Ok… so like I said in my last post, tomorrow is my Activation for my Cochlear Implant. I have been told by people not to have any expectations, or I will be disappointed, or expect the worst, hope for the best.
First of all, I don’t think I can’t have any expectations for tomorrow, life is full of expectations. I expect that I will have more clients at work today, and the reality is, I most likely will. I expect that when I get home at some point I will go to sleep, this also, is true. I expected to have more pain from my surgery, this thankfully was not true. I expected my Deaf community would stick by me on my decision to get a CI, this for the most part, has held true. I expect that I will wake up tomorrow, I really hope this is true. Life is a game of expectations, and there is no way I can’t have any expectations, it is a natural part of living.
Now for expect the worst and hope for the best… I don’t know that I can do this either. what would expecting the worst actually be? This depends on who is talking… it could be a total failure of my implant, meaning there is no stimulation happening, it could be severe facial twitching, it could be pain… is this really what I want to expect? NO. I don’t want to expect I have gone through this surgery for pain, for facial twitching, for a complete and utter failure of the implant… I expect… I expect to hear SOMETHING.
Hoping for the best… would that mean hearing like a person with “normal” hearing? (this will NEVER happen, I am Deaf and proud of it). Would it mean understanding words right away? (I also doubt this will happen) Would it mean being able to tell the difference between shoe and Ice Cream? This would be nice, and something I can not do with my hearing aid.
So… what are my expectations for tomorrow? Honestly my expectations for this whole CI journey are very low, I have been told this by my audiologist, my friends who have CI’s, my parents, my family… but I have a low expectation for this whole journey, let alone “A-day”. My expectation for tomorrow… for things to be very confusing and overwhelming. I expect to hear something, and if that is just “beep beep beep” that will be fine. It means that my brain is getting auditory stimulation, which was the whole point of this surgery, of this journey, of sometimes feeling like I was betraying who I was… to get auditory stimulation. I expect I will be so overwhelmed I may want to, and perhaps cry, will they be tears of joy? maybe, or will they be tears of oh god… what did I do to myself? maybe. I have to remember something, no matter what happens, this journey will make me a stronger person.
I expect I will have to do a lot of auditory “rehabilitation” to get to a point that I can understand words, to understand the meanings coming from the implant. I hope that I won’t have to go in to actually do rehab, but that I can do it on my own, with tools like Sound and Way Beyond, The Listening Room, Bridge, listening to audio books and reading along with them, listening to presidential speeches and reading the transcription, the HOPE site From Cochlear, telephone with confidence program… and just every day listening.
I expect that although one big reason for me to get the CI was music, over the last few years music got to the point from where I was feeling it and hearing it, to where it was just a bunch of gobbledygook, noise that made no meaningful impression on me, where I was only feeling it (don’t get me wrong, I love the feel of music) I would just like to be able to understand it again… understand the melody, understand the meaning and feel the feeling behind it. I expect, at first it will still just be… gobbledygook… at first it will just be, annoying, but hopefully with some work, I will be able to understand it again, and enjoy it again. Cochlear (sorry if this is very heavily cochlear based, they make my CI and I’m not entirely sure what other manufacturers have to offer) offers something called Hope Notes, which is suppose to help me understand the differences between different instruments, different pitches and so forth. So this will be something I will be using a lot. I would love to be able to get to the point where I can know if my guitar is in tune or not, where I can play it and hear it, where I can… enjoy music.
But for tomorrow… what are my expectations… to hear something, to be annoyed, and… possibly be disheartened. I know this journey is far from over (I have promised my family that even if I don’t like it, I will keep wearing it on a regular basis for a year, so I know if I actually get any benefit from it) and it will be work, and I will be tired… but my journey has just started. I am not looking to be seen as hearing, honestly, I am very proud to be able to call myself Deaf, I love my Deaf community, and I don’t know what I would do without them… but there are so many things about my life that revolve in the hearing world vs the Deaf world… my job for one, and that is another reason why I got my CI. I hope that eventually I will be able to understand speech to the point I don’t have to lipread as much, and I hope it will help me at work. Particularly with my clients who do not move their lips, or have facial hair. Enough for now. Weds there will be an update, I know tomorrow I will be too tired.