Monday, December 30, 2013

Rock Star

Those in the cochlear community have told me of the elusive rock star activation -- an occasional phenomenon whereby the cochlear implant recipient has an amazingly successful activation. They cautioned me, however, to keep my expectations low and my hopes high. Rock stars are extremely rare.

I anticipated the worst and approached my activation day with nervous anxiety. Both my surgeon and audiologist  had told me that I was an excellent candidate for success. The fact that my auditory nerve had only gone a short time without stimulation and the hearing I have left in my better ear were both prime factors in expecting my cochlear implant to be even more successful. But I was worried. The road to success is long and difficult for the majority of recipients.

They were right, though. I'm a rock star.

Click here to view Bonnie's Activation Video

My activation was less than stellar to the eye, as you can see in my activation video.
"Maybe you should've cried or something, " my husband said, "to make it more exciting." But the emotional relief and excitement inside my head was extraordinary -- speaking as the pragmatic that I am.

Not only did I instantly recognize the digital, electronic sounds as words, I understood them. Clearly an extraordinary feat. They are robotic-sounding, and distant -- as if I am listening through a long, hollow tube. It will get better, my audi told me. "You've only just begun and your program is still in 'simple' mode. It will get more advanced with each programming." I go back next week for more.

Until then, I have listening practice, and an entire suitcase of accessories to learn about and users' manuals to read. It'll take some time to absorb everything. I'm still a little overwhelmed.

Following my activation, I met with a group of very dear friends who have shared my trials and tribulations this last year - friends who've encouraged me and cried with me and laughed with me. It was a wonderful time for me and their expressions of joy and love will be a part of my story forever.

I am happy. And grateful. And excited. Excited that today has brought me restored hope and the prospect that this imperfect and oddly miscalculated journey I am on is what I choose to make of it.

"It takes courage to make a bold step, to risk the little that you have in the hope that you will find a better life. Its always easy to stay in the backwater of the pond and watch life go by and complain that you are misunderstood, mistreated or unlucky. Fly well my friend, you are a Star!!" 
(from Nancy, whom I have grown to love. She is wiser than she may know and a deep encourager of my soul.)

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