New Cochlear Implant Processor Upgrade

Oh. My. Goodness.

This came in the mail:

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I was so, so excited.

But I also knew it was a present I had to open when I could play and enjoy but not lose any pieces.

So I waited and waited, dying inside, until all the kids were finally asleep.

And then, finally-finally, I opened the box.

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Let there be sound!

It was as if an orchestra crescendo-ed right as I opened the box, and the moment could not have been any more fairytale.

There were two of the boxes, much smaller than the giant white boxes stored in the top corner of my closet, one box for each ear.

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The packaging got better and better.

When I opened the black box, an invisible voice that sounded like sunshine greeted me warmly, saying, “Hi! I’m the nucleus 6. Nice to meet you.” It looked like an iPad or tablet, and made me even more excited to open my boxes!

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Under this were all the documents and books and user friendly things, including a DVD and other necessary papers.

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Underneath this was my free gift of a fancy schmancy processor and equipment holder case, a hard case, which was nice that it was something new. My old ones came with a backpack and a lunch bag, and these will help with traveling and storage for the more fragile pieces.

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And then, drumroll…

At the bottom of my black box…

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Finally… Was… All the STUFF!!

The actual cochlear implant processor, the coils and cables and ear hooks and bilateral audio cable (my “earphones”) and mains cable (for plugging in between my “earphones” and anything plugged into the wall or airplanes, like a surge protector for my brain), microphones and magnets and everything!

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My new ones are black instead of white, so even the new charger and remote are black. I picked the remote that is compatible with my old ones, just in case. It also came with all the adapters I need for traveling!

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It is a terrifying thing to put together such tiny, expensive thing, especially when you are crazy excited but also emotionally overwhelmed for love and gratitude of sound, all while being absolutely terrified of the new experience, not knowing what it will be like to hear with this new equipment.

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I got it all put together, and it is amazing. It feels smaller but definitely lighter. The cable between the processor and coil is much more flexible, which is a huge bonus for me because I have almost no space between them the way my surgeries went. The part that especially surprised me was the ear hook being so much smaller! And soft! It’s crazy amazing comfortable, and I couldn’t believe it!

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I also got the brand new just approved aqua accessory so that I can now swim with my cochlear implants on! It will still look ridiculous, but less ridiculous and far more easy than some of the contraptions we have tried in the past!

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I also ordered all the new colors of covers for the processors… And this upgrade has color covers for the coil, too! So that is super fun! I am excited to try them, but those were ordered separately, so they will come later this week. Here are the two colors that came with the processors:

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I had the choice of waiting eight weeks and having them sent to me already programmed, or getting them this week and going to the audiologist next week to have them programmed. So I can’t wear them yet, and won’t get to try them out until next week. But they are here, and put together, and ready to go. I am sooooo anxious because I feel like I have come so far, and I really don’t want anything to mess it up. I also feel a lot of pressure with a husband and kids to “get it” right away and not take months and years to learn to hear digitally like I did before. So I hope some of what I already know counts for something, and they say it will, but this is a brand new experience for me, so I have no idea what it will be like. I don’t want them not to work, and so am really scared about how I will function with them and if I will be able to understand anything.

One week countdown!!

Tree Drama

The backyard tree has it’s flowers open full bloom and you can for sure see it is not a redbud.

Here is a picture of redbud flowers from a for sure redbud tree that I saw at the park:

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But here are the full open blooms on the backyard tree, which is clearly not a redbud:

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It really does look like a flowering plum, but of a different variety than I have seen before. Does anybody know the variety? Or is it just early enough the middles aren’t dark yet? It is so pretty, and I love that we have it!

Here’s another close up of the flower:

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New Hair

I did not get it colored.

I did keep it relaxed and have it straightened.

That is just the light in the picture.

There is, however significantly more grey each time I get a cut!

Also, the new cut will help my processors stay on my head better, without changing the magnet strength.

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Haircuts and Corn Dogs

I felt sick all day at work yesterday, in pain and nauseous and exhausted beyond belief. I was able to finish my day, but got home and kissed the children and laid down right away.

I woke up twelve hours later.

Nathan and his dad even gave me a blessing, Nathan says.

Today I feel weak and tired and sick, but was able to work some and made my annual hair appointment. I hate missing my work if I am not contagious, because I can sit still and rest at work as well as I can at home, almost. The hair was necessary for teaching the teenager a lesson about communicating (different story for later).

I do not have my endurance, though, and was spent by the end of the day… Just in time for Nathan to come down with it.

Laundry is frozen in place, and we pulled out the emergency corn dogs for the kids. It’s that pathetic.

In the meantime, Nathan and I kept down toast and everyone is going to bed early. Nathan and I are a hilarious mess of a team, unable to function for ourselves, and yet somehow caring for each other and the kids.

At least since you are sick, too, we know I am not pregnant, I say, almost joking.

Except it isn’t funny, because we wish I were, but also are relieved because the last thing we need is another miscarriage.

In other health news, we found a lump in me this week, except since the blessing it is gone. That’s weird, but good, and maybe I needed the blessing more for that than a sickly stomach. My ovarian cancer tests came back clear this Spring, but now they are going to check my lymph nodes. The lump was painful, though, so the doctor said that was a lymph infection, because almost always a cancer lump wouldn’t hurt that early in the game. So he is not worried about it , which was good news.

So despite the discomfort of a few days, we are grateful for normal sick that actually means everyone is healthy.

And, even if sick, a quiet evening at home isn’t that bad.

Especially with new fancy hair.

Oh, and my brand new processors that arrived in the mail today!

I get them programmed next week!

I can’t wait!

Redbud or Flowering Plum

The first day I looked at this house, they told me this tree was probably dead and would need to be cut down.

False.

EDIT: There is some debate whether it is the smaller flowered split trunk redbud or the larger, more red flowered (with spiked flowering plum). However, the leaves we saw in fall were redbud leaves, and the flowers came out before the leaves, and no plums were present last fall and the flowers do not have red centers or the spikes. But it is not purple enough to be a redbud.

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Naughty, Naughty

We have had five kids come and go in the last three weeks (another five left last night), and it’s really hard on our Five. It’s a lot of adjusting and change, and sometimes he pulls the autism out of his pocket and doesn’t handle the transition well and acts like the naughty kids he has been around instead of acting like Five, who had made a lot of progress in eight months.

His progress, however, is not as evident when he is away from us. We are still working on generalizing what he has learned, applying his own prompts when we are not there, and self-regulating his own emotions and behaviors.

Also, he’s five.

And all boy, full of energy and activity.

It was this combination that landed him in the principal’s office yesterday before I even got to work. Another boy in class got in trouble, and our Five copied his behavior. Then he started signing and refusing to talk, and then started fake crying like the toddler does. It was a mess, and he got walked to the principal’s office, and they called Nathan.

Five was, at least, smart enough to be glad it was Nathan that showed up at the school instead of me. Little punk!

In the end, he got a talking to at the school, and got picked up from school instead of getting to ride the bus to the learning center where he likes to play. This was actually secretly helpful, because he needs practice at this transition since after the adoption we won’t be able to send him to the learning center anymore. But his other consequence, and the primary one that works the best every time, was that he had to talk to me this morning and review the rules for being a gentleman in class, take a shower (instead of a bath), eat breakfast at home (instead of at school), and… drumroll… wear a suit and tie to school everyday until he can demonstrate he remembers how to act like a gentleman in class.

It works everytime.

At least for now.

So this is my little naughty son, trying very hard to be a gentleman, or, rather, more truthfully, this is my very pure spirit gentleman of a son who sometimes chooses to be naughty.

And this is me trying very hard not to melt at his cuteness as he walks his adorable self into school all dressed up.

I really love that kid.

And he really is trying hard.

Most of the time.

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2014 General Conference: Sunday Morning Session

Happy birthday, Jesus!

President Uchtdorf opened this morning with a talk about grief that made me cry, of course.  He spoke about how gratitude is not being thankful for things, but a lifestyle of appreciation.  It is an overall attitude, and can lift us even out of grief.  Sigh.  Yes.  That.  Also, he explicitly defined commandments as “opportunities to exercise agency and receive blessings”.  That’s tenderness.  Also, a challenge.  So being grateful, he says, is hard, but it counts as an act of faith.  He also pointed out that we don’t like endings because we are eternal beings.  That helps because it explains the discomfort of grief, but also reminds us that the discomfort is only temporary, if not an illusion.

Elder Ballard issued a challenge for us to take our faith seriously, and invite others to church and to discussions with the missionaries.  He makes a simple point: if we truly believe what we say we believe, then it’s far more real than the casual-ness with which we often treat this corner of our lives.  It is not a corner of our lives, but who we are – where we have been – and where we are going.  And, as someone pointed out in conference yesterday, the people around us wouldn’t even be here (on Earth) if they hadn’t have already chosen Him once, so it’s in there, somewhere.  Help them remember.  And live in such a way as to remind them, rather than distract from it.

My favorite thing Sister Stevens said was that “I would never have asked for this trial, but I would never give it away”.   Thank you, year 2013.  Enough said.

Elder Bednar’s talk reminded me of this one he gave previously at BYU (thanks, Stan, for the link!), and it was one I needed again.  I needed it to close out 2013, and I needed it as a fresh reminder in a strengthening kind of way.  The atonement does not remove our burdens, and it does not make life easy.  That is not the point.  Happiness is not about have zero problems and life always going smoothly.  The point is that we learn, transform, and become through experiences, and hard experiences help us focus that transformation.  Heavy loads give us the traction to get home safely.  I know that Nathan and I both have experienced in new ways this last year how hard things first seem impossible, and then somehow we become accustomed to them, and then looking back it seems like no big deal… and how the next time we encounter a similar problem, we seem to have better “muscles” for dealing with it.

President Monson urges us to be kind, and maybe that’s the biggest challenge of all.

For me, anyway.

But he says, and I believe him, that Heavenly Father knows I am trying.

And that He will help.