Finally came the long awaited activation day for my second Cochlea Implant. Did go by myself this time, knew a lot about what was going to happen and so forth.
So, first we went through the the initial single electrode check and level determination (in order to avoid a cataclysmic neural shock to the neurotransmitters after 3 years of total silence (except the tinnitus, that is).
Then we turned on, and after carefully increasing the volume, I could hear the audie’s voice, and this time it was somewhat intelligible! Right out of the box I could understand the sounds getting into my brain from the second implant. The difference from activation of CI#1 to this one, was like night and day. CI#1 was Morse code, chaos and utterly hellish to listen to. CI#2 is beautiful and crisp clear. Painfully clear.
As soon as the first setup was done, it was out into the world to test and work the volume up a bit. I turned my CI #1 completely off. First sounds I could not identify visually, all though they sounded a lot like someone walking with high heels (maybe from somewhere I couldn’t see).
I went into a café and sat down with a coffee and a bite. Turning up a bit more, and the sounds of tableware and glasses being shuffled about in the kitchen were almost unbearable. The sounds made my head spin, seriously. The fun part is that it feels like it makes my head spin the OTHER way, compared to CI#1. I hope this is some kind of sign that CI#1 and CI#2 somehow will balance each other!
Then I wanted to kind of be in the moment, and I picked up my newspaper. I had just turned on CI#1 in order to try to minimize the head spin feeling. I couldn’t help myself grinning like a fool, because now I heard the rustle of the paper going from my right side over to the left, with PERFECT clarity! Yes, I grinned and almost laughed at the sound of turning the newspaper page! That’s when I really had my first bionic stereo CI-moment. The moment I had been looking forward to for three years! It was perfect!
So after celebrating a bit with friends on Facebook, I had to go back to do another programming round.
Leaving the hospital, I ran into an acquaintance, Kate, who is seriously researching how to best live and cope with hearing loss in society. (use Google translate if you have a hard time reading Norwegian ) She told me I was beaming, looking very happy, and I guess I was Walking on clouds and being very happy, indeed.
Further up the street, I heard a crow caw, but could not decide direction. But the sound came from both sides, like in a dream! A few seconds later a taxi drove by, and this time I held my head still, and most certainly got the sound passing form one ear to the other! It brought tears to my eyes. Oh JOY!
Being this happy for stereophonic sound tells me that man was made with two ears for a reason! Giving deaf people only one CI for economic reasons is just plain WRONG. It’s beyond my comprehension that someone can think that one ear might be sufficient. It ISN’T!
Coming home, I could hear my wife and 4 month old daughter for the first time with this new ear. And they sound beautiful! Especially Joanna’s baby conversation was like music
This will be a good process. Given the experiences I had with CI#1, and the challenges I faced and conquered, this will be a victory parade down Avenue des Champs-Élysées