Here is a post from Sam’s (My Hobbit) blog in 2003 I thought you all would find interesting regarding his CI and how he dealt with Division of Blind Services (and this was how he dealt with many, many people especially before he became fluent again in ASL). I thought you’d find it as interesting as I found it comforting to look back and see what a great thing the CI was for him/us.
Saw my parents yesterday. My mom told me that she had called Shand’s hospital and that they are going to get back to her about the cochlear implant surgery. I’ve already set the ball in motion by going to have the MRI, and I feel like it’s almost out of my hands already. It’s not, I know. I could say, at any time, “NO, I don’t want the implant.” But I haven’t done this yet. What have I got to lose by going through the operation, my mom and other people ask… well money for one. Plus I don’t know if the operation will work or not. It’s a gamble. But my hearing has gotten so bad that I think I’m willing to try this.
At first when you get a cochlear implant, everything sounds funny. The way the audiologist in Gainesville described it, people tend to sound like they have cartoon voices at first. Then once you get adjusted to the new way of hearing, people begin to sound normal again. This takes a few months of trial and error, with adjustments to the speech synthesizer. I don’t in any way see this as some kind of miracle or answer to prayer. I’m sorry, but this is purely a technological hack, and I don’t see anything divine in it at all. But my parents act like this is supposed to be some kind of miraculous gift from heaven. Bullshit. It’s a completely manmade solution to severe deafness. I think I am going to go through with it, but I don’t have any illusions or expectations that there will be some kind of miraculous turnaround in my hearing.
My digital hearing aids drive me almost up the wall sometimes. Unlike the old analog hearing aids, whenever the battery gets low on these they start to beep in high pitched frequencies. I tell people that it sounds like R2-D2 on crack. Heh heh! But I should be (and am) grateful for these hearing aids, since they were provided for by Division of Blind Services. Sometimes I feel a little guilty for accepting assistance from the state, but I shouldn’t. I worked for plenty of years, and paid plenty of tax dollars, so I accept whatever assistance I can get with gratitude.
I went to see Sue at DBS yesterday. We talked about the possibility of supported employment. Sue and I have a unique way of talking… I talk to her, and she types in Microsoft Word at 72 point font so I can read what she’s saying. Neat arrangement. I told her I think I want to wait until after I get the cochlear implant before deciding to jump back into the workforce again. I live on Social Security right now, and I’m able to take care of myself pretty well. I’m lucky to be living where I am. The rent is only $300 per month, plus $150 for food. So that’s only $450 + the telephone and Internet bill which comes out to another $50. So I can pretty much live on about $500 per month. It’s not a luxurious lifestyle, but I’m content for now. I often wonder what I’ll do once I move from this place. I don’t want to think about it, but I suppose I should. I don’t think I’ll be living here forever.