing up, horns honking, car doors slamming, etc. It's a good thing I don't hear anything at night when I take my processors off because I would not be able to sleep with all that noise! I have enough trouble sleeping in new places anyway, especially when I have to wake myself up in order to be somewhere at a certain time. My trusty light timer is with me attached to a light to wake me up but I still get up at dark-thirty before it comes on.

I had a mapping session yesterday with Julie at the University of Tennessee in the Audiology department. She had ordered a replacement processor for me because I was going through my batteries on a daily basis. My friend, Susan, who works in my doctor's office, called me yesterday morning and said that their office had my processor. I was confused because I don't use his audiologist anymore. Apparently, he is still my "default" location for Cochlear and they sent it there instead of to UT. Luckily his downtown office is close to Julie's office so I left a little earlier and picked it up. Julie made some mapping changes and there was a signicant change on my "new side" in my T & C levels. I have the replacement processor and mine and will compare them to see if there is a difference in the quality of sound and the battery usage. I listened to a book on tape as I drove to Nashville and was able to understand what was being said. I still "miss" words but have no trouble "filling in the blanks" because I've had to do that for most of my life anyway when lipreading!

I have to give several reports today at the Council meeting and will spend the rest of the day with my aunt Nelda. Hopefully, I'll get to see some of my cousins, too, who also live here. And, tomorrow I get to see JENNIFER!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Bilateral Cochlear Implant Anniversary

A year ago today I went under the knife again to have my second cochlear implant surgery. What a year it has been! I truly love hearing in surround sound and am forever thankful and grateful for the opportunity to hear this well in my lifetime!

Today (Wednesday) was an interesting day. I participated in a research study for a graduate student at the University of Tennessee (Knoxville) in the Audiology department. I had to answer some general questions about my hearing history and my implants. Then she put me in a chair inside a sound booth. And attached five electrodes/sensors to my head and earlobes. I had to be very still and watch the movie "Finding Nemo" with close captioning and NO SOUND. The sound that I did hear in the booth was the word "she" repeated over and over THE WHOLE TIME! Imagine hearing "she-she-she-she-she-she-she" constantly while trying to watch TV . . . at varing levels of sound. When we started the test, she kept stopping and asking me if I was comfortable. I told her I was fine but she wasn't satisfied with her readings or whatever on her computer. She kept turning down the "she-she-she" volume and finally I told her that if I was at home trying to work on something and the TV was too loud, I would ask for the volume to be turned down. So, she turned it down a little more. It went up and down several times during the test. When the volume got louder, I could feel my heart racing faster. We took several breaks during the test so I could move around a bit, drink some water, etc. I was not allowed to move at all or cross my legs during the test. At one point my neck, shoulders, arms, and fingers got numb! The test lasted for about an hour (and I didn't get to finish the movie!) The student was very glad for my participation and I was happy to help. I got paid for doing it but I told her she could keep the money. She is looking for more participants in the Knoxville, TN area so leave a comment if you want to help her with her research project.

On Monday, I went to the same department for a mapping session for my cochlear implants. Last week I started having to replace my batteries EVERY day instead of every 2.5 days like I normally do. I sent in an order for batteries right away because I was running low FAST! I also sent an email to my representative at Cochlear about this wondering if I got a bad batch of batteries. She said it was probably my map or processor and advised me to see my audiologist. Luckily I already had my appointment with Julie set up weeks in advance. Julie did not want to map my processors because she was concerned that I had a defective one. It is still under warranty and she contacted Cochlear Corporation to order me a new one. In the meantime, I'm using a loaner processor. I could tell a difference in the sound right away when I started wearing it. It was as if someone turned the light on and the sound became clearer and crisper. BUT I'm still changing batteries once a day. Something still isn't right. Julie will let me know when the extra processor comes in and I'll get mapped before our insurance runs out next month. (Still working on that issue and it has consumed quite a bit of my time!)

Someone asked me if I was hearing new sounds and I had a hard time answering that. What I hear sounds so normal and complete that I don't really pay attention. But, I do notice the sound of the fan when the heat kicks on, the clicking of the ceiling fan in my office, the rising and ebbing sound of the rain on the roof, the pitter patter of the dogs' feet when I call them, etc. I also love the sounds of silence, too, early in the mornings - clocks ticking, birds chirping, the coffee maker making my coffee, certain people in this house (I'm not naming any names!) slurping their drinks, the dogs breathing or snoring under my desk, computer keys clicking, the increasing sound of the cars going by as they go to work, school, etc. I'm doing better on the phone but still have a phobia about answering it. I can hear and understand more and more phrases on the TV & radio. Life is good. I have no complaints!

Now, excuse me while I go finish "Finding Nemo" . . .

(Note: I've added a link on the side bar for my favorite posts that were buried in the archives. Enjoy!)

Friday, February 01, 2008

NAD Salutes PepsiCo for its Deaf Super Bowl Ad in ASL

A News Release from the National Association of the Deaf
Release Date: February 1, 2008
NAD Salutes PepsiCo for its Super Bowl Ad in ASL

Silver Spring, MD -- Much excitement among deaf people worldwide has been generated by the forthcoming PepsiCo commercial, "Bob's House," to be aired during the pre-game portion of Super Bowl Sunday. The 60-second ad, based on a long-standing joke in the American deaf community, is presented in American Sign Language (ASL) without sound --to catch the attention of millions of viewers in an otherwise boisterous pre-game environment. The ad also displays captions so the dialogue can be understood by viewers who do not sign.

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) applauds PepsiCo's employee network, EnAble, for its efforts in "creating an inclusive environment for people of different abilities." This ad, created by and featuring PepsiCo employees, showcases people who know and use American Sign Language. The NAD salutes PepsiCo for giving this "performance with a purpose" the biggest stage possible -- Super Bowl Sunday.

Numerous news outlets have carried stories about the forthcoming PepsiCo ad, in addition to preliminary ad and behind-the-scenes footage featured on the company website, also picked up on by individual blogsites within the deaf community. With response to the ad being overwhelmingly positive, the NAD anticipates an outpouring of affirmative feedback once the ad is broadcast.

"Commercials that are broadcast on Super Bowl Sunday are among the most widely viewed spots of the year," notes NAD President Bobbie Beth Scoggins. "We are enthusiastic about this ad, and know that it will raise the bar with regard to enhanced public awareness about the American deaf community, its rich culture, and American Sign Language."

She adds, "I encourage everyone who sees the ad to contact PepsiCo HERE and thank them for this clever and entertaining commercial. This is one way to show our appreciation for the tremendous step taken by PepsiCo and EnAble to increase awareness about inclusion and diversity by showcasing its ad entirely in American Sign Language." Messages of appreciation may be sent to PepsiCo by e-mail at the link above or by mail to 700 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase, NY 10577.

My Note: Or you could sent an email to PepsiCo telling them THANK YOU for showing a captioned, deaf commercial using sign language alone and no spoken word during Sunday's pre-game Superbowl show. Below is the contact information. It would be GREAT if we flooded PepsiCo's email box with thank you notes. It may be the start of many great commercials for the future.

Stephanie WhiteConsumer Relations Representative

About the NAD

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) was established in 1880 by
deaf leaders on the belief in the right of the American deaf community
to use sign language, to congregate on issues important to them, and to
have its interests represented at the national level. These beliefs
remain true to this day, with American Sign Language as a core value. As a
nonprofit federation, the mission of the NAD is to promote, protect,
and preserve the civil, human, and linguistic rights of deaf Americans. The advocacy scope of the NAD is broad, covering the breadth of a lifetime and impacting future generations in the areas of early intervention, education, employment, health care, technology, telecommunications, youth leadership, and more. For more information, please visit http://www.nad.org/.

Contact: Anita B. Farb Director, Communications and Operations
National Association of the Deaf
Email: www.nad.org/contactus