Monday, March 28, 2011

On order

So that's it. All the research and legwork done and paperwork secured and financing arranged and it's ordered from Global Hearing Aid Clinic as of 4:30 pm today.

A bit of a shock when I called up: the person I had initially spoken to had transposed two numbers in the price. The kit isn't $6850. It's $8650. I know that for once the error was hers, not mine: "six thousand" sounds NOTHING like "eight thousand", and there's no way I could've gotten that wrong, even on the phone, because Global's customer service reps speak slowly and clearly and are a joy to call. Except when they mix up the first two numbers of an amount one might expect to pay for a used car.

This experience has also taught me that we have to up the insurance coverage we have on the thing for loss or damage. We only insured it for the cost of the processor. Now I realize that a replacement of the processor will usually mean a replacement of the whole kit.

However, there's a $1500 rebate for turning my old one in for refurbishment that I didn't know about, so that absorbed most of that blow. Apparently the damage won't be a problem. That's how they get turned in.

I checked the exchange rate; with the Canadian dollar above par I could've saved about $200 by ordering direct from Advanced Bionics, in the States. But I've ordered from Global before; I like them and I trust them. And I can talk to their customer service people, obviously trained to work with hard-of-hearing people. They're a smaller company, and in-country, as opposed to AB which seems like a faceless US conglomerate with many thousands of customers. I even know the street they're on. I just feel better about dealing with them if there's a problem.

Next step: scheduling a trip to Nova Scotia Hearing and Speech Centre, where it's being sent directly, for programming!



Friday, March 25, 2011

Gov'mint done falled again.

Brent McKee reminds me that, as the Canadian gov'mint once again falls on a vote of non-confidence, that Mojo should watch himself. Because you never know when a gov'mint can fall on a poor kitty's haid.


A tragedy of monumental proportions

I did not know this lady well. I heard her speak many times at conferences, as her field of study and my professional track crossed many times in our small province, and our small Atlantic region. I believe I may have also heard her speak at national conferences. So respected was her research.

I spoke to her directly once or perhaps twice, after one of those presentations, thanking her for sharing her knowledge.

And now she's gone. Another stupid, senseless loss to domestic violence. Allegedly.

It would make the angels weep, were there angels. I no longer believe there are angels.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Celebrating Citizenship

A tweet alerted me to this wonderful blog post by a woman whose husband became a Canadian Citizen yesterday.

I've attended a lot of citizenship ceremonies and she captures the experience nicely. The only part she left out is that there is always a Mountie in full red serge in attendance, and everyone - everyone - insists on having their picture taken with the Mountie. It's very sweet, too.

And that if Mama Alice is attending the ceremony she will ululate, which is awesome.



Saturday, March 19, 2011


This is supposed to be a blog about hearing loss and cochlear implants, isn't it? I nearly forgot.

I've had my CI processor for just a month under 6 years now, and it's starting to show serious signs of wear.

A small piece of plastic chipped off the spot where the headpiece wire goes into the processor proper; and now the wire slips and I have to push it back in once or twice a day. When that happens, I lose sound until the wire is securely repositioned. ("Why aren't they made of titanium?" Husband frowned. It'd make them prohibitively expensive, I suppose.) The finish on the side that rubs against my glasses is all rubbed away, but that's merely cosmetic. What really worries me is that if that spot on the processor cracks further, the wire may not stay attached at all. (I shall have to use teeny, tiny pieces of duct tape, I suppose.) All of this has made ordering a replacement a priority.

And oh! what jolly good fun that has been. It makes choosing a cell phone plan or researching a new car look like child's play. The first one was paid for fully by Medicare (yay Canada) and the team at the NSHSC ordered it for me. This time I have spent a dizzying amount of time researching things. (Although I wouldn't say I've been "on my own". My audiologist at the NSHSC has been incredibly helpful.)

How much will the new kit (including processor, headpiece, battery charger, and 4 batteries) cost?


Whoa. Okay.

(Thank god for the strong Canadian dollar. A price list I have from 2009 from the Canadian agent for Advanced Bionics lists it at around $8000CAD.)

What, if anything, will Medicare contribute? (Nothing.) What, if anything, will my Blue Cross insurance (which covers things that Medicare doesn't, like glasses and dental and prescriptions) cover? ($640. They classify it with hearing aids). Will I be able to claim a portion of it back on my taxes next year? (Yes, although how much I'm still investigating.)


I recognize that because of public health care, Canadians tend to have a bit of a sense of entitlement about medical cost coverage. Why do I have to pay for this? It's a medical expense! Shouldn't the government pay for this?

Well, no. The whole point of the public health care model is that we all pay in through our taxes, and we all access health care without up-front payment as we need it. That model isn't sustainable if we pay for everything health-related, for everyone, in all circumstances, all the time. I've already mentioned that some optical, dental, and prescription costs aren't covered (although it's important to note that these things are covered by government for people on Social Assistance or Disability). Neither are replacement cochlear implant processors, and lots of other prosthetics and devices in certain circumstances.

The cost is daunting, but the bottom line is that we are people who are able to absorb the cost, grumbling aside. And it goes without saying that it is an absolute necessity for my employment and my relationships and my life.

Anyway, when I do order, I'll be upgrading to a new processor which is supposed to have superior sound mapping and which - supposedly - processes music even better.

So it's a hit, but to quote a friend of mine "it's a happy kind of pain".



Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Veronica at rest

We searched all over the internet for the "right" place for Veronica's remains. We found what we were looking for at a company in Minnesota, of all places, which doesn't normally ship to Canada, but who will if you phone them up and make special arrangements. And the customer service lady will call you "hon" all the way through the phone conversation, just like she did with Husband.

We wanted something personalized. "Good Kitty" was important to us. They were her praise words in life, and the last words we said to her. She knew what those words meant. They're in quotes because we want them to be from us, to her. The photo makes it look like the engraving is tilted, a little. It isn't in real life. It's exactly what we wanted for her.

So that's it. She's home now, on the mantle, where she'll stay with us. Thank you, Minnesota.



Saturday, March 05, 2011

Cats quote Charlie Sheen

Thanks to Mike, who alerted me to this addition to the always-entertaining Medium Large blog through his (Mike's) much-worth-following Comic Strip of the Day blog.

There are several takes on this at Medium Large - check the links at the end - but this one struck me as the funniest.

I don't know what I think of Charlie Sheen's prolonged and very public meltdown. At first I thought it was drugs (which it initially almost certainly was), then when he produced clean drug tests I thought it was mental illness, and I felt badly that everybody was having so much fun watching a mentally ill person flame out on camera. And now I'm starting to think the whole thing may be an elaborate prank similar to Joaquin Phoenix's confusing and convoluted flameout a couple of years ago.

One thing is for sure. You can't process this with a normal brain.


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Thursday, March 03, 2011

I, for one, welcome our new feline overlords.

It's only a matter of time.



Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Yeah, work is like that.

Maybe I should tell him I have the laser pointer...