April 3rd, 2009. The big day.
I managed to survive the two and a half weeks between surgery and activation. I was super excited to get my new side turned on, not just because I wanted to hear better, but because I was told it would help with this annoying chirping I was hearing. At that point I was willing to try anything, so that came as a relief!
The day my implant was to be turned on was also the day of a big orchestra competition. The biggest competition our class had ever played in, to be exact, so I was determined not to miss it. That's another reason I was excited to get my left side turned on; the violin sits on the left side of your head so it was sounding quieter than what I was used to. Anyway, I went with my class on the bus to the competition, and as soon as it was over my mom picked me up and we drove off to the audiologist! I ran into the hospital bathroom and changed out of my orchestra clothes, then went and sat in the waiting room, anxiously bouncing in my seat while simultaneously repeating the mantra, "high hopes, low expectations" in my head. Yeah right!
The audiologist came out grinning. "Are you ready?" Like she had to ask!
I walked into her office, me and my lonesome self. My parents never come into the room for my mapping sessions, and this time was no exception. I sat down on the chair and we quickly hooked up the processor to the computer and the mapping process began. Only this time it was much more difficult than usual because I was distracted by the noise INSIDE OF MY HEAD. Once we finally went through all of the "fat" electrodes (the only ones you map) the time came. She turned it on. I knew it wasn't going to be an earth-shattering moment, since it wasn't like I'd never heard sound before. At both of my activations we left the cameras at home. It just puts too much pressure for it to be dramatic! I'm not an extremely emotional person, so there really wasn't much to see.
"Can you tell it's on?" asked the audiologist
"Nooo?" I said nervously.
That was the moment of my activation, intimately shared by me, my audiologist, and the observing student. Touching, right?
She turned it up.
"How about now?" she started talking about the weather. "What does it sound like?"
I could tell I was hearing something, but it was more "feeling it" than hearing. That's normal, my audiologist told me.
"Whenever you feel ready, take off your old side and listen to it with just the new side. Take as long as you need." she continued to talk.
I took a deep breath, and flicked off my right coil.
Wind chimes. It sounded like wind chimes.
To be continued.
Up next: Progress and a Problem