Posted by wendiwendy
Lately it seems ‘Sudden Silence’ describes the state of this blog more than anything. It’s a dreary day here in Illinois and I’m trying to jump-start my holiday spirit, so I (belatedly) decided to participate in Holidailies. I miss writing!
I know I’m starting late, so to catch up I’ll summarize the past six months in eight bullet points, one for each day of December so far.
- Paige started college in August and seems to be fairly well settled in now. Finals start next week, she has already considered changing her major from pre-nursing, and she has learned she does not like having a roommate! We’re really proud of her — she is growing into an amazing young woman, and I’m so excited for all the great things she has ahead of her in life.
- I learned that adjusting to an empty nest was very, very difficult. I never expected it to hit me so hard; I was used to the kids being gone from all those years of twice-monthly weekends at their dad’s, after all. But Paige has been with us pretty much 24/7 since her sophomore year of high school, with only sporadic visits to her dad’s, so I really got used to having her around all the time. Even grocery shopping that first week she was gone was difficult – I passed by all her usual snacks and favorite foods and had to stop myself from grabbing them and tossing them into the cart.
- We spent the summer updating the house…I say ‘we’ but I really mean ‘Dave’. He did all the work, I picked out paint colors and made decorating decisions. The only time he let me actually do anything was when we were priming and painting the family room downstairs – it’s a huge room, he wanted to do it all himself (he gets very territorial about painting and house projects) and I just pretty much picked up a brush and asked him where to start. And I didn’t mess it up. 🙂 Just about all of our big projects got knocked out, so there was a big sense of accomplishment there – we just try not to think about the things we never got around to.
- Dave has still not started his Hepatitis C treatment. His last appointment was in October, and at that point the doctor decided it was time to start him on treatment. They did a blood test that helped them determine if his type of hepatitis would respond well to treatment (it should, yay!) and told him the lady who runs the treatment clinic would call him and get him started. And that’s the last we’ve heard. We aren’t sure what’s going on – if they are bogged down and just haven’t gotten to him yet, if they forgot about him, or if the information never got passed to the right person. But I’m kind of glad he’s not going to be going through treatment during the holidays – I’ve heard it can be really rough.
- Eric has been working all this year and is finally on the verge of getting a place of his own, so it’s an exciting time for him and we’re so proud. He just got a new job downtown (Chicago) and is looking for an apartment (with roommates). He’s always wanted to live in the city, and it’s a great arrangement since he doesn’t drive/have a car…public transportation all the way! (With the price of gas, vehicle upkeep and insurance for a 22 year old male, he is definitely going to save money by not having a car right now.)
- We are taking care of Paige’s African pygmy hedgehog, Spike, while she’s at school. I was really apprehensive about this – he is not cuddly, although he’s very cute! – because I couldn’t imagine picking him up out of his cage. Instead, I retreated into my usual thing and researched hedgehogs exhaustively, talking Dave into building a bigger cage, bigger wheel and upgrading his heat lamp. He is now living in style, but his grandma is still kinda terrified of picking him up when she cleans the cage. 😉
- We had a horrific summer heat-wise, as much of the country did. I really hate hot weather – have I mentioned that before? – and anything past 75 degrees makes me cranky. Well, let’s just say by the end of the summer, I felt like 85 degrees was pretty darn cool. Geez. To make things worse, our area was hit by a freak storm (a ‘derecho’, which I’d never heard of before this summer) in the middle of one of the 100 degree humid heatwaves, and we lost power for almost three days. It was too much for our Cockapoo, Toby, and he had a stroke from the heat the day before our power came back on. My heart broke into a million little pieces and I still tear up when I see pictures of our sweet pup. (He was old, 13 years, but I still wanted him to live forever!) And now I’m gritting my teeth through another mild winter. We have had no snow here in the Chicago area this year. None! We had one evening where there were flurries (nothing stuck) and that’s it. Dave just showed me an article this morning that said as of today, Chicago has broken a record for the longest period between measurable snowfalls. This makes me very, very sad … but I know it makes just about everyone else very happy.
- Speaking of snow and heat, Frosty the Snowman was on last night. We never watch live TV – everything is watched via TiVo – but sometimes the TiVo will switch over to live TV if we leave it on a menu for too long. So I heard this distinctive voice say, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” and I turned to the TV and yelled, “Frosty!” Dave thought I was nuts – he’s never seen this cartoon, or doesn’t remember it well if he has seen it. I was filling him in on everything that was going to happen (a few seconds before it happened) and he was flabbergasted. So I started explaining that I watched this cartoon every year between the ages of 2 and … probably 25 or so. And I caught it as often as possible after that. I know it by heart. “But it’s so sad,” I told Dave, “because Frosty melts and it always makes me cry.” And then I freaking started crying as I described how Frosty (spoiler alert!) gets stuck in the greenhouse and melts. And I know he comes back, but I don’t care – I can’t stand seeing that puddle of melted snow! In conclusion, I think menopause is not far away for me…crying over melted snowmen is a little bit much, don’tcha think?!
And that brings us to day nine. I saved the best for last. 🙂 During that nasty heatwave, on the second day we were without power, I had a mapping for my cochlear implants…first one in a couple of years. They do the bilateral mappings a little differently now – there was a software update, and it makes the whole process a lot faster. My audiologist, Carly, also gave me a new program called ClearVoice that Advanced Bionics introduced earlier this year. It took me a while to get on the ball and get updated but oh my God, I’m so glad I did! Part of what gave me that final push to get in and get mapped was the fact that we had fans going all day, all over the house. It was so hot that even with air conditioning, we needed fans to move the air around and cool us off when the a/c wasn’t on. (We have a raised ranch, so our main living area is upstairs and it gets really, really hot up there!) It was so noisy with all these fans constantly running, and I really hoped that ClearVoice would cut down on that background noise.
Oh my gosh, you guys. It makes a huge difference for me! I was spending my days using the background program on my CIs, which dampens the sound so it isn’t so loud in noisy environments (the car, restaurants, parties, the mall, and constant noise from fans). It really dampens all the sound though, so even though background noise became more bearable, it was harder to hear the TV, voices, etc. I would switch back to my regular listening program when I could, but then the fans were just too loud. ClearVoice completely changed things – I never switch to a different program now. ClearVoice perfectly mutes the things I don’t want to hear, but leaves voices and TV and everything else I want to hear at the right volume. It just does it automatically – it is amazing!
When I put my CIs on in the morning, it used to be really hard to get used to – going from complete silence to this sudden loud rush of sound. Now I put on my CIs, and I hear everything at full volume for a split second…then ClearVoice kicks in and it is at a completely comfortable level. I don’t wince when I put my CIs on anymore!
For those that have AB cochlear implants, I have CV medium. That’s my main listening program. My second program has CV medium but it uses 100% microphone instead of 100% TMic like my main program. That’s my backup in case my TMics go out again like they did earlier this year. I can also use it to test periodically and make sure my TMics are working okay. I asked for a regular program (all TMic, no ClearVoice) on my last program, for listening to music. I find that I never, ever use this – I prefer music with ClearVoice too – so the next time I go back, I’ll probably switch that last program to be t-coil with ClearVoice so I can use neckloops and such.
Snowless in the vicinity of Chicago