After 3 weeks of my head buzzing and whirring because of the post-surgery fluid in my inner ear, I now get to hear squeaky robots on acid! Yay! Getting used to a cochlear implant is a giant barrel of fun. But let me back up.
A few days ago, when I went in The House Ear Clinic to get my CI turned on, I was a total mess. I was shaking like a tray full of Jell-O shots and I could not eat my breakfast. And if you know anything about me, you know that I have not missed a meal since I was born. Actually, I spend most of my days trying to justify EXTRA meals. But here I was, passing up delicious Leapin’ Lemurs because I was so nervous about what would happen. Would I be able to hear anything? Or would it be just a horrible roar of noise?
My amazing audiologist, I will call her Bwana because I have not asked her permission to use her name in this blog, was so reassuring. She said hello, then stuck the processor to my head. Just like that! Like, “Get over yourself and quit worrying and just put the processor on, for goshes sake!”
If you’re not familiar, the implant processor sits behind your ear like a regular hearing aid (only larger) and then connects to the implant that sits between your head skin and skull via a magnet. Cool, right? My kids are already calling me “magnet brain.” With Affection. Right? My darlings are so sweet!
Anyway, I didn’t really hear anything at first, and then hubby said something and I have to admit, I might have let out the teensiest, little un-ladylike snort. Because here was manly Mr. B. looking at me with awe and concern, and this squeaky female robot voice was coming out of his mouth. LOL! And then Bwana talked and the SAME squealy voice came out of her! I was living in a world where everyone was a FemBot. But not the cool kind that are gorgeous and wear silver bikinis and shoot bullets out of their fuzzy lingerie boobs – because that is a world I would eagerly live in.
I told Bawana about the FemBots, and she said this was “normal” (??) and that I just needed to relax so that my brain could get used to the new type of stimulus. See, your cochlea turns sounds it into neuronal pulses that go to your brain for processing via your aural nerve. But of course, my cochlea is a lump of garbage, so now I have these electrodes stuck in there that are trying to make up for that fact. Electrical pulses are now traveling to my brain and my brain is having NONE of that. Miss Brain is sayin’, “Wait. What? Are you kidding me? I can’t understand this s*&t!” I had no choice but to sass back,“Yo brain! Be Zen. Just relax and try to get used to it. And stop making me want to rip my CI out and throw it across the room, okay?”
Yes, besides regularly talking to myself, I am now talking to my major organs.
After about an hour, I could kinda make sense of some of the crazy sounds in my head and could even understand dear hubby a bit. We got into the car, and the whole way home, I dictated the sounds that I could hear that I have not heard for over 20 years. “Is that the sound of tires on the road? OMG. Is that what the left turn signal sounds like? Who the heck thought of that? Wait. I can hear myself breathe! Soooooo annoying! Can you hear yourself breathe hubby? Can you?” So after about four minutes of this, Mr. B. was ready to push me out of the car onto Alvarado Street. Thank goodness his arms are short and I am really good at ducking.
The rest of the way home (in silence so I could keep my marriage), I was looking forward to hearing the birds that flit around my neighborhood. I used to love the sound of birds. When we pulled up to the driveway, I saw a whole flock in the cypress tree and quickly stuck my head out the open window.
But, I could not hear the birds. I guess that is for another day.