Saturday, August 3, 2013

N5 Upgrade

In February 2013, I began the process of trying to upgrade to the N5 processors.  I was initially denied by my insurance (BCBST) but then I appealed it and after my audiologist had a peer-to-peer review with the insurance company, they finally approved the upgrade June 10, 2013.  However, they failed to notify me or my audiologist.  I now have until August 20th to get the upgrade because that is when the approval is good through.  We are trying to get an extension because I will still have to come up with about $1000 for the upgrades.  That is not much at all compared to the overall cost, but I also don't have $1000 laying around either.

I am very excited about the upgrades!  The N5 is water-resistant and I will be able to get in the pool and lake with it on.  I do not plan to swim underwater with it on, but I won't have to worry about my grandkids splashing water on my processors anymore :)  The N5 is also slimmer and lighter.  Now I am trying to decide if I want to go with the sand/beige color or go with something different like the white processors.  I am leaning toward the white and plan to get some cool "skins" to go on them (TN Vols for sure!)  

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

February 13th Doctor Appt.

Finally on my way home after a long day in Nashville.  Other than waiting 4 hours to see my doctor, things went rather well for me today.  My first appt. was with my audiologist.  She increased my thresholds and sound is louder now.  This is kind of annoying right now as I have to get used to it.  Second, I had my CT scan.  That went very well...especially since they didn't have to give me an IV for the dye.  The last one I had at Vandy, the guy hit a nerve in my hand and I still have nerve damage from it.  My third appt. was with my doctor, and yes, I had to wait 3 hours in the waiting room and another 45 minutes in the room to see him.

My doctor told me there are two options (surgeries) to look at for the vertigo. Basically, it means removing my inner ear. The first option is inserting a gel that eats away the inner ear, but he doesn't really want to do that because it could destroy my nerve cells and cause my hearing to decrease. The second option would be to drill out my inner ear. The risk with that is the drill could damage my cochlear implant; however, he would have another one on standby to put in if that happened. The overall risk of either is that it might not work. The CT scan shows there is still air in my inner ear and he doesn't know what is causing that. He has tried patching it, but that is not working. If a normal hearing person had their inner ear removed, they would lose their hearing. I've already lost my hearing, so that's not an issue for me. But if he removes the inner ear and that wasn't the problem to begin with, it could cause me to have vertigo ALL the time for the rest of my life. So, we decided to wait and see how it goes the next few weeks, months, etc. My brain has already started compensating for the imbalance and the vertigo is not as bad as it was a few weeks ago so I'm not going to have the surgery just yet.

The next good news is that when he told me to come back if it gets bad, I told him the trouble I went through trying to get in to see him this time and how I had to wait 6 weeks. He called his nurse into the room and told her I was his VIP patient and for her to give me her direct phone number (which she did) and when I call, to make sure I get an appointment right away. I guess I am sorta special...I am the only cochlear implant patient he has ever had to do that surgery for vertigo on. The one in 2002 was a success (for 9 years anyway) and he published an article in the medical journal about it.



Sunday, February 10, 2013

Vertigo seems to be alittle better....Dr. appt. this Wednesday

I think my brain has started compensating for the vertigo.  I'm not as dizzy as before, but I still have some bad days with it.  I have an appt. with Dr. Haynes at Vanderbilt on Wednesday.  I will keep you updated.

Also, I was able to retrieve most of the pages from my first CI journal in 2002.  I copied and pasted them into a new blog; however, the format isn't perfect.  You can at least read my journal entries though.  It is under my personal links "My 1st Cochlear Implant".

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The last 4 years have flown by...

Wow!  I can't believe it has been 4 years since I have posted on here.  I have been doing great with the C.I. and so much has happened in the past 4 years it would take days to update everything.  So, I'll just hit the important highlights...

Both of my daughters are now married and I have 4 beautiful grandchildren.  I will post pictures soon!  I am still married to my wonderful husband and still employed at the Department of Children's Services.

I have gone through some issues related to my C.I. and had surgery in August 2011.  I began having vertigo early in 2011 and it was very similar to what happened right after my first implant in 2002.  Apparently, the tissue had degraded and there was a small leak again.  We're not sure if the surgery helped, because the vertigo did not go away until around December 2011.  I did fine until a couple of weeks ago, and now it's back.  I will be seeing my doctor next month to see what's next.

I'll post more later...just wanted to get back into the swing of things and start blogging again.  Also, apparently my very first website about the first C.I. in 2002 has now been deleted.  That really sucks because I had so much information on there.  Hopefully, I can find some of it on one of my old computers and repost it here.

Until next time...(hopefully not another 4 years lol)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Mapping Update

I went to Nashville for my 3rd mapping today. I can tell a little difference, but nothing major. Susan also remapped my right processor and I can tell a big difference in it. I got the Music program added to both processors. I haven't really tried it out yet because it was so noisy in the truck.

After Susan mapped my older processor, I was surprised at how "bass" everything sounds compared to my newer processor. I am hearing higher frequencies in the new processor. There is a very distinct difference in the two, but when I turn both of them on...WOW! It just sounds so much better! With both on, I can't tell that one side is getting the bass and the other is getting the high frequencies....it just blends together!

I turned my bluetooth neckloop on after I left her office and called my daughter. It was very loud and I had to turn the volume down! :) It was a little clearer too. My true CI moment came as we were driving down the interstate. It was very noisy (especially since I was hearing more sounds) so I put both processors on the ADRO w/Sensitivity program. It is so cool how it turns the road noise down! It's as if I am turning a volume knob and the wind and tires gradually decrease and the voices increase! James uses his right ear when talking on his cell phone and when we are in the truck, I can't understand what he is saying because his hand blocks his voice and lips. Well, not today! He was talking to our daughter and I heard everything he said! I wasn't even looking at him either!

The HLAA had a convention at the Opryland Hotel this weekend and I stopped by to check out the Exhibit Hall. Some really cool gadgets there! I also signed up to receive a free neckloop which will be cool because I can use it with my work cell phone (it doesn't have bluetooth.) I tried to get some help with my Clearsounds blue tooth loop (I can't get it to work with my blackberry mp3 to play music) but it seems there might be some technical problems that won't allow it work. I need to contact Clearsounds. I did get to see my friend, Laurie, at the convention and she gave me some good tips on keeping the processor on and listening to music. I also met some of the gals from Cochlear at their booth. I had forgotten about listening to the CD that came in my kit and they really encouraged me to do this to improve on my listening and understanding.

I also had a wedding to attend in Brentwood this weekend, so it has been a very busy 4 day weekend for me. I'm glad to be back home, but not looking forward to going to work tomorrow.

I'll keep you posted with my new sounds and experiences!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My Hook Up

Yesterday I had my follow up doctor appointment with Dr. Haynes. He said everything looks good. There is a place at the top of my incision that has not completely healed. He said my body might have rejected the stitch and it has opened back up. It is now scabbing over and should be healed up soon.

After the doctor appointment, I went to my audiologist appointment for the hook up. After Susan went throught the T & C levels and turned the processor on, it sounded much like when I got the new Freedom processor for my other ear in February. At first, there was this long screetching sound. I think it was the fan or air conditioner. Next I heard the "robotic" voices. The voices sounded kind of far off, but I could understand them. I noticed the higher frequencies immediately because they sounded like wind chimes (like in February.) When I turned the old processor on, it was really cool! I could tell a big difference, even though the new implant wasn't understanding much at this point. This appointment only took about 2 hours. Susan told me to wear the new processor that afternoon and evening and to also wear the old processor with it occasionally.

We left her office and went to check in our hotel. After we checked in, we walked down to Music Row (Nashville.) The CMA Fest started today so many vendors were setting up and it was started to get crowded. Walking downtown, I had only my new processor on. The sound wasn't very loud. We went into the Cadillac Ranch Bar & Grille to eat. There was a couple singing and it was very loud. I turned both processors on because it was so noisy in there and I wouldn't have been able to hear James with just the new processor. I thought the music sounded loud and blaring and James said it sounded that way to him also. I couldn't understand the singer when he talked because it was so loud. Later that night, I watched tv with just the new processor. I was able to hear the voices and match them up to the closed captioning. Everything still sounded really soft though, much like it did when I first got hooked up to the Freedom in February, so I figured I just needed more volume.

This morning, I went back for my 2nd appt. I told Susan I thought we needed to turn the volume up. She went through the T & C levels. She said I did better on the T levels (could hear more of the faintest beeps.) I was really shocked when she did the Comfort levels. The level she started out with is where my "maximum comfort level" was yesterday. I could barely hear the beeps! In less than 24 hours, my brain had adjusted to the sound levels and I already needed it much louder! Once she turned the processor on, it sounded too loud. She kept adjusting it until it sounded better, but still kind of loud. My voice sounded really loud. She backed away and put a cover in front her lips and talked to me. I could understand everything she said with just the new processor! The sounds are still a little different to me though. The higher frequencies are going to take some time. The best way to describe it is that it sounds like someone is using a voice distorter that makes your voice sound robotic. There is a lot of "s" sound in every word. When I turned my old processor on with the new, it was really loud, but I could hear sooo much better!

Two implants vs. one:
When I turn the new processor on, everything is raspy and I am hearing ALOT of environmental sounds (maybe more than I hear with my old processor). I can tell a difference with voices, but they still sound kind of robotic.

When I add the old processor, it really makes everything sound so much fuller. Everything is much louder and I can understand voices and environmental sounds better. With both processors, I don't even notice the raspy robotic voices. I know the new side still has a lot of learning to do, but I don't even notice it with both processors on.

Now, when I turn the new processor off...I really notice the difference! Even though I am still learning sounds with it, there is a huge void with it off. I especially notice it when listening to music. I think I hear more instruments with the new processor.

I am due for a new mapping in the older processor and I think it will be much better after that. I am going to be patient with the new one because I know it will get better. I have also been using my new bluetooth neckloop and there is a huge improvement with the new processor. Last week, everyone I talked to had to repeat about every other sentence. With the new processor, I can hear almost every word.

So far, I am thrilled with the new implant and know I made the right decision to get it!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

3 More Days!

Just 3 more days til I'm hooked up! I am getting excited and nervous. I know what it can be like, but I am hoping it will be better than the last time! I'll keep you posted!