Let your mind do the walking

So, life is slowly returning to normal.  For a while there, it felt like I’d be in recovery from surgery forever.  Like a new mom who feels she’ll never again sleep through the night, I felt like I would never again be able to walk down the hall at anything other than a slow shamble.

Well, I actually power-walked down the hall today.  I even half-bent my head down to blow dry my hair after my shower!  All these little things that are like mini victories…the first time I sneezed and it didn’t feel like my head was going to explode.  The first day I only took one nap, and then…gasp…no nap at all!  The first day I went without taking any Tylenol.  Every day things slowly fall back into place.

I recognize the face in the mirror now; no more swelling.  Even the sides of my head (where the implants are) are starting to go back to normal.  I can turn my head a little faster, without worrying that it’s going to make my head spin.

The only real reminder that I’m still recovering, besides the glue and tightness by my incisions, is the fact that I’m still sleeping on the couch.  I never did figure out how to keep myself from rolling to one side or the other in my bed.  Abbie mentioned being able to sleep on her implanted side after 3 weeks, so I have hope that I’ll be back to my bed within a week or so.  I think I’m just going to wait until I can comfortably sleep on my side before I do that.

Now that I’m not focusing constantly on recovering, my mind is starting to wander to the next big milestone…activation day.  As strange as it sounds, considering that is the whole reason I went through this surgery, I just couldn’t even begin to think about the day they turn the implants on.  It didn’t even matter to me – I just wanted to heal and feel like myself again.  Now, though…I can’t help grinning a little every time I realize it’s only 2-1/2 more weeks!

Of course, as things always seem to go, there’s all kinds of drama involved with the day because it’s also the day we have to register Paige for freshman year of high school.  This is a huge thing – the day she gets her schedule, her books, her locker assignment, and apparently a t-shirt and group assignment for the freshman orientation program that she has to attend the following day, August 21.  I really wanted to be with her for this – we had planned to walk her schedule after we got her books so she can see where her classes are.  The problem is that they scheduled her for the 12:00-12:20 slot.  We have to leave at 12:00 to get to my activation appointment, which is at 1:00 (and will last for 3 hours).

We called the school, explained the situation (to two different people, in fact) and they refused to budge.  So the next best thing is to have my mom take her.  This means that neither my mom or Paige can come with to the activation, which was really disappointing for both of them.  And I’m really disappointed that I have to miss her registration day.  I do have a plan – I’m going to take her up at 11:30 and play dumb, like I didn’t realize we couldn’t go early.  😆  There’s a chance they might just pull her schedule and send us through the line.  We won’t have time to walk to all of her classes like I’d like to, but at least I can help her through the book buying stuff.
I’ve been thinking about my attitude once I get activated.  I know better than to get my hopes up, so I’m not expecting to understand speech right away.  I know it just sounds like beeps or buzzing for a lot of people.  I’m hoping that the novelty of hearing any sounds at all will be good enough for me.  I just hope that I’m able to have a good attitude about how bad things will probably sound at first.

When my hearing aids would need repairs and I’d get a loaner, it used to drive me crazy.  I would have to really concentrate on not snapping at people and just generally being crabby because everything sounded so bad and not like what I was used to.  I like to think that having lost all of my hearing since that time would be enough to change my attitude.  Instead of feeling entitled to hearing at a certain caliber, I hope that I’ll just be happy to hear at all.  I know my brain needs time to learn how to hear with a CI, and the only way that will happen is for me to wear it all the time and practice.  There’s no way for me to know ahead of time if I’m going to be gritting my teeth and thinking, “Argh!  It’s driving me crazy!” while outwardly smiling and listening and trying to keep a good attitude.

So I wonder about that.  I wonder if the external processors will hurt my ears at all or if it will just be like when I was wearing my hearing aids.  When I tried them on during my CI assessment, they didn’t feel any heavier than hearing aids.  Still though, I’ve heard a lot of people talk about them hurting or needing to use moleskin to make them more comfortable.

Besides the voices of my loved ones, one of the first sounds I can’t wait to hear is the meowing from my cats.  They all have such different meows and I’m curious to see if I can detect that with my CI’s.  I always joke that the cats are the easiest ones to lipread around here!  😀

I can’t remember if I’ve talked about tinnitus yet.  The first few days after the surgery, it sounded exactly like oil popping in a frying pan.  It was actually not very loud the day I had the surgery, but either the next day or second day, it did get extremely loud.  The super-loud tinnitus didn’t last for very long, not even a whole day.  Then it really settled down.  I’ve noticed I now get the tinnitus in both ears fairly equally; before, my left ear had constant tinnitus and my right ear (which has been totally deaf for 15 years) was just recently chiming in every now and then.  So I have usually 3 or 4 different sounds going on in my head, from both ears, constantly.  I don’t know why it doesn’t make me insane, to be honest.  For some reason though, maybe because I’ve had tinnitus for as long as I can remember, I just don’t really get bothered by it.  It’s just what I expect to have, I guess.

However, it really quieted down after the surgery.  I realized that there were many times the tinnitus was so soft, just like a low humming, that it was almost as if it were gone.  It’s the closest I’ve come to actual silence since I lost all of my hearing in April.  Before, the tinnitus always went away as soon as I turned my hearing aids on.  I’m wondering if that will be the case when I get my CI’s activated, or if the tinnitus will still be there.  It will be kind of weird to try to listen to sound over the tinnitus, since that’s not something I ever really had to do.  I’m used to just having tinnitus sounds and nothing else, or hearing regular sounds without tinnitus.  Combining the two will be new for me.

That’s where my mind is wandering to these days.  It’s a welcome change!  😉

About wendiwendy

I'm a real-life bionic woman.

Posted on August 3, 2008, in Cochlear Implants & Hearing Loss, Emotions & Attitude, Observations and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Wendi,

    As you already know, the day of my activation is the girls’ first day of school. My appt is at 9 a.m. and should last two to three hours. They both have to be in school by 8. I am not going to pull them out on their first day of school. Hubby didn’t like that idea anyway. Too bad it wasn’t on one of their Orientation Days, because then it would be in the evening hours. Oh well. I wish it was on Orientation Day. Sigh. I can try hearing them talk in Heliumese when they get home from school. Me, too, I don’t want to expect too much too soon. Just have to let the brain adjust to a new way of hearing. I keep reading about some people who “are all across the board” meaning they are nearly perfect. Good luck on Activation Day. Why not try to get her in early and get the information/stuff she needs. I don’t blame you, though.

    BTW, I think about that, too. Will the processor eventually weigh down on my ear? Would I have to put something there to “cushion” the ear? I also think about the fact that maybe the processor won’t stay on very well. I am so used to earmolds holding my HA, the processor doesn’t have that, though some audies will fit an earmold with it to “anchor” the processor. I guess I’ll “play it by ear.” literally. LOL

    Big HUGS


  2. Hey Wendi,

    I am so glad I read your blog tonight! I am looking forward to activation and all but I admit I’m not feeling “anxious” about it yet. Of course I don’t have a date yet. You see, I’m aware that things aren’t going to sound that great. In fact, I’m expecting things to sound terrible and I am not looking forward to that part of it. I hate it when things sound distorted or when things sound differently than my hearing aid. I wish I could explain the frustration I feel. Since I am aware things won’t sound great I’m hoping that it won’t put me in a bad mood. 🙂 I’m just glad to know someone has similar feelings. I thought I was abnormal in my thought process. I’m just not in the anxious mode yet but I’m sure it will happen. Don’t get me wrong I want to turn this thing on…but I’m just aware that it will take time before things sound good. I can’t wait to hear about our activations! I swear you took the words right out of my mouth when you posted tonight! I’m glad you are doing good. I send hugs as well!!! 🙂


  3. Yay!! Sound like you’re coming along very well! I had a bit hard time sleeping on my right side when I had that side done (I’m a right side sleeper). So, what I found really helped is to have a lot of soft pillows. I have down filled pillows, so I just put one on my shoulder, and one just on my neck. So, in a sense the implanted side is not really touching the pillows. To help me from rolling over, I just wrapped myself in a mummy with the blanket. Of course, it’s summer time now, so that may be difficult. You could try rolling up the bed comforter and make it like a “wall” on your back.

    Your daughter has to buy books for High School? Interesting!

    As for activation day – While it’s a great milestone…I highly recommend you to make a video from your digital camera (if it has video). Basically when you start is when your audiologist says, “I’m going Live voice now”. At the beginning it’s always beeps and tests to make sure your implant is working making sure your processor is connecting properly, so you won’t hear much of anything at first. That takes a while. 🙂 Once the “live voice” is on, that’s when you start recording…leave it on for a couple mins or so. Kind of like Abby’s activation video, Jennifer’s Activation video and mine. 🙂

    Wish you luck!!


  4. Hi there, Wendi!

    Yep…we’re thinking the same things for Amanda. 7 days ’til activation!

    I heard a quote a few years back- “Keep your hopes high and your expectations reasonable.”

    It sure helps to have so many people approaching the same milestones as well as those that have gone before us to guide us and lead the way.

    Jennifer 😀


  5. Hey Wendi,

    Stop by for a visit. I’ve given you an award. 🙂



  6. I slept on my new incision side after 4 nights. It is my favorite side so it felt so natural.
    Not long to go eh? Pretty exciting.
    Can’t wait to see how you make out on activation day!


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