Thursday, May 29, 2008

Recording Sounds

I had this post thought up but hadn't posted it yet, sorry about the delay!

So, I was on the bus and I was thinking. Somehow my wandering thoughts arrived at a question: "What do I most want to do before the surgery? Will I miss how things heard?" And this made me think of more questions: "Will I wish I had somehow recorded what sounds sounded like to me?" I will still have my left ear to hear sounds with, but still!

I started getting sentimental and felt really silly. But, it was like, "I am losing this ear forever!! Only an implant will make it work. And, the sounds I will hear could be vastly different."

I arrived at my boyfriend's house after getting off the bus. Taking advantage of the fact my boyfriend was talking to a friend that was there too, I whipped out a notebook from my backpack. Chewing on a pen, I pondered how to start.

How DO you describe sound???

Here's some notes from my notebook. These are my laughable attempts at capturing what things sound like, in words, so that I could "remember." I came to the conclusion this was IMPOSSIBLE to do, almost! I will just have to deal with the fact I might have to refer to my left ear to remember how some sounds used to hear and also to my limited auditory memory. And if I get an implant in that left ear, then the "old way of how things sounded" will be forever lost.

Another question this experiment made arise: Are there any things I would want to do before I get the implant??? I think this is the only thing I've really tried to do: record sounds as I hear it NOW and also this blog. I tried to set up a chart with 1 being LOW and 10 being HIGH, to better distinguish what sounds sound like.

Sighing: Just sounds like air

Plastic popcorn wrapper: Crinkle, even though I can't actually say it sounds like a "crinkle." I just know it does. It crinkles at every movement but is not insanely noticeable. It just is. Come to think of it, it may not be as loud as it ought to be???

Pen dropping on notepad: Satisfying sound. It sounds solid and reliable. It is enigmatic in that it's kind of a 6.

Microwave: Kind of annoying because it's like white noise but it isn't TERRIBLE white noise since I think I could grow to not mind it and even like it were it to be projected 24/7 whereas traffic is just NASTY. It's deep, about a 4 or 3.

Popcorn popping: The microwave is the predominant sound, not the kernels. The popping sounds pretty quiet, just like occasional higher bursts of sound.

Popcorn bag: Funny! It's got an odd sound. Maybe a 4.

Moving/shaking paper: It's not that loud. It's just a high pitch sound that changes in loudness with movement.

The Dilemma!.... Solved!

The more I read on the differences between the Nucleus Freedom and the Harmony, the more I truly realized that even though the professionals say, "It doesn't really matter which one you pick," that it does to me. It really really does, because not only am I trusting my ear to a company, but I am also trusting in the fact they'll continue to develop new technologies that will be fully compatible with my implant now, instead of introducing new implants that will leave me in the dust.

So, I frantically fired away a series of emails to the patient care coordinator, telling her I really wasn't sure and needed to see the processors again and discuss it with the audiologist. I promised it would only take 10 minutes if that was all they could spare. Jenny set me up for 3:30, cheerfully. I was thrilled- a same day appointment so that this didn't have to weigh on my mind and confuse me any further.

I had stated that one of my main desires is to be able to listen to music, and not have to deal with a bunch of wires and cables. I found out this morning (which led to some of my confusion over which company to choose) that the Nucleus Freedom allows you to open up the back of the processor (the thing that you wear on your ear) and simply plug in your iPod or music player. No swapping earhooks or whatever. But I wouldn't let that be the only factor, in my decision.

HOWEVER, the audiologist (Tina) explained how it would work with BOTH companies and some of the comments left on this post were REALLY helpful, because I had some idea of how things could work. I wrote down on the bright yellow pad, "I heard that you could hook an ipod up to the Harmony but still keep noise of the environment around or turn it on and off, so that I don't have to swap earhooks. Is this true??" Tina looked thoughtful for a moment and then said, "Absolutely. Yes. You actually just can direct connect the cord to the ipod" and showed me. It wasn't as complicated as it had sounded upon reading it.

So, given the fact I really dislike the Freedom's cord/headpiece, I happily kept in mind the many great recommendations and tips left on this topic by people eager to help and people that had very helpful and valid points. Thank you all!!!

I also rethought the fact about the MRI. I won't be getting many MRIs hopefully, but Tina and her intern VERY helpfully informed me that getting the magnet removed isn't a big surgery. They just cut through muscle and take it out, simple!

I feel so much better about this and have been able to completely answer all my questions as well as revise the post that was here earlier. I had been confused about which was "better." So all in all, the dilemma is... SOLVED!

I am getting an Advanced Bionics cochlear implant, the Harmony make and with a sienna-colored BTE (earpiece). It also turns out that they have a TON of caps and colors and they said for me to just remind them and they'll give me those!! So I'll be fashionable, haha. I think I'll be rocking the metallic blue cap most of the time though, as I just love the color blue.

Thanks again to everyone who helped! Also, I'm really getting excited. I picked up a copy of the book Rebuilt by Michael Clorost, and so far am almost done with the book. It is both intriguing and sad, but immensely helpful in realizing some of what to expect.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


From Wikipedia:

Some theorists cite such modifications as contact lenses, hearing aids, or intraocular lenses as examples of fitting humans with technology to enhance their biological capabilities; however, these modifications are no more cybernetic than would be a pen, a wooden leg, or the spears used by chimps to hunt vertebrates.[5] Cochlear implants that combine mechanical modification with any kind of feedback response are more accurately cyborg enhancements.

My take on it: I mentally went, "Yay!" and smiled when I read that those with an implant are "more accurately cyborgs." I've always liked having something unique, and this is definitely unique.

What's interesting to me is that even though implants have been around for awhile, the notion of cyborgs still seems so "new" when applied to humans in today's modern world, even though many instances of "bionic" people have been found in Star Trek, comics (Iron Man), movies (Terminator, anyone?) and books dating as old as 1843 (Edgar Allan Poe, among some others).

Perhaps it is that nuance of meshing man and "machine" that seems so foreign. In this age where practically every white collar person seems to have a bluetooth, where a great majority of homes have their own wifi networks, and kids as young as 7 have their own cell phones, it is still a shock to the mind to think of combining two such different organisms.

My ear right now, despite its apparent deadness is nevertheless still pulsing with warm wet tissue and energy, expediting trillions of cells a day. My body, with its own intricate system and its rapid-fire neurons, could be seen to be a form of computer.

My body doesn't speak in zeros and ones, however.

The implant does. It is hard, strong, and designed to go for my whole life without having to rebuild itself constantly as my body does every minute. IT speaks in zeros and ones. It screams in high-speed binary, highly more supreme than my body has shown itself to be.

My ears- The ears that probably have not heard below 30db ever, the ears that I used to imagine were struggling to "wake up" its nerves in some contrived yet noble attempt to restart, those ears will not be the same again. And who is to thank? Many scientists, researchers, and coders.

Not only does it take doctors to fix me, but it takes programmers to dream up and stimulate the fragility of sound.

One line of code messed up, and I will hear only the high frequency hisses of the orange electric lights overhead.

I did computer programming for a short time, and in that short amount of time, I learned how much there was to getting a program to do something as simple as produce one line of input: "Hello."

How many lines of code does it take to transform my ears?

I don't know, but I do know it takes only one line of code to make me bionic.

The military has long envisioned a possibility of meshing machine with man, to make better, faster, more dangerous soldiers. But it is the regular civilians that are making these strides more often.

It is the infant that recognizes its mother's voice for the first time. It is the old grandfather that gets an implant and can finally hear more clearer than he has in years. It is the 20-somethings that saw the whole wide world open to them, only to be dismayed at the fact their own world was closing up to them slowly due to their hearing loss. It is the people that realized their ears just weren't cutting it for them. It is me finally deciding to see what an implant could do for me, at barely 19.

We are desperately envisioning a new standard for ourselves, even if they are "ordinary" standards. We long to hear music, wind, laughter, birds, words and in the process we become more than just organic matter. In a sense: more than "human." We adjust our programs to fit with our environment. They are real programs that can be wiped out to have newer, more innovative ones placed in them. We are constantly facing being "out of date."

When I get this implant, I face the fact I WILL become part-machine. My ears could be outdated, just like my laptop will probably be obsolete in a few years. But what's more likely is even if I become "outdated," my bionic ear will continue to work.

I know many people who still use Windows 2000, and it is "outdated" by now but they have found ways to update it and for them, it works. It gets what needs to be done, done. My friends and relatives' hearing may deteriorate with age or far too many rock concerts (for some of them!) but the chances are mine never will.

This is the greatest irony- that a profoundly deaf child may hear better than them one day.

This is a marvelous age- not the silver or gold age, but the titanium age. We digitally record shows, download music in minutes, and share movies from halfway around the world. When I was one, a cochlear implant would have looked strange. Today, it might get mistaken for a bluetooth or simply another electronic device.

I can buy an iPod and connect the music directly to myself.

The sound waves will go directly through my head in zeros and ones and I can't help but imagine colorful gold and blue currents happily reaching out at rapid-fire speeds to reach my brain, where my brain translates it all. (And not in zeros or ones, but in electrical currents.)

In actuality, there is no color. There is just pure information traveling at millions of bits a second.

I am electrical, and so are you. Our body sends currents, fires off neurons, travels up the brain stem, snakes up the spine, and all in all works as a marvelously programmed up-to-date machine.

The only difference is a part of my body will speak in zeros and ones. I will become a cyborg, unable to withstand heavy magnetic fields, but able to hear far much more than I have ever imagined. Yes, magnets will stick to my head. Yes, I can hear you but maybe I still won't understand what you're saying ever, still. Is it still worth it? I hope so.

I have always been a lover of sci-fi and an appreciator of robots. Now I get the chance to become part-machine.


I was browsing the forums at, which is the Advanced Bionics (a company that manufactures implants). Someone had mentioned this AWESOME site that has features I've been looking for FOREVER! Basically, you can listen to pairs of similar words as many times as you want to and then test yourself to see if you can distinguish the difference.

I listened to "very" and "ferry" and tested it out ten times. I got it correct ten times! It's really thrilling that I can do this with a hearing aid. I don't seem to have very good auditory memory, since I have to really rely on lipreading and don't really recognize my name, ever, when I hear it. I scored a 70% on speech comprehension WHEN GIVEN A CHOICE BETWEEN WORDS. But I find that when I'm encountered with the millions of possible words people use, not just two or even three, I can't seem to do it. But this at least gives me hope. It's a site that I can practice over and over with, because honestly, who would want to repeat the same few words for me over and over? :P I know people want to help but not everyone has time or the patience to do this, so this site is really a blessing. I added it to the "awesome sites" column. It's

I really am finding the forums a great help. It's truly nice to connect with people who can help out or give tips, even if my case is pretty untypical.

Oddly, I have a headache right now and all sounds were annoying me earlier, so I'm not sure if I'm just in a weird mood. So, currently I'm in my room, with the door shut, with some delicious cranberry juice. I might just take some aspirin and a nap and see if things look up later.

On another note, I'm afraid I'm boring my boyfriend (and emphasizing my difference, in the process!) by talking so frequently about the new sites I've found or the fact I can tell the difference between "wait" and "wet," when this is SUCH a "normal" thing to be able to do.... but as Neil Armstrong said,
"This is one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."

However, for me it's the OPPOSITE! It's one small step for mankind, since comprehending words really isn't that significant to people (until they lose their ability to do it, of course), but it's one BIG step for me. I look forward to more "big steps."

I really can't wait now, whereas in these previous months I had been largely ignoring it, fearing its possible impacts on me.

To use an analogy: I really can't keep myself in a dark room and pretend no light bulb exists. I KNEW all along the light bulb was looming right above me, patiently waiting to shine; I was just too afraid to flip the switch.

It seems that so much could go wrong- the light bulb DOESN'T turn on or it does emanate a light, only to be ridiculously dim, and you're made even more aware of what you're missing, instead of just dealing with that completely dark room that you dislike greatly but at least are used to. I'm still more nervous than excited.

"You're getting an implant?"

Invariably, I'm really finding myself totally preoccupied with thinking about how surgery is SO soon and how activation is such a long way away, but yet still SO soon. I mean, I am probably more fortunate than most since the process went SO fast. I think a great deal of it has to do with the fact that the whole mindset seemed to be, "You'll of course profit from it, given that you were recommended a cochlear implant when you were a baby and you're still profoundly deaf." I think the last part wasn't a big surprise to any of us, hehe.

So there wasn't really any debate on its profitability to me, no waiting list, and the insurance got accepted happily quick, all of which I am still amazed by and still thanking my lucky stars for. They just asked for my audiograms and then got me scheduled for the appointments (which were usually spaced far apart due to the limited office hours, much to my chagrin). That was pretty much it.

(For those of you who wondered when reading this, my parents didn't get me an implant when I was diagnosed deaf because they wished to give me the choice to choose and also wanted to wait and see if technology got better. They're both hearing although both are fluent in sign.)

I think the whole formal process kind of began either February or March. March definitely, for sure. I think February was just when I started REALLY pondering and researching it. I think I got some emails fired away to various centers for cochlear implants around here.

If only I had this blog back then! =) But I never really imagined the hills and valleys I would cross, back when I was pondering it. Even when I had decided to get it, I didn't really think I would become this introspective about the whole thing. It isn't too surprising, though, when you think about it. I really think that even if one tries to treat it all lightly, one is going to find out it isn't possible to simply let it and all of its implications go.

I remember walking back from my class (it was supposed to be a speech class but I fortuitously filled out the wrong form and got assigned for a HEARING class, in which they train me to listen to words. It never got past all the testing of my speech comprehension they did, since it's on a quarter-by-quarter basis because we're an research university)

--- So I was walking back towards my dorm, and I remember it being a sunny day, and my mood being more that of a very rainy day.
The entirety of my desire scared me. This put me in somewhat a bad mood. I was hearing my shoes hit the sidewalk, but REALLY thinking about how perhaps the sound I was getting wasn't enough.

Wasn't enough, wasn't enough, wasn't enough, my mind chimed repeatedly in time with my footsteps until I couldn't take it and grumpily thought, "SHUT UP. Let it go. Stop thinking about it!"

But only a few seconds later:
"Huh? They actually suggested I get a cochlear implant point-blank? And the fact they were so positive about its potential to really help me out? Okay, that surprises me. Have I ever been told in such positive terms how it really COULD help me? No, stop. Don't get your hopes up. Wait.... am I actually CONSIDERING this with total openness?"

Apparently, I was.

I didn't decide automatically or overnight. Although with the fact I've been deaf for 19 years, using a hearing aid sporadically my whole life, but going years without wearing one, until just recently, it definitely seemed out of left field to some of the people that know me. Or those who THOUGHT they knew me. Shock definitely was a reaction some people had when they were told I was getting one.

I think I've always subconsciously known I would get an implant or something of the sort, though.

Growing up fully deaf, I should have been in the deaf community. But I was always standing just outside the circle. I could step in it, but I never wanted to. It's not that I dislike sign. In fact, I sign fluently in SEE* but usually sign in PSE.*

I'm deaf, but I'm not Deaf. Deaf with a capital D suggests the entirety of the CULTURE- and perhaps the ACCEPTANCE of your deafness to such an extent that you can actually be in a culture that celebrates it as normal. There has been a controversy over whether or not deaf people should get implanted- if this "destroys" their culture.

I am never going to write about this topic unless specifically requested to, for it does not apply to me. I WILL happily discuss it, and I DO have opinions on it, however. It's not a sensitive topic at all so no worries.

For me, the fact I am "deaf"--- deaf so long and so dependent on sign language that it seems to most people that it ought to be so much a part of me that I belong to the culture--- never came into play.

I never had to wrestle with the issues of whether I was turning my back on "my deaf culture." I don't have a deaf identity, period.

Walking home that day, all that was on my mind was basically, "Do those implants still look as weird as I know them to? Because if not, I'm getting one."

Then the other side of me- the sensible side, not the vain one (wink, hehe)- loudly protested. "WAIT! You need to do research! You need to find out how much benefit it can offer! C'mon!"

So I researched. I sat up nights, googling different keywords.

Cochlear implant. Cochlear implant process. Cochlear implant deaf. Cochlear implant research. Cochlear implant companies. Cochlear implant cost. Cochlear implant insurance coverage. Cochlear implant benefits.... and so on.

But I am very certain that the research I did was probably not as extensive as some. It WAS a lot of research though. Just when I got one question answered, I thought of another and another!

I do know that the decision to get one was very simple (relatively speaking) for some people. For them it was, "I'm going deaf (or became deaf out of nowhere) and this surgery will help and is the only alternative for hearing again other than hearing aids. I'm getting it, period!"

Others may have agonized over it or waited awhile so they could figure out where they stood.

But once I had "done my research" and REALLY thought about it (but I did my thinking fast because I didn't want to lose any more time) it was kind of finally a time where everything converged.

In grade school, I couldn't have really voiced I wanted an implant. Is 7 too young to convince your parents you want one, since they decided I should be the one to choose? However, if I had REALLY wanted one in grade school, then I think my parents would have considered it with me.

But I never asked for one.

I think it was mainly the fact I was in exclusively-deaf classes in grade school and I never really had to think much about how the lack of communication would affect me. There were always times when sign was definitely woefully inadequate for me, especially as my vocabulary increased, and times I encountered people who didn't know sign at all. Also, in elementary school the students that had cochlear implants had bulky processors and very strange-looking cords/headpieces. So I never wanted that.

In junior high and high school, I simply didn't think of it as an option. I was doing well in high school with my friends and peers. It did get discouraging at times, but more and more people were learning sign or thought it was really great/fun to learn. I also had my trusty phone by that time, so paper/pen was almost rendered obsolete. I'd reach into my back pocket and take out my phone. (Provoking exclamations from the people standing nearby of "Cool phone! That's a Sidekick right?") I'd start typing whatever I wanted to say on it before offering it up for the eyes of the person it was intended for.

It would take them half a minute to process it in their mind, then they accepted it. Conversation would continue. It was slower than how it would have been, but it was conversation regardless.

But somehow, something snapped this year. I found myself more and more aware of how everything wasn't as "blue sky, flowers, and butterflies" as I had hoped. Ever since I got my hearing aid this year, my hearing aid has basically been inseparable from my ear. I have even gotten scratches and mini-rashes in my ear from wearing it so long, but haven't minded. It's a small price to pay for being able to hear cars, guitars, people talking, and even the toilet flushing!

Speaking of which, sometimes I pad to the bathroom at 2am, bleary-eyed, without my hearing aid. I flush the toilet. No sound comes. My brain doesn't trigger any mental alarm, but I do have a slight expectancy for sound to occur by now. So I feel a subtle unease at the silence.

It still seems to strange to me that sound is HAPPENING and I'm not hearing it. Sound waves are rising up and becoming lost in the nothingness. It's like that odd question, "Does a tree falling in the forest make a sound if nobody is around to hear it?" Does it? Of course it does- there's just nobody's ears around to swallow it up, to HEAR it, which is what gives sound MEANING and substance.

I don't want to miss any more of that sound. One of my mom's concerns was that I'd underestimate how much I could "take" the utter completeness of sound. She has heard of people who got implants and hated them because of how "LOUD" everything was. A lot of those people subsequently stopped using their implants. But to me, the thought seemed humorous, even foolish.

"Loud?" Yes, maybe it WILL drive me crazy at first but I am not going to give up after getting my skull drilled into, having a $70,000 operation after doing my research, and knowing just how much I WANT this.

Since I've been away at college, I don't think she's really gotten to see the total impact my hearing aid has on me. I really hope to show people that I AM committed to this. But ultimately, the only person I have to answer to is myself.

My failures are mine alone, and I am fully aware that while there are many amazing resources out there, that the vastness of the work that lies ahead of me is mine. It is ultimately down to my determination, my brain, my ear, and the computer that will lay nestled in my ear.

I think this is one of the MOST important things to keep in mind. We all know that it won't automatically work and that without continued lifetime work, it will not reach its fullest potential. But how exciting to know that we with cochlear implants have such a role in our own hearing.

Hopefully my brain doesn't reach some kind of threshold point in which it simply cannot "learn" anymore. This is my second BIGGEST fear, next to that it simply won't work better than a hearing aid!

We'll see. :)

(Signing Exact English)
(Pidgin sign, which is where you're still signing in English syntax but the rules are a bit looser and it all depends on who you're talking to. You can leave out some "little" words like "for" or "if" or "to" if you want to and still be understood.)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Regretfully, I accidentally didn't save an in-detail explanation of what happened at the "big" cochlear implant appointment. I will write it again, when I find out the date it occurred. This one was the first appointment my mom had gone to with me.

Also? I have ONLY ONE APPOINTMENT left before the actual surgery. I think it's really hitting me now! I'm pretty excited but also REALLY NERVOUS about the outcome. Right now I'm more nervous than excited. I just really do not want to be let down. I am seriously realizing how big this is now. I am getting a hole drilled IN MY HEAD. I will have this thing in my head my WHOLE LIFE, unless I get it removed.

The thing I fear the most (and still dread the most), aside from it being a total letdown, is the fact my beloved right ear, the one that has carried me through a lot of new sounds and music.... it will be destroyed and unable to hear using a hearing aid again. Even if better technology emerges, the chances are low that it'll be able to be used in my right ear. Please God, let this work. I know I've been going using only one ear with a hearing aid but this is NOT my ideal. It isn't enough.

I had wanted to get a new hearing aid mold made for my LEFT ear made before I decided if I wanted to go ahead with letting them operate on my right ear. That way, I would be able to see if I COULD live with using my left ear the rest of my life, with a hearing aid, if anything went wrong. But I'm not sure of the timeframe for how long it'd take a mold to be made.... yikes. I had an appointment made but missed it by 30 minutes due to getting on the wrong side of the street to catch the bus! I'll call the people that make the molds today and ask about how long shipping will take.

Haha, having articulated this finally, I am seriously afraid the surgeon will screw up or something. I had joked about marking my ear with "not this ear!" or "this ear!" But right now I'm pretty confident with the doctor's professionalism. He may come off as a bit cold at times, (I will have to write a post about this, by the way) but he HAS performed a LOT of surgeries. I forget the number but it's well over 100.

So, my next appointment is June 11th, which is the pre-op. I'm really disappointed that it's 2 weeks away. It seems soooo far! It'll be at 1pm till possibly 2pm. I'll meet the nurses then and meet with the surgeon for final rebriefings.They will tell me on the 11th what time to come on the 16th. All I know is I'm 3rd in that operating room.

Then my appointment to remove the stitches (pretty... I'll take pictures. Yech :P) is 6/24, which is 8 days after the surgery.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Pre-Surgery Vaccine

I just got an email from Jenny, the patient care coordinator. It was about getting a pneumococcal vaccine. Here is the email.

"I wanted to let you know that the doctors reccomend [sic] the Pneumococcal vaccine for all patients having a cochlear implant surgery. If you want to have the vaccine I can have it ordered and ready for you on day of preop. Its [sic] a completely preventative measure. We have never had a patient develop problems but this vaccine is completely recommended."

So what are my thoughts at this point? Basically, "What?! ANOTHER thing I need to think about?" I've been fortunate in that I've been able to really avoid having to think about it, as I'm sure is ridiculously obvious in my previous posts.

I couldn't help but laugh. I mean, is this really something else? They randomly (or so it seems) realize they forgot to mention I may want to get a shot as a precaution. I said yes, because the insurance is paying for it all anyway, and I looked up the shot. She said it was entirely optional.

Medicine-Net provided me the information I wanted. The vaccine is a shot designed to prevent pneumonia infection (which some of you may have figured out like I did, due to the name).

I figure, why say no if I can say yes? It's not really a big deal. I dislike shots as much as the next person. I am also sometimes suspicious of doctors' intentions in "recommending" extra procedures, especially if I may not need them.

But in this case, I think everyone that cares for me would want me to get this. "Better safe than sorry." And I concur.

So I guess before I get a hole drilled into my head, I get the proverbial cherry to top it off! Eh, shots aren't that big of a deal. What confuses me though is I thought I had already gotten this vaccine.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A month Away!

So I just realized, while walking across the street, that it's May 17th. A month (almost) from today, I'll have already had the surgery. So basically it's the 30-day countdown. But again, I'm not really wanting to think about it. I think right now the total sum of my thoughts regarding this surgery consist mainly of "If it doesn't work how I want it to, then it'll just be something inside my head that I can at least still use to hear."

Hehe, how's that for minimizing it? I don't want to expect too much. I don't want to expect too little, though, and I refuse to let my progress be defined by supposed "pre-set limitations" that are in place because of the fact I was born deaf.

Right now I'm seeing this (probably incredible) denial mindset. All I can really think of is the fact I have work and then the University District street fair which should be nice! It's a really hot day. I started this day early due to waking up at around 6am and not knowing what time it was (my phone is really a huge joke; it won't turn on at all), so I assumed I was late. I got ready in record time and went to work, 45 minutes early! So I went back home to retrieve my precious hearing aid, which I had forgotten in my mad rush.

But I had left my keys at work in my backpack since I was returning very soon anyway.... so I had to knock around til someone let me in, and then call the Resident Assistant on duty to let me in my room! Keep in mind it was about 7am, so she was really tired, as was my friend Kayleigh who I had to wake up to call the R.A.

It was pretty funny upon reflection- another classic "Tasha" moment.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Iron Man Movie Part 2

But I'll admit, I was still a bit plussed over kind of having to really look my "difference" in its face. Usually I can get away with not having to encounter anything that really makes me think too much about it. So, I guess the stress of having felt embarrassed in addition to the tension I've been feeling about the surgery kind of just all added up. Ian could tell something was wrong and he walked me to my dorm room and then asked what was wrong. It took me a moment to think of how to articulate it and then when I did; I just fell apart.

I do NOT cry about being deaf, but this time I did. To me, it's something that has been sort of positive, in a sense. I stand out more and people remember me easier, and as seeing I'm an outgoing person and love attention, it works for me. I also think that it can serve as a lesson to others- or so others have told me. I'm encouraging and even "inspiring." I really just view myself as ordinary, but if I inspire others or encourage them to keep going, then that's great! I believe each single one of us has something unique to ourselves (that we don't always recognize) that can help others.

I cried and ...I really didn't like it. I hate being so vulnerable or crying, ESPECIALLY if it's over a side of me that people rarely see. But Ian was great. He tucked me into bed and told me everything would be alright and that it all would look up in the morning, as well as other things.

I confessed to him, among other things, that I was afraid, because of the high uncertainty associated with this. There are no definite outcomes. You just do it, and basically hope for the best. But the conclusion I keep reaching is this: Despite everything, I really can't know so all I can do is DO it and then work my hardest during the training sessions. The only other option is to NOT do this. And that isn't an option to me anymore.

Iron Man Movie Part 1

So, Ian, Scott, and I saw Iron Man last night. We had to drive to downtown Seattle to the Cinerama, so I could see the movie too. (That theater rocks for being in Seattle and for having subtitles!!!) It is fortunately not far from my dorm. The way the subtitles work at the movie is they're backwards in a red script at the back of the theatre, in a little box. So, I have a black transparent reflector screen about 8 inches long. But to me, it felt painfully conspicious.

Sure, it wasn't a full theatre. Sure, nobody seemed to be staring. Sure, some people would think it was "cool."

But to me, it was another testament of my difference. It's the mere fact I can NEVER (and never is a painful word for someone who (hehe) never accepts "never") go to a theater without needing accommodations such as this. And it is very rare theatres have them, so I should be glad Seattle has one. I called another theater in Seattle and found out they only had subtitles for one movie, which WASN'T Iron Man. So I was thrilled when Cinerama said they had subtitles for Iron Man. I kept asking them to confirm that they really did have it for all the showings, not just one.

However, when it came time to buy my ticket, I asked for one, slid my debit card over, and then followed Ian and Scott. I finally poked Ian and mentioned I needed to get the "stupid screen." He was confused by my behavior, while I thought it was OBVIOUS I was embarrassed by having to ask for it, much less carry it, or adjust it in the theatre. He asked for it, and the ticket-seller gave me it, to which I proceeded to walk very fast to the theatre. It may sound silly but I just felt like a standing duck, and wanted to get into cover of darkness. It's making me laugh upon recall because it does sound silly, but it really sucked to me, at the time.

I was talking to Brian (my awesome uncle) on my phone in silent mode, during the previews, since I had been talking to him since before I entered the theatre. I started complaining a bit about how stupid I felt having the caption thing and he was saying HE would use it. I felt like he was trying to reassure me, even if it was partly true. After all, why use it if you can hear? I honestly cannot imagine how easy it would be to just sit down and HEAR and KNOW what people are saying.... that seems so amazing to me. What's even more out-there is that people take this for granted, since just about everyone can do this from an early age.

So, anyway, I didn't want to use the caption so I didn't use it for the first 10 minutes or so, and then I finally just sucked it up and used it. The movie was pretty good, although not AMAZING. The CG was incredible though and the main actor just STEALS the whole movie. He did insanely well. So overall it was a good experience. (See Part 2)