Hear it is
Wednesday May 26th 2010, 11:25 pm
Filed under: Crohn's flare,Life,Wildlife

First, the evening peregrine report I gave to my fellow falconistas:

Clara showed up a few minutes before eight and paced the inside of the
nestbox back and forth, finally stopping, head bowed with Little Boy
Blue's remains just in front of her. Her beak opened wide a moment, her
head went down, and she appeared to be trying to push it all down, down
into the gravel with the top of her head bowed way over. She came back
up with her empty beak closed.

Then she hopped out of the box. Flew to her sentry spot. She preened
just a moment, and then was away and out of sight.

Kekoa and Maya continue to hang out on the louver, Kekoa's face to the
building, Maya's in her back--wait, now she's looking around again. But
she's clearly no longer afraid of heights nor of standing on the edge
looking down. Cool.

Meantime, there was a two-hour hearing health to-do at our clinic today and I was curious to know what the latest and greatest hearing aids might be.  I decided to go.

I made it through the first 35 minutes of, this is what hearing loss is, this is what hearing aids are, and this–I guffawed out loud without meaning to, having gotten my first pair at 27–is why they won’t make you look old. The statistic appeared on their PowerPoint: 65% of the people who wear them are under 65!

Granted, I’m not new at this.  But I was disappointed that when the speaker talked about speech sounding like mumbling without hearing aids, she didn’t say outright that the reason is because consonants are higher pitched than the vowels because they’re made with your tongue against your teeth instead of vibrating in your throat. I remember what a revelation and how extremely helpful that one piece of information was to me at 18 when I was told I was going slowly deaf (it was an aspirin allergy, we eventually found out).  It all made sense now why I could hear someone and not process what they were saying.

Can you imagine some person there who IS old–the conference room was packed with old–who thinks they’re going senile when that’s all that’s the matter? I wanted to exclaim, Be merciful, woman, don’t dumb it down!

I escaped.  When one of the audiologists stepped out the crowded conference-room door in front of me, I followed her. She’d gone to the end of the hall to direct incoming human traffic if need be. Well, so I was the traffic, then: I had questions to ask, definitely, and no patience to sit through another 85 minutes of that, not even with my makes-me-look-old knitting.

The best thing to do, she told me, was go talk to the vendors set up outside in the courtyard.

Greaaaaaat… We peeked through the blinds together and she pointed out a particular table in the shade near the door–I later went to the guy and said, I can’t be out in the sun at all. You’ve got two minutes. He used his three minutes well. And I went home with the usual two temporary very small spots of white-out in my vision that are my first sign of sun overdose. Worth it. They have a music setting now… I need to learn more, but I’ve got the brochure and I’ve started.

Meantime, upstairs, as she and I talked, I got the impression she was enjoying being able to be really helpful and informative for someone who was motivated and who knew what she was talking about.  For me, I was thrilled at being able to talk about the health stuff that is part of the context without having a new person get all sorry about it–it just is, is all, move on.

She told me what I needed to know about cochlear implants should I have to have that next surgery (I’ve spent the last four or five days getting over yet another blockage) and should I again lose hearing from the pain meds–tylenol. I can do tylenol.  Which is not so good in the scalpel department.  I described the dilaudid going into the IV and the voices of the medical personnel around me going out.

I am a musician. A fairly deaf musician, but a musician. She told me the implants wouldn’t give me music quite well enough–but they would give me back speech. She talked about having to retrain the brain to hear again amidst noise, and I was like, yeah yeah been there done that a couple of times now I know all about that. But then, she said: for speech, my hearing would be normal with this.

She said it again for emphasis.  Normal.

I very nearly burst into tears on the spot. Which totally surprised me.

But would I give up music, really hearing music at perfect pitch, for life? No.

Which is fine because they wouldn’t give me the implants at Stanford without putting me through a bajillion tests to make absolutely sure I can’t manage on the hearing aids. And I can.

At least until that next surgery.

But now I have a backup plan for something that had had me in such great fear.  After having been told over and over in  years past (before the surgeries and the reaction) that cochlear implants would do me no good.

They would do me unfathomable good should I come to need them.  Again, I have a backup plan, now that I need one.  And I cannot begin to tell you what a relief that is.

9 Comments so far
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I don’t want to compare you to Beethovan (because you’re a lot nicer and have a lot more going for you) but he could still hear music better being deaf, than most of us. But I think you will come up with good solutions because you are determined and because you find the right people and ask the right questions until you get the right answers.

However, Icarus, I don’t know anybody who does wing implants.

Comment by LauraN 05.27.10 @ 5:14 am

Dear Clara… my new image of all a mother should be…

I immediately went back to the pre-surgery joint replacement class the Knight and I had to take before his hip replacement. We both tuned out and walked out at least twice. EVERYTHING in the class was geared to a brittle-boned, elderly person. There was NOTHING – not.one.thing. – that was of any help to us, young 30-somethings.

I’m glad there’s a backup plan that sounds very promising!

Comment by Channon 05.27.10 @ 6:30 am

what a wonderful thing! like a safety net!! I’m so happy you got a positive answer — and that you aren’t suffering too much from the sun overdose

Comment by Bev 05.27.10 @ 7:47 am

My mom has a slightly similar experience. She’s diabetic and a retired nurse, and finds all mass information lectures tend to get stuck at “what is a carbohydrate.”

So glad you found a hearing back-up (in just over sun time limits.)

Comment by LynnM 05.27.10 @ 9:04 am

First, my comment yesterday about bird parents still stands.

Next, are they saying you wouldn’t hear music as well as now with cochlear implants? There are a couple of people here in the park with the implants. One lady was totally deaf, and the implants have changed her life.

Finally, howzabout sumpin’ funny —

I used to be schizophrenic, but we’re better now.

Comment by Don Meyer 05.27.10 @ 9:37 am


Comment by Diana Troldahl 05.27.10 @ 1:29 pm

I have seen the look on a child’s face when they first realize that they are hearing with their implants. (We have an AI class in the district.)

Go for it, dear. Go for it.

Comment by afton 05.27.10 @ 3:48 pm

Having a plan B is always good.

Comment by Sherry in Idaho 05.27.10 @ 5:19 pm

I kept reading and reading your post with great interest. My boss’ husband, a physician, has had a cochlear implant and his speech is amazing.

Comment by Joansie 05.28.10 @ 5:29 am

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