Friday, May 25, 2012

Activation Success

I actually have been dreading writing about my activation because I don't want to sound like a downer, although I know I needed to get updated. So I'm going to say a few things first then I'll go on in detail.
  1. DON'T and I seriously mean DON'T get your hopes up for activation to come out hearing speech. Regardless of how many success stories you read, its just simply not possible for EVERYONE to have the same success. Just remember if you hear any sound at all, it means the implant is working and that it's going to take time for your brain to process what it is hearing.
Ok so it was just ONE thing I wanted to say. Now don't take that wrong that I'm depressed about my activation because I'm THRILLED that I even picked up any sound in my implanted ear that has not had any stimulation for approximately 9-10 years with speech. Prior to surgery, I had minimal residual hearing in that ear, but was mainly just environmental sounds and they typically had to be loud in order for me to hear them. After surgery, that completely killed ANY residual hearing I previously had.

So why do I seem not so excited after a SUCCESSFUL activation? Because of so much researching I did, reading others success stories, etc. I really *REALLY* thought that because I had previously heard speech in this ear at one point in time, that I would actually been able to hear speech at activation -- even if it was mumbled, chipmunky, Mickey/Minnie Mouse, Darth Vader, or whatever other sound. Just so long that I heard actual spoken language. From all the reading I had done, I just felt that I had a pretty good chance of that happening. It didn't happen, so yes, I was a little bit disappointed in that. It does NOT mean I'm going to stop trying and it also does not mean that I'm not pleased thus far with my results... I did hear SOMETHING! Perhaps had I attempted to do cochlear implant shortly after my right ear went kaput, I may have been more successful at activation. What I am hearing is some environmental type sounds. They are not clear at all yet. But more I am dealing with a constant high pitched shrill sound as well. Turning the volume down on my processor helps some and if I have my hearing aid on in my other ear it tends to drown the shrill sound to the background some. I turn my hearing aid off in the other ear as often as I can, but there are times I NEED my hearing aid on in my other ear to be part of the 'hearing world'. This high pitched shrill sound is annoying to say the least, almost like when you go up to a microphone and get too close how it squeals back at you -- well imagine having to hear that on an almost constant basis 'EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE'. However, after talking to a few people and the audiologist, they are confident that this is all normal and its my 'punishment' that my brain/auditory nerve is putting on me. My brain needs more time to adjust to decipher what it is hearing. Afterall, its only been a couple days since I was activated. The audiologist did schedule an appointment for me next week Tuesday if over the holiday weekend here the shrill sound is still there, to come in and get an adjustment.

I am NOT a very patient person by any means, so I won't lie, I am frustrated and feel like I just wanna pull the processor off! Not because I can't hear speech but mostly because of this shrill sound. If I was hearing the little bit more of environmental sounds better over this shrill sound, I'd feel better. I know this is a process, I know it takes time and I know I need to have patience. Need to keep chanting that in my head 'patience, patience, P-A-T-I-E-N-C-E, whats that spell?? PATIENCE!'

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Recovery Update

I haven't updated since surgery because life had gotten busy. Here in Michigan, the weather is finally starting to warm up and be beautiful! I end up spending a lot of time outdoors with my kids, so getting on the computer gets put on hold.

Recovery for me went pretty good. The first few days I was quite sleepy and slept a lot. The pressure bandage on my head was allowed to come off the Saturday following surgery, trying to remove that was difficult! Husband and I finally got it off and I was allowed to take a shower, just had to be sure not to get any water in my implanted ear as well as no direct spraying on my incision. (TIP: Using a cotton ball dipped in vaseline and putting in your ear is a good barrier for keeping water out of your ear.) I felt somewhat human after having a shower. Trying to figure out what to do with the mess of my hair was another story! My surgeon shaved off WAY more hair than I had expected him too. I seriously think they need to require surgeons to go to barber school! LOL

I couldn't sleep in my own bed, so I ended up sleeping in my recliner for about a week after surgery. I missed my bed so much! I tried to sleep in my own bed before my stitches removal appointment the following week, but trying to do so hurt, was way too much pressure on my head and made me feel really sick. It also seemed to bring on a really loud roaring noise. I tried again after I had my stitches removed and was successful! The stitches gave me a feeling of 'tightness'.

The top portion of my ear on the outer side is numb and anything hitting or touching it is very bothersome. Everyone that has had the surgery and had the same issue, has said it went away after some time. So I hope that it does!

Other that what was mentioned above and on my previous post (recovery immediately after surgery at the hospital was the worst for me)... I never had any 'major' pain. I kept up on pain meds and took all my antibiotic prescribed, I weaned myself of most pain meds by day 5. I had some mild discomfort and I would just take a regular Tylenol to help. Oh and where my hair was shaved, talk about itchy city as it tries to grow back in! And since the weather is getting nicer here and warm outside, it itches more!!

Up next, activation... that happens this week on Wednesday the 23rd! This will be interesting to find out what I do pick up with the processor. I'll update later this week, if I find the time to get on the computer after activation.