Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Hell of a way to start the day.

Yesterday, I noticed my hearing fading in and out a couple of times. I blamed it on the batteries, which lose their power with age, and which have out of necessity been left in a cold car for hours on end lately, which I know is bad for them... but such is the reality of living between two homes in winter in Canada.

By last night, it was happening more frequently. I mentioned it to husband - time, I said, to contact the Hearing and Speech Center about getting the thing checked out and figuring out what component was giving me trouble.

This morning, my worst nightmare came true. When I put on the processor...

...nothing happened.

Then, when I took it off to examine it, this happened.

I 'spect it goes without saying that the little black piece there next to the headpiece wire, used to be attached to the end of the headpiece wire.

That's a super way to start the day - and I am due to give a presentation at a meeting at 1pm this afternoon.

First, don't panic. So we didn't. Husband went to the office to call the NS Hearing and Speech Center and talk to "Helen", my audiology technician there and ask if we can get another headpiece couriered. I emailed my boss and explained that I wouldn't be making the meeting. She emailed back that she was sure everything would be fine in the end and not to worry. Husband emailed that Helen said there should be a spare headpiece in my CI kit. By the time I got the kit, found the spare headpiece in the bottom and got the processor on - and was hearing again - he was at the house, concerned I might not have checked my email.

Ok. Ok. Crisis over. Handled. I can hear again. Helen is sending yet another spare. (Apparently I should always have two on hand - guess that little wire is the most likely part to fail.) Emailed my boss. Crisis averted. See you at the meeting. Gotta go review the material I'm giving a presentation on.

It's amazing what you can get used to.


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Anonymous xtremeenglish said...

dear god....congrats for not losing your mind and running around screaming. something kinda like that happened to me, and when i emailed the manufacturer, they told me to switch the two parts of the ailing processor with the two parts of the spare until i found a combination that worked. "the spare?" i said. i like my audiologist well enough, but he tells me NOTHING. i thought they always sent those processors out in pairs in case you decide to have the other ear done, too. hey, i'm not a total eejit...i have a (sniff) masters degree. shows ya how much that kinda thing is worth.

i was afraid you were going to say the bottlecap thingy under your scalp had gone caput. glad it was only the little black thing that the wires go into.

anyway, ain't technology grand even as it reminds us of its (and everything else's) fragility? i really love it. i went to the movie "no country for old men" last weekend and sat there totally enthralled by the texas accents as person after person on the screen got shot down or blown up. there's nothing like hearing. especially if you've lost it and gotten it back.

carry on!

1:37 a.m.  
Blogger Sherwood Harrington said...

XE, I was afraid that something even worse had happened, especially after that "worst nightmare" thing at the beginning of ronnie's third paragraph.

Thank God it wasn't, really. And I, too, am impressed by ronnie's calm handling of the situation.

I've got a masters, too, XE, and it's even got Ronald Reagan's signature on it, and I thought for sure there was some endorsement on the back that says "Guaranteed Not To Be A Total Eejit," but maybe I'm mistaken about that.

2:57 a.m.  
Anonymous xtremeenglish said...

SH, if RR signed ur masters papers, anything that says "guaranteed not to be a total eejit" is a figment of jack warner's imagination. RR was an ACTOR, for pete's sake! i think of those things as testament to the bearer's having had the a) time and b) money to go to skool instead of working for a living. wot's urs in? mine's in nuclear engineering (just kidding) creative writing.

9:05 a.m.  
Blogger Carl said...

I'm impressed by how calm you stayed. In your situation I'd be buying an entire spare processor to keep in my office, and another one to keep at home.

9:28 a.m.  
Anonymous Dann said...

Perhaps I'm out of line....again....but I would expect nothing less from Ms. Cat than the described reaction.


10:03 a.m.  
Blogger Nostalgic for the Pleistocene said...

I too am very impressed that you didn't melt down! I would. O those delicate little wires that bring us such good things.

My diploma merely certifies that "Diplomate has hiked 1000+ miles in a 7-story university library" which is about all you have to do to get an Master of Library Science. Yall creative writers and scientists hafta use brains and all. 8~)

10:46 a.m.  
Anonymous xtremeenglish said...

we should buy more spares, ronnie. it'd only be like buying one car to keep at work and another one for home and maybe one more just in case the other two crap out. i can't decide whether to buy three 2008 Land Rover LR2 SEs. or...whoa! three Beemer 328i sedans or wagons!!!

1:04 p.m.  
Blogger ronnie said...

I'm just popping in from work and will respond properly later, but M.E.'s comment made me laugh out loud. Yes, I just did a quick web check - my basic processor unit currently retails for $7,000USD - that's without any accessories at all. I'm not even sure the headpiece or ear hook is included at that price. A battery definitely isn't.

So until we discover oil in the back yard, replacements will have to be part by part, and as needed.


3:11 p.m.  
Anonymous xtreme said...

$7,000?!!! SEVEN THOUSAND? well, of course, you live in canada, where all that stuff is free. one lil processor down here in the land of the american peso costs between $25,000 - $35,000 (which includes all the bells, whistles, and e-mail support for the confused). holy cripes...the BATTERIES are $250 APIECE!! maybe not in canadia, though. you have socialized medicine. we have capitalized medicine for the benefit of those with capital. excuse me while i take to my couch and dab my temples with cologne...

7:51 p.m.  
Blogger ronnie said...

Nope, Xtreme E., I got that $7000 figure from an American Advanced Bionics website, but Husband informs me we got a new price list in the mail today and apparently the actual current cost of the processor - just the one piece, mind - is now $8500USD. Add a headpiece, battery, earhook, just to get the basic wearable unit, and you're getting there.

To clarify, in Canada, the surgery and the gear - both the internal implant and the external processor plus its many components and accessories - are paid for through our public health care, so there was no cost to us save our taxes over the years and our trips to Halifax for consultations. From this point on we are more or less on our own with regards to warranties, replacements, upgrades, and so on.

It's a great system, but it isn't Cloud Cuckoo Land where everything is free forever :)

I appreciate how many of the commenters 'got' the point of this post, which was, "How the unthinkable becomes the manageable". No, while there was upset and - inside - that good old-fashioned feeling from childhood that can only be described as "scared", there was no panic. We learned long ago that there's no point in panicking - it only wastes time and spills things. I suspect this is what happens in many, if not most, disabled/illness-affected homes. The bloody worst-case scenario doesn't evoke panic - we haven't time for it. What we need to do is make a plan; and (if you're lucky, like me, and have a good, good partner), divide up duties related to the plan; and get through it, one way or another.

And we do.


9:20 p.m.  
Anonymous xtremeenglish said...

you're a wonder and i'm not surprised you have a great partner. i was just TEASING you about canadian medicine. we should be so lucky.

now i'm gonna go take my vitamins and hit the hay. it's late for old ladies.

9:50 p.m.  
Blogger Sherwood Harrington said...

Ah, XE, ME, Ms. Carew...

My master's degree is from a state school in California (one with a nice view of the Golden Gate Bridge and a lasting scent of tear gas in memory even forty years on). Ronnie was governor of the State then, and, as the Head Honcho, his signature was on diplomas from the University's campuses. Or campi. Whatever.

1:28 a.m.  
Anonymous xtremeenglish said...

master harrington....it wudn't be from u of cal sf?? that's a swell place. they have a deaf studies program there, i think.

8:14 a.m.  
Anonymous xtremeenglish said...

(don't mind harrington & me, ronnie....we've set up a home in your blog, like catbirds laying their eggs in somebody else's nest.) wot's our next topic???

8:16 a.m.  
Blogger ronnie said...

Oh, by all means, carry on... just turn the lights out when you leave...

8:36 a.m.  
Blogger Xtreme English said...

well, not to let a topic die a natural death or anything, but i just got on my cell fone and ordered two replacement cables for my nukular freedom pro'ssor at a cost of ZERO. they will arrive in two days or so. this is covered by my THREE-YEAR WARRANTY! which i dint know i had. thot it was just 1 year. so the price of these CIs works out. in addition to the CI making ur life worthwhile when it's not falling apart.

1:54 p.m.  
Anonymous Robin said...

that's why you're one of my faves -- you're one strong lady! :)

1:59 p.m.  
Blogger Sherwood Harrington said...

Naw, XE, it was Berzerkeley. My son, Adam, was born at UC San Francisco, though.

And, ronnie, all you've got in here is one little CFL bulb and you expect us to turn that off when we leave? What a cheapskate.

Oh, and the snacks are stale.

3:18 p.m.  
Anonymous xtremeenglish said...

master harrington:

snacks???!!! you see snacks here? i agree bout the cheapass light.

berzerkely! i yam impressed!!!

6:36 p.m.  
Blogger ronnie said...

Ingrates. I blog my fingers to the bone, important cyborg components fail me, Mike Peterson refuses to buy me a two-metre high Indonesian wooden cat, and Harrington complains about the decor and the lack of piquant canapes.

I've had enough of being insulted by my friends. I'm going back to Fredericton for Christmas, where I can be insulted by my relatives.

And ignored by my cats.

And I'm taking the last of the snacks with me.

ronnie "told them, didn't I?" cat

7:52 p.m.  
Blogger Xtreme English said...

jeez, harrington...do you think she's really UPSET? (and you ate all the snacks, right?)

d'you think we shud buy her a xmas pressie? i know that cat of hers will want one.

8:11 p.m.  
Blogger Sherwood Harrington said...

Oh, she'll get plenty of presents, XE, don't fret about that.

And as far as her being upset, well, she's got a lot of nerve after what she stirred up over in MomsCancer last year.

11:09 p.m.  
Anonymous Dann said...

It appears that I killed that party. Wanna see if I can go two for two??

Guys?? Hello?

9:56 a.m.  
Anonymous xtremeenglish said...

master harrington, that was some PARTY y'alls had at Brian Fies's while he was out getting a ton of honors. and all the rcat could muster for us was some stale snax???

i have a nice new (sept 07) bottle of Mad Dog 20/20, but i'm gonna drink that myself. byob

7:37 p.m.  
Blogger Brian Fies said...

Hey. What's up? Heard there was a party....

3:12 a.m.  

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