Thursday, 23 December 2010

CI is for life, not just for Christmas.

Two months on, life as a cyborg is good, but I've had moments when I felt my CI behaved like a jelly tot stuck to my head.

A CI is for life, you cannot ask for a receipt and take it back to Toys' r 'us for a refund. Nope, you end up a computer, and a walking computer at that. It's a big step up from your old fuddy duddy hearing aid. When you’ve out used the manky aid, then it's truly time to consider making that leap of faith to cyborg world.

Cyborg world consists of maps, rehab, maps and more rehab. You've also got to have a sense of humour, cause they will be moments when you’re thinking your progress has stalled and you've gone from a hare to a tortoise.

The last week, my CI has been a pain in the butt. First up, speech got harder to understand then, whenever I cranked up the volume I got distortion. With IDR 80, music is good, but for speech the jury was out on that.

Thankfully, I was able to arrange an emergency appointment yesterday at the CI centre for a tune up. I am now on more volume and also have one slot on CV medium IDR70 100% T-Mic. I’m trying CV again cause I found noisy places a nightmare and struggled to understand speech. The audie, ran some tests and concluded I am hearing very well, especially in the high pitches.

I still have my music program at IDR80 and a program for the loop. As it happened, I listened to music via my mobile and loop on the way back from hospital,... it's good. Loop program is set at IDR 60 F120.
I can also use the loop program for making calls, but need to get a blue tooth loop for that.

My mobile is one of them Android phones, HTC Wildfire. I can hear well with it, in fact I spoke to two people last night and goes to show you that I am doing alright. I do find female voices easier to understand than males voices. In time though, I should be fine with both.

I’ve also discovered that when I dry my hair with a towel, my head starts buzzing on the implant side. It’s static building up, the hairs on me head stick up, a strange feeling I have to say. I have to allow the charge to decrease before putting on the processor, otherwise I’d be nuked. Lol

The old magnet is also prone to leaving my head whenever I go near anything metal. Imagine what a nightmare it would be if you’re a mechanic with a CI? Under the bonnet, the CI would end up stuck under an old Robin reliant. The CI is an occupational hazard, we cyborgs have to do a risk assessment wherever we go.

We also have a dry box which the processor goes in every night to suck out any moisture, it picks up on during the day. The dry box has special granules that need to go in the oven regularly to keep them yellow. So along with your pizza, garlic bread and the like, we chuck our granules in too. Lol

My tinnitus, which I found a nightmare to live with has gone in the implant ear. My ear has more useful things to listen to, so there’s no need to make up any noise. My other ear however does get it, cause it is not doing anything and I need a CI in that ear now.

But thanks to our good old NHS system we adults are only allowed one. Whereas, children can have two! That’s age discrimination period. I mean you wouldn’t say to a double amputee, you can only have one false leg and ask them to hobble about on that would you?? the world is bonkers.

Having half a head of hearing is better than nowt mind. But with only one side hearing, you can’t always tell where sound is coming from. I have seen how hilarious this can be. In a shop I saw two deaf blokes. One bloke called for John who was in another aisle. John had one hearing aid, and could hear his name being called, but didn’t have a clue where his mate was. He started moving his head left to right and then went round in circles as he desperately tried to work out where his mate was calling from. Lol I am a cruel bastard ain’t I? Tee hee

Some cyborgs try going bimodal, that is wearing an aid in the other ear. Depending on how much you hear in that ear, determines the outcome. For me, it was a no brainer, the CI out performs my aid in every aspect. It’s like trying to compare apples and oranges, the aid stands no chance if you hear shite out of it.

So give me another CI any day. I’d bite your hand off for it!

Happy Christmas.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

A focker moment.

Well its been two weeks since you’ve heard a peep out of me. I bet you’re dying to know how I’m getting on.

Well fourth week, saw me back at Emmeline centre for more rehab and maps. My IDR has been increased to 80 now. So F120 IDR 80 on two slots with one being louder, gives me the full modus. 3rd Slot is for the blue toothy loop I tried out there. With a lower IDR 50 to cut out buzzing and 70/30 ratio it worked quite well. Only quibble is the blue tooth loop cost a ton, someone’s taking the Michael if you ask me.

CV, which is an add on feature that some cyborgs love with F120 to help reduce background noise doesn’t bode with me. I guess I’m used to hearing everything via the old analogue aids and hated the transition over to digital aids as it was full of compression.

I hear more than I have done in years. I hear every environmental sound going so don’t even think about slipping me a sly one to test me out. I hear the slightest squeak on anything, even if it’s your dodgy knee. WD40 should use us cyborgs for their adverts, trust me they ought to.

I can’t get over how beautiful it is to hear bird song. I hear every bird going, even the one that is stuck indoors with Maurice. You can never tire of bird song, only tire of bird nag. Lol

With my increased IDR, speech is easier to understand. I’m already getting into the habit of not reading lips more and listening instead. I guess it can be a die hard habit to break, when you’ve been staring at rubber lips for years, and relying on subtitles when watching TV. My audie’s tip is to watch first half of a TV program without subtitles and then put subtitles back on to watch the rest of it.

Then into the fifth week, boom.. My brain had a major falling out with my CI. It stuck up an imaginary two fingers up to it and went into meltdown. No amount of how much I strained myself to hear, I was not getting it. Apparently it is normal for us cyborgs to have a fall, stumble every now and again. Cause, although hearing through a CI is awesome, it still requires rehab time. The mind has to gel with the CI, hang out at some bars etc getting to know one and another better.

There is one particular sound that still stops me in my tracks and makes me scream out WTF. It is hearing babies crying. The sound is feckin weird, and out of this world. Lol

Cyborgs with all our focker moments are here to stay, move over you geriatric hearing aid users.

Friday, 12 November 2010

ET phone home.

Well folks I’m on my 3rd week and today it was rehab time at the Emmeline centre.

I’m still on F120 program and although it rocks, environmental sounds need to quieten, thus allowing speech to come through clearer.

Anyway, I voiced my concerns to the rehab lady and she said CV ( Clear voice ) would be something to try. But my next map wasn’t till next week. So had a word in the audie’s ear and CV Medium is now on one of my programs. Also, I’m after a wider IDR but audie said I have to wait till next week for that.

So back to rehab.. First up was the old no lip reading session, talking about the weather and whatnot. I did well in this test.

Then looking at the phone on the table, she looked at me and said ‘Are you ready for this?’ What the phone…wow 3rd week and I’m being put on the phone already!

She explained she was gonna go into a cupboard and make a call. I thought shall I lock her in the cupboard, that would be real funny to see. Tee hee

So I waited for the phone to ring ‘Brrring..Brrring..’ I answered it and heard her voice. She talked about the weather and I heard her with ease. Then she talked about more random stuff like music, again I heard, only getting stuck on one word.

I sat there in daze, trying to take in what just happened. For ten long years, I’d had to get by on type talk. But today here was I taking my first call with lady who squeezed herself in a cupboard. I’m thinking this is a miracle right. This computer chip in my head is working its magic, and empowering me to the hearing world again.

Awesome beyond words this. Later on that day I call my daughter and we have a conversation. Again, I’m left speechless.

And today, I call up someone who is a total stranger to me and I get most of the conversation.

My fellow cyborgs have been telling me all along to take it slow. To be forgiving and allow the process unravel as it sees fit. Well, I can only say my mind is so hungry after lying dormant for so long. It is like being let out of a dark prison and is taking in this wonderful gift like a child is to candy.

What I hear over the phone sounds normal abet a little quiet. A little distant, so my mind has to go into the zone and pick it up. I tend to crank up the volume on the processor to equip me with the tools to make life easier.

Some tool eh? that helps me reconnect to people. No longer do I have to talk to sheep. No longer do I have to avoid people. I am walking talking and living it up big style.

Way to go, woo hoo..

Friday, 5 November 2010

Lets dance..

Woo hoooo Second week.

Lets kick off with some cool lyrics…

Let's dance
Let's dance

Let's dance, put on your red shoes and dance the blues
Let's dance, to the song they're playin' on the radio

Let's sway, while colour lights up your face
Let's sway, sway through the crowd to an empty space

Second map I’m on like F120, a formula 1 car, only it’s a pretty niffy software that comes with Advanced Bionics. It comes with better pitch perception, and let me tell you it rocks!!

As soon as the audie fired me up with F120, I was like wow, like opening a window and a whole rush of exciting sounds came to mind. ‘This is more like it’ I tell the audie. Let’s work with that. So, I’m on like 3 programs of F120 varying in loudness to see me through till next map in two weeks.

I was hearing a high whine in the audie’s room and it turned out to be the radiators. Next up, was a hearing test to see how much I were hearing . I had to like listen to the quietest sound, it could have been next door’s fart for all I cared and I pressed the button. The results were cool. 20db range, that’s like what a hearing person hears.

Then it was off for a rehab session to talk Jackanory. The lady was looking at me and was saying like why wasn’t I looking at her. It was cause I were listening through my CI, after all that’s what I’m here and not for subtitles. Anyway the test started up and they were like three words written down and without lip reading you complete the sentence. Like the cat went ……… ….. …… …… ……. . Overall, I did well in these tests and she was like saying I’ll put you on the phone next. Jeez, the phone! Imagine no more type talk and walking down the high street with the blackberry in me ear? Woo hooo. Wicked.

Dances to himself..

So how’s speech going? Well I got an audio CD to practise to. It’s about Aliens. Lol Started falling asleep listening to it, it were that boring. Still, I’m chillin with some music to keep it real.

Going back to my first week as a cyborg, I were hearing the highs a lot. That’s because the brain hasn’t heard them for 10 years and is like focusing on the highs instead. However, like now it is normalising. Donald duck has now left me for someone else and so my laugh is mine now. The dog barking is still a little high but nevertheless has come down a bit.

Bird song is wicked, love it after been out of it so long. Crisps packets and the like drive me nuts, I can’t for the life of me believe how noisy they are, so they are off the menu.

Another cool thing about this CI is how I can feel the wind blowing in my ears again. Something a HA wearer is never gonna appreciate until they make that leap of faith into cybernetics. My ears are breathing and healthy little wings again. Lol

Oh yeah, one another thing, when I go running I tend not to wear the CI and just use a HA in the other ear for environmental sounds. The difference in sound quality is startling. A CI is no match for the geriatric HA.

Let’s dance, for fear your grace should fall
Let’s dance, for fear tonight is all
Let’s sway, you could look into my eyes
Let’s sway, under the moonlight, this serious moonlight..

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Steady does it.

This cyborg business is a learning game. If one thinks one map is all that is needed and you’re off to Bollywood, then you’ll have another thing coming.

I had two days of feeling on an absolute high. My mind was spewing out gallons of it, that by day 3 I had a meltdown. I was so darn tired, the old tinnitus came in waves and that was my calling card to go back to chillin.

Cranking up the volume beyond 12 o’clock and I got the old gravel in the mixer sound. Too much too soon for the old mind to tackle, so I reined myself in again.

Day 4 was a little better, still the volume was low, but gotta live with it till next map Monday.
But I were hearing new sounds!! The door creaked as I opened it and it jumped right at me and I looked at it in amazement. You have to realise that sounds you first hear through the CI sound so new and although a lot can be recognised if you’ve have a good memory bank, there’s always plenty of surprises in store.

I took a walk round my hometown and like the funniest thing happened. As I passed a house , this bird flew right at me in full flight and stopped like six foot from my face and with it’s beak wide open, let out the sweetest chirp I ever heard. I froze to the spot and watched it as it flew on pass to join its family on a tv aerial. Again I heard more chirping. I had run out of tears by then, so I stood there laughing at them. I’m sure the curtains twitched and I’m guessing I’ll now be known as ‘The mad robot.’ lol

Also I heard police sirens from like miles away. Pretty cool if you’re a baddie and need time to plan your escape. Lol

By Day 5, my tinnitus had reduced to hardly anything. Since my mind now has more useful to things to hear, I figured the old tinnitus has been kicked into touch.

Day 6 and 7 were like hearing stuff but I’m needing more volume..that’s gonna come on Monday’s 2nd map. Also hearing the dog bark is well weird at the moment, sounds like it's on helium.

So end of week one and the one thing that rocks around the clock is music. My old CD’s that had lain gathering cobwebs during my deaf sentence are now been brought back to life and I’m loving it.

Roll on week 2!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Pass me a tissue.

Oh man..where do I start…

Switch on.. Well that day had come, the day of reckoning and such a momentous occasion. What a life changing moment that turned out to be so.

I was told to just expect beeps and whistles..nothing more. So I tried to prepare myself mentally for that, but there was no need in the end.

On firing up all electrodes, I heard them all. The best way I can describe it, was like being on an ocean floor and hearing the submarine going beep beep…sounds just like a submarine does I’m telling you. Then like, things got a little more interesting.

The audie said this is it, prepare for lift off. So I grabbed the sides of the chair, and braced myself for what was about to come. Beep beep beep came in rapid fire..then woohoo man. I heard the audie’s voice, through all these beeps. She spoke and I listened, and wow..I could hear her voice just like in the old days. I was in world of wonderment. Like a baby does when they hear sounds for the first time. When it came to me speaking it was like loud and deep..I sounded like that singer Barry White. Lol
But when I laughed, it was like what’s this? Donald Duck had morphed into me and that laugh belonged to Donald not I. I was hearing Donald laughing in me. So I spent a lot of time laughing with my new friend Donald.

The audie then did a little test with no lip-reading allowed to see how I was 1 hour from switch on. One hour and I’m doing a little exam already! Lol Well, I gave it my best shot..and my giddy aunt I got them all right, how bloody awesome is that??

I’m on Hi-Res S Prog 1 T-Mic, Prog 2 50/50 and Prog 3 30/70 t-coil I tried F120 and well I was doing so well with the former. My brain was thinking what’s this F120 all about? Too much information in so little time. So keep things simple for now. That’s my little tip for you guys..

Going out and hearing the world beyond four walls was a revelation. I could hear the chatter and background noise as people went about their business. Sitting in a canteen I could hear a ladies quiet conversation some 30 foot away. I listened in awe, this cyborg business is getting even more fun! Maybe I should get a job with M15. Lol

Opening a packet of crisps was weird along with hearing a child screaming. I’ll pass on those two for now me thinks.

I listened to music in the car and it was like coming home.

The sound was so sweet, the melody beautiful. I felt every fibre of my being fill with emotion as I listened.

That’s it, I could hold back no more..

Pass me a tissue.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010


Well I’ve been a pissed off dude and needed to bang some heads together. I’ve done that now and pleased to say I feel better.

My switch-on date is 25th October, the wait has been a ball breaker. I’ve still got a week and a half to go before the beeps and whistles kick in and brain screams out WTF. Well my fellow cyborgs have been telling me to chill.

I think it’s easy to lose the concept of chill. Some just don’t know how to chill, they might as well go in a fridge and really chill. Some have got it down to a fine art on chilling. I’m an in between man, I can chill when I feel the need to. There are lots of ways to chill, you can chill with drink, chill with music, chill with nicotine, chill with a man or woman or both if that’s your thing.

I can never understand the point of dinner parties if you’re deaf and everyone else is hearing. You go along as you feel obliged to, as it’s a distant family or work thing. So you mingle with these people, striking up a conversation to show that you’re making the effort you know. But the conversation inevitability steers to your hearing impairment. It often becomes the topic of conversation and sucks the life blood out of you. So you excuse yourself and check out the seating arrangements. Checking that you’re not sitting next to someone who has a moustache, or speaks with a lisp. Often you end up feeling like a lemon, as you struggle keep up with the flow of conversation, and end up out of the loop. That is not chilling, that is suffering.

Real chilling comes from within. Try doing some of that Dalai lama stuff with your legs crossed and go into the zone. It takes a little practise but soon works a treat. It's best to do it on your own like, at least until you've mastered it well. Don't attempt to get all smart arsed doing it in the middle of a board room meeting, if you do, you may well get the Alan Sugar finger.

I think Buddhism is cool, although I've never seen one with a CI though. Lol But with all the mind training they do, it is impressive how they can meditate for aeons of time. Also I like the way they change their thinking. I know a bit about this you see...tee hee I'm not short of a marble or two you see. It's like if I fill my head with doubt, then doubt will follow me. Like with a negative person, surrounding negativity will attract to that person. So I have to keep my head positive, with all those good vibes flowing through me. It's not exactly rocket science is it? try it, experiment, and do what works for you.

My switch-on is coming soon and I know, they will be days when I'll be hearing crap, and wish the bleeding the thing would work properly. Well you know, I have to remind myself it’s a tool to help me hear and although several steps up from a hearing aid it will take time. I have 12 mapping sessions to attend from switch-on till 28th January. To get the tuning right and cranked up as the brain ’gets it.' Kinda like tuning an engine till it runs like a baby. Well that’s it, I’m a baby learning to hear all over again via Advanced Bionics. I’m giving myself a time frame of 3 months of being a baby to becoming a fully fledged cyborg with my mojo in full swing.

Meanwhile it’s Dalai lama time.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Ah sweet...

I was back in Cambridge today for my 2 week post-op check.

First up was the X ray to check I hadn’t sneezed the implant out of my bum. X rays and implants are not a good mix. A bit like attempting to boil an egg in a microwave oven…psst have you tried that? Lol well, unless you want egg on your face don’t. tee hee

I told the lady at the reception desk, I had come for a x ray for my cochlear implant. No problem there..good. Soon the X ray man ushered me into the cook house. Again I said it is my CI your X raying, just so to protect my brain from ending up like scrambled eggs. No problem.. I had to face this white board with a cross on it. A red beam indicated my head was on target then
zap.. the picture was taken.

Soon as it began it was over. Then on to the Emmeline centre for the results and a quick chat with the nurse.

The nurse asked me the usual questions. Like ‘How you feeling, any problems?’ 'Nah, nothing a few beers can’t fix' I replied. ‘Still got your taste buds?’ she asked ‘Yeah, beer with fish and chips taste well nice' I said. She also checked in my ear‘ole and said all fine.

She then looked at the X ray as above. And beckoned me over to look at it. She zoomed in and showed me where the electrodes were. All sixteen are there, tucked up in the cochlear. I spotted one outside and she told me that was the earth one. So in the case of getting struck by lighting you are earthed . Wow, some reassurance that. Lol

She said it was perfect, with everything as it should be.

Ah, sweet that.

Thursday, 30 September 2010


Well I’m one week post op now and I’ll fill you in with what went on.

Coming round after op, was relatively straight forward. I could eat the hind legs off a donkey and not feel any pain what so ever. Moving around though was a different story. The surgeon said I’d feel a bit wobbly for a couple of days. Well, it was more than a couple of days, and it felt like someone had battered me one.

My brain soon sussed out something was amiss and started giving me verbal. I ignored it until into the fourth night, with the ear throbbing like it was on fire or something, I swallowed my first Nurofen plus to put it out of its misery.

Having a piece of metal in the head has been a weird feeling. I had that cross-eyed look that you’d get if someone knees you one in the nuts. Whenever I turned to my left, where the implant is, I'd get the sensation that my brain didn’t know its arm from its elbow…it was that odd.

Walking around, I’d feel like I had drunk the brewery out of business. I was getting annoyed because in town people kept walking into me, I needed space and lots of it. A couple of people approached me to talk about some survey, I just waved them off and headed into Starbucks instead.

A nice cup of tea and a sit down in a quiet corner was what I needed for awhile.

Getting by on one ear which is crap as it is, has been a blow. I’m just hearing junk noise and coupled with the wobbles, it’s not a great combination. I find myself going into my shell like sometimes.

Give me two good ears and I’d talk you into buying a whole lorry load of Jelly tots. This CI had better work, otherwise I’d really be up the creek without a paddle.

I want to hear like I could in the old days. The memory is there and with the hardware now installed, it’s just a question of the having the right software that resonates with my brain. The two need to gel in order for me to understand the ‘Comprendo.‘ I don’t want to be fiddling about with switches and the like. Just get the tune up right and I can get back to what I do best.

And that is living it up big style.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Feel the vibe..

Hey check out the signature on my head..

That is the workings of my CI surgeon. No more hearing aid for me in that ear, I am now part of the ever growing CI brotherhood and Jelly tot brigade.

I must have made an impression on the NHS, because they gave me a 5 star stay at a private hospital. With my own room along with all mod cons, Lenny Henry would have gone green with envy. They wasted no time working on me at all. My room was a hive of activity, nurses and surgeon all coming in to see the man who wanted to be the next Buzz Light year.

Staff nurse kept me on my toes, asking me all sorts of questions. From dentures to loose teeth, I had to do a double take and tell her that it’s my ear I wanted doing, not my mouth,.. just procedure she replied.

I was then asked to put on the dress and kinky socks. The problem with this dress is that every time you have a call of nature, you have to lift the dress up and sit like a girl would do, so that is sex discrimination if you ask me.

Sister nurse came in and said that I will going in the next thirty minutes. All kinds went through my mind then. I started pacing the room and getting hyped up to the tune of Rocky playing in my head. I did some ghost boxing and with that dress on, sure must have looked funny as hell.

Then the call comes, time to get into bed and let them wheel me down to theatre. Two guys hooked me up to a machine that had a huge syringe. A guy started pressing some buttons and the machine fired up. At this point one guy looked at me and said 'you Ok'? I felt my vision bounce, I knew what was coming so.. I just closed my eyes and went to sleep with a smile on my face.

Two hours later I am woken up to the sight of two nurses fussing over me. A huge bandage on my head and hey presto it’s been done!

Surgeon sees me and says the op was a success with full insertion of electrodes.

I looked at him and smiled.

Ain't life beautiful?

Sunday, 19 September 2010


Thursday 23rd is the big day for me, whereby I will become married to an implant for life I guess. I’ve spent so many months chasing this implant and now it is finally making it’s way to my head. I’m choosing Advanced Bionics Hi Res 90 for the implant and Harmony for the processor.

My left ear will be implanted, being the last ear to go tits up and so will be the first to get jump started. My right ear is just an environmental pick up which will serve me some purpose while I go nuts waiting for switch on day.

So any residual hearing I have in the left ear, will be terminated 23.9.2010. This is the trade off and swap shop for something potentially so bloody awesome that it’s like trading a Mini for a Ferrari.. a no brainer. All bells and whistles..only the thing won’t whistle. Can you imagine that? No feedback, no more me blowing in the tubes and spraying ear wax and condensation everywhere. I should frame my hearing aid and write an epitaph for it, donate it to Cambridge Emmeline Centre for all to see and have a chuckle as they undergo their CI assessment.

I won’t be sad to kiss it’s sorry ass to Timbuktu. It is an end of the hearing aid era for me, time to take that leap of faith into cybernetics.

I will go into theatre with a big smile on my face for I have more reasons to smile. (*wink, wink*) Lol The bit where they knock you out sparko is the bit I’m thinking about. People say it’s like having a nice sleep and waking up in someone else’s bed. Lol

Then it will probably feel like someone’s taken a Black ‘n’ Decker to my head. I will dose and triple dose myself up with pain meds. Don’t ask me to take part in Trivial Pursuit at this point thank you. I will look around and watch the nurses run around like headless chickens as they tend to some poor soul. I will look at myself in the mirror and let out a big scream that is reminiscent of psycho, because my head is likely to be wrapped around with bandages that would make one look like the elephant man. Don’t expect me to model for some top shelf magazine at this point okay.

So, I will probably be shuffling around like someone from Michael Jackson Thriller movie. It’s thriller night..oh baby, I’m gonna thrill you tonight. Lol

I’ve been told not to eat a single Jelly tot from 11am Thursday. So I’m gonna be so ravenous that I will want to eat a super size meal from good old Mac. But fellow cyborgs have shot that one down, saying you will need a straw mate.

Well fly me a wotsit instead.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

And the journey begins...

Well, I had some welcome news today. Down at the CI centre, I nervously sat along the corridor to await the outcome of my CI assessment. There were a couple of ladies waiting also.

Five minutes came and went. Seemed like an eternity. I stared into an abyss to calm the nerves. Then this peace was interrupted by a nurse who came up to the ladies and called my name. I have a man's name and there she was asking the ladies lol Anyway, I beckoned her over and said it's me you're looking for. She then went on to say, that the surgeon had to go somewhere. My heart sank and thought I would have to come back later.

Then she looked at me and beamed a big smile and said 'All good, you can have your CI.' Well I could have kissed her then. lol I asked her for an idea of when the operation would likely to be. She went away and came back saying two weeks...two weeks!!! Wow, that's quick I thought.
I've also been asked to come back again at end of this week to discuss the device, medical etc.

So that's the first part done and out the way.

The picture illustrates very well how I feel, because I have a monstrous battle ahead of me. My personal life is in complete disarray, I've got to move out..find another place to stay, get a job etc.

I don't do things by half eh? lol

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

What's up doc?

In case you’re wondering where I am with getting my CI and bag of Jelly Tots.

I’ve done all my tests and have been invited to see the Surgeon 7th September. All being well, I should pass my GCSE, and gain membership to become a fully fledged cyborg. It’s only one ear they‘ll be doing, but hey,.. Rome wasn’t built in a day was it?

I have found my journey pre-cyborg to be frustrating to say the least. My hearing has never been this bad and seems to remind me almost on a daily basis just how pathetic it is.

You saw from the post Boyakasha that I failed the no face listening test miserably. Whenever I’m out in the street and some tourist comes up to me and asks for directions etc. I just want to hide behind the nearest bush or collapse and play dead. Then Google earth can come along, film it and spread it worldwide online. One way to get famous I suppose.

I had a strange guy come up to me the other day, and asked me if he could borrow a petrol hedge trimmer. I looked at him and thought he was nuts, for I wasn’t cutting any hedges or anything and asked him to repeat several times. Each reply sounded the same, so I suggested he see my mental health doctor and offered him the telephone number. He gave me a funny look and went on to ask someone else instead. It was only, when I saw him again standing beside his broken down car, that I realised what he was really asking for.............a petrol can!!!!!!!! Duh.

It’s pretty annoying when that happens and if you are like me, you will head for the nearest pub to drown your sorrows. Lol

So, here I am, waiting and waiting for the surgeons verdict. Throughout my tests, I’ve been asking how things are looking and the feedback has been in my favour. They like to turn things around within 16 weeks, so when I see the surgeon I would have notched up 11 weeks.

In fact, I got so impatient recently that I emailed them a begging letter to see if it would help at all.

I’m afraid to say it just fell on deaf ears.

Friday, 6 August 2010

What's Bugging Seth

Anyone here in the UK, seen this film?

If you have the DVD, fancy a spot of swap shop?

Thursday, 29 July 2010

The Farm

Guy Takes the Bathtub Test for Mental Health.

During a visit to the mental asylum, Guy asked the Director what the criterion was that defined whether or not a patient should be institutionalized.

'Well,' said the Director, 'we fill up a bathtub, then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup, and a bucket to the patient and ask him or her to empty the bathtub.'
'Oh, I understand,' said Guy. 'A normal person would use the bucket because it's bigger than the spoon or teacup.
'No.' said the Director, 'A normal person would pull the plug. (Pause.)
... Guy, do you want a bed near the window?'

Someone who works in mental health, once said to me ‘I don’t how a deaf person is going to cope in the nuthouse, deaf awareness is not their forte.’

How true that is. I’ve had dealings with mental health practitioners, therapists and the like.

‘Get out the way son, you’re using my oxygen.'- McMurphy quote.

First one was with some sage for some therapy sessions. This sage obviously skipped his deaf awareness course and it was me who had to give him a crash course. But after like 10 minutes of us talking, he’d slip back into his bad old habits of mumbling. I thought who needs help here? I’m the one who needs my head sorted out and I’m getting another headache over the very things I’m trying to get away from!

He was like a broken record. His cheesy line was “You can’t change who you are, but you can change how you think.” Hell, this guy needed to get a job on the Jeremy Kyle Show or something..

I had to laugh, because after 8weeks of therapy, he started telling me all about his wife! LOL

Next up, was a meeting with a mental health practitioner, which turned out to be one of the funniest guys I’ve ever seen.

He looked me in the eye and sized me up. Then went on to ask me some bizarre questions.

‘What do you eat for breakfast?’ he asked

What do you think,..Cocaine with Shredded Wheat.’ I replied followed by manic laughter from both sides.

Next question ‘Do you have a roof?’ he said

I replied ‘My roof is thinning somewhat,' pointing to the top of my head.’ Again he rolls about laughing.

‘Do you hear voices in your head’ he went on.

‘No, I have tinnitus’ I said

‘What’s that?’ he asked

‘Well, if you squeeze someone’s acorns, then that will give you an idea.’ I said

This guy was off again, laughing and pulling out his hanky which resembled a table cloth to blow his horn.

I figured by now, I’d like to have his job. It sounds like a lot fun asking all these weird questions that you just wouldn’t dream of putting to David Cameron.

Then he pulled out this card with a bunch of numbers on and passed it to me. ‘If you get into a pickle, call up one of these numbers.’ he said.

On looking at these numbers, I looked at him and said ‘OK, so I call up the Samaritans via type talk and ask them to get me out of a pickle?’

‘OK, we have a problem here.’ he replied

He didn’t have a clue, so it was down to me to keep it together and not get into a lather.

Seriously, where do deaf go for help? NADP and LINK are as useful as a chocolate teapot. Depression and deafness goes hand in hand. For treatment of bad depression, then medical professionals are needed to be seen for some happy pills.Other than that, it is down to the company you keep that will either help you, or be of a hindrance to you.

I didn’t really know anyone who could relate to what I was going through. I got frustrated and even angry, whenever people tried to down play my problems. Even family members can be annoying as hell, as they try with all good intentions fix you up. Only people who'd been in my shoes really understood how it felt. And by chance, I knew a mate who was going through similar stuff as I was. We got together and chatted about it all, there was no need to hide anything like you would with others, who weren’t on the same wavelength. A little help from my friends does in some way ease the pain a bit.

I got that Beatles song going on now.

I get by with a little help from my friends,
I get high with a little help from my friends,
Going to try with a little help from my friends....

Wednesday, 21 July 2010


Aight ( Alright ) guys and girls. Me went to have a listening test today.

Was wicked man. Firstly, I had the medical, to check everything was in order. I still have my meat and potatoes so that’s the most important thing.

Next, was the listening test. I had to look at this TV, that looked like 50 years old. This guy appeared on the screen and I thought ‘Youse for real man?’ He looked something out of Jackanory. Man,.. I’m 41 years old, not 4!

Anyway, he starts moving his mouth, only there ain’t no sound. Jeez, I had to lip-read this guy and repeat, what I thought he said to me. This guy needed to go on a deaf awareness course, he weren’t not talking sense! My score on this was 27% , which the lady thinks was pretty good.

Next up was the same test, but with sound. Each ear was tested. I did wicked in these tests, scoring 70% in each ear.

Then things were to get a lot harder. I had to listen to sounds without no face. Each ear was tested separately before both ears were used together. It were well hard, I did so bad that I needed to go back to school. I got 0% in these tests! Straight up, I ain’t kidding you…0%. Does that mean I can get a job in McDonalds or something?

The lady says, I lip-read to live, man. Too right, I do. Everyday I look at rubber lips to keep it real, I'm dissing it big style. She says this CI will be like having a new baby, only without the contractions. A baby? me ain't having a baby. Oh shit, was this the maternal ward I was in?

Ha ha, had you there didn't I? Respect man..respect. Nope, this is where they fit you up big style. Ain't pulling no punches here.

Big up Yaself (Ali G speak)

Thursday, 15 July 2010

My momma always used to say..

Life's like a box of chocolates, you're never know what you're gonna get.

I love that phrase, and, use it often. I have a wry outlook on life. A lot more so, since the shit hit the fan. That fan stopped working a long time ago. I kinda got shit for brains, like scrabbled eggs. I kinda like scrabbled eggs. You can do so much with eggs. You fry it, poach it, beat it, boil it, scramble it, saute it, serve it with beans, tomatoes, burgers, salad and toast. That's about it.

I like the weather too, from rain with cloud, cloud with wind, wind with sun, we got it all. One time we got rain.. It rained for forty days and forty nights. Every kind of rain there is, we got. From little bitty stingin rain..and big ol'fat rain. Rain that flew in sideways. And sometimes rain even seemed to come straight up from underneath, I love rain.

The youngest of four, I was the black sheep. My momma had to explain things in a way I could understand. I was a kinda loner, with only a Canary for company. He was called George. George liked a bit of Golden Delicious on Fridays. One Saturday though, I spent all weekend talking to him about hearing aids. On Monday, he got the lurgy and died on the Tuesday. I buried him next to Mildred at the bottom of the garden.I never did eat apples again.

I hated school too. Every break-time, we were made to drink a bottle of milk, only that this milk had been left outside in the blazing sun all morning. It tasted like something dished up from Junior masterchef. I hated it that much, I'd lock myself in the loos every break-time from Monday to Friday. I went to a lot of schools,and, I'd get into a lot of fights. My momma used to say 'Sticks and Stones.....' I figured it better to use sticks and stones instead.

One time a big lump of lard called Fredrick, was playing a game called 'Hit the Joey' using stones, and, whatever you could get your hands on. I was asked to join in. We had to hide behind some trees, and, throw stones at each other hoping one will hit the Joey. Well, I hid behind this giant Redwood tree, it was the biggest tree there. Fat Fredrick was 20 yards away behind a puny Pine tree. I threw my 5 pounder stone,.. it missed the target by a yard. I popped my head round from behind the tree to see what Fredrick was doing. As I did so, this giant brick bounced off my head, and, wow I got hit. It didn't hurt at all, I looked at Fredrick and said 'You've hit the Joey!' That was the last memory I had. I wound up in the Matrons hospital, where this nurse who looked like Nanny Mcphee fixed me up. This is where I learnt the saying 'Stupid is as stupid does.'

I like girls too. There was this girl called Alison, who lived next door to me. Me and Alison went together like peas and carrots. One day, me and Alison decided to get married. So we invited the whole street to come along to the wedding. We were dressed up to the nines and had all our bridemaids and pageboys fitted up. We got married, and was about to go off on our honeymoon, when we ran into a problem. My older brothers got wind of what was happening, gatecrashed and called the whole thing off. The problem was, I were only 5 years old.

I was an energetic kid, lots of energy to burn. On the Fridays we had P.E . The hall was set up, ready for junior paralympics to start. Kitted out in all white, that R White lemonade should have used for their advert. I had to run up to this trampoline, bounce, do a somersault over this dead horse, and land on the mat in front, feet first. Only that, with my name being Joey, I ran full pelt and launched myself off the trampoline, somersaulted right over the dead horse, missing it by miles,..landing on the last 6inches of mat left. My arse hurt like hell,.. worst of all my hearing aids came off my ears whilst airborne and hung by their tubes for dear life. I had to figure out a way of fixing them to my head, so I stole some Blu-Tack from the art room and used that.

I was different, but my momma used to say 'Don't let anybody tell you, they're better than you. If God intended us all to be the same, he'd have given us all hearing aids.'

Like magic shoes Forrest wore, I had hearing aids instead . Now, if I told you that I could have the wind blowing in my ears again you'd think I had the lurgy or something. Well, the wind is coming, and, it's going to take me places I never dreamed possible.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Big D, little d, hoh, W or a T.

I find all this big D, little d thing amusing, if not annoying.

I have been on the receiving end of the D question on a number of occasions. And, it is funny how the Deaf community play it out. On the assumption that I can speak well, they are quick to tell their common fellows, that I'm really hearing or HOH. Whatever they say sticks like the proverbial does to a blanket.

Have you heard the one where a D, goes up to a comedian? Well, the D asks the comedian if he thinks the D is a little d or, infact, a big D. The comedian replies in timely fashion and says, 'No, you're a W instead.'

So the sorry saga continues...

Everyone is segregated like a Terry's chocolate orange, only that the chocolate tastes better. The D's are in the language of sign and fully absorbed into the Deaf community. The little d's, are the late deafened ones and ones who cannot hear for toffee, but can speak for toffee. The fact they can speak, gives them the prized 'd' title. Then you have the HOH, who are moderately deaf, but with hearing aids can understand speech.

Each to their own really, but we are all interconnected by default.

Hearing folk will banish us under one group and label it to whatever takes their fancy. I have been refered to as the 'Deaf and Dumb brigade' and 'The Simpletons' which as it happens I find funny. Being able to laugh at what gobshite comes out of their mouths keeps the tubes clear of condensation.

I think all these Terry's have their own unique personalities. An old mate of mine who happens to be a D, often popped round unannounced at any hour of the day or night to see me. One time I was in my room listening to Heavy Metal, with my own disco going on. Ringing the doorbell wasn't going to get my attention and I didn't have one of those flashing lights you can get down the social.

Anyway, the mate is banging on the door trying to get my attention to no avail. Now, most would just give up and go home, but him? no no, he had another trick under his sleeve. He managed to let himself in and made his way to my bedroom door and knocked. I heard this knock and thought it was coming from the stereo, so I went to check the stereo. Then, as I did I let out an almighty scream, that any opera singer would be dead proud of. This Terry was standing by the doorway, laughing his head off whilst a 101 things raced through my mind.

'You're a T' I shouted out.

Lip-reading me he replied:

'Mine's white with two sugars please'

Friday, 9 July 2010

Deaf? then no Chicken Masala for you.

True story...

One time, me and the missus was feeling peckish.

We'd fancied a indian takeaway. So we called up using trusty typetalk...

Operator has connected you...'Oh yes, please could we order some food?'

Indian guy says 'What?' are you for real?'

'Yes, Im for real and would like to order a number 22 and 14 please.'

Line suddenly goes quiet, but operator is still engaged with the Indian man.

Operator says 'I'm very sorry, the man was very rude and said deaf people don't like takeaways.'

'Im speechless for once..totally dumbstruck,' then blind anger kicks in a couple of seconds later.

'Thanks operator, I'll deal with this.'

So me and the missus jump in the car and hare down to the town centre like Starsky and Hutch with hearing aids whistling in tow.

We apprehend the guy at the takeway. He looks sheepish, turns and walks into the kitchen. Shouts followed with pots and pans flying.

The man returns a minute later. He says, 'Me very sorry, you order now and no pay ok?'

'Why did you say deaf peope don't like takeaways?' I ask.

' Indian man says ' Me say sorry, please order ok..please order.'

Some way to get a free takeway eh?

Deaf? then order your takeaway via typetalk and hope for the best. lol

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Yeah but, but, does it come with a bag of Jelly Tots?

Ive spent a lot of time procrastinating about cochlear implants. I didn't think cochlear implants were pretty, in fact I thought they looked pants. Actually they still look pants. lol
I was born with a pretty head and it's not the done deal to send myself off to Toy'r'us and return as Frankenstein. Hardly anyone has a CI these days?, I mean just take a trip to your local town with your friend and play a game of 'Spot the Cochlear'. You'd have a hard time seeing a magnet on someone's head, and if you do then that's a rare find.

For the women and hippy men can hide theirs under their hair bonnet. The rest of us, can only hide under the bonnet of a car. The cochlear would then stay there for it has a magnet. So remember don't go anywhere near a car or anything metal, if you are going to play hide and seek with the kids or from the cops.

Whenever I did see a cochlear, I'd scream out 'Holy Crap.. what happened to that guy?' Did he take part in Scrapheap Challenge and went too far this time? It looks like it was designed by a bunch of kids at Kindergarten. First prize for uglinesss and none for prettiness.

Whenever I was asked in the past to go for an implant, I'd give them a funny look as if to say 'Are you being serious here?' They were deadly serious, for I was deaf as a door knob. I was in denial and it wasn't my time to go Cyborg . I was maxing out on my turbo charged hearing aids instead.

Hearing aids have been a huge part of my life. In my ears for years, they'd become part of my essence. Lots of people have hearing aids. During my last trip to 'Spot the Cochlear' I spotted ten hearing aids users and just one Cochlear. So, hearing aids are abound and I felt part of the brotherhood..brotherhood of hearing aids.

Hearing aids are all very well if they do that, help you hear. But probe further and a whole can of worms will emerge. Whistling feedback is one of the most annoying things about them. For if you are a profound deaf user, you won't hear much of it, but everyone else will!!
I remember a time, when I did a site visit for some new clients. The new clients didn't know I was deaf and with us all stood outside chatting, they would excuse themselves because they could hear something.. so inside they went and after a few minutes checking the alarm etc, they'd come back outside. I figured it all out and mentioned that the sound they were hearing could actually be from my hearing aids! The look on their faces was priceless! LOL

Hearing aids also won't help with speech if you haven't got enough 'hair' cells in your cochlear. With mine being fried by menieres, I get distortion and squeaky voices instead that make no sense to me. I've had people yell at me, whenever I'd ask for them to repeat. Repeat as many times as they did, and it still sounded the same abet louder. You then start to fiddle about with the hearing aids, blowing into the tubes to clear any blockages. And change the battery, only to realise that it made no difference. In a fit of anger, you throw your hearing aid across the room, only for it to end up in a goldfish bowl and die an early death.

So what's the alternative? A cochlear that comes with a bag of Jelly Tots??

Cochlear users tell me, they are the mutt's nuts. They tell me they can hear a fart 50 paces away. They can hear the neighbours munching on their tortillas. They can hear like a normal person! Their speech recognition goes from 0 to 100 % in a matter of months. They fire their interpreter along with their mother, father and auntie Betty. They go on a mad spending spree and end up looking like Susan Boyle from Britain's got talent. They don't care, because Access to Work can pay for it. lol

They love their CI, caressing it every night singing a lullaby as they put it to sleep. They wear them like women carry Gucci bags, proud as hell. They order a takeaway with extra toppings over the phone, because hell they can hear again and it's been a long time coming.

And they actually get to hear the punchline of jokes!

I'll have one with a bag of Jelly Tots please.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Nightmare on 'deaf ' Street.

I found myself on deaf Street.

Being no longer able to hear over the phone, was the single biggest heartache for me to deal with. I was used to speaking over the phone at work as a site foreman. I needed my hearing to communicate effectively to my workers, clients and suppliers. With my ears now 'disabled' I simply delegated these duties to my colleagues. In more ways than one, I demoted myself...damn, menieres did that!

Conversation became far more challenging and uppermost in my mind. I had to learn to lip-read and fast. I took an instant dislike to watching peoples lips. My brain was having to work overtime, guessing what people were saying. I quickly lost interest in the daily banter that went on between colleagues and became Jonny no mates, who has moved to deaf Street.

I spent a good deal of time, trying all sorts of alternative therapies to reclaim my lost hearing. I went to an acupuncturist and had needles stuck all over my face and feet in order to stimulate the pathways to recuperation. I even tried one of them crackling candles that you put into your ears. All I got was an ear smelling of Jasmine.

I spent a fortune on all kinds of vitamins, taking them for months. Along with eating all the right foods to try and flush out evil menieres out of my system. But the damage was done and I was truly stuck on deaf Street.

Being deaf meant I had to find new ways of coping. The phone was ditched for Type talk. First time I ever used Type talk was hysterical. Speaking using VCO, I'd yell down the receiver saying 'Can you hhhhhhear mmmmmmmmme'?? and 'Are you receiving me, one two, two, over to you'. lol Type talk is Crap talk, just unbelievably frustrating.

Wearing two hearing aids, I'd get folk looking at me as if I was a simpleton. From going to shops to ordering food in restaurants, I'd get people exaggerating their mouth movements and speaking ever so sssssslowly so that I got the message. That message came across to me as ' You're deaf so you must be dumb'!

All these labels and misconceptions that come with deafness had me to-ing and fro-ing from hysterics to downright anger. Inwardly, I had to dig deep to keep it together. No one I spoke to really understood how it felt. I had lost a life and got a half life instead. Born deaf, couldn't make out what all the fuss was about. HOH folks just shrugged their shoulders and thought themselves fortunate not to be in the dungeons that profound loss catapults you to. Hearing just didn't have a clue, I couldn't expect them too really. So there I was, stuck between worlds and in one that even Freddy wouldn't touch!

Friday, 25 June 2010

You Spin Me Right Round, Baby Right Round...

If you're wondering what this has got to do with deafness, then think again. It's got everything to do with deafness in my case, since I got menieres disease ten years ago.

I would not wish menieres disease on my worst enemy..well, maybe *chuckles to himself *. It's a disease that affects the inner ear and it's balance mechanisms. I'll never forget the day it first struck.

Working alone on a job as I normally did then, I felt a sudden whoooosh sound in my right ear. It felt like all the air was being sucked into it and then nothing. No sound, nothing. Since I did wear a hearing aid in that ear I tried changing the battery to no avail. I was concerned at this point and decided to go home to look into it more. On arriving home, out of nowhere came the spins. The spins had my stomach in knots and feeling god awful. I made my way to the bathroom, where I laid on the floor for sometime, daring not to make any sudden movements as it only made me feel worse.

After a fitful sleep, I felt somewhat better. But the hearing in that ear was still missing. I saw the GP, who as useless as ever, didn't have a clue. So I went private and saw a specialist ear doctor. After various tests done it was suggested I had secondary hydrops. I was advised to take Serc and try a low-salt diet which I duly did. The interesting thing was the Serc did bring back my hearing, but only for 24 hours! I got the spins again which took my hearing permanently that time.

I gave up and resigned myself to wearing just one hearing aid in the remaining ear. For two whole years, I managed well and held a good job which gave me a good lifestyle. I could also hear over the phone well.

But apocalypse came on 11.09.2001, the same day the terrorists struck on the world trade centre. I watched the news report and as I did, I felt my hearing go all funny. It went quiet, at the time, I thought it was just shock. So, I retired to bed early.
Next morning, I felt better and drove to work. Only whilst driving did I start to feel a vertigo attack coming on, so I immediately did a U-turn and came home. My hearing went again and I got mild vertigo. I went to see my GP that day, only that it wasn't my usual GP, instead I was seen by a junior one! He dismissed it as a cold and suggested rhinitis. He also said I could continue flying as I had a holiday planned that week.

So I flew to Tenerife and it turned out to be a big mistake. I got very sick from the flight and ended up spending most of my holiday in bed. I was mostly drunk all the time from vertigo and totally deaf as well!

Back in the UK, I had various tests done and steroid treatment. I only got my hearing back for 12 hours, then it was gone forever.

Menieres won and what was to follow, wasn't good..

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Deaf as a door knob.

I had another hearing test done the other day. And if you look at the above audiogram, I think it's safe to say, I'm officially deaf as a doorknob.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry. In fact, Ive done both over the last decade.

I find this acquired deafness thing pretty hard to deal with. For we take our hearing for granted, and I had no idea of what was to come. Plunging into a world of profound deafness, is in my opinion finding yourself shovelled into a corner, where you just sit and watch while the world laughs without you.

Being profoundly deaf made day-to-day living a nightmare. Tinnitus was especially challenging, from quiet chirping to jet engine roaring I found this really distracting. And the idea of it staying with me till I kicked the bucket, messed with my head big time. I've had 10 years to get used to this, and basically you're stuck with it.

Communicating with hearing folk has been a question of ' Let me control this, otherwise I'm out of here'. I guess, looking back I came across as blunt and abrupt, and it doesn't take a genius to see why. However hearing people generally never understand the issues we face when they talk to us. From reading their lips in a darkened room to the dinner party hell scenario, we have it doubly hard. So, I prefer the life of a hermit. lol

What I hear through my digital hearing aids has a lot to be desired now. Speech is often squeaky and garbled. I don't even attempt to listen without lip-reading. It's self-defeating to be honest. The only benefit I get, from these hearing aids is hearing most environmental sounds.

I thought about having a CI for sometime. I was actually against having one too. I didn't think I was deaf enough for one. However, on hearing more and more 'success' stories, I've come round full circle and actually embraced the idea of having a CI now, although with some trepidation.

It's the last option I have..