My Cochlear Story Part 4

Hopefully this post will bring us up to date on my story.  Recovery has been hard.  Part of my hair was shaved off for the surgery (superficial I know, but part of the story…plus I have a picture for it :)), I had intense pain and fatigue for probably a month or so,  and I had terrible vertigo for awhile (though it rears its ugly head from time to time).  Perhaps the worst, hardest part of the recovery process has been the “loss” (for lack of a better word) of my tastebuds on half of my tongue.  At times it felt numb, and other (most) times I have a strong metallic taste in my mouth.

Have you ever licked a pole?  Put a penny in your mouth? If you answered yes, you know how I feel.  If you answered yes, I have to ask you…Why?!  Why would you lick a pole? Why put a penny in your mouth. That’s gross. 🙂 Seriously though, it’s like I am in a constant state of sucking on a penny.

Anyhow…back to the story.  As a self professed foodie it really sucks not being able to enjoy a fullness of flavors.  It seems as though my mouth is living in a manic depressive state.  Things are either really bland or they are over the top (with the metallic taste added in the mix for some adventure).  My doctor says it should come back, but I’ve heard/read that can take 6-8 months (and years for some people).  Two months down…how many more to go?  Prayers appreciated.

November 30, 2011:
I was (in Cochlear speak) activated.  It was, well, crazy.  Greg was there, as was my friend (and hearing aid audiologist) Carol.  My (cochlear) audiologist, Chris, hooked me up to the computer and “activated” me.  I was so pent up with emotion, when I heard the beeps and tones I broke down in very unladylike sobs.  They gave me Kleenex and let me compose myself and then she actually turned it on.

Yep.  You read that right.  I still had my hearing aid on, and I was informed by my husband after we left that she hadn’t activated me, I had heard the computer booting up through my hearing aid.  I was a little embarrassed.  You won’t be seeing that video on YouTube.

So after she actually turned me on (don’t get all dirty minded here people!) I did actually hear some beeps and tones.  I also had pain.  Inside my head.  Not pertaining to the surgery.  For whatever reason I was super sensitive to the sound, and Chris had to change the mapping WAY down.  Sorry I can’t explain this better, but basically, I hadn’t had nerve stimulation in so long that she had to turn the electrodes down to a bare minimum to allow my nerves time to adjust to sound coming in.  See, it’s like this:

On the far left you will notice the dB.  That’s the decibel level, or loudness.  Across the top are the Hertz, or the low to high frequencies.  125Hz is deep, base like tones.  8000Hz are super high pitched tones (like a whistle).  That banana you see is called the speech banana.  That is where most people hear.  She had to take my mapping down to like the 90 or 100 area (I’m not really sure since I didn’t ask.  It could have only been the 70 0r 80 for all I know).  We have been working over the last few months to bump it up to the 0-20 area.  We aren’t there yet and prayers would be appreciated.

As of my last appointment, I was in the 30-40 area with 15 electrodes on.  That might sound great, but since there are 22 electrodes on the implant, I’m missing some of what I could potentially benefit from.  I know this all sounds really confusing, but what it basically means is, it’s taking time.

As I stated in Parts 1 and 2, I truly believe I was supposed to have this surgery.  The path was paved too divinely for it to not have been God showing me this was His will.  It’s been a hard path.  It’s been painful.  But it’s also been beautiful.  I have a “fuller” sense of hearing now.  On my last visit to see Chris we tested my hearing, and my single word scores before the surgery were 28% and now they are 44%.  It’s been only 2 months and there is evidence of God’s grace!  Thank you Jesus!

When I went into this I asked Chris what the success rate was for people that had this surgery.  She didn’t have numbers.  She explained that each person is unique and have different measures of success.  For one woman, it was hearing her husband at dinner again.  For another man, it was hearing his granddaughter say, “I love you”.

As for me, well, success will be understanding my sons speaking to me from the backseat in the car.  I pray that the day comes, but even if it doesn’t, I know that God is great.  He knows the plans He has for me.  Plans to give me hope and a future.

Thanks for joining me on this crazy ride and I look forward to sharing more triumphs and  failures along the way!

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  • Lisa Mays

    This has been a beautiful story and one of my favorite posts so far.. Praying for you and your continued healing.
    Love you Shannon

  • ShannonQualls

    Thank you friend! Love you!