Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Misconceptions, misunderstandings, and implants, oh my!

Warning: This post is really vague at best and doesn't really cover anything in specific.

I feel a bit lonely, as though I was delegated to some other world. I feel like everything lately has been a bit too repetitive. I hate mentioning the implant to people anymore, because I feel like I'm talking about it too much.

But how do I NOT? And those people SHOULD understand right? I don't know. I feel like maybe I should just keep my mouth shut and my thoughts to just this journal. I feel like I'm just scrubbing in the same corner over and over with a worn-out toothbrush.

That is to say, I feel like I'm wearing others out and possibly myself as a result. Not just with the CI but as a person, which sounds really odd to say.

I'm still excited about the implant and it still seems like SO long away to wait, and I am counting down the days.... and trying not to, because it only makes me realize I have over a week left! (But no longer 2 weeks!! :D)

Forgive me if this sounds excessively negative.

I'm trying not to get discouraged. It seems that me being deaf and getting an implant is a lot different than someone losing their hearing and getting it. Nobody, for one, would argue against THAT, now would they? I find it odd.

I was talking to a friend, Beth, from elementary school that I haven't talked to for awhile. She's hard of hearing but speaks well and can understand speech. She's been in contact with one of my best friends, who I've mentioned is deaf as well. I told Beth during a lull in conversation that I was getting a CI. I thought she would react as, "WHAT? Seriously?!" but all she said was "Really? That's awesome." Just as calm as calm could be. I thought she would have some kind of opinion on it.

I was surprised and told her so. She said, "Well I can hear so I understand why." She then asked me what I would gain from it that I wouldn't gain from a hearing aid.

I can't answer that completely right now, since you don't always know what you WILL gain from it. It can all really be a bit relative.

I told her that the doctors at least have said that I will be able to hear the sound "shh" which is a BIG improvement because I can't hear that sound, ever, right now, with a hearing aid.

She congratulated me and asked the perennial question I've been getting a lot: "Are you nervous?" I said, "Of course."

I'm just a bit sad because aside from my boyfriend, (who I feel like I am probably boring as well, at this point too) and my always-enthusiastic grandma, Beth is the only one in my life who has accepted it so easily.

There's people at school that I've told, who have been excited and thought it was great, but they aren't close to me and I think they think it'll fix "everything." Either way, those who aren't "in" it, are all for it.

My best friend seems weirded out by it. She loves me and supports me no matter what I do, but I can sense she doesn't understand it. She doesn't understand my deep affinity and should I say, need for hearing. She doesn't know what it is like to wake up to your alarm crowing crazily like a demented rooster, to hear someone you love's warm tone towards you, someone tapping their pen in an otherwise quiet lecture hall, or any of the many sounds I hear everyday. She probably HAS considered an implant, but I suspect she's discarded the concept as useless and inapplicable to her.

My mom.... she has said she supports me in whatever I do, and I genuinely believe her words in that regard. But my mom is more worried that I'll be let down that I don't think she's really been able to look it all in the face and balance it out equally. It's odd because she's usually an optimistic person but she's really treading carefully on this.

My dad.... this is the weirdest case. Anytime I mention it, he seems to get selective hearing. He tunes me out completely. The other day, we were walking down the street in an epic hunt for delicious Indian food, and I mentioned excitedly I was getting an ipod touch. He asked where from, and I told him ebay. Then he asked, "What do you need an ipod for?"

This was right after I had told him the Ipod was compatible with CIs!

Ouch. Some of the people in my life SERIOUSLY need to come to terms with the fact I am NOT just humoring myself and playing some ridiculous fraudulent game of "I can hear!"

I CAN hear.

I CAN hear with my hearing aid, and I CAN hear ipods even now. I just don't get the melody and if I don't use a hearing aid a lot of the musical quality gets lost. This will hopefully change for the better too, after the implant.

I just don't get it. And I'm really feeling a bit discouraged. I want to tune out the world, but at the same time, I really NEED people. It's been really odd.

It is laughable that someone who was born deaf has to encounter such opposition, whereas I imagine people who went deaf later in life receive little to no opposition. Am I wrong?

Maybe they're all just worried for me. Or maybe they're worried this will shatter their perceptions of me. Perhaps I'm overanalyzing this but maybe in my parents' case, this implant, if successful, will indirectly make them feel as though they made the wrong choice after all. I don't bemoan them this and would never ever suggest that, because who I am today is largely due to this.

The only way to find out about things like this is to talk to the people directly! So I might do that and see why they've been carrying such odd attitudes towards this.

In general, it's really important to be clear with everyone on the benefits it CAN offer but also to be realistic about it. What I don't like is feeling like I HAVE to justify myself lately. Why should anybody have to justify wanting to hear better?


Abbie said...

There is so many degrees of deafness and it is impossible to have someone understand what we are going through. My mom was supporting me but she got physically sick at the thought of me doing this to myself but she didn't tell me that until after the fact. A lot of people were more nervous about the surgery then the outcome. My entire outlook was trying not to attach a high level of success with it, it was the fact that anything that I heard was more then what I was hearing.

If you are worried that when they activate you, you will hear nothing. No need to fret, they make sure the implant is working before they close you up and you will hear something. It might not be normal but its something.

David said...

Abbie is so right about degrees of deafness. When I lost my hearing, Ihad zero, nothing, nada. A jet plane in my room would go unnoticed. Also in surgery the audiologist comes in room and fires up the cochlear with his/her lap top to ensure 16 slectrodes all fire up. This is done before you get stapled back up. No worries.
You will be in a "luminal" space soon.