When I have my cochlear implants on I can hear and understand a good majority of things, but when they are off I hear nothing. It’s true I had lost the majority of my hearing before I was implanted, but the surgeries removed what small level of hearing I had left. It’s just one of the very slight downsides to getting cochlear implants, no sweat. But what that means is that I am 100% deaf when I’m not wearing the earpieces, which is mainly when I’m sleeping and showering.
My kids understand this new reality and have adapted. If they wake in the middle of the night and need their mom, they use sign language. If that’s not sufficient, they get an earpiece and battery from my charger on the nightstand and hand it to me to put on.
And as you can see from the photo, when I’m in the shower and they want to tell me they are going outside to play with a neighbor, they leave a note under the bathroom door!
Kids who live with a deaf parent learn to be creative. My kids are so smart and resilient and I couldn’t be prouder!
I am learning ASL. S-l-o-w-l-y. It’s not easy learning a new language. It’s even harder when it is a visual language, and you are visually impaired. But, Helen Keller learned to finger spell (as well as countless others) so I am determined to continue with this. One itty-bitty step at a time. And I am hopeful that one day it will be useful. I don’t plan to need to carry on full conversations with it, but I do think it can be useful in communicating important messages to me those times when I cannot hear or recognize what is being said. There are times I’m not wearing my implant, like when I’m getting ready in the mornings, or settling down for the night. Say the battery dies while we are away from home, and I didn’t bring a backup. Also, there are times when the CI just doesn’t work well enough. Like when we are in crowded, noisy rooms, or when the dog insists on barking while we are trying to have a conversation.
All of that is to say that I believe this will be worth the enormous effort and time. It may take longer than I wish, but that is okay. I’m not going anywhere.
Oh! By the way, my 2nd CI surgery was rescheduled for May 8th. I will go next week for a urinalysis to be sure I’m clear of that nasty infection (which I think I am). I’m excited, but I’m not getting all hyped up like I did last time. Keeping my head out of the clouds.
One week following the surgery I am planning to participate in the SE Michigan Walk4Hearing. I don’t know if I’ll be able to walk the entire distance, but I’ll be there to try nonetheless. This walk is held to support the Hearing Loss Association of America and raise awareness about hearing loss. If you know someone who is affected by hearing loss (which you likely do), would you please consider donating to the cause? You can read more about it and donate at my Participant Page here: SE Michigan Walk4Hearing.
Aside from all of that, I am well. I hope you are too. It’s Friday! Enjoy the weekend!
I may be deaf and half-blind, but I am and will always be… still Mindy