Monday, November 27, 2006

The Young and the Implanted

I got a press release in the mail today from Advanced Bionics, the people who manufacture my CI, informing the world that "The Young and the Restless" soap opera character Devon Hamilton, who is depicted in the show as having gone deaf in his late teens due to menengitis, is getting a cochlear implant today.

Living in a soap opera and all, Devon's path to receiving his implant appeared to be a tad bumpier than mine, according to a little online research I did about his story. In fact, he got arrested for murder on his way to the surgery. Fortunately he was rapidly bailed out, such things being common occurrances in the soapverse, and apparently has now been implanted.

The folks at Advanced Bionics, no slouches in the marketing department, believe me, donated the device (by which I assume they mean the external unit the actor, Bryton McClure, will wear on the show. McClure is not deaf, and so has not, of course, really been implanted, which made me curious about how they'll attach the headpiece to his skull. A nanosecond later I thought about episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation I'd seen and decided tv people can now attach badger's butts to people's eyebrows fairly realistically, so feh.)

I wasn't aware of this deaf tv character previously, and had I been I doubt I would have bothered to check him out; most soap depictions of ... anything are so wildly unrealistic as to be of little or no interest to me. I do wish I was able to watch the activation episode on December 6 (a ridiculously short time in real life - activation takes place about six weeks after the surgery). Unfortunately our DVD player isn't also a recorder, and I have to work during soap hours. If anyone knows of a legal online source for episodes of Y&R I'd appreciate it.

It will be very interesting to see whether they bother to tackle the fact that Devon, a music major, will certainly not hear music well at first, and probably not ever. My guess is in soap bubble land, his music comprehension and proficiency will be 100% almost immediately.

I was also interested to read, in my little bit of research, that soap character Devon's whole family learned ASL when he went deaf. Although I was exceptionally blessed in that regard, I've come to learn that my experience was extremely rare. In real life, one's family members making the time and effort to learn ASL is usually a soap opera fantasy indeed.




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