MY COCHLEAR IMPLANT: THE 3-MONTH AUDIOLOGY EVALUATION – Garry Armstrong

LEARNING TO HEAR by Garry Armstrong, 
Photography: Marilyn Armstrong

Sing “Hallelujah” softly and this year, I will hear you. Crystal clear!

One of many hearing tests

That’s the lead on a delightfully mild Monday as I look back on today’s evaluation of my Cochlear Implant at UMass Memorial Hospital.

It was like getting an A on your first major exam in college.

Nicole Seymour, audiologist on the job!

Last week, I got excellent grades at the surgical evaluation of the Cochlear procedure. All the stuff placed inside my brain was line-dancing with the receiver parts atop my head and right ear. No unseemly scars, bumps or rashes. Even my fast receding hairline appears to be flourishing.

Is this a side perk?

Garry in the booth, listening to the test signals

Today was a detailed session of testing and adjustments. I sat in a small room that looks like Interrogation Room 1 on NCIS, but with more electronic equipment. I went through a series of tests administered by my audiologist. The tests involved various levels of single-word recognition, complete sentence awareness, and range of tone comprehension.

It’s harder than you think.

Putting the equipment on again

If you’re hearing-challenged, which is to say, deaf, you have problems with all these things. Single words that rhyme – led, dead, bread, red are easily confused. Whole sentences are often misinterpreted, sometimes leading to misunderstanding and embarrassment. High and low tones aren’t audible. I couldn’t tell the difference, so statements and questions sounded the same.

Consultation

I sat tensely – my body coiled – as I sat for decades during my TV news career. Struggling with interviews, courtroom testimonies, and pivotal political speeches. My breath came in rushes because I wanted to be successful.  A lot rides on the cochlear implant. At age 76, this is a major turning point. 


I can experience clear hearing for the first time in my life.

I clearly heard many of the words, sentences, and sounds.  But some of it was guesswork, just as it was throughout my working years. I could feel my body tighten as I wondered how well I was doing.

Nicole setting the levels on the implant headset

Progress or not?  I’ve been working hard with the cochlear implant. I wanted progress very badly.

Tools of the trade

When it came time for evaluation, the audiologist gave no facial hints. I was tense and nervous. She slowly and clearly told Marilyn and me that my progress was substantial with major improvements in all the areas tested. Some of the improvement was huge, some more moderate. But everything was better.

I smiled inwardly which turned into a broad smile that could have lit the room.

Filling in the forms

My cochlear implant and the hearing aid in my left ear were adjusted to give me more audio on 5 levels. She expected I would probably not want (or need) the strongest (loudest) level, but it was there, just in case. The new “bottom” level was the top of my previous levels. Go, Garry!

Setting the new levels on gear

In the coming weeks and months, Marilyn and I will be attending several large events where there will be many people, lots of background noise including live music — the dread of anyone who has trouble dealing with background noise. These events will be powerful tests for my implant.

More tests

What’s more, these are exactly the events that I dreaded before the cochlear implant surgery.

Now, I am eagerly looking forward to them.

Hallelujah! Time to celebrate!

COME AGAIN ANOTHER DAY – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP Tuesday: Rain

Yesterday, when Garry was getting his ears tested, he commented that the sound of the rain was really bothering him. It was so LOUD.

The wet and rainy ride to vote

The audiologist said that it was bothering everybody, that she didn’t ever remember so much heavy rain, so continuously. I said that I thought that something was wrong with the house, that suddenly there was so much noise until I realized that a cloud had broken open and all the rain in the heavens was pouring down on our roof.

We have now had more than 20 inches of rain sing fall began and it’s not over yet unless it gets cold enough to be snow and that’s an even more formidable — if less noisy — weather pattern to contemplate. Last year, we got three blizzards in two weeks. That isn’t normal. One blizzard … maybe two … in a season is normal. Three in two weeks? Really?

Say what you want about climate change, I don’t think we are waiting for it. I think it’s here. This is the “new” weather. Unpredictable. Even our sharpest, smartest meteorologists no longer are able to give a reasonably definite forecast for as much as a day or two ahead.

It might rain. It might snow. It should get colder, but maybe not. Wind? Possibly but maybe only on the Cape or further north. They really aren’t sure because weather patterns are not doing what they always did before. We could (more or less) predict weather because it followed known patterns based on the seasons.

We aren’t even getting all the seasons now. Spring was never big here in New England, but now we aren’t getting autumn either and that is a serious loss. It didn’t ever last long enough, but it was the best weather of the year and certainly the most beautiful.

And just for thwarting, this was our trip to Connecticut. I don’t have any graphic software here so … this is just the way it looked through the front window …

No more predictability. While (overall) the world is getting hotter, the wild swings of weather mean that you may get hotter summers, but you also get buried in snow and ice at the other end of the cycle. Climate change isn’t one thing. It’s everything.

It doesn’t merely rain. It pours. We don’t get breezes. We get violent wind storms. Weekly or even more often. There’s no more “rarely” in weather. Everything is ramped up. It’s super snowmageddon or violent tides. Floods, drought, fire, mudslides. Everything is the biggest, worst of its kind until the next one which is even worse.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

It won’t get better unless we fix it and I’m not sure we will fix it. How do you get all of humanity and its governments united on saving their planet? How can you get so many people to agree on anything? Ever?

Our exterminator was here today. He assured me if blow ourselves up, the only living thing on earth will be cockroaches. That didn’t make me feel better at all.

Order now! Trump’s Greatest Hits! REBLOG from The Shinbone Star!

I didn’t know what to get for those special people on my list …. but this is perfect! The ultimate (final?) gift.


 

THE SHINBONE STAR

— Skye Hunter/The Shinbone Star

For the first time anywhere, Fox News and K-Tel present the Donald-you-all-know-and-love in a new compilation of Trump’s Greatest Hits.

Yes, such crowd pleasers as “Crooked Hillary,” “MAGA” and “Build the Wall” are available for the first time on CD, vinyl and 8-track for those of you who insist on living in the past.

And of course, there are other unforgettable refrains, like the ever-popular “End the Witch Hunt,” “The Press Is the Enemy” and “A Caravan of Killer Babies Is Coming to Rape You.”

In addition to these fan favorites, you’ll find new material, including “Baby It’s Cold Outside (So there’s obviously no global warming)” and “This Thanksgiving I’m Thankful for Me.”

Order now, and you’ll receive a bonus disc of cover versions, performed as only Donnie can do them.

You’ve never heard “Stormy,” “Liar Liar,” “I’m Dreaming of An All White Christmas” or…

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TIME PASSES: A SQUARE FOR BECKYB #3 – Marilyn Armstrong

The statue to the soldiers of the Civil War
A New Square for Becky B

And time passes …

BETWEEN ONE DAY AND THE NEXT – Marilyn Armstrong

New Blooms – Christmas Cactus  12/3/18


Yesterday, there was one flower — beginning to look a bit weary around the edges and a lot of fat buds. Today the first flower is moving on, but three new ones are popping open.

I am sad that I can’t manage to keep a Poinsettia alive, but the Christmas Cactus makes up for it and the smaller one is just beginning to look as if it is thinking about setting buds. Funny that two essentially identical cactuses — they were both cuttings from the same friend — have such different blooming patterns.

Yesterday


TODAY


Bursting buds
Almost in bloom. Some of the petals are open
New blooms today!
The youngest flowers