Friday, February 25, 2011

Gotcha Day!

In the acoustic neuroma, single side deaf community, "Gotcha Day" is code for "I got my BAHA!" So, yes, I now officially look like a Borg.

After last week's snafu with the processor, the people at NYU Med and Cochlear jumped through hoops and got my processor shipped out and squeezed me into the schedule on Wednesday. So, bright and early Weds morning I headed to the train station to make the long trek into NYC and across town

to NYU. The audiologist went through all of the instructions for the baha, including how to get the thing snapped onto my head (easier said than done, my friends!) After arming me with as much knowlege as possible, she sent me on my way with a warning to remove the device if I felt that the sensory input was too much at any point. She reminded me several times that my brain has had 3 years to get used to NOT hearing on that side, so it would need longer than 15 minutes to acclimate to the BAHA.

I am happy to say that I walked across town (about a mile on the noisy streets of NYC) to the train station and took the 2-hour train ride home without incident. Then, I insisted that Willie take me out for dinner just so that I could take the BAHA for a test drive in a restaurant situation.

I must say that this device is exceeding my expectations! It is really amazing how well it works! I find myself plugging my "good" ear at odd times during the day just so that I can hear things through the BAHA. The sound is different, quite tinny. But the kind of amazing thing is that as soon as my good ear kicks in, I don't hear the tinniness of the BAHA anymore. Had lunch with a group of friends yesterday and kept surrepticiously reaching up and blocking my good ear just so that I could revel in the sensation of hearing everyone from my digital ear. Very, very cool!

On the down side, my hair doesn't hide it quite as well as I would have liked, but what the hell. I went around with a half paralyzed face for quite a few months, so walking around with a Borg-like device snapped to the side of my head isn't such a big deal. If anyone has school-aged kids, I am the ULTIMATE Show-and-Tell prop.

So here are some pictures, for those of you who aren't acquainted with the baha... First shows the processor through my hair (I pulled my hair aside for this, usually it wouldn't show), the next gives you and idea as the size, compared to a US quarter, and the last is just another close look at my nifty digital ear...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Well I just got done writing a post about how tomorrow was my long-awaited BAHA day. Unfortunately, the stars are not aligning for me this week. I just got a call from the audiologist's office basically saying, "oops, we screwed up and we don't have your BAHA processor after all.". (Insert long string of curse words here.) And, of course, they don't know how long it will take to arrive, so I have no idea when I will be able to reschedule. So, it looks like it will be awhile longer before I have a shot at stereo hearing.

Stay tuned...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Tunnel of Terror

Yes, I know, it's been a month since my last blog (wow, that sounds like the beginning of Confession doesn't it?) Anyway, lots going on here in the hinterlands of northwestern NJ. It is that time of year again for me (MRI) and that always makes me test the upper limits of blood pressure.

I am a claustrophobe. I mean, I have it REALLY bad - even reading about someone being in a small space makes me hyperventilate. Years ago, I had to get an MRI for my back. Not knowing the extent of my own terror, I sashayed into the imaging center and presented myself to the technician. She wheeled me into the machine ... and within 30 seconds, I was unable to breath. Whoosh. Out I came. Turns out that being able to tilt my head back and see out the top of the tunnel didn't actually help. I remember thinking at the time that I couldn't imagine how anyone could survive having their brain scanned in the Tunnel of Terror. I think I even felt some condescending pity.

So, you can imagine my distress 3 years ago when my ENT told me I needed an MRI ... of my head!!! Crap. My head in the Tunnel of Terror ... what could be worse? I demanded a sedative and then spent the next two weeks stressing about getting the MRI. Mind you, I wasn't the least bit worried about what might turn up on the MRI - after all, who the hell gets brain tumors, anyway? Well, you all know how that turned out. I survived the MRI and got "the call" the next day. Yep, brain tumor. Holy crap.

And, by the way, did you know that there is a special category of claustrophia just for MRI machines. Don't believe me? Go ahead and Google "MRI Claustrophia." Hah!

I am now a veteran of the brain MRI (I know, isn't it ironic that someone who is terrified to be enclosed in a small space has to get MRIs every year?) and I am here to tell you that it still scares the crap out of me. Yep, I still need to be sedated, and Willie still sits at the end of the MRI Table of Terror and holds my ankle. This is important because I need to know that I can be snatched from the jaws of certain death if necessary.

A few years ago, some well-intentioned person/s decided that developing an MRI machine that has a wider openeing and a shorter "bore" would be an excellent idea. And, it certainly is...for someone else. For me, there is no "bore" short enough, nor any tunnel wide enough to make me feel any less likely to die on the spot. Nope, I'm not falling for that "wide bore" crap again. That sucker is still terrifying.

So why am I writing about this now? Well, I just had my 3-year brain MRI last Monday (no scary white blobs - yay!!!!) And, now, lucky me, I have to get ANOTHER MRI this upcoming Monday - yes, on Valentine's Day. Happy freaking Valentine's Day to me. So while all of you are enjoying a nice romantic dinner I will be passed out on the sofa, spit dribbling down my chin, sleeping off the after effects of valium. Is it any wonder Willie loves me?

So would you please have a glass of something red for me? I'll be the one passed out in the corner.