Tuesday, May 31, 2011

First patio day

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Mojo in Motion

Mojo the cat runs up the stairs faster than any cat has ever done. Ever

I should let any readers of this blog who don't know that Mojo blogs - sporadically, and with very poor spelling - at http://iam-mojo.livejournal.com/ . I should also mention that thanks to the late Raul, The Black Freighter, that he is suffering under the delusion that he is the Commandante en Jefe of Cuba.



Friday, May 20, 2011

The Learning Curve

It's been a week now since I got the new processor. And it's been challenging.

Just hearing has been harder. I managed to navigate Halifax, but didn't have to have a lot of interactions with people. I couldn't make out the car radio on the drive home Saturday, no matter how loud I turned it up. When I got home, I had trouble understanding Husband. When I got to work on Monday, I had trouble understanding everyone. That improved as the week went on, for one-on-one conversations.

My audiologist and I decided to change my program to the HiRes Fidelity 120 program. (I'll be frank with you - I have no idea what all this stuff means. Frequencies and channels and such and such. Husband the musician does, but he wasn't with me on this trip.) This allows me to access Advanced Bionics "ClearVoice" technology. This is supposed to better pick up and understand voices in noisy environments. But I went to a local coffee shop with some of my team members this morning, and I could understand much less of the conversation than I would've before the new processor.

I'm hoping this improves, as my overall hearing one-on-one and of ambient noise has improved. I really want to take advantage of the new technology possible with this new program and this new processor. It's been seven years since I was first activated - maybe I've forgotten how steep the learning curve is, and been spoiled by the excellent results I got later. So far, I've resisted the urge to go back to my old program, which is loaded into the processor on one of the 3-program slots. Willing to do the work, if it results in improvements.



Monday, May 16, 2011

When virtual friends die.

I could write a lengthy blog post about my reaction when I read this post by a blogger who is grieving the loss of a member of her online community, but I don't think I need to, because I suspect all of you will have exactly the same reactions and feelings I did upon reading it.

The saddest part of the story is what this fine man kept private about his circumstances; and the wrenching sadness of friends who would have and could have done so, so much more to ensure his comfort - if only they had known.

Many years ago, I joined a snail-mail pen pal service. I replied to an ad that amused me a great deal. I remember it today:

"Eccentric old bat/
keeps three mice in her flat/
addicted to laughter/
is anything dafter?"

She was a funny and astute woman in her 70s living in New York City in a tiny apartment (and she did indeed indulge three wild mice who lived therein, which probably wasn't a good idea), and we exchanged letters for quite a while. Then I didn't hear from her for a long time. Then, one day, I got a letter in the mail from New York in a strange handwriting.

It was from her son. He had found my letters to her, he said, and he thought I would want to know that she had passed away. He thought our letter exchange must have given her a lot of pleasure and he hoped that it had me, too.

It was such a kind thing for him to do, in the middle of his grief, to write to her pen pals, insignificant strangers to him, and let us know.

The strange, random, nebulous trails we forge on the internet - behind passwords - mean that people won't be able to do that for us anymore. Discoveries of our very real friends' deaths will be accidental, as this one was. If they are discovered at all.


Friday, May 13, 2011

Blogger is having a nervous breakdown.

Blogger went into lockdown - sorry, "read-only"- mode yesterday, having lost a bunch of posts and a bunch of related comments. This was distressing to me, as I had not been able to read the 3 comments that had been left on my last significant blog post (the one about my trip to Halifax and my related nerves) - the list of websites blocked at work is mysterious and random, and I can see my blog from work, but not the related comments. First, Blogger lost both the post and the comments; now the post is back but the comment count is at "0". Blogger still says they're going to retrieve those lost comments, but I am well beyond skeptical. So thank you, those of you who cared enough to comment. Let's assume it was a group effort. Just the fact that there were 3 from someone made me feel like you all had my back.

It went very, very well. There's a lot to tell you but frankly, I've been flat-out since 7 a.m. and I am exhausted. I will continue to post random bits and bobs to the blog and more often to twitter while I am on the road, and will tell you everything when I get home. I am outside my comfort zone now, and part of me wants to switch back to my old program, which has been loaded into the processor as an "I can't handle this" failsafe backup; but there is potential here for growth, or, as my audiologist puts it, "I know you're uncomfortable. You're using the new features you paid nearly $7000 to upgrade to, for the first time."

I am functional, I can hear and carry on a conversation. But it's like putting on a new pair of shoes after wearing your comfortable old sneakers to death. You're very aware they're there, and they feel different.

They took my old one, so baby, failure is not an option.


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The Oscar Wilde Room. He stayed at the Inn where I'm staying. (Although not in my room, alas.)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Just a small update.

I've already told you that Mojo is doing well, and thank Bast for that.

I'll be heading to Halifax on Friday to get my new CI processor programmed. This was supposed to also be a getaway weekend for Husband and me; with Mojo so recently coming out of a bad spell and a diagnosis of kidney disease, it's going to be a solo trip for me while Husband keeps a close eye on The Boy. Too nervous still with the diagnosis, too worried not for one of us to be here.

I go to Halifax alone for business meetings on a regular basis. Once every couple of months, usually. But Husband has been by my side for every one of these appointments regarding the CI, and I feel a bit out-of-sorts and weird about it.

I was thrown for a loop when talking with my audiologist on the phone, when she told me I might have problems with the new processor. I had assumed at this point it was just a straight trade-in; she said that if I had problems after our 2:30 pm appointment, "I'll be in my office until 5, and if you have problems over the weekend, you can just stay on in Halifax and I'll be in my office Monday morning." I know it'll be fine, Husband reminded me that my results have been stellar so far. But that rattled me a bit. I don't want to be alone and handicapped in another city.

It's going to be fine, I know; for heaven's sake, I navigated the world while completely deaf for a year! And if worst comes to worst, I will still have my old processor with me to switch back to. (I think I don't have to turn it in until I come home.) I think I'm just feeling a bit overwhelmed with everything that's happened recently, the Mojo diagnosis (echoes of just losing Veronica), the cataract diagnosis and worrying about the coming surgery, now adapting to a new processor. I've decided to embrace the trip with an aggressive cheerfulness, and will be posting lots of photos to this blog and my twitter feed, which I update obsessively all day.

Bizarrely, I feel like the handful of readers of this blog are with me all the time, kind of hovering over my right shoulder. Including Husband. I expect I will feel like that on this trip, too.


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Thursday, May 05, 2011

Quite a day. [UPDATED]

The weather here is shite today, cold and pouring, and I conducted a focus group which did not go at all well, which made it all the more apropos that an eye examination revealed that I have a posterior subcapsular cataract in my bad eye and will need surgery (while I'm awake, for chrissakes) to remove it, and Mojo, who we took to the vet last week because he was out of sorts, is probably in the early stages of chronic renal failure.

About the former, I have an appointment with a noted local (and heavily booked) ophthalmologist in July; about the latter, there is much we can do to try to ameliorate the symptoms, the most concerning of which right now is that he's not very interested in food. He'll be switching immediately to an all-wet-food diet, which will delight him no end. The vet is monitoring the situation closely with us; and thank god for the internet and the innate generosity of people, because there are many websites out there with masses of information from people who have cared for cats with this condition. (I read today of a cat who lived for 12 years after diagnosis.)

So nobody's panicking here yet. Blogging may continue to be a little spotty as we deal with these and other real-life things.

But as days that suck go, I'm just sayin', this one was 24-karat.

UPDATE: Mojo has started eating again and is currently acting like himself - in other words, cheerful, active and full of piss and vinegar. We are monitoring him closely. We have supplies on hand (special food and a feeding syringe) in case he has another bad spell with no appetite (a common and problematic symptom of CRF that can result in a dangerous "downward spiral") but for the time being he is eating, drinking and doing the (ahem) natural things that happen as a result of that. This is an unpredictable disease - he could have weeks, months or years left. All we can do now is watch him closely and play it by ear. Thanks for the good wishes sent his way.


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