Diving with HIRes90K?

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Have had a long wait for answer about my question about diving with the HIRes90K implant. Both sources have given me the same answer, Advanced Bionics has tested the implant to only 2 ATM, equivalent to 10 m below surface (33ft). With “no plans to change the recommendations”.

I find this very dissappointing, since I’m into diving, have had the PADI Open Water divers certificate for more than a decade. Whenever I travel to exotic locations, I do my outmost to dive there locally.

Previous experiences has been:

roatan-dive-site-mapThe island of Roatan in Honduras (PADI-certification, great corals and animal-life)

BIGdivers-hurghada The Red Sea just outside Hurghada in  Egypt (went to a partly polluted dive-site, a bit destroyed corals and garbage, but first dive with underwater camera and decent animal life)

The famous Aliwal Shoal in the Indian Ocean – South Africa (my first encounter with ragged tooth shark, and swimming with sea turtles! Very difficult conditions, very technical dive.)

ragged tooth sharks at cathedral aliwal shoal

I was hoping to continue this fine way of experiencing a very different and wonderful world in different parts of our great blue planet…

Does anyone has any insight into this? Can we ask Advanced Bionics to do further tests in order to perhaps tell us it’s safe to use in even greater depths? (Like 18 meter which is the limit of PADI Open Water diving…)

Any experiences with diving with cochlear implants? Please leave a comment if you did, or know someone who has been diving with an implant…

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Tinnitus maximus terrorismus

Have to address this issue of tinnitus again. Hope you don’t get bored of it… (I am bored of it myself… sigh…)

I’ve had my share of tinnitus before the operation, to the extent of it becoming a psychological burden and problem. Sleep deprivation, energy-draining, thought- and concentration-disturbing etc. etc.

tinnitusab1 Post-surgery I’ve had attacks of tinnitus on my operated right ear. These attacks have been unbelievably disturbing and loud. The first time I had an episode, I was downright scared! It was in the middle of the night, at around 2 am. Darkness all around me. I was lying still, still aching from the surgery wound behind my ear. I was horrified by this new experience. My heartbeat raced and adrenalin-levels rose… The tinnitus turned on very quickly, and felt like if somebody thrust a screwdriver right into my ear (except for the obvious pain that I would have felt if that was the case). It literally screamed sound, no, it was even louder, it was so loud it was on the verge of being painful! And that is LOUD!

In a panic strickened state, I felt desperation coming closer and closer. I turned on music from my mobile-phone, via the Phonak Smartlink FM-system, the loudest I could get on my other ear, thinking I should give my brain something else to chew on, sound wise. And it was as if the tinnitus in my right ear was so loud that it deafened the music in my other ear! I couldn’t even hear the music! I only listen to songs I have listened to for decades, I know them inside out, and still I couldn’t even follow the beats! I kept the music on for some time, and after a while I grasped the music, knowing in which part of the song I was, and when the chorus came and so on. I kept listening for quite a few songs, trying to force the tinnitus terror to subside. But it didn’t…

Very weird and scary experience!

tinnitus-1 After the first attack, which left me more or less sleepless that night, I’ve had several more attacks. I’m a little less scared, because I know the attacks will stop after a while, but it’s still as intense!

I have found one common trigger for the attacks, and that is fatigue. When I’m really tired, and have been using my hearing in the other ear, plus lipreading and utilizing all my brain’s resources in order to communicate verbally, the attack comes all of a sudden. It’s like turning on a switch!

I have been able to fall asleep, even though the attack is running in full mode. I use a trick that my girlfriend thought me; I listen to the sound, and I look for a melody in it. It’s very much like meditation when I get to that stage, and then I’m able to relax. That is the key to handling tinnitus for my part: to relax. And of course, it helps to be near dead of tiredness 😉

This post was written a week ago, and since then the attacks are less frequent and less “violent”. That is a relief. On the other hand, I have this constant tinnitus that I have had for many years now…  The only difference from then and now is that I have no other sound to mask the tinnitus with, as I’m waiting for activation 🙂

I tried my old hearing aid on with a lot of sound, but now it’s just void (except for the beeping tinnitus, of course) in my right ear…. Nothing…

Can’t wait for it! September 7th is the big day!

Posted in deaf. 3 Comments »

Attitude, prejudice and ignorance

I have an assertion: I believe that most people with hearing disabilities are better LISTENERS than many normal hearing individuals! Our (hearing disabled) minds twists and works the different possible meanings much more than they would in a normal individual’s brain, because we have to constantly question and confirm what we think we apprehended. Thus the process to understanding is more complex and thorough…

zzz24-ignoranceI found this quote below (unknown origin) quite mind-provoking; it adresses something that needs to be discussed more. It’s not only about what happens in the convergence between deaf and hearing, but also in an universal aspect. It’s about everything that is different from yourself and ourselves…

"If I had to put in a nutshell what is the worst thing about being Deaf, it`s not that I am not able to hear music. It`s not that I am not able to hear a voice. It`s not that I can`t use the telephone. It`s not that I can`t enjoy a movie or a play.

What is it then? Attitude. Thats my biggest handicap. Not my attitude; your attitude…"

Hope this generates some thoughts!

My “beauty-contest” wish, in regards to this quote, is that I wish people learn better to really LISTEN, ask more QUESTIONS and develop a method of CONFIRMATION of understanding the meaning.

It’s so common to be content with just hearing what has been said. The victim of this contentness is that the MEANING and REAL MESSAGE of what has been spoken often gets twisted, lost or misunderstood… At least that’s my experience… Sometimes I wish there were classes throughout school that was all about how to communicate better!
(you know; communication is as much about DELIVERING the MEANING as it is to UNDERSTAND the meaning! There is a whole process there, just for transferring a MEANING that is so underdeveloped and underestimated!)

Communication

Thanks to Ann K for bringing the quote to my attention in the first place… (her blog is written in Norwegian)

Posted in deaf. 1 Comment »

Post-Surgery and The Day after

Last thing I did before getting out of the hospital bed was to eat two slices of bread, they observed that I could hold it, and was then released. But they insisted I stay in the hospital hotel, also because Prof. laurent wanted to check my wound early next morning.

Food at the hotel was the worst I have ever experienced. The vegetables were served still frosen, and the fish was lukewarm. But down it went, since I had not eaten much that day. That pissed me off… grrrr

grumpy food

Then, Mette, being the sweetheart she is, just smiled and took pictures of me (as you can see above) :-). I couldn’t stay irritated for long with such companionship… Which was a good thing considering it was less than 3 hours after having drilled a hole in my skull!!! Time to become patient and relaxed, and let the healing take it’s course.

My sister came for a visit in the evening, and we talked a bit, and then my hyperness (dope) wore off… Getting ready for sleep.22072009703

The night was OK, still drugged somewhat, and taking more painkillers to render me semiconscious, but constantly weary of moving my head and placing any weight on the dressed wound. Not much sleep, just looking forward to get back home in order to settle in.

The next morning we had a quick, light breakfast. I felt hungry as a horse, but couldn’t eat much. No room 🙂

23072009706 Then we went to see the surgeon for a final checkup before heading home. No problem there, everything looked just fine.

I was unstable balance-wise just like since the surgery. I didn’t dare to let go of Mettes hand or shoulder, fearing that I might just fall suddenly. I walked slowly, and head movement were kept to a minimum. Even more so the coming days. The effect on the balance has really been the worst thing for me, disabling me. But that was also a good thing, keeping me still in bed, where I was supposed to be for as long as it took.

The balance-thing is another story coming up 🙂

On the operating-table

First of all: I had the fortune of being accompanied by my girlfriend throughout the ordeal. Thank you for being with me; Mette! Love you hon! We got up at 0530 in order to be present at the hospital no matter what at 0700. This was the day I had been waiting for for 4 years!!! No food and no liquids for me. No traffic, smooth, unstressed morning. I was a little nervous and scared. Found great comfort and support in you, Mette!

Upon our arrival 20 minutes early, the halls were empty, the light over the reception desk was turned off. It looked like the hospital was closed! Hmmm :-)  We walked a bit, aimlessly, but soon enough, hordes of hospital employees began to arrive in groups as buses and trams offloaded just outside. The hospital slowly became more and more busy. We were greeted by a nurse who gave me a bed, a hospital shirt and 4 pills. I changed into the shirt and swallowed the pills right away. Good boy 🙂

22072009689_modified Wham! It took me 10 minutes to loose consciousness, right in the middle of writing a text message on my mobile (I found it in the Drafts-folder later :-)  ). My memory has failed me from this point onward. Luckily my girlfriend was there and has “recorded” all important information. However, she didn’t like it when the pills forced me down. “It was as though you died”, she told me… I can’t even remember meeting the surgeon, whom I had looked forward to talk to about several things. All I had in my mind while trying to fight my painkiller/valium-induced sleepyness was how long it would take before I could go splitting logs of wood!!! (I even asked the same question the next day upon waking up from the narcosis). We had a few laughs over that one 🙂

I have a flash of memory arriving at the OR, shaking hand with the anesthesiologist. A huge operating lamp looming over me… And a nurse preparing for the procedure. I said something, but can’t remember what. I was really far out there even before the narcosis. Tuned out.

 

Post-Op

Then the post-op awakening… I couldn’t believe I was already through it. For me it felt like I just dozed off from the pills. But I was gaining consciusness so slowly that at some point it dawned on me and I just felt relief.

The nurse asked me about pains, and suddenly I noticed I had my hearing aid and glasses on, just as I had asked for before dozing off earlier that morning. That was nice :-)  I could understand the nurse, even though she was swedish. Lucklily I have spent many summers in Sweden throughout my life, have no problems understanding it. Well, the nurse asked me about the pain, and yes I was in pain. How much pain, she wanted to know… On a scale from 1 to 10… I answered 4, I think. It wasn’t bad, but I could definitely feel pain.

She then injected that nice hospital dope… And my pain was down to 1 or 2…  No problemo 🙂

22072009690 I sat up a little bit, and less than one hour after (my bloodpressure was taken automatically every 15 minutes, and I counted three of them) I was clear enough in my head and needed to see my girlfriend badly 🙂 I was wheeled out and returned back to the the same room I was given that morning. And no girlfriend there… As I immediately asked after her, she appeared in the door. A lot of emotions flowed through me at that moment. A lot of relief, gratitude and sheer great love…  A nice looooong hug…

The surgeon came by a little later, and in my memory that was the first time I shook his hand and saw what he looked like. A very mild and friendly gentleman by the name of Prof. Claude Laurent. To whom I’m forever grateful for his professionalism and expertise!

The surgery had taken 4 hours, even though they had booked the OR for 2 hours. I have not as yet queried upon the reason for the prolonged surgery. My girlfriend was a little worried, but luckily they assured her that it was a common thing for surgeries like mine to drag out an hour or two. She had a long, boring day.