Living in Cyborgia: One Month Anniversary

Not MY head.  I only have ONE implant.

Just before I left on vacation with my sons, I visited my surgeon’s office for my one-month, post-activation, check-up.  Aside from the fact that I was already wearing my cochlear implant, it was almost exactly the same as my activation visit one month earlier.  I saw the audiologist, we checked out all the electrodes in my head, tested for the loudest input I could tolerate, and then reprogrammed my devices with those new levels.

As it turned out, not much had changed from the month before.  The audiologist said that the changes were measurable, but “subtle.”  Regardless, it made a noticeable difference but because the changes were small, I will not return for another visit for three more months.  But while the computer may not be measuring much change, I can “hear” my brain changing.
    When my implant was first activated, everyone sounded like Mickey Mouse or the munchkins from the Wizard of Oz.  As time has passed, I find that people still sound weird but not quite as weird as before.  Voices are, slowly, getting easier to understand and I have occasionally even turned on talk radio.  There I can, depending on the voice of the host, understand some of what is being said where a few months ago I could understand very little, if anything.  When the car is moving and there is lots of road noise, understanding is a lot harder and, for the most part, not worth doing.  Still, it’s an improvement.
    Sunday, I tried to listen while my friend Ken preached at church.  While what I heard and understood was noticeably different than what I heard a few months ago (which was absolutely nothing, because it sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher – wah wah wah), and while I could understand bits and pieces of his sermon, it took a lot of concentration and I didn’t get a lot out of it (Sorry Ken).  Even so, I am encouraged by the improvement because I can tell that something is going on.  Even if my progress is slow, and even if I get frustrated that it isn’t going faster, I can tell that my brain is changing.
    A few folks have asked, and I know more are wondering, so yes, I am doing my “physical therapy” but probably not as often as I should.   I’m supposed to listen to myself talk and say the alphabet and lots of other things.  I don’t do that as often as I think I should, but I do listen to my family (and other people) talk and it is noticeably easier to understand them.  As we drove to Colorado and back, I could carry on actual conversations with my sons which would have been completely impossible just a few months ago.
    Clearly, there the road ahead remains long, and progress remains slow, but overall, the news from Cyborgia is good.
There isprogress.
Slowly but surely, I amre-learning how to hear.
And that’s good news.


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