Today was the day my first cochlear implant was activated. I wasn’t sure how it would go, but I went in with an open mind, and I’m glad I did. Here are some of my first impressions:
1) Everyone sounds like chipmunks. So when they turned it on and started talking to me, I sat there, grinning like an idiot, trying not to giggle (I failed).
2) Natalie told me she loved me, and I told her I loved her too, and then I started to cry. This is what I was waiting for. I think a lot of times she speaks without sound when she talks to me, and in a very exaggerated way, so it’s going to take some learning on her part to remember to talk normally again. But thankfully, she is a smart girl and a very quick learner. I think as weird as it was for her when I went deaf, this is also a new kind of weird. So we’ll journey this weirdness together.
3) When they were setting the base volume level, they played a series of beeps. I had dried my tears from before, and this just got them going again. It’s been 11 months of having nothing sound real or normal, and those beeps, those sounds, they were beautiful. Beautifully real sounds.
4) On the drive home I could hear the beats to the music, and the road noise from the tires, and I just stared out the window. And again let the tears fall. I was struck with the simplicity and normalcy of sound. I believe I really had forgotten what I had lost. The memory of it, and then the reality of it being returned to me was just overwhelming. Simple sounds we all take for granted. The shuffling of papers, footsteps around me, my own husband’s voice. These are all things I took for granted, and they were taken from me. Yet for some reason only known to God, they are being returned to me. To say that I am grateful is a colossal understatement.
These past 11 months have been a journey, and today is the next step on that journey. I thought at first that it was a new journey, but I think that’s wrong. What I have been through has shaped me in ways I am still discovering, and it has made me who I am today. I am more patient, more courageous, more thoughtful of others. Stronger, yet tender-hearted.
Yet, still Mindy.