Four weeks in

Copyright: tigatelu / 123RF Stock Photo

Today is four weeks since switch on.  Here’s where things are.

My ability to understand speech has dramatically improved.  I still ask people to repeat things and I am still lip reading (I doubt I will ever stop) but the feverish concentration whenever I’m trying to follow speech has gone.  It is as if the most extraordinary weight has lifted off my shoulders.  I can just TALK to people, with so much less effort. Continue reading

At the hospital

A best wishes message from a friend, on the occasion of my new ear

Do you want to hear about the operation?  (A number of people have asked).  Or rather, what happened in the hospital (I was asleep for the operation).  The very squeamish needn’t read on.  No, really, it was fine.

First of all, a big cheer for the Listening for Life Centre at Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI), the base of the Yorkshire Auditory Implant Service. Continue reading

Can you hear me yet?

Copyright: fourleaflover / 123RF Stock Photo

In late October Nigel and I were on holiday in Ethiopia.  It was a group holiday, which isn’t a great idea when you are really struggling with your hearing, but it had been booked and paid for prior to the hearing decline of 2017 described in earlier posts.  Overall, we had a fantastic time, but mealtimes were a nightmare.  I could talk to one person at a time in a quiet location, but when other people joined the conversation I was lost.  Put me round a table with a dozen people chatting to each other and it was utterly hopeless.

One lunchtime, it all became too much. Continue reading

In which I stir a mug of tea

I had completely underestimated how exciting it would be to hear things that are NOT speech.  As my hearing gradually got worse over the years many environmental sounds disappeared, but losing them didn’t make me feel particularly sad.  There were work-arounds for the loss of some sounds; others I just forgot about.

So for example, when I couldn’t hear the office fire alarm anymore I made sure I didn’t work there on my own.  When I was working away from home I’d tell the hotel to alert me if their alarm went off in the night. Continue reading

Switch on day

Neither of us slept much the night before. I was busy imagining every possible catastrophe.  Nigel had a strange dream in which he got so confused he had to be admitted to the village care home.  His friend Greg came to visit him, but Nigel thought Greg was Gandhi.  Because Gandhi is dead Nigel became convinced that HE was dead……..you know how nightmares go….

It was a relief for both of us when it was 6.30 and we could get up and get on with the day; off to Bradford for switch on. Continue reading

So what’s been happening?

Copyright: jameschipper / 123RF Stock Photo

Long term blog followers will remember me feeling upbeat in February.  I felt sure that my hearing was returning to normal after a bad bout of fluid behind the eardrums.  Things had improved massively since an initial period of almost total silence.  The doctors had all reassured me that the chances of my blocked ears resulting in further permanent hearing damage were slim.  It was just a case of waiting for the fluid to drain.  As the blockage gradually cleared I was full of optimism.  I talked about “this happy ending”.

But then the improvement stopped. Continue reading

Implanted

Huge news.  I have a cochlear implant.  I went into hospital Thursday morning, operation in the afternoon, stayed in overnight, X-rays Friday morning to check that all looks OK in there, discharged early afternoon.  “Switch on” is planned for three weeks’ time.  I have a slightly sore right side of the face (nothing serious) and I’m a bit unsteady on my legs still, but otherwise OK.  The best bit was when the consultant checked the X-rays, declared them fine, and called me over to see a tiny, tiny implant (like a plastic thread, with electrode dots on it) curled up nicely in my cochlea.

The plan is to blog throughout the process of the coming months, whilst I learn to hear again.  Interspersed with that will be some retrospectives about what’s been happening over the summer.  It’s hard to know where to begin on that.  Suffice it to say, for the moment, that things never did fully recover after my blocked ears saga. It felt like they were heading that way, but I never got back the level of hearing I’d had before that virus in January.

I’ll tell you the full story another time.

Right now I’m off to curl up with a book.