Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Activation!

Well activation day was today.  I've got to admit, there may have actually been more excitement and anxiety than with the surgery date itself.  At the end of the day there's good news and bad news, but almost all good news.

First, the bad news.  I sat down in my audiologist's office and we assembled the Naida's, hooked them to her computer, and SoundWave recognized the processor right away, but sat there searching endlessly for the implant.  We swapped processors, cables, head pieces, everything.  Searching never ends, and implant is never found.  This feeling strongly resembles flying by a cop at 90 mph.  Sinking, nauseous, kill-me-now feeling.

The surgeon had said the skin flap was *very* thick, so I already knew this was a possibility, but hoped I wouldn't be in some tiny minority.  Can I at least win the lottery?  Now there's a minority we all would like to become a part of!  Not going through a surgery to discover that the computer can't find your implant.  We put the maximum number of magnets in the head piece and it just barely stuck in place.

My audiologist called AB and she starts searching her parts bins, and pulls out this HUGE "Platinum Series" body-word processor that looks like some toy from the 80's (hereto forth known as The Relic).  Hooks it up to the computer and sticks the head piece on, and 30 seconds later I'm hearing test sequences and we're adjusting volumes across 16 channels.  Awesome, except the SoundWave software refuses to let her do anything with the Naida because it can't find the implant.

So the work around is to program The Relic (which doesn't support all the new features obviously) and then copy the program to the Naida while it's off my head.  Then we try that program and see how it sounds.  Essentially we have lost the ability to tweak in real-time, which really sucks.

Now for the good news.  Even with The Relic, when she first turned it on, I was immediately able to hear her voice--quite clearly.  And since I have heard her before I lost all hearing in both ears, I know that it sounds pretty accurate.  No Darth Vader.  No helium-sucking-kids.  No chipmunks.

I compare the feeling to the whole "3D pictures from the 1990's".  You know, those stupid pictures that look like random paint splatters, and after staring at them for 10 minutes, it suddenly turns into a 3D object, and the moment you look away and then look back, it has vanished again.

I hear a lot of noise that sounds like old computer modems, and then voices will jump out plain as day.  Then it kind of fades back into that noise.  I suspect as time goes on, that noise permanently becomes the clear voices.  We'll see...

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