Monday, February 28, 2011

The 100kmh Flying Fox

Debbie and Sheila came back down for the weekend 10 days ago. They came down in May last year to do the St Clair Marathon. They liked my apple pie, so they came back for more! This time I outdid myself and made bread, jam tarts, lemon and coconut biscuits, apple and boysenberry pie, and meat balls. I may not be able to keep this up, so they may be disappointed next time!!

I picked them up from Nelson, and we went to the Nelson Markets. It was my first time there and I really enjoyed them - lots of art, food, plants, food, drinks, food! We picked up a variety of things for a 'picnic', and I managed to persuade someone to give us four plastic glasses, as I had packed a bottle of wine for lunch, then realised half way to Nelson that we may be drinking directly out of the bottle!

Over to Rabbit Island for a picnic lunch in the sun. Beautiful day. Fabulous friends. I spent the whole time trying to persuade them to miss the port of call on our way home. They were determined that we were going to do the Skyline Flying Fox. Over the treetops at 100kmh. I suggested that I needed to cook dinner. That the vineyards were a good bet and if we didn't do the fox, we'd have time to try some wine. I offered to buy some champagne.

No avail. They tied me up and took me up to the top!!

This is at the top and looking at the 'contraption' we were about to be strapped into...

Notice the locks. Yep - you are locked into the seats. There is no way you can undo your seats halfway over the forest. We paid good money to be locked up!

Debbie and Sheila persuaded Steven to wear a silly hat to keep his ears warm. He didn't need much persuading! To keep my cochlear implant on and safe, I used toupee tape and taped my implant to my ear with that.

Here's debbie - she threw me a nervous smile!!

This is Sheila being locked in to her seat.

Looking down the valley where the ride was going to take us. See that patch of earth way over there. That's where we are going!

Another view over the valley. By the way - when we got to that patch of earth on the other side, we didn't get off. The flying fox proceeds to go backwards at the same speed to where we started.

This is the speed we got to!!

This is Deb, Steven and Sheila after the two rides we had. Deb still has her eyes closed! She didn't open them again for at least 2 hours!!

Oh wait - She opened them a few minutes later for this photo! Here's all of us, smiling, feeling lucky to be alive!

Now we are safe again, we could enjoy the view! Pretty place when you're not screaming at 100kmh on a wire!

And if you want to see the movie - then here is the link. Make sure you watch it from half way through as we go back to really get the feel of going backwards at 100kmh!  (Clic on 'The Movie')

The Movie

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cochlear Implant Number 3 - Two Year Review!

I just had my 2 year mapping, about 6 weeks early, as I was up in Auckland for another reason. I had my 18 month review back in October, and at the time I thought there was no real improvement. However, soon after I did notice that for some reason I was hearing better on the phone.

I was still getting some Non Auditory stimulation though, which was getting worse, which meant that the electrode I was hanging onto for dear life, really did need to be switched off, just as the audiologists had been telling me all along.

If I give you one piece of advice that you should heed - it's thus:

Listen to your Audiologist. They know BEST!

They switched off that horrible electrode... and Voila - here are my results....

HINT (open set) Sentences at 3 months: 100%
HINT (open set) Sentences at 6 months: 98%
HINT (open set) Sentences at 9 months: 100%
HINT (open set) Sentences at 18 months: 98% (Grrr)!
HINT (open set) Sentences at 2 years: 100% (Yippee)

In background noise +10db SNR at 3 months: 92%
In Background noise +10db SNR at 6 months: 96%
In Background noise +10db SNR at 9 months: 83% (gone down!)
In Background noise +10db SNR at 18 months: 90% (back up a bit)
In Background noise +10db SNR at 2 years: 100%

In background noise +5db SNR at 3 months: 24%
In background noise +5db SNR at 6 months: 47%
In background noise +5db SNR at 9 months: not tested
In background noise +5db SNR at 18 months: 38%
In background noise +5db SNR at 2 years: 95% (HUGE DIFFERENCE)

CNC Words Alone at 3 months: 63%
CNC Words Alone at 6 months: 65%
CNC Words Alone at 9 months: 68% (Slowly improving)
CNC Words Alone at 18 months 60% (gone down)
CNC Words Alone at 2 years: 85% (Whoohoo)

CNC Words Alone Phonemes at 3 months: 82%
CNC Words Alone Phonemes at 6 months: 83%
CNC Words Alone Phonemes at 9 months: 87%
CNC Words Alone Phonemes at 18 months: 75% (Gone down)
CNC Words Alone Phonemes at 2 years: 95%

This is a huge improvement, and one that has put a permanent smile on my face. I never thought it would happen, became to believe that this implant wasn't as good as my first! Just goes to show that the brain eventually does start making sense of it, but it might take a bit longer the 2nd time around when your brain isn't quite as fast!

Thanks to my Audi's for getting me there, and for the Docs who persevered! Any sane person would have run of the hills ages ago!!!