Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Tuesday 31st March 2009 - table tennis frustration

Tonight after work, had frustration as unable to follow the social chats at my table tennis match tonight. I gave up with asking people to tell me what was being said because I couldn't follow what they were saying. So in the end I chatted to few friends on MSN on my mobile. The table tennis people might think I am not being sociable, but they can think what they like. What else do they expect me to do? Be more frustrated and then start getting upset? - I've tried to join in and I can't!! I cannot follow what they were saying, so let me do something that I CAN do. However, when I played my table tennis games, I played well. I had thought about pulling out of the table tennis team next season due to communication problems and the inability to communicate with them. But then again I am playing well and enjoy my games. Difficult decision!

Monday, 30 March 2009

Monday 30th March 2009 - Joy and frustration

This morning as I entered the lift to go up to the floor where I work in our 12 storey building, I met one of the Deaf guys who work 2 floors above me that I knew. I met him before around the building and we chat in BSL as we are both professionals and profoundly deaf with the same background of deafness. He wore 2 hearing aids same as me before I got my cochlear implant. Anyway I was shocked to discover that he now ALSO has a cochlear implant. He only had his for one month. So now we are meeting up at lunchtimes to compare notes as our CI experience will be exactly the same as we are both profoundly deaf from birth. I am NOT alone now at my work as there is now TWO of us :-)

However it was a bit of a shock this morning going into my office as when I arrived, a group of colleagues started talking when I walked in and after a whole weekend of being able to communicate fluently in groups, suddenley I wasn't able to. I felt mad with my implant for not enabling me to be part of this group discussion in my office when my interpreter wasn't there as it sounded like as though they were all talking in foreign language that I cannot follow and the sound of it irritated me because I could not access it and I was too frustrated to ask what was being said. I waited until my interpreter arrived and then joined in. My boss realised and then started to make sure I was included and helped me catch up. He understood my experience completely. The implant works great for environment sounds, music and for one to one providing I can lip-read..but background noise and in groups of hearing people talking when I haven't got interpreter it doesn't work at all there, so therefore I find it very difficult to socialise in the hearing world unless I have a sign language interpreter there, or the hearing people I am with are deaf aware or can sign and aware of the benefits and limitations of the cochlear implant and includes me in.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Sunday 29th March 2009 - Centre Parc Cochlear Implant bike ride

After a late start and a cooked breakfast and a great chat, a group of us set off for mountain biking through Sherwood Forest Centre Parc. We went and collected the hired bikes and then went to the Country Club for lunch and a drink. We realised that the 6 of us with implants in our group that 5 of us were implanted last year (myself included). Four of us have the Nucleus Freedom implants by Cochlear (myself included) and two in our group have the Advanced Bionics Harmony implants. We also realised that three of us have implant on our right hand side and we are all right handed whilst the other three have implants on their left side and are left handed.
After lunch we had a great time on the mountain bikes for a very rough and bumpy ride through the forest. There was a few steep dips that were unexpected that some of us screamed down at speed :-) and the photo on the left shows a pic of me going down one of these jumps!!!

In the evening I then had to take the train back down South to London from Newark and boy what an interesting journey as the train was mega fast. It just sped through Peterborough and the countryside between there and London and it leaned on the corners, but it was a very smooth ride.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Saturday 28th March 2009 - Centre Parcs - FANTASTIC DAY!!

This morning after a great cooked breakfast and numerous times of trying to stop the fire alarm from going off, we attended some interesting stalls at the Conference. Phonak were there so I was able to tell my friends about the new Phonak Nadia hearing aid. Connevans were also there, and I showed my friends the FM system that I have which is recommended with cochlear implants. Also Cochlear were there and they are the manufacturers of my cochlear implant and so it was really good to see all the accessories that comes with it. I have most of it but it was good to see the other colours, and I also got some freebies with that including a boomerang, ball, pen. I also got a t-shirt. They also had the electrode on display with the internal magnet that I have inside my head... I couldnt believe how long it was. See the photograph above.

In the afternoon we had some interesting talks by the Ear Foundation, a representative from Cochlear and also one of the surgeons from Nottingham who carried out the first child implant op for multi channel implant 20 years ago and then the mother of this child and this child himself spoke now as an adult. They talked about the past, where cochlear implants and the Ear Foundation have been and how they have developed and where they are now and where they are going in the future.

After the talks a group of us all CI users born deaf implanted as adults and we all use BSL went and had a good time in the tropical fun swimming pool. One of my other friends came up from my CI centre and joined us for the whole day. The pool was great and we went on this massive flume where a max of four of us sit in this raft to go down the flume and we rocked it so hard whilst descending that we almost flipped it!! We also went down river rapids where we had to swim down a fast flowing river and the depth of it kept changing and the rapids. It was brilliant, and you go down more slides and waterfalls in this and end up dropping into more rapid river or a plunge pool!! We also went down two other water slides that you go down on your back.. one was so slow it was boring, so I prefer the other one which was faster. But you start descending the fast one in complete blackness before coming to the bits where there are colourful flashing lights. It was brilliant!! Then a group of us went and sat around in one of the spa pools and had great chat in BSL before getting out.

When we got out, we went back to the villa and had another great meal and lots of drink and a brilliant evening together and we chat chat and chat and talk about loads of stuff including our ci experiences and listening practice etc. The clocks went forward tonight and so as we were chatting so much oblivious to the time we realised that it was 4am by the time we went to bed!!

Friday, 27 March 2009

Friday 27th March 2009 - Centre Parcs here we come

Today was the big day and a day I had been looking forward to for a while. This is the start of the CI users weekend together in Centre Parcs. Six of us were renting a villa together.

I took the train up, so enroute from my house to the train station I went to audiology which is also where my CI centre is based. Reason why I went there today was to pick up a new Phonak Nadia hearing aid as they had ordered on my request a black and silver Phonak Nadia. That had arrived so I went to pick it up.

Then I got on the train for my 3 hour journey to Nottingham. At Nottingham two friends who were also implanted last year like me and have same background picked me up. We then went back to one of the friends house and then we set off from there.

When we got to centre parc we met another friend who is a CI user who we havent yet met but have chatted to loads on MSN and CIUG2004 users group. It was good to finally meet her. We unpacked our stuff and sorted the food and settled in. We had a lovely meal that evening and it was so good to be able to communicate and that we were all exactly the same with our CI experience and we are all born deaf and similar age. So we were able to support each other.

After our meal we went to the Talent show which was organised by the Ear Foundation. It was brilliant some of the talents that some of these CI implanted kids have. I was particularly impressed by the CI boy who I think was about 4 or 5 years old singing Mamma Mia with his older sister who was a few years older than him.

Afterwards we went back to the villa and had some more drink and chat.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Monday 9th March 2009 - Re-tune and one year review

I went back to the ci centre today for my tuning session and also my one year review. I also received a new hearing aid - the Phonak Nadia for my non implanted ear. The Phonak Nadia superseeds the Phonak Supero and the Nadia is the most powerful and most advanced digital hearing aid for people with profound hearing loss.

My up to date audiogram with my implant now is that I can now hear at 15dB across the board!! Also had tests with my speech and language therapist and I scored 68% with implant only and 64% with combined hearing aid in non implant ear and implant. My audiologist is very impressed. But....why can't those results show in everyday environments? I am so frustrated that I still cannot follow people's everyday speech and group situations with hearing people are IMPOSSIBLE and I am still completely reliant on BSL interpreters. However communication on a one to one basis has greatly improved and can only talk to my Mum and boss on my Blackberry :-)

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Wednesday 4th March 2009 - Grandma's funeral

I had a BSL interpreter at my Grandma's funeral, and at the end of it the Duke of Perth was played as my Grandma was very involved in Scottish dancing with my Grandad (who died in 1982). When they did Scottish dancing together they always did the last dance and now that they are back together again, my Mum and her brother thought it was appropriate. I was shocked when that music was played, it was very lively and I could hear it nice and loud and clear.

Also at the wake I discovered that one of my Aunts (my Mum's youngest brother's wife) was learning some BSL and I was really pleased to see that.