The 22nd April took a long time to come. In fact I was emailing my implant team my countdown on a regular basis in the last week. I think my Facebook friends also got sick of it!
I didn't take anyone to my switch on this time around. I think the Novelty of being switched-on has worn off the third time around!
I arrived and the usual thing happened - just like last time. First I had to listen to the sound I could just hear to set my threshold levels, then I had to apply each electrode to 'medium' loudness for my comfort levels. A few sweeps to make sure I could hear each beep, and they were all even, and then I went live. This process would have take the best part of an hour.
Ellen did the usual thing and told me that I would not like the sound all over again. I did my nod - of course - I've been through all this before - of course!
And so Ellen and Gayle started talking to me.
This was the conversation...
Me: "Oh my god - Oh my god"
Ellen: "What - something wrong?"
Me: "There are no chipmunks this time - it sounds almost normal"
Gayle: "Yes - well - we shot them all before you arrived!"
I could not believe it. We sat and talked for half an hour, then my brain wanted more. Everything was becoming quiet after just half an hour. So we did another mapping right there and then and I got a lot more volume.
It was now lunchtime so I went up to the cafe and sat on my own eating my lunch and revelled in the noise, just hearing everyone talking around me at other tables. Chairs scraping, cutlery banging, the coffee machine brewing. It was bliss. These are sounds I had not heard for the six months I was totally utterly deaf. I once again felt 'connected' to the world and it's a really really nice feeling.
After I had finished eating, I thought about texting my friends and family to let them know of my success. But I was hearing so well that I decided to ring them. So then spent the rest of my lunch hour ringing up all my friends and family to tell them I could hear.
Wow - this is definitely not normal, and it's not something I could have done at my switch on day last year. A lot of family weren't home, but the people I did get hold off were amazed and thrilled, and very excited. I dread my phone bill!
I don't think it was something the Audiologists were expecting either! After lunch we did one more mapping, and I was itching to ring the surgeon to tell him and to organise a appointment with him to check my ear as it was still painful. However, Ellen did that while I went off and had a session of testing with Gayle. It was promising and I did well, but I was getting really tired.
I was surprised when I got into my car that the radio was on. It's probably been on the whole time I've had it and didn't know!!
Called into my surgeon, Robert Gunn on the way home. My ear had fluid behind the drum which caused the pain, but no infection (thank goodness) and a small course of anitbiotics to make sure it didn't turn into an infection got rid of it over the next few days. He looked very happy with the outcome this time around.
That night I sent an email to him and to Bill Baber who jointly operated on me in March, thanking them for placing the electrodes so perfectly, and that I realised that without their expertise, I would not be hearing so well.
By the end of the evening, I was not hearing as well again, so was thankful I had another day at the Implant clinic the next day.
Another mapping session, then a break, in which I caught up with Colin who was also there for a mapping session, then I went off to get tested again. By the end of the test, I once again had lost all volume and needed more. My brain is so greedy for sound after so long without it.
We broke for lunch and I spent the hour catching up with Colin and his wife Carmen, and their wonderful children I actually didn't want to part ways - the lunch hour was over far too soon. It's always nice to talk to people who have had many similar experiences who actually understand you, and understand where you are coming from.
I then went and had yet another mapping, and that was that. Off into the big world to learn to make sense of all this sound again.