Sunday, January 17, 2010

My foot tastes like sour patch kids...

A few months ago, I received my second cochlear implant on the right ear. I must admit, I never thought I'd have such a difficult struggle with it. The sounds itself made my world so foreign, I could not understand my own speech therapist with just the new implant isolated. I really believed it would not get any better at all. I lost faith and belief in myself and the new implant. I began to conveniently "forget" to wear it on a daily basis. I told myself that the potential of bionic hearing was no longer attainable because this thing was making my friends and family sound like they had an addiction to helium.

Over time, I slowly wore the Nucleus 5 (the new implant, aka N5) for short periods of time. Sometimes it was just to please certain people and make them think I was wearing it all the time. One day, I was out visiting with good friends of mine and the batteries on the 3G (old implant) died right as I got to their house, of course, I didn't have an extra pack with me. Whoo hoo! That meant I had to deal with the N5 alone. It was difficult, but over time (I was there for quite a few hours) it became easier and I noticed that I was not as frustrated as I was at the beginning of the visit. On the way home, I decided to listen to music. A familiar song came up and I could almost follow along with it. It did not sound like a country song, I could not hear the guitar or the bass. Instead, it all sounded like triangles and cymbals chiming consistently. I was glad I could follow along, while at the same time I was freaked out about the pitches of the music.

A few weeks later, some teammates from the National team came to visit me over the holidays and we went downtown to explore Denver and eat at the Hard Rock Cafe. At one point, all of us split up to look at our favorite shops. When I walked towards the shop to check on Laura, she called my name from the benches and I responded quickly. I didn't realize until a few days later that I did not have to search around for her, I knew exactly where she was calling from. This epiphany revealed how miraculous this N5 device is and how important it is for me to continue wearing it.

With that being said, I certainly have put my ginormous foot in my mouth and it tastes like sour patch kids; sour at first, but sweet right after. The N5 is not easily likable, it takes time, just like sour patch kids.


  1. Wow Allison... What a wonderful description of this new adventure in your life. Usually nothing worth having is easily attainable but takes work and patients. This is no different. I'm so proud of you and your preserverance. But I know that you are a very INDEPENDENT SOUL and this will allow you to be even more so. This gives you the BEST of BOTH worlds. I know that being Deaf is something that you always want to hang onto, but being able to hear is also a GIFT and God has given you that Gift as well --- He just gave you the Gift of Deafness first. WOW what a Blessing that some of us will never know. (Well actually that's not true - when you get older like me you start losing your hearing and than we're just called OLD. :o))
    That's why I say that you and Anna and all the others are such miracles in our lives. God Bless you my Dear Friend and keep writing...