Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sharing Your Experience

Tonight, I met a friend of mine for dinner. As I was waiting for her to show up,I enjoyed people-watching and looking around at the various customers in the restaurant. I noticed a middle-aged man, directly in my line of vision, with two hearing aids eating dinner with his wife/girlfriend/lady friend. I spent the next few minutes watching their interaction, noticing the man to be clearly frustrated. He may have also been upset about something else, but was constantly having to ask his dinner guest to repeat herself. When the waiter came to their table, he asked "What?" three or four times, and he was clearly annoyed.

I wanted so badly to go over there and shout "I know how you feel!" and share the possibilities of cochlear implants, but decided against it because:
  1. I didn't feel it was my place to say
  2. It seemed rude to barge in on his dinner
  3. He didn't appear to be in a particularly happy mood
  4. I didn't know about his personal views or situation. What if he already knew he didn't qualify, for whatever reason? What if he is against the idea of CI's in general? I didn't want to be one of those people pushing my beliefs onto someone else, I despite it when others do that to me!
  5. My friend showed up.
While I am more than happy to share my experiences with people when asked, I guess I feel uncomfortable going up to other people unprompted. I'm sure there are people who would feel rude asking and wish a person they notice with a CI would just go up to them...

What do you think? Do you shout the praises of cochlear implants, or just quietly enjoy them? Have you ever shared your experiences with cochlear implants and offended someone else? (Or helped them?)

Side note: I was able to hear quite well in the restaurant, and don't think I had to ask for any repeats! While I'm the first to admit that CI's are far from perfect, I'm always amazed when I think back to the constant "What?" from my days of hearing aids and compare to how well I am able to hear now.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The last three months, in bullets

  • A few months back I went into a class filled with audiology/SLP grad students to tell my story and answer questions. It was a great experience, and it was nice to see how eager they all were to become the best professionals possible. To be honest, grad school looked much more interesting than high school, but it probably isn't always that way!
  • I got an iPhone 4! I am in love with it! It took a few hours to get used to the the keyboard (and I still have trouble typing without looking, but who really needs to be able to do that anyway!) I was worried I wouldn't be able to hear very well on it, but the sound quality is actually much better than any other phones I've used in the past. I don't use the listening/speaking part of the phone too often, but it's good to feel confident that I can hear on it when I do use it. I haven't gotten the chance to try out the FaceTime feature yet... It is wonderful having my music and phone all in one, and the apps aren't too bad either :)
  • I have officially had my license for 6 months! My mom insists that's not very long, but it does mean that I can now legally drive more than one passenger in my car!
  • Yesterday marked two years since my bilateral surgery. I'm finally getting to the point where I'm not feeling like I constantly need to go for mappings, and it is *so* nice.
  • I still have a love/hate relationship with school. Hate the work, but I'm loving spring break :)
  • For the last month or so, I've had horrible jaw pain upon opening my mouth, chewing. talking, yawning.. you get the idea. Today I went to an oral surgeon and he asked if I've been under stress lately. I laughed- when am I not under stress? Apparently I clench my jaw at night because I'm stressed, so the joint on one side of my jaw is out of place. It's supposedly really common, and is curable by doing some mouth exercises a few times a day. 
  • The above appointment was also to have a consultation to get my wisdom teeth out. Yeah, that's what I get to do this summer on top of two different (P)SAT programs, online school, and volunteering. What happened to summer being time for relaxing? Or even having a little bit of fun? 
  • The aforementioned surgeon also mentioned a company that takes wisdom teeth and preserves the stem cells in them for future use. There's no telling what medical advances will come about in my lifetime with stem cells (and I'm not just talking about hearing loss), so we'll look into doing that.
  • I definitely had another two or three bullets to write, but then a bug flew onto the keyboard and I got completely distracted and don't remember what I wanted to say...
  • I feel like I change the colors of this blog more often than I post, but it looks wintery and I'm read for spring. Plus, I looked back at some of my older posts and noticed you can't read them with the darker background..
  • I just remembered everything I wanted to write...
  • I wanted to thank everyone for the outpouring of support as well as the wealth of information that you have all provided regarding my last few posts. Pedro Martinez left a comment about an online course about stethoscopes with hearing loss. It was extremely helpful, but of course the speaker lost connection right as she was about to talk about stethoscopes with cochlear implants. So typical! I've decided to hold off messing with stethoscopes further, since we're done using them for the year. I may or not need it next year, depending on if I get into a program I'm applying for. More to come in the next month, keep your fingers crossed for me!
  • I'll be participating in a research study on FM use and cochlear implants, and I will get the chance to try out a couple of different FM systems. I will keep everyone posted!
  • I'm embarrassed to admit that I even watch Celebrity Apprentice... but did anyone else see the most recent episode on Sunday night? If not, let me just say that it is the epitome of of ignorance of hearing loss/deafness (or whatever term you prefer).
  • Most importantly- I ask that as you pray for the thousands of tragedies in Japan and whatever else is going on in your life, please squeeze Sara and her family into your thoughts and prayers, if you haven't already. Sara is an amazing young woman and a member of the Cochlear Community. Her brother and sister were recently in a car accident. Her brother was killed, and her sister is currently in a coma. I can't even begin to imagine being in her situation, but I do know that every last ounce of support can make a difference.

Monday, March 7, 2011

4 quizzes, 4 tests, and 2 projects, oh my!

Mix in the the fact that I have my "academic conference" to discuss the rest of my high school classes (meaning, stress and a few missed classes), an audiology appointment (meaning I can't hear too well and have to miss more class), a book discussion for a book I haven't read, and the entire yearbook has to be finished by Friday, which means scrambling for all of the last minute club group pictures.

Oh yeah, it's the week before spring break. My motivation level is at an all-time low, and exhaustion at an all time high. Please let this week go by quickly!

I promise, once I have time to think (or even blink) I will write a nice, long detailed post. Trust me, I have lots to say!

Oh, and I've officially had my driver's license for 6 months! Just thought I'd throw that out there :)

Until next time!