Wednesday, January 8, 2014

One of My Favorite Things

My CI life is mostly uneventful -- days filled with listening exercises and determining new sounds and their sources. It's actually quite tedious and repetitious. I would like it better if it were what most people believe it is -- a miraculous and instantaneous route into the hearing world. But, alas, turning on the cochlear implant only turned on the sound. I'm the one who has to make it work.

I find my mind wandering while I'm engaged in the endless monotony of identifying vowels and consonants in real and nonsense words like "uwu" and "kayed" in my listening exercises. It's easy to become distracted by the humming of the refrigerator or the TV playing in the next room.  I have to close my eyes and listen to the program intently or I have quite a lot of trouble differentiating the sounds. I'm a frequent user of the "replay" feature.

Two nights ago, I retreated with my laptop to the solitude of my bedroom for my daily practice, only to be joined within a few minutes by my husband -- who'd decided to take a bath. I could hear the running water in the adjoining master bath (through the closed door) like I was sitting right next to it. I plodded forward in spite of the interruption, clicking the endless repetition of words that flashed across my computer screen.

It was then that I became aware of another sound. This time unfamiliar and unrecognizable. I thought at first that it might be the CD rom in my computer, coming to life with clicks and hums. Only there was no CD in the driver. I stopped the listening program and unplugged the personal audio cable that connected me to the computer. I listened intently to try to determine from where the sound emanated. Not in the bathroom where my husband was soaking. Not from the computer. Not from the TV room next door. Not the heater. No. This low, rhythmic, and almost soothing sound was barely audible. And it was driving me c-c-crazy.

It was after I set my laptop down on the bed beside me to go in search of this new sound mystery that my cat, who'd been laying beside me, seized the opportunity to jump into my lap and put his nose against mine. That's when it hit me.

He's purring!

I grabbed his face and pulled it close. A purr! A sound I'd loved so much before my hearing loss and thought I had lost forever. I cried. I couldn't get enough. I'm a blubbering fool, I know. But it is, indeed, one of my favorite things.

Something as simple as the purring of a cat reminded me that this is, undoubtedly, a journey full of mystery and magic. And in the midst of the mundane, exceptional joy can be found when you least expect it.

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