Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The New Year and New Ears

This year has been an interesting one. It's been filled with plenty of highs, as well as its fair share of lows.

I've learned more about myself than I ever thought I would. I've dealt with challenges I never thought I'd have to face, as well as opportunities and chances I would have never imagined. I wouldn't have been able to make it without the help of my wonderful family and friends, who have stuck with me through the good and the bad, even when I was occasionally a bit irrational.

When I first started this little blog over 8 months ago, I wasn't expecting much. Just a way to express my thoughts and have them documented for future reflection. What it turned out to be was so much more.

Through this blog, I've (virtually) met people. These people have inspired me, helped me, and made me realize that I'm not alone in my experiences and frustrations.

I recently came across this quote:
"Every person is a new door to a different world."

- from the movie "Six Degrees of Separation"
and it really rings true to me. These people have taught me so much, and I don't think I can get through this post without thanking them. 
I'll start with Michelle. I first stumbled across Michelle's blog this summer. She's probably one of the first people I really connected with through blogging. She left a really nice comment on my blog (I'm sure you could find it if you looked) and encouraged me to keep writing. After exchanging emails with Michelle, I realized she was probably the first deaf adult I'd ever had some sort of conversation with. And I remember thinking "Wow. She's just so normal." Now, I hope no one is offended by this, heck, I'm deaf myself. It's not like I was expecting some green person who spoke alien. I just thought it was cool how she was just some funny, spunky lady with a family and who'd held a job, and just happened to be deaf. I hope you guys get what I'm saying here...Anyway, Michelle has served as a great inspiration to me, and I'd better stop before I say something stupid! Thanks Michelle!

Next up is Kristi. Kristi is a year older than me, and I look up to her for so many reasons. If you go to her profile, you'll see that it simply says "deaf teenager (who aspires to inspire) with her own journey: a big fish in a small pond" And inspire, she does. I encourage any readers of this blog to check out her blog, it's great and she writes so poetically. She recently switched from a mainstreamed school to a high school for the deaf, and reading her experiences have really impacted me. She's made me question (in a good way) if I'm doing what I really want. Am I searching for the right things? Am I doing it in the right place? Those questions remain unanswered, but she is helping me find those answers. Who knows if I'll follow in her footsteps or pave my own path, but she's helped me more than words can express.

Writer Kid (M) is a couple of years younger than I am. I first met her through the Cochlear Community, and I sent her a message. She wrote back and told me that she'd read my blog and has one of her own. I clicked on the link not really knowing what to expect, but after reading a couple of her posts I was absolutely blown away. It was like reading the journal of a younger, smarter, more awesome version of myself. I kid you not, this is girl amazing and inspiring. She's such a joy to talk to, and she is basically my definition of  "cool."

These three gals are amazing, and I just can't thank them enough.

On to the next order of business...

So, we've yet to receive word on whether insurance will pay for the new processors. After reading this post, I wasn't sure if I still wanted them! However, we spoke to some people at Cochlear who assured that, if I didn't like it, I could "trade back" and go back to my Freedoms.

Which leaves the most important decision left- what color? Since my last poll is running out (only 1 more day) I thought I would post a new one. What color do you think my new Nucleus 5's should be?

Now, I already know I'm getting brown coils, and I'm probably going to buy some of those nifty covers. I have an idea of the color I want, but I'm just curious about everyone else's opinion. I am not, I repeat NOT going to make my decision solely based on this poll. So anyway, feel free to leave a comment or vote-which color do you think I should  get?

Friday, December 25, 2009


Hi, my name is PinkLAM and I'm a blogging addict.

I think it's more out of not having anything better to do. Sureee, I could go (finally) take my permit test. Or practice my violin. Naw, blogging's fine. Besides, I'm a Jew, on Christmas, and everyone else is busy. Being social wll have to be put on hold too...

But who doesn't love...A PICTURE POST?!

My friend from IL joked that she sent me snow as her gift, since I couldn't make it there. That's honestly the best theory I've heard, because it never snows this much here. EVER.

*whew* I never realized it takes so long to put up pics.
This is when the snow first started falling...

I may be slightly too old to do this, but I was deprived as a youngster!

We went inside. The snow picked up a couple of hours later..

Snow heart!

I did, indeed, get to make my snow angel. The picture I got wasn't very good, but this is the one my sister made.

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Imagine this scene, which occurred yesterday right around 9:30 AM: (I felt like speaking in third person. Deal with it!)

PinkLAM has just finished packing her carry-on, toiletries, and luggage. Everything is set to go, except her luggage is still upstairs. PinkLAM's mother refuses to carry such a heavy load down the steps (with good, medical reason), and PinkLAM's friends don't call her the lovable teddy bear for her awesome biceps. So, Mom and PinkLAM were awaiting the arrival of PinkLAM's dad, who was also going on this vacation to visit some relatives in the area, but still had a few last-minute work things he had to do. PinkLAM decides to chill as she impatiently waits for her dad to get there, excitedly texting her friend who she hasn't seen in a year and a half, yet is going to be before her very eyes in a matter of hours. She could picture it already: the mounds of snow which they would make snowmen out of, the delicious smell of baking cookies in the air, the branches of the Christmas tree each covered in some beautiful ornament, and her and her friend, happily sledding down a hill and oh-so-grateful to be reunited. PinkLAM briefly worries about her non-existent sledding skills, sledding being a feat she has seen on TV but never done (living in the state of Texas) but then pushes her worries aside. Everything will work out, it always does.

PinkLAM's father arrives at the house, with an odd look on his face. PinkLAM's mother promptly orders him to bring the luggage down the steps. As he's doing so, PinkLAM's father spoke the following, very fateful sentence, "I was a block away from the house when I got a call from the airline, they said to call about a 'cancelled flight'."

PinkLAM, as grateful as she was for the wonderful implant technology allowing her to hear this sentence, was hoping that just this once(okay, more than just this once...), her ears were mistaken. Nothing could ruin her visions- the reunion! the snow! the cookies!

PinkLAM ran to the computer to look up the flight status. She quickly typed in the flight number, and the words that appeared on the screen stab her like a knife in the heart:

*I'm switching over to first person now, because I feel like it. Once again, deal with it :)*
Freaking out and frantic, I texted my friends, both the ones in Texas and the one living in Illinois. One of my best friends that I go to school with wrote back
"What?! They can do that?! I'm sure they'll like reschedule it or something-they have to!!!!"
My other best friend (the one living in Illinois) replied soon after:

I'm sure that you, very intelligent reader, have now figured out that no, they did not reschedule the flight. No, my friend did not fly the plane, and no, I did not have my happy reunion.

To be fair, my parents called the airline which had later flights to Chicago that were still going. The airline people said that due to the weather(which was only getting worse), there was pretty much no chance of the flights going out, so it wasn't even worth trying. We instead booked a flight for this morning, about an hour ago.

Last night, my mom was watching the weather where they basically said  "fat chance of getting out of Dallas tomorrow. We're getting hail and snow! Sucks for travelers who haven't left yet! Hahaha suckers!" (okay, maybe not exactly, but close enough)

Well, there went that plan. And I couldn't help but look up the info on the later flights. One of which I was supposed to be on, but we rescheduled to the earlier one to avoid the weather delays and cancellations.

Well, that flight arrived in Chicago. Yes, it was an hour or two late, but it still arrived. Oh, the irony.

I hate irony.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I am happy to report...

another controller arrived this morning. Best part? IT WORKS!
Thank you guys for all of your supportive messages and comments. I'll reply to them individually when I don't have a desperate need to get some sleep.

I'm leaving for Illinois in the morning. A lot of unexpected stuff has gone on this past two days...Yesterday I woke up sick, and couldn't manage to stay awake for more than a half hour at a time. My parents were convinced there was no way I'd be able to go on this trip, but the human body is pretty amazing (and I'm sure Tamiflu helped!).

And, on top of that, there's supposedly an ice storm coming to IL tomorrow? I know, my luck just follows me  wherever I go. ;) We rescheduled to an earlier flight, which  has led to a mad dash of packing- I'm still not done getting everything together. And no, I did not procrastinate (okay, maybe I did..) but I had good reason! Yesterday I never got out of the bed except to go to the doctor, and today my parents were saying all along they weren't going to let me go. They finally decided to make the right choice this afternoon/evening.  I'll post when I get back on Sunday!

And, I've realized that some people are probably more comfortable contacting me privately for one reason or another. For those of you who would like to email me, feel free to send an email to: It's the best way to contact me if you would like a fairly prompt response, and I know that not everyone likes to post things publicly, so I think it's a good alternative.

Looking forward to hearing from y'all :)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Clearing the Air+ An AWESOME Lights Show

After rereading my last post, I realized it sounded a little harsh. I feel like I come across as regretful of choosing Cochlear, which was not my intent in posting at all. My equipment rarely breaks, and when it does, 99% of the time it is replaced promptly with a functioning piece of equipment. The thing is, I don't blog about those times-who wants to read about something going exactly as it should? I've gotten so used to such a high standard, I was pretty shocked with the way things were handled last time. I'm hoping it was just an isolated incident. I was annoyed when I wrote the post, and therefore left out how satisfied I have been with Cochlear the rest of the time. I also picked Cochlear because of their superior reliability (so far, so good!) of their implants and their great reputation of making their processors backwards compatible with older implants (which I will soon be taking advantage of). I think the real reason I wrote that post was
A) because I wanted to vent my frustration
and B)I was hoping that I would be proved wrong, and that someone from Cochlear will apologize, or at least make it right. I really hope to be able to write another post expressing my satisfaction with how the situation was resolved.

Besides, these people gave me my hearing back- how could I not be grateful? I think every company makes mistakes at one point or another, and this is definitely a minor thing in the scheme of things, especially when I hear all these stories about companies recalling implants. As in, the internal part- I can assure you I am happy with my choice! As one person commented, the controller could have gotten damaged in shipping, for all I know.

Now that I've got that cleared...

On Friday evening, I babysat three of my cousins with my sister. They're neighborhood is RIGHT next to this neighborhood famous for their amazing Christmas (and Hanukkah, surprisingly enough) lights. We didn't finish babysitting until late at night, but we felt like we'd regret not stopping to look at a few houses. We were aimlessly driving around, when we saw a house with TONS of lights flashing. As we got closer, I spotted a tiny sign "Turn to FM 97.5 to listen to the lights!" My sister and I frantically started fooling with the car radio, until we found the station. What we found was truly amazing. Such a sensual experience- the lights went along with the music. The lights were cool on their own (as was the music) but together, it was just astonishing.

We stayed for a couple of minutes, but then decided to go back home as it was starting to get pretty late.We vowed to return the next night, which we did with one of my sister's friends. We drove around looking at a lot of houses that had elaborate light displays, but we could not find the same house! We drove around for an hour and a half, and my mom started texting us saying we needed to come home. No way, not until we found the house! We were getting desperate, and finally decided to put on the radio station, since it becomes clearer as you get closer to the house. Between one of the songs, they said the name of the family who did the lights show. I quickly googled it on my phone, and, alas- an address! My sister shouted for her friend to get her GPS out of her purse. Her friend looked, only for us to realize it had been left at home!

We drove around and finally found the street, and followed the line of about 20-30 wanting to see this awesome house. I got quite a few videos and pictures on my phone, but they're not very high quality. Luckily enough for you ;) the house has it's very own website complete with plenty of videos. Right now the videos are not yet up for 2009 (they change the songs every year) but the ones from 2008 are just as cool! Here are a few:
We Wish You a Merry Christmas- Highland Pipers:

Gordon Lights 2008 - We Wish You a Merry Christmas from Gordon Lights on Vimeo.

Wizards in Winter- Trans-Siberian Orchestra:

Gordon Lights 2008 - Wizards in Winter from Gordon Lights on Vimeo.

And I'm leaving for IL in 2-3 days (depending on how you think of it). Imagine my excitement when I went onto and saw this:

OH YES! Snow angels, here I come!

Happy Holidays to all!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Dear Cochlear,

*warning: slight rant ahead*
When I was picking my implant company, I did lots of research. Part of the reason I picked you was because of the continued support and customer service after being implanted. Nearly everyone I talked to raved about your prompt response when there was a broken piece of equipment.This was pretty important to me, since once you pick a company, you're partners for life. And I found that they were right about you, until now...

Two weeks ago, I went to turn ony my processor on my right side and it would not turn on. I tried and tried, changing the batteries and everything, to no avail. I determined that the controller was malfunctioning. No biggie, my mom could just call Hear Always and they'll replace it. (I was in a rush to get to school). I put on my back-up controller, and went on my merry way.

When I got home, my mom told me we'd have to wait for them to send a box for me to send my controller back in, and then you wouldn't send a replacement until they received the broken part. I asked my audiologist why you were doing this, and she said you'd been having trouble with people not sending back broken equipment, and some people even wanted to get their same part repaired and sent back, rather than get a different refurbished part.(in your defense, this is only if the patient has a backup) Okay, that's fair enough.

We got the box to send my controller back in a few days later, and promptly sent in back. Then we waited..and wait.. and wait. Finally, on Thursday (thirteen days after calling and asking for the replacement) we called you again. You hadn't sent me my controller back, and promised it would be shipped out that day. Alright, I get you've been busy and all, so I guess better late than never.

The controller arrived on Friday afternoon, just like you promised. I decided to wait until today to start wearing it, since I didn't want to have to go through the hassle of changing out the batteries. So, today I put on the replacement controller, fresh out of the box, and put in batteries. I also put in the batteries on my other side, since I like to turn on both of my processors at the same time. I held down the buttons on each ear, and waited for the sound to rush into my ears. I heard it on my left side, but on the right side...nothing. I pulled the processor off my head, and tried again...Once again, nothing.

I pulled out the battery rack, just to make sure I'd put in all the batteries. Yep, A-OK. I tried another pack of batteries, just to be sure. I tried again, and it still doesn't work.

Seriously, Cochlear? Seriously? I know there's been a lot going on with the release of the Nucleus 5 and all, but could you not take the 5 seconds it takes to test out equipment before you send it back?

Today, you're closed, so there's nothing I can do. I'm leaving town on Wednesday, and if my back-up that I'm wearing breaks, I'll be stuck with just wearing one processor. I'm pretty annoyed.

I hope you get this resolved soon, because if you figure it out, you will be forgiven. We are partners for life, after all.

Love always,

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The telephone, hearing and exams

*Sorry if you've left me a comment/email/message and I have not responded. I fully intend to, and I know some of these are months old (and some are only a few days old) but I want to respond all at once when I have the time to give full attention to the topic at hand. I appreciate your patience :)*

The reason for the need for the above statement is because I have been studying like crazy for exams. I'm only posting this because I know if I don't do it now, I never will get around to it!

  • I'm having one of those hearing "highs". I really hope I'm not completely jinxing myself by saying this, but I 've just been hearing extremely well lately. It's so nice.. This has led to a few "CI moments" and the realization that it's been two and a half years since my first implant was turned on. Where has the time gone?
  • On that subject: I've been having some difficulty in one of my classes. It's my gifted and talented class. It's very fast-paced, requires a ton of reading and class discussion, and it's flat out hard. I'd been having an internal battle for weeks and weeks over whether or not to stay in it, since my grades just weren't where I wanted them to be in that class. I made tons of lists and talked to lots of people and I thought I had my mind made up that I was going to change to an easier class next semester. I decided to talk to my teacher (again) as a last resort, and he gave all sorts of tips* on how to study, which included studying with friends. This is something I pretty much never do, but I figured it couldn't hurt. I decided to stay in the class for the time being (it is also one of my favorite classes, just extremely challenging.) So, in preparation for upcoming exams (which started today), I got together and studied with friends practically all day Sunday.
    • In the morning,  I got together with just my best friend and we decided to make a study guide of everything we could possibly need to know for the first section of the test. The class is sort of a mixture of 3 different subjects (it's taken over 2 years, so you get 2 different credits), so we made a study guide for the first part. We started off with my friend typing. I soon learned she has some pitiful typing skills ;) and we decided to trade off. I listened to my friend, read the text book, and type simultaneously. In the middle of doing this, I realized I never could have done this a couple of years ago. It didn't even occur to me that I would have trouble hearing what she was saying without staring at her lips, and it was never even an issue. Being bilateral, it was also nice not having to worry which side to sit on or constantly having to turn my neck/head.
    • Later on, we decided to meet up with a bigger group of friends and spend three hours discussing everything we knew. We were at a friend's house that was relatively quiet, and I was able to follow most of the conversation. Keep in mind these are my loud, crazy, friends who find it perfectly acceptable for five people to talk at once, which is exactly what happened. While I did occasionally have trouble keeping up, I'd say I understood a good majority of the conversation and was able to stay involved given that there were no other outside noises. Eventually, my friends had trouble understanding what was being said so we had to enforce a rule that onlt one person could talk at a time. That lasted about five minutes!
  • Today, my phone was dying so I went and plugged it in. I left the room to go work on one of my exam reviews, when I heard that all too familiar buzzing of my phone. My friend was calling me. Instead of running away (or not hearing it ring in the first place..) I ran to answer it. I was on the phone with my friend for two hours, and we were discussing the information for  (different exam than the one previously stated) our exam tomorrow. I was in the study/office talking on the phone, when my sister and her friend came in and were having issues using our copy machine. They were laughing hysterically, and the machine was beeping like there was no tomorrow. All the while, I maintained and understood the conversation with my friend- how cool is that?! I was not using T-coil, mainly because I didn't want to have to mess with it while on the phone. Halfway through the conversation, I briefly put down my phone to flip throught the textbook, only to realize that the battery was once again dying. I ran to grab the charger (and cursed my luck), and plugged it in. My cell phone charger has an annoyingly short cord, so I had to put it on speaker phone in order to prevent me from having to lean towards the ground for the phone to reach my ear. I made an interesting discovery- I do not hear nearly as well on speakerphone. I don't know if it becomes distorted because it's too loud, or what, but the difference was pretty dramatic.
The pain has returned and is in full force. I would be lying if I said I wasn't worried- I am. My doctor is not concerned at all, but part of me is afraid that the implant could be infected or something, and they won't realize it until it's too late. I'm hoping that part of me is just paranoid! We are going to see if we can get insurance coverage for the N5 on my new side ASAP in order to see if that will help with the pain. I really hope so, it's getting pretty uncomfortable. Thankfully, the dizziness has disappeared. And, there's THREE days until my winter break starts. Do I hear cheers and applause?!

*For now, I think I'll stay in the class. This change in my mind has also been helped by an increase in my grades, which never hurts!

Happy Holidays to all!

Friday, December 4, 2009

just the usual

Bad blogger! Yes, I know. My sincerest apologies, sometimes life gets in the way! :P
So, what's been going on here?

  • Saturday night- We got back in town, and I was off balance and dizzy. Deja vu? Yes.. only this time we drove, which made the whole thing pretty weird to me.
  • Tuesday- Early in the morning, my left implant started aching a little bit, bu only if I pressed on it, so  I didn't think much of it. As the day went on, the pain became more and more pronounced. By 5th period, it was excruciating. Whenever I raised my eyebrows or smiled (which, I discovered, I do practically every five minutes) it only got worse, and my face expression turned would turn to a grimace. By 7th (last period), I hade to take my processor off. By the time I got home, my surgeon was closed.
  • Wednesday- I got in the car, and my mom told me that she thought it was snowing. It pretty much NEVER snows here, especially not this early, so I rolled my eyes (what can I say, I'm a teenager!) and laughed. We pulled out of the garage, and shrieks of excitement could be heard from our car, as well as the constant buzz of my phone, filled with "IT'S SNOWING!!!" text messages. It, indeed, was snowing on December 2nd in Texas. It lasted for an hour, but it only stuck to the grass. No snowday off of school for us :( I took some Tylenol, and the implant pain was a lot less.

    This is a picture of the snowfall in my town.
    Credit: by Todd Young
  • Thursday- Finally, able to get in to see my surgeon. (Wednesdays are surgery days). It was barely hurting then, but I was still freaked out by the whole episode, plus the dizziness still hadn't gone away.  The verdict?
    • He saw nothing concerning upon examining my head/implant, which is good. Upon looking at where my pain was, at the lower area (my surgeon called it the receiver) of the implant, he determined that it was from the processor rubbing against it and irritating it. My implant is pretty high up, so I found that surprising, but I think he knows a thing or two more than I do! He said that we just need to watch it over the next couple of months, see if it still bothers me, and that the only way to real way to fix it is to get the Nucleus  processor since it would be smaller and wouldn't rub on the site as much. (Potential insurance coverage argument? I think so!)
    • He said he didn't really have an explanation for why the dizziness was occurring, and thought it was just a coincidence that it happened right after the trip. Dizziness is pretty common in all hearing loss patients, especially those who have had some type of ear surgery, so it's not exactly surprising to him. My surgeon gave me a 3 page long list of balance exercises to do which should help my balance improve. I haven't done any yet, but they're awfully interesting- how does standing on one leg with a cardboard box over your head sound?!

Yup, that's my ear. This was taken at a camp I went to this summer for kids with hearing loss.
We got a little excited about using the bling ;)
You can see where my implant/coil sits  in relation to my processor.(It's similar for both ears)

*I also got a mapping right before we left town. Now, both ears are at a processing rate of 1800. Battery life isn't great, but hearing is!

And, if you feel like watching an inspirational video that will surely make you teary-eyed, click here!