Saturday, 29 November 2008

A day after the operation

Hello World!

The Bionic Manda is here at last. I am relief to be back home now the hardest bit is over. I never thought I would have gone through this, but first I must tell you how its went.

The day of the operation:- I went in to the hospital an hour half early. This would give you a clue of how much I actually get any sleep which was actually none whatsoever. I was so scared and were walking around the room trying to find a way to get some sleep but the operation was playing on my mind. My flatmate, Simon, didn't even get any sleep and were all worried. We then left the house at 5.30am and we had to be at the hospital. We pretty much walked most of the way. We got there an hour later, showed to the bed at the ward then were waiting to find out when I would be going under.

I was supposed to be second on the list but the person who was to go first did not arrived on time and were not nil by mouth longer. I was nil by mouth since 7pm the night before. I could carry on eating or drinking til midnight if I want to but thought it would be wise not to eat or drink anything after 9pm

So I was first to go and they prep me up. By this time I was shaking like a leaf. I was so scared but I knew I would be in their safe hand. I went in at 8.45am and were out into the recovery room at 11.15am. The nurse woke me up half an hour later and i was telling her that I had a lovely dream about the Coldplay gig. She was laughing. A girl who has gone for cochlear implant and she dreamed about music. That might sound a bit odd to her, I guess.

Anyway, 5 mins later I was back in the ward and I was demanding for food, drinks everything. I was so dry I could drink out of the horse buckle. I wanted anything and everything. The doctor came by and told me how it went. It was perfect he says. Excellent news. He told me that I would get some dizzy spells and some bad taste in the mouth. Some people get this for a while and there was no knowing how long it would last. I had them in the first 4 hrs and after that I was fine. The taste disappeared and that was because I was eating and drinking so much. The more I eat the better it taste. For the dizzy spells, well what can I say....I had to ask for the nurse to help me walk to the little girl room as my balance were all over the place. The more I visited the better my balance would be. I would advice everyone to do this when they go for the operation. Keep your body active as much as possible.

This is me, happy to be out of the operation and very much proud of my new hair style! My friends and family all thought I looked quite trendy and very cheeky. I do what I do best is entertaining other people including the people in the ward and the nurses. I could not sit in my bed too long as I was not used to sitting in one place. That just to show you how active I am! Anyway the ward was very cold at night and I couldn't sleep at all. Well I have managed to get at least 3hrs sleep with a little help from my ipod using my other ear. It was the discomfort of my head being so heavy from the bandage and the pressure i feel in my ear. It feel like as if I was on the plane and the air pressure was so tight I had felt like blowing my nose to pop it but I would imagine it would hurt. I would avoid this if I were you. There is some kind of white noise that I hear inside my head and its very annoying. I don't normally get them . This is what we called it the tinnitus. It make ringing type of nosie. a bit like marigine without the flashing yellow light. Before the operation and whenever that I don't wear the hearing aids and I'm fully awake, I would get a little tinnitus. Only very quiet but not annoying. This is usually mean that the brain is looking for it feed. A feed to hear. Once I have put on the hearing aids it would disappeared. Without the device the tinnitus would get worse. I would imagine I will have this until my switch on date. I can't wait.

Reading this back, I must admit that I am glad to be home before my birthday. Glad to have it all over and done with. Glad to know that I have many friends who have been very supportive. Thank you guys. My phone haven't stopped buzzing during my stay!

For those who are curious about the size of the scar or how much hair I have lost... well... it was massive! They have shaved everything! I am kidding! Nah its only small. They have shaved a little just behind the ear and the scar is around the same length at my ear. Just think of it, 8 years ago people had their operation and they had lost half their hair and now, its quite small. I'm really pleased!

To Simon, my flatmate, thanks for being there for me all the way and sorry if I have worn you out for being worried. Now thats over, we can begin the journey of the Bionic World. Here I come!

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

A Day before the ops

This is it, guys. 

Its a day before the operation and I'm freaky scared.  People have been so unbelievable supportive.  I never seen anything like this before.  I have thought I would be going through this on my own and I've end up having all my friends, new, old, family and close friends, all gathering up just to be with me. Its amazing. 

Mam finally made peace with me about a week ago. I am so glad about that. I didn't want to regret anything that was being said or done before the ops.  Just let it go and move on.  Tomoz is the day that my life will change.  I will be letting her know whats happening throughout my stay at the hospital. 

This month have been amazing. I have been to Perth in Aus to see my father, Ian as I called him, spent some time relaxing, laughing around. Didn't have a care in the world. Came back feeling like a new woman ready to battle with everyday life and  went to visited my old friends in Blackpool to catch up with them. When I have told them the news about having the implant, they were so excited that they want to see the result.  
I even got to see my lovely nephew, Jim Jam, my brother and his girlfriend, Shelly. (Thanks you for your support.) Jim jam has deffo took everything off my mind. He is quite a character and I am looking forward to hear him to say some  new words.

Meanwhile, I have made new friends, Katie and her boyfriend, Richard and Abi through the Ciug Group for people who have or thinking about getting Cochlear implant. These lovely people came over to my place over the weekend to celebrate my birthday even though my birthday is on the 29th November. Due to the fact that the operation is 2 days before my birthday, I might as well have it a week before.    The time went by so fast and I have enjoyed every minutes being with them. How they make me laugh, cried and most important is ..... .....its being supportive.   Thank you for being there.

Right now, sitting here at my desk,  I am getting some kind of flashback. A flashback from when i was a little girl.  Just starting primary school in a public main school with a small unit for the deaf.  I remember having to wear a massive box that sit by my chest with wires to go into my ears. It was not an ordinary hearing aids that we know of today but the box I had to wear... I made every efforts to hide them, covering it with thick jumper and make me look like i had a pillow underneath it. The funny bit was the fact it was during the spring/summer time.  I guess I was so ashamed of it. I was just a little girl. Just wanted to be an ordinary looking girl. The years goes by and thankfully the box have disappeared. I was able to wear the hearing aids behind the ears hiding them with my long hair.    I still do this and will probably carry on for the rest of my life.  People tell me to have my hair up and show them.  I couldn't do it.  I just happen to think that the ears shape are not very attractive to look at.  

I remember when I used my deafness to get what I wanted.  For example, I went to see Scissor Sisters concert and I had a ticket  with seat that goes way back, way from the stage. Unable to make out what was happening or what the singer was singing. I was thinking how much the ticket actually cost me just to enjoy something that i can't make out what was happening.  I decided to do something about it. I saw the staff and explained that I am "deaf"  (I quoted deaf coz its the only way people understand, but I define myself "hard of hearing") . I said to him "I am deaf and I can't hear what is going on. I need to lipsread them to follow".  so what did the staff do?   He let me go right at the front row just by the vip area. :)   I was able to follow everything that was being said. It was awesome.    

Looking back, I think I have done well with what I have used with my hearing aids.  Make the best  out  of it and trained the brain to listen whatever possible.  

The most important lesson is..............  Never give up. 

Sunday, 16 November 2008

A little more

A little more of this and that... a guide to when things going tough.... no I'm not talking about Boyzone's song When get going gets tough     Mind you its a good sample song to uplift your spirit but please..... this song is cheesy!   

When things are tough and your almost coming to end of the waiting list from getting the cochlear implant....   You will deffo need your family and friends to help to distract you as much as possible.  Thinking about it all the time will just drive you insane.  24/7  thinking what will happen, will anything go wrong? and many questions that will stay in the head until  you just have to say to yourself....... "get a grip"      

Now that I am over this phrase I think I will be fine......     tell me if I am not or better.. just slap my face lol

I have recently joined (actually September 2008)  the group called yahoo ciug   which its like email the forum about the helps and supports about cochlear implant who have been through the similar experiences.  This is great way to meet new people who I have never came across anyone like me before. Growing up with hearings aid, speaks but never use signs language.     I was a bit surprised that there are so many.     

I have yet to meet these people from the group which I will be meeting them in Manchester next Saturday and they are all staying at my place......   I think I need to get lot of vibrating alarm clocks do i?    

When things get going tough and you need someone who could snap you out of it, get your close friend to do the slapping.  lol  I am joking.    The best thing you can do is talk to someone let it out of your system.  You may not be sleeping well and you are constantly worry..... you are  gonna  make yourself ill and will not be fit for the ops...  you won't want to wait another month do you?    so go on, make yourself a nice proper meal, bake cakes, play games, go out and  visit family, do crazy things as you can.... and before you know it......... its time.  A new start!  

so come on.... let party.  

Friday, 7 November 2008

Time is going so fast

The time is going so fast that I can not believe it. Its almost time for the operation!   Yea, its in three weeks time. 27th November 2008. I don't think I will ever forget the date for the rest of my life because its so close to my birthday. yea 2 days before my birthday.  geez  Happy birthday Manda!  Enjoy your hangover lol  Geez thanks doc!  Not that I'm gonna complain but at least I would be able to have my switch on before new year eve (I hope)  I wanna start my new year with a bang.  Learning to hear and building up my business at the same time ... who is going to stop me?  Noone!  This is me feeling a little confidence now as I have been away to Perth, Aus.  Believe me, I needed that kind of break away from everyone.  Not quite everyone but maybe my family who wasn't really supportive to me and break me down to tears that I needed to talk to someone advising me what to do even though noone know the real answer.  

Me mam is just stubborn who won't open her eyes to see the way I am seeing. I didn't want cochlear implant a year ago  but I startled to meet people who have one and quite often noone believe them that they have the implant coz their speech were so good. This what make me curious.  Keen to have good speech and with patience people would respect you like any other person.  I have suffered from bully but after a while I have told these people that I needed support to get through school to help me what I was missing out.  Sooner or later, the bully stopped.  They just need some little education to understand why someone like me with hearing loss may not pronounce properly or even get extra support.  Funny enough, I remember these people became my friends!    Show you how much I stand up for myself!

Me mam did well to bought me up learning to speak properly, have manner, polite and give respect for others and most important is to stand up for myself. I have many respect for her but there are time when she doesn't listen what I have to said and why I am doing this.  She believes that I am too good for cochlear implant and hate the fact that I would be drill into my head to sort some parts inside to enable to hear better than before. I understand she is just scared and I hope she will come round once she understands its for the best. 

 I would have wait for stem cells to become available.  The time is just not ready yet. They are still working on animals but not yet test on humans then they have to go through the head offices to get approved. I know because I have a friend who studying/working in the science part.  

Anyway,  I feel disappointed that me mam is not going to support me through this process.  Thinking about this just making me angry, sad and alone. I may not be alone but alone away from family and I'm going through a very big step of my life.  A life changing for the better. 

I dunno how my brother feels about it but he got a lot on his plate so I won't want to bother him. Ian, my father, is over in down under so he would reading this (hello and  Thanks for the holiday) Mam is in Scotland who is trying to sell her house to move down to England so she could have a life with her friends she knows for 20 years or so.  I do wish her to be happy. She should be proud what she has done for me and my brother. 

So the operation is coming so soon....... I am nervous about the operation because I am not so good with hospital at all. seeing blood or needles.. thats me running away. sissy I know for someone who like to watch horror movies! I am excited about the switch on. Its the new start of my life and thats what I am looking forward to.

Even if I go to the operation on my own, I guess I will come out stronger..  In my family  we always say this" Glasspell are never weak"

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

How do we hear?

Earlier today I was chatting to this lovely young lady who had her implant six months ago and she was asking about what is the difference between the high and low frequency. I thought it was very interesting as i knew the difference of the sound from flute, volin, to the bass sound. although some hearing aids do compressed the sound to reach to our level so we could hear what most hearing people were talking about. For me things I have never hear sound are like frog in high pitch, crickets anywhere around these sound area. if there are any more sound around these high pitch, please let me know so i could check it out for the first time!

Anyway, as I was saying... its all depend on the memory whether we heard sound before we lost our hearing and how long ago. if a person were born deaf then there is no memory of sound does that person have a good chance to hear anything with the implant? you would said no. but to be honest with you, there are loads of people who have been born deaf with no memory have been implanted. They never heard sound until they have their implant. its amazing. I often wonder how much they hear with the implant. Its still a mysterious.

This young lady, I then gave her this link to see the sample of what sound would look like as well hearing it. This is a great sample where we can test of what we can hear. Please go ahead and check it out. The link is if you are hard of hearing and need caption.. remember to click on the symbol that produce caption for you to follow.

You can even get to play around with the sound too. just don't annoyed people who still have their hearing with the high pitch. Just because you can't hear the high pitch doesn't mean it won't bother anyone else! lol you have been warned!

To me i can't hear over 8hz it just sound dull or silent to me. I often wonder what sound from everyday life would produce anything with this high frequency. if you know any, please let me know. I know guitar do it.
the sound of everyday look like this

Table 2. Average Intensities of Everyday Sounds

Sound                    dB Level              My point of view
hearing threshol      0               dunno the meaning of this?
breathing           10 who would want to hear darth vadar?
rustling leaves 20 don't hear this
whispering 25 don't hear this either
library 30 library? just sound of footsteps and book falling off the shelves and lot of "shush"

refrigerator 45 my guess is humming?
average home 50 same as hearing threshold?
normal conversation 60 depend on the tone of the voices
clothes dryer 60 it make a hum noise in low frequency
washing machine 65 does it vibrate like mine does? lol
car 70 can hear the start up engine but won't know the difference if there is something wrong with it
vacuum cleaner 70 very annoying blow dryer sound
busy traffic 75 does drown out the conversation
noisy restaurant 80 also drown out the conversation
outboard motor 80 loud
inside car in city traffic 85 can hear oncoming traffic while in the car as it pass.
electric shaver 85 this goes back to 198 something I've watched pop using it. can't remember how it sound
screaming child 90 want to shut it up as soon as it scream. hurt my head
passing motorcycle 90 love the sound of a bike
convertible ride on freeway 95 noisy whistle noise to me as well wind
table saw 95 sound like scratching
hand drill 100 whirring sound
tractor 100 same as engine to me more of a hiss in between i think
diesel truck 100 dunno the difference
circular saw 100 machine whir?
jackhammer 100 a hammer? bang bang mind your thumb
gas engine mower 105 loud and very annoying
helicopter 105 if it come while i am talking to you, i pick up this over your voice no matter what
chain saw 110 not heard it yet
amplified rock concert 90–130 double echo to me distort and all that. just feel the vibration and would be fine
shout into ear at 20 cm 120 sorry can't hear you mate have to lipsread
car horn 120 was told i jumped while driving so i must have heard it.
siren 120 three different sound to this. also drown out conversation
threshold of pain 120–140 depend on the tone of the voices
gunshot 140 not heard it in real life. will movie count? nope ok
jet engine 140 hurt my ear. no hearing aids during this point
12-gauge shotgun 165 same as gunshot
rocket launching 180 should be loud right? lol
loudest audible tone 194 if it a women ... she would be silent to me.

I hope this help a great deal to people who are interested in how some deaf people hear in everyday sound but remember everyone are different. I have my hearing stable since 1983 so I have learnt to use what i got and learn new sound as much as possible. If I have never heard it before, don't act so surprised, we are willing to find out the sound as soon you tell us what it is.