The eyes are sooo important. I needed a contacts lens checkup and popped into my optician this morning. It’s Tricky Dicky Time. Today was a different experience with my new cochlear implant. (It’s still a baby, so it’s still new and exciting.)
I was annoyed with the horrible music they were playing in the shop – I had never noticed this before.
In the examination room, I picked up the loud hum of the air conditioning unit (I had never noticed this before either) and changed my cochlear implant setting to ClearVoice high, which cut out the hum. Now I could more clearly focus on the optician’s voice. She started talking and turning around so I told her I need to lipread. From then on, everything went swimmingly.
The equipment for the checkup is straight out of the control room in Star Trek. A huge pair of ‘glasses’ is swung from the wall to the front of my face and I fit my chin on the chin rest. I peep through the holes and I can see the optician’s face through one tiny round window, then the other. I am asked to say which letters I can see on the wall chart, then if green and red look the same on the wall, do the letters look sharper or not as she switches lenses.
Then we get to the ever-tricky part. She needs to look at the internal health of my eyes. To do this, she needs to switch off the light, and then I’m rendered unconscious incommunicado. During this checkup, I always find it tricky as I am unable to either hear the optician tell me what to do or to lipread instructions in the dark – ‘Look up’, ‘Look straight ahead’ etc. I have devised coping strategies for this. I always remind them of my need for visual clues and at the same time as giving me instructions, they will point when telling me where to look during the checkup. Luckily, there is just enough light to see their finger point the way.
Today, however, I discovered I could hear *and understand* what she said in the dark. It made the experience much easier, quicker, and less stressful. Another little step up the cochlear implant staircase of progress! Whoo Hoo!