Sunday, September 30, 2012

Practice, Patience, Persistence, Prayer.......

This morning I have come up with a new mantra.....the 4 P's for my new hearing journey.....practice, patience, persistence and prayer. I will repeat this in my head over and over. I've got to do this.....I know I CAN.
I asked my Mom to post an update on my facebook on the date of my activation because I knew my family and friends were waiting for an update and I did not want to leave anyone hanging. I wasn't ready to talk or write that day. My emotions were raw. The depths of my emotions that day brought me to an unimaginable place. A place I didn't want to be.
I will describe the "turn on" of my ear the best way I can. My audiologist went through all 24 electrodes in my cochlea on the computer first before turning my ear on. Each electrode is a different pitch/frequency. I had to tell her when each beep was comfortable or loud and she would go lower. She had to get to the threshold level to make it as comfortable as possible for me when my ear was turned on. I had 8 people in the family....Todd, my children, my Mom, my Dad and his wife. The pressure I put on myself was tremendous. I realize now it was too great. I had the pressure of not only my expectations but my worry of my family's expectations of when it was turned on. I went in there with high expectations. Too high. I thought I would go in there and voila, I would hear sounds like I do with my hearing aids but with greater enhancement and clarity. I did not go in there thinking it was a process. That was my fault. I was hugely disappointed. I wanted to hear voices. I wanted to hear the knock on the desk. But every sound was a beep or brain "surge". My audiologist told me this is a process. This is not what I will hear later. The brain has to adapt first. Each sound will sound like a beep and over time the brain will adapt to the sound and it will become a meaningful and clear sound. My cochlea has never been stimulated so it is stimulating my brain in a way that it never has. So that's why they have to start as low as possible and increase it with adjustments in the weeks and months to come. This is where I made my mistake.....I wanted it all the first day. Todd watched me closely.....he knows me so well. He told me later that he knew from my expressions on my face during the appointment that I would break down in the car. He was bracing for that. And sure enough, he was right. I got in my mom's car and had a meltdown. I was in a place I did not want to be. I was disappointed. I was sad. I was frightened. I was afraid this was all a mistake. The ride home was a long one. We pulled in my driveway and I had a second meltdown.  I was just feeling lost in my emotions. Todd, my Mom and Dad held me and comforted me. They enveloped me with their love. Over the next few hours, I was taking it off in 15-20 minute increments to allow my brain to adapt. I felt worse as the hours passed. The brain "surges" to each sound were too uncomfortable and intolerable.  I tried and tried. My stomach was hurting. I had a metallic taste in my mouth with each surge. My chest and face turned red. My body was tensed up because I was bracing for each surge. My anxiety level was through the roof. I tried to make out sounds but every sound whether it was high or low.....a paper dropping, a voice, a clap, silverware dropping was the same surge/electrical sound. I was increasingly getting frustrated. My gut feeling was telling me something was not right. I had it at the lowest setting and it should be at a comfortable level from what I was told. After much talk with my family, I decided not to wear it for the remainder of the weekend until I call on Monday to get in for another adjustment. I need to go as low as possible and work from there. I think maybe since my expectations were too high, I was asking for a level that was too much for my brain to handle. My Mom stayed with me until 11pm that night. She knows me and understands me so well. I needed her and she was with me. When she left, Todd and I stayed up until 1am just talking and exploring my feelings. He is my rock. I crashed in bed from all of the overstimulation that day. I woke up at 4am from a nightmare. I dreamed I was at my funeral of my old life. I woke up in a sweat and I was frightened. I didn't know what this meant and I was scared. I texted my oldest son, Chris in Texas later in the morning since no one was up. I told him about my dream. He told me it must have some meaning behind it......that it must have meant I was starting a new life. I was somewhat relieved and thinking maybe he is right. What a great insight from him. I reached out to my hearing speech teacher, Ann, from when I was young by email and told her my feelings and what I experienced the day before. She immediately responded and asked me to chat with her on instant message. I chatted with her for awhile. She told me I needed adjustments made and to call on Monday. She said to think of it like a wedding dress fitting. It will take several fittings to find the right "fit" for me. She told me to take a deep breath, relax, take it off my shoulders the rest of the weekend and start anew on Monday when I make the call. She told me she knows I can do this since she watched me learn under her wing from the time I was 2 years old. I got off the chat with her feeling relieved and somewhat better. But it also brought up emotions. Emotions of knowing I need to come to terms with my feelings, accepting that at the age of 44 I have to learn this as if I am a baby being introduced to sound and starting all over. I crawled into my bed, woke up Todd and had a good cry in his arms. He held me and comforted me. I spent the rest of the weekend trying to sort out my feelings, coming to terms with it and telling myself it's okay to have these feelings. I willingly received the support from my husband, my children, my parents, my teacher, and my best friend.  I prayed alot.....I know God is holding me up. He is strong for me when I am not. I know that prayers from everyone are lifting me up......I take great comfort in that. I can do this. I have to overcome my fear for tomorrow. I CAN do this and I WILL. "Practice, patience, persistence and prayer".......

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