Expectations, do I have any? Yes…

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.


8 thoughts on “Expectations, do I have any? Yes…

  1. oh, good luck for tomorrow. exciting times My activation day was 24th July too and I am going for my three year check on Thursday. So it’s a good time for me to look back on my activation. http://mogrenewed.wordpress.com/category/ci-activation-day/
    Like you I wasn’t expecting much. Unlike you I don’t sign so didn’t have that network to fall back on if it failed but frankly I was happy to put up with electronic noises for the rest of my life if it meant I could join in with life again. Anyway, turns out it worked just fine. Within a few days the electronic noises became more normal. Learning to hear and to recognise sounds takes longer but speech was pretty quick.

    So enjoy, and don’t worry about the facial stim bit, if it happens and it has done for me,then they turn that electrode down or off and distribute the frequencies around. The pain bit, I’ve never had pain in my head but when the volume is too loud it makes my teeth hurt. Hearing people will understand this sensation as the sound of fingernails running down a blackboard

    It’s exciting and the beginning of your new sound experience!


  2. then its a good day for it, you are doing really well with your CI, so hopefully the day gives me a boost! Its entirely normal to be not only excited but scared, nervous… and a little petrified right?

    • oh yes, entirely normal. Self preservation means we should be apprehensive about the unknown. Everyone’s experience is different> I’m sure your determination and intelligence will help you enormously

  3. It’s normal to have hopes and expectations – otherwise what’s the point of getting a CI at all? I hope tomorrow goes well for you and will be thinking of you. Looking forward to seeing the video! Whatever happens, your friends are here for you.

  4. First, I want to thank you for visiting my little site, DG (may I call you DG?). And the fact that you liked it gladdens me greatly. I know no other deaf people in my life, and haven’t for many, many years, so I’ve been a bit apprehensive about how other deaf folks would receive my deafness-centric strips. I think I can breathe a sigh of relief now. 🙂

    I have never at any point seriously contemplated getting a Cochlear Implant, and that’s probably because I get by on my hearing aid. Yes, I have just the one, and that’s just because I’m unable to wear an aid in my other ear. You could say that I’ve been hearing in “mono” all of my life. I wonder what “stereo” would be like!

    Anyway, I think your candour in all of this is quite refreshing. I like when people admit the feelings that they’re feeling, especially when they’re going through a big deal like this. Yes, it is a big deal, so how can you not have expectations? It can be hard to even so much as lower them so that they’re not an insurmountable hurdle when said expectations are not met. Yeah, I think I’d be feeling what you’re feeling too.

    Although I don’t know you, I do wish you all the best. Deafness is something you grow accustomed to, and it isn’t always fun, but hey… we are who we are. I applaud you and your journey. May you conquer everything, even when you fall. 🙂

    • I loved them! I just wish there were more that were deaf centered! would you mind If I re-blogged or linked to a few of them?
      If you get by with your aid, then stick with it! It took a lot for me to come to the decision I was going to get the CI, and there were times when I almost backed out. I am totally un-aidable now, even though I still wear a HA in my left ear, it is just to be able to feel the vibrations of speech, which is very important for me at work, to know if someone is talking.

      • Thank you! I’m glad you love them! I would include more strips about deafness, but I often find that coming up with creative ways to represent that in visual form can be quite challenging. I do plan to produce more of those deafness centered strips in the future though. It’s part of who I am, so there’s no way I couldn’t.

        And, yes, please feel free to link to them. I love having as many eyes on my work as possible. Hopefully others will get something out of them too! I get a lot out of writing and drawing them, that’s for certain! 😀

        Yeah, Cochlear Implants seem like a pretty huge deal. It’s certainly not something where you just walk in to a supermarket and buy one off the shelf. From what little I understand, there’s significantly more to it than that. I think that may be why I’ve stuck with my hearing aid, although having one aid makes things hard when I’m in a social gathering. I often get pounding headaches because I’m listening so intently, just to pick out one or two voices from the gaggle of voices and background noise. And, understandably, people soon tire of repeating themselves. Sometimes it’s easier just to go solo!

        Still, it’s not all bad. I can just switch off whenever there’s something I don’t want to hear. I admit that’s a little rude at times, but I’m sure I’ll get the hang of being a little more socially polite one of these days! 😛

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