The countdown begins

31 01 2010

I have been given my Cyborg Day date: February 25. It’s finally starting to sink in that this is all real and it’s definitely going to happen. I’m going to have a computer put inside my head and I’m going to hear sounds I’ve never heard before. I’m going to be a real-life Bionic Woman.

So, what’s going to actually happen on Feb 25? I will be starving from fasting, so will probably be in a rotten mood – I hate going hungry. I’ll be in the operating theatre for about 3 hours. Once I’ve woken up, I’ll eat and drink as much as I can to get rid of the horrible taste in my mouth. I’ll go home on the same day and spend about two weeks recovering. My balance will be off and I’ll be concentrating on regaining my mental and physical strength as my body rids itself of the anaesthetic. Activation Day will be about six weeks after the operation, when they switch the CI on, and the hard work fun will begin.

Here is a captioned VIDEO OF A CI OPERATION – it’s 1 hour 22 mins long and not too gory. It’s a very informative video as the surgeon comments on the surgery and CIs throughout. Well worth a watch in my opinion. (After the jump, click on High Bandwidth under the video screen, it seems to play better. Click on CC for captions.)

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20 responses

31 01 2010
Andy

Hello again. So you are nearly there!
I have just been to Bristol for my assessment and I am waiting to hear if I am going to make the trip.

Keep on trucking. Brilliant writing about deafness!

31 01 2010
Bluesky

Although very against CIs, I’m following this with interest.

31 01 2010
Ian

Wow! Good luck and all the best for that. It must be quite a journey you are undertaking.

Wish I had the guts to go through with it as well.

Take care and keep blogging.

Cheers

ian

31 01 2010
funnyoldlife

@Andy – didn’t know you were considering a CI. Good luck and keep me updated! Have you been on the Hearing Journey site yet? They can help with any questions.

@Bluesky – I used to be very against CIs until I weighed up the pros and cons, and did my research. I’d be interested to hear your reasons for being against them – maybe yours are the same as mine?

@Ian – Guts? Not really. At least, it didn’t seem like a tough decision when I considered the alternative of not doing anything about my progressive hearing loss. I have yet to meet a person who regrets their CI and they are all doing better than I am with hearing aids. It will be a bit of a journey to get there though! 🙂

31 01 2010
Lissa

You can leave on the same day?? I was told if I went through it I would have to stay at least a day or two. I guess it might depend on the CI centre.

31 01 2010
Bluesky

I side with Ian with this one. I think it does take guts, because like any operation , it’s a risk and with a CI the journey is on-going.

My reasons for not opting for a CI appear to some lame. But to be fair we all react to life situations differently. Im still overcoming the trauma of losing my hearing to menieres the last 10 years. I also suffer from torturous tinnitus which changes ones personality overnight. I don’t believe a CI to be the solution for me because for one I don’t have any hair to cover it up.lol Im sure if I was a woman, I’d think differently..maybe I should have a sex change?? oh wait..I’d still be bald damn.

31 01 2010
funnyoldlife

@Lissa – The CI centres do seem to be a bit different. The London centre doesn’t seem to be very patient-centred. We get a leaflet instead of CI groups (like they do in Bristol and Manchester), no information is given to us by the audie, and we get kicked out as soon as we wake up. I guess it’s CI, conveyor-belt style.

@Bluesky – I think the risk is a balanced one (for me anyway), and I’m prepared to put in the hard work. But you’re right, we are all different and you’re coming from a different angle, you have more to lose than I do. I sympathise with the tinnitus, mine is also terrible and has got worse over the last few years. As for hiding a CI, do you wear a hearing aid at the moment? The CI I am getting is the same size as my last hearing aid, give or take a magnet, LOL. So I’m okay with that now. In fact, I am going to stick a metallic orange cover on the magnet – it looks really futuristic. If nothing else, it’ll match my new orange shoes!

1 02 2010
Bluesky

I do wear hearing aids. On watching the AB cochlear video, I can’t help wondering how bulky it looks and yes the magnet is a turn-off.

Does it come with a free wig?

1 02 2010
funnyoldlife

Haha. No wig provided, unfortunately. They are going to get smaller, and the one I am getting is smaller than my ear. I will post a photo of the dummy CI I have got, so you can see. Other CI users say they sometimes get people asking what it is, hearies think it is a bluetooth device, and this leads to interesting conversations. As Dan said, nobody said being deaf was going to be easy. I’ll wear just about anything to have good hearing. At the end of the day, who cares really? There are plenty of hearies wearing stupid-looking headphones (I’m talking about the monster ones) and bluetooth in-the-ear phones. I’m the one who will be able to function with a good ear at the end of the day, so they can stare all they like 🙂

1 02 2010
Ian

@Tina, I am a bit like Blue on this. No hair (to speak of) so it will look pretty(?!) obvious. Prove me wrong, lets find shots of men with no hair AND a CI.

7 02 2010
funnyoldlife

@Ian – see my post of 7 Feb for photo. I can give you Scott’s email if you’d like to ask him about his CI. I would figure, the best thing is to talk to people who have been through CI implantation, and wearing and using it, rather than sit and wonder about it. I suspect I will wish I had done this years ago. 🙂

1 02 2010
Ian

Just found this article about teenagers reaction to implants:

http://jdsde.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2007/05/28/deafed.enm018.full

Ian

1 02 2010
l1zblog

All the best on your operation. I look forward to hearing more later on how you get on. Take care

1 02 2010
Byron from Denver

Hello Tina and commenters,

I will get activated (turned on??) tomorrow. It will the the second most significant day in years, the first being operated on to implant the little computer and electrode array.

I will look forward to reading about your surgery. I didn’t quit know what to expect and it turned out very good….much better than many other people experienced.

Good luck with your surgery. I will be thinking of you on the 25th. I will post my activation event on my blog.

1 02 2010
Speakuplibrarian

Wow. You have your date. I will be thinking of you. Deciding for CI is a very personal decision – I wish you the very best.
Sarah

3 02 2010
Howard Samuels

Hi Bluesky and Ian,

I have two implants, and cut my hair short partly so that people WILL notice them, and hopefully start a conversation. You’d be amazed at how many people get very excited when you tell them about the technology, and what is possible. Of course, a CI on short hair is different from a CI on a bald head.

When I received my first CI, I didn’t know anybody else who had one. And I couldn’t see my own magnet in the mirror, so I never thought about it. When I first met some other CI users at a small function, seeing the magnets on their heads was slightly jarring, as I only realized at that point that others were able to see saw magnet.

I can’t put myself in your situation exactly (without shaving my head), but I try to imagine choosing between being able to hear and an occasional stare, or not being able to hear. I think I would choose to hear.

It isn’t uncommon for tinnitus to disappear when the implant is in use. My tinnitus returns immediately upon taking off the sound processors. And it’s loudest when I am on a long bike ride without the processors. Not everybody’s tinnitus disappears when they use their sound processors, but it is quite common.

5 02 2010
kim

How exciting! I wish you all the best!!

7 02 2010
mog

Hi, not long now for you. I stayed in one night with my CI, if I had been first on the list I would have been out the same day but would have had to go back the next day to get the drain out. Different techniques etc require different after care. I had no bad taste in my mouth, no loss of taste sensation, no balance problems, pain that could be managed. The worst part was not being able to wash my hair until the staples were out. oh and the staples were itchy.

I had my implant switched on juist over 3 weeks afterwards.

No one seems to notice my C even though it’s bright red. I often wish they would notice it though as it would remind them that I am hard of hearing.

I had mine done 7 months ago and it was well worth it. I went to the opera today- at the cinema, and understood the interviews without subtitles.

All the best to you

7 02 2010
funnyoldlife

@Kim – thanks!

@Mog – that’s interesting how no one notices your bright red CI. Do you have long hair and cover it up? Can you pull it back? It’s great to hear you had no trouble after the operation and you’re getting great results. Fabulous!

9 02 2010
Willie

Great news Tina, hope all goes well on the 25th.

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