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Taking Things for Granted

Last week, there was a guy in the doctor’s office who two weeks ago had been jogging and suddenly he was wheelchair-bound and couldn’t respond to people in certain ways – he wasn’t able to shake the hand of the doctor. This reminds me how anything can happen and it’s important to enjoy today and accept things as they are and realize the future is uncertain.  The doctors had no clue as to his condition.  How terrible would it be to have that happen :-(.

If we could become more accepting of people despite perceived limitations, we could be happier with ourselves. It’s extremely difficult to accept ourselves as we are, but when we do, I believe we become more accepting of others as well.  I say “perceived limitations” for a reason, because they don’t have to be labeled as such, but rather just accepted.  There is no perfect human being and that is OK.  Striving for perfection is not realistic.  However, enjoying the uniqueness of each individual is.  We are all individuals, capable of being independent of the labels subscribed to us by society.  I have a partial hearing loss and am hoping for improvement with this new device developed for my type of hearing loss.  Whatever the outcome, it will be acceptable.  I am Patrick Davey Tully and no one can take that away from me.  I welcome supportive and relational people who share their own visions.  Those who only wish to interact with a mannequin won’t find it in me.  I can’t be anything but authentic in my expression.  I cannot be censored for being myself.

Reality

The last two days have been filled with pre-op appointments and I must say that it’s quite easy to get worried with surgery; especially an extreme one of this type.

The potential reality that no benefit from the surgery may be achieved has been discussed with me countless times over the last few days.  Even though I’m a candidate, the fact that I haven’t heard certain high frequency sounds makes it impossible to know how my brain will react.  The discussions did lead to my losing it today.  Thankfully, I had the support of my mother during this period and I feel so much better right now.

The retraining process after the surgery will be essential in hopefully making sure my brain doesn’t reject new sounds and instead uses them and distinguishes them.

I also need to be careful how I move for at least a week, as the preservation of low frequency hearing is the point of the hybrid device and certain movements that create pressure in the head can cause the low frequencies to be damaged.  So I need to be careful in so many ways.

I can’t lie and say this is not overwhelming for me.  It is tough.  But I truly believe the surgery will go really well and eventually the risk will be worth the benefits.  It will likely take a lot of formal retraining sessions and time, but I look forward to the journey.

Home

I’m now in Seattle and this week consists of pre-op appointments.  Surgery is next Monday, the 23rd!  I also just learned that activation day – the first day I hear with the implant on will be just a week after surgery – April 1st. Plenty to process 😉

The Flashbacks

As I write this, I’m preparing to go to sleep after a day of inner-confusion.  I’ve had feelings of fear and nervousness about the upcoming surgery and also flashbacks to when I was younger and less sure of myself.  Growing up in a world where most people do not have hearing loss was difficult.  I remember clearly working on a group project and being ignored by other peers as I tried to offer suggestions – this was in high school.  Today, the memory suddenly rushed to my brain and became very vivid and served as an important reminder of when a similar situation does happen now, how differently I handle that.

But still, I think back at the oddity of this such situation.  If you know me, you know I can hear and I am very capable with projects.  It’s odd these people in the group assumed, even with my speaking out, that I was worthless.  Now, today I know I am not worthless, but back then I was much younger and didn’t have the skills to look at the situation objectively or with a lens other than self-defeat.

Today, if I was in that same chair with the group, I would speak up after being ignored and bring in the teacher to point out the absurdity of the situation to him and to the other group members.  I wasn’t dumb.  Advocate for myself then? – No, I was too scared. – Now?  Absolutely I would.

Anyway, writing this has already lifted a burden off my shoulders as similar situations have also presented themselves as mental flashbacks to a time when I was less capable of handling a heart wrenching situation.  I wasn’t able to see that I wasn’t defective.  Now I KNOW I’m not defective and I know my strengths.

Thanks for reading and for reading about some of my self-care (including dealing with inner-feelings as demonstrated here) as I prepare to fly to Seattle on Monday!

Voice coaching today

Today I met with my favorite voice coach of all time, Patrick Muñoz, who works with everyone from performers, business people, and people who just wish to speak better.  His website is: http://www.thevoicezone.net.

I want to say thank you to Patrick Muñoz for being a supportive person in my life who follows his passions.  He has truly been inspirational and is a great person to know.

I have experienced emotions as I have gone through this journey of preparing for surgery and today elicited emotion as well.  I am again very happy he is a part of my life.

We spent the day talking about the device and the journey and the many unknowns (eg. how much benefit one gets from a device such as this is not set in stone).

I wanted to test my pitches using the piano (matching pitch to scale) and see if perhaps after surgery things would change.  As expected, my low pitches are very good while my high frequencies are quite hard to reach accurately.

I should say here that the cochlear implant device is not designed to restore hearing in such a way that music is greatly enhanced… rather speech understanding is the goal.  It’s a mechanical device that can’t replicate what the natural ear can.  But I’m thrilled to be on this journey with Patrick because one never knows what might happen and what the benefits will be afterwards.

So, today included an informal test. 😉