Sunday, November 22, 2009


I love my CIs- they're great, and most of the time I forget I'm deaf. And then other times..

My mom wanted me to do some holiday shopping for a specific person. We went to a very upscale store in the mall, and spent a pretty penny on a cute purse and wallet. The sales lady handed me the bag, and I walked out the door. I began walking towards another store when I noticed my mom wasn't next to me. I stopped to look for her, when I suddenly heard my name being shouted from the store I had just left.

I walked back in the door, only to hear the alarms blaring. Apparently, the lady had forgotten to scan one of the items.

Let's pretend that didn't happen!

Countdowns and Ramblings

These are some things that I'm looking forward to for the next month or so...

Thanksgiving Break- 3 days
We're driving up to New Orleans to visit family over Thanksgiving. I'm ready for a much-need break! I'm thankful for a lot too, but that's another post. No, we won't be staying in the same hotel as last time!

Exams- 3 Weeks
err... no comment on this one. Hope I can catch at least a few hours of sleep a night! I am excited by the fact that we only have to go to school for half a day for all of exam week.

Winter Break- 4 weeks
I cannot believe that in a month I will have made it halfway through my first year of high school. (never mind the fact that the second semester is a lot longer..) I really want to do an update on what's going on at school, but so far nothing has really happened. There's been some "evaluations" (it would be a joke to actually call it that) to try to get some technology (any sort of real-time captioning for just a few of my classes) which ended with the verdict that I'm doing just fine. Then there was a meeting, and the verdict somehow changed to "maybe, but you'd have to change schools." This is the LAST thing I want to do, so for now we're planning on trying out something that I'm pretty sure has never been done in the classroom before. Look for an update once it's actually been tried out... whenever that may be.

Visit up North- 4 1/2 weeks
I'm super-excited to say that I'll be flying to IL to visit a friend who I haven't seen in nearly a year and a half. We first met at a convention and have continued to stay in touch starting the second I got to the airport! I'm pretty sure a day doesn't go by that we don't talk to each other. I've mentioned her once or twice, and she sometimes comments on here under "She Loves to Act." We have a lot in common and finally convinced our parents to let us visit each other. I get impatient every time I think about it! I'm also excited to see REAL snow (hopefully!) and see how people celebrate Christmas (I'm pretty sure this will be the first Christmas I don't spend in a movie theater and eat in a Chinese restaurant... If you're Jewish  you know what I'm talking about ;)) I still need to find a coat...

Nucleus System 5- Releases for Freedom recipients in a week and a 1/2
Freedom users and parents of users- will you be upgrading? If so, when? I more than likely will, but just want some other people's input on why they are or aren't planning to upgrade. There is no software (hearing)difference, so there's pretty much no chance of getting insurance coverage. There's a good chance that there will be software upgrades (for the N5) in two or so years, so insurance coverage may eventually be available, but who knows. I really like the fact that it's so much lighter, and I actually prefer the remote- if I'm having trouble changing to FM mode or something with my processor, I'd actually be able to see what I was doing! My second ear was implanted after March 2009, so we'll be getting an extra $1,000 back for that side with the Freedom trade-in if/when I choose to upgrade.


Friday, November 13, 2009

What my mom has done for me (This is for the parents...)

I received the following very sweet comment on my blog on Thursday.

"I've been reading your blog for a couple of months now. I must say that you are both a very good and a very entertaining writer. So if that medical career doesn't work out for you(which I'm sure it will), I think writing might be a good, albeit not very well paying, backup.

Anyway, I just want to thank you for your blog. It has really helped me cope during the past couple of months. While I am a long way from 15 (41 to be exact), I read your blog because one of my daughters (she's five) was just diagnosed with a mild unilateral hearing loss. Currently, she still has tons of usable hearing - her loss is at 35 db on the 2000 and 4000 Hz frequencies in her right ear, with the two lower speech frequencies still testing at 10 db. Her left ear tested at 10 db across all speech frequencies. So I feel fortunate that she still has so much hearing, and I hope and pray that her hearing remains stable.

But as you know, that's pretty hard to predict even with all of the anxiety-inducing testing that accompanies a SNHL diagnosis. So your blog has shown me that no matter what happens - even if she loses most of her hearing and will require CIs, she will still be able to succeed at school, have lots of friends, and have great aspirations like becoming a doctor! So thank you for that - it means a lot to a scared mom. I would also appreciate any advice you can give me on how your mom has helped you over the years cope with your hearing loss aside from just being a great mom and advocate for you. I'm new to this, and I appreciate any advice I can get.

I'm going to keep reading your blog - I learn a lot about hearing loss issues, and it's just wonderful to get a peak into the psyche of a 15-year-old girl who loves her life and looks forward to a great future while dealing with hearing loss, CIs, and the trials of being a teenager in general.

All the best.

First of all, thanks Rebecca!
It's these kind of comments that I really appreciate, and they make me want to keep writing. So, Rebecca, (and all you other parents) this is what my parents have done for me that  believed has helped me immensely.
Teach by example
 A huge part of having a hearing loss is learning to be an advocate for yourself. When I was younger (toddler age to early elementary) I was painfully shy. I never felt comfortable explaining my hearing loss or my needs to people. My mom, on the other hand, was always fiercely determined to make sure I was given equal access to everything we did in school and elsewhere. She would always explain my needs and equipment to all of my teachers, from the very day I started wearing hearing aids. While I wouldn't say a word, my mom would always make sure I was there when she had this conversation. She'd tell me that she wouldn't always be there to advocate for me, and that if I didn't make my need important, no one else would either. I listened closely to what she would say and how she would explain things, and now, when I am explaining my hearing loss to people I use a very similar dialogue that I'd heard my mom give my teachers year after year.
Don't lower your expectations or place restrictions
My parents have always told me that as long as I did my best, they would be happy with me. However, they did not have any lower expectations for me than my older (hearing) sister, and never really let me use my hearing loss as a crutch or excuse to not do well on something. (Unless, of course, it was due to me not hearing the information, which would bring me back to #1.)  They also never told me I couldn't do anything because I couldn't hear. For example, when I started middle school, we had to choose whether to do band, choir, or orchestra. I changed my mind three times (I can't imagine how different things would be if I had chosen choir!), but my hearing loss played a minimal factor in this decision. I was never once told by my mom, "Maybe you shouldn't take the violin-what if you can't hear it?" The same was true when I had to decide when to take a foreign language (starting in 7th grade or 9th grade) and what language to take. I chose to take French, purely because I liked the way it sounded. I was never told it might be better if I waited two years so I could take ASL instead.
Open the lines of communication
One thing my mom always told me was not to be afraid to tell her anything. Whether it be a broken FM, a teacher who wasn't quite doing what she was supposed to, or a kid who just didn't "get it", I knew I could talk to my mom about it. Not only that, I knew she would help the situation. One important, I must say, is that if your child comes to you and says that her FM has been broken for the past two weeks, don't yell at her for waiting so long to tell someone. I had teachers who did this, and I would always think they'd be mad at me, so I just wouldn't tell them at all. Instead, thank your child for telling you, while nicely encouraging her to tell you sooner the next time it happens.
Follow your child's lead
When I was about five, my mom asked me if I wanted to go to some program and meet other kids who were "like me" and also had a hearing loss. I cried and cried, saying that I wasn't different than anyone else and did not want to go. My mom never pushed the issue, and I was perfectly content with not being with other who had hearing loss for years. As I got older and into my teen years, I became more aware frustrated with certain issues that I felt like my hearing peers couldn't relate to. I began asking to go to conventions, camps, and programs for other teens with hearing loss. While these weren't always the most fun or interesting things for my mom to attend, she understood that I needed to interact with others who could relate to me hearing- wise- but only when the time was right for me.
I hope this helps some of y'all out there. I will also ask my mom if she has any advice that she'd like to share.
Thanks Mom, for all you've done over the years!

Monday, November 9, 2009

I'm Not Laughing.

I was getting ready to go to bed, when this article from caught my eye. On 'Seth & Alex' they did a skit impersonating Marlee Matlin. Well, actually- impersonating her voice. While Matlin was in on the skit, I thought the whole thing was pretty distasteful and offensive. What do you think? (Transcript below)

Man-We do a lot of celebrity gags on Family Guy (You know, making fun of celebrities). One of our favorites, though, was a gag in which Marlee Matlin calls Moviefone. It went something like this:

Man (as Moviefone): Welcome to Moviefone.Please say the name of the movie you would like to see now.

Woman (as Marlee Matlin) :500 Days of Summer (pronounces “500 day of dummer”)

Man: We did not understand your selection. Please say the name of the movie you would like to see now.

Woman (as Marlee Matlin): 500 Days of Summer (same as before)
Man: You have selected: Fame.

Woman (as self): It’s getting funnier.

Man: Seriously, if the Christians are right and I’m wrong, I’m going to seriously burn in hell. It’s going to be really bad.

Woman: Even if they’re wrong, I have a feeling that here on Earth, someone’s going to set you on fire.

Man: You’re probably right… Marlee Matlin- she really is an amazing woman. She was on Dancing with the Stars recently, but what you mat not know is that she also has an album coming out next year that also features pop song covers, including this little gem…

Woman (as Marlee Matlin): I wanna hold ‘em like they do in Texas … *sings Lady’ Gaga’s “Poker Face” in “deaf accent” and out of tune.
… oh- are you still playing? *puts hand on piano* Oh, you are. 1,2,3,… I wa- a rol wi you ( continues singing).. A little gambling is fun when you’re with me.. *Matlin walks in*

Woman (as self): Oh, *bleep*!

Matlin: Shut up!

Woman: I just want to say- I’m a really, really big fan of yours. Children of a Lesser God was amazing, you won an award. And your book was so candid, and so courageous. And your role on the West Wing is incredible

Matlin: oh- shut up! You’re embarrassing yourself! How do you think it feels to be made fun of? How about I do an impersonation of you?! Let me do it! I’m Alex, and I’m arrogant and a (sorry, this is a G-rated blog!) All I do is not exercise, eat Oreos, and complain that I’m not in more movies. Here’s me walking down the street…

*Impersonates Alex (woman)- blows up cheeks and “waddles”*

Matlin:Does that feel good?

Alex: No, it doesn’t Ms. Matlin.

Matlin: Does it?!


Matlin: NO IT DOESN’T! You know, you’ve made fun of me more than twice. Twice! Did you ever think once of calling me and asking me to use my own voice?

Alex: I swear Ms. Matlin, we did, we called. But the phone just rang, and rang… *laughter*

Matlin: You want to learn some sign language?

Alex: Yeah!

Matlin: Yeah? *Bleep*!

*Please let me know if there are any errors in this transcript. I typed it up myself, right as I was getting ready for bed, so it's probably got a couple of mistakes!*

Don't you think we've already got enough people making fun of the deaf?

Friday, November 6, 2009

You know you're a bilateral CI user when...

You freak out that one of your implants has suddenly stopped working when you're listening to music, only to be relieved when you realized it's your headphones that are broken!

Less wimpy post to come soon, promise!