Saturday, May 7, 2016

Batteries, Part (I Lost Count)

My name is Bonnie, and I am battery operated.

I confess. I obsess about batteries. From the button batteries that power my digital hearing aid to the rechargeable batteries in my cochlear implant processor and accessories -- I have a lot of batteries.

Anyone visiting my home or classroom will find batteries in abundance. Full and partially used packs stashed in drawers, in my coin purse and glove compartment, on end tables, coffee tables, bedside tables, kitchen cabinets... Used batteries in mason jars awaiting a trip to the recycling center, and one little, used button lying on the bathroom cabinet -- changed quickly before I headed off to school one morning with full intentions of putting it in the recycling jar later that evening, only to push it aside from place to place as I readied myself the next day. And week. I think it's still there.

My fear of running out of them in the event of a natural disaster or zombie apocalypse precludes my attempts to pass the battery section of my local supermarket without stopping to pick up another pack just in case. I once gathered the partial packs and consolidated them into one. When I found that I had less than a half dozen, I immediately went to purchase another 3-pack of 18 batteries. Never mind that, with my new hearing aid, one battery lasts a full week -- I can't fathom running out and being rendered hearingless!

And it's not just those little button batteries that drive my obsession. It's those rechargables, too. Though I can use button batteries for my cochlear implant processor if necessary, the rechargeables are far more convenient because their life span is more predictable than the disposables. I have 2 rechargeable batteries, and one is always charging while the other is being used. I typically get 14-16 hours of use on a single charge.

My accessories -- the handy-dandy remote and mini-mic -- require a recharge at least once a week. Sometimes I forget to charge them can-you-believe-it?. I've found myself in need of adjusting my cochlear implant settings and finding the "low battery" warning flashing on my remote. The buttons on the processor are limited -- changing programs and turning it on and off only -- so I rely on the remote to change volume. Once, I'd turned my volume down to 3 during an especially loud school assembly and wasn't able to turn it back up because the remote battery was drained. I had to spend the remainder of the day at the lower volume until I could recharge it that night at home. (I didn't typically take the power cord to school. Now I keep an extra charging cord in my car!)

I am sorely dependent on batteries. They're my lifeline to hearing and communication normalcy in my deaf life. I've joked with my husband that in the event of a societal failure in this world, our first order of business would be to loot as many batteries from stores as possible. While everyone else was grabbing digital TVs and electronics, we would be grabbing batteries! In this order: hearing aid batteries, bottled water, food, medication, and gasoline. That's the plan.

I'm not kidding.

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