29 November 2008

I hear Higgledy-Piggledy Birds

Don't get too excited.
[Higgledy-piggledy or "butcher bird"s are one of the mascots of this blog]
I was walking thru the park yesterday and I heard the familiar refrain - 'higgledy-piggledy … higgledy-piggledy'
It sounded like a man with a very hoarse voice saying the phrase. Nevertheless, I heard the rhythm of the phrase - I'll have to hang around the park a bit more and get the pitch of what they're saying.
Hopefully it won't be raining, then I won't get reported as "some old guy hanging 'round the park in a raincoat"

25 November 2008

Tune-up, the second

Well after three days using the setting from the first tune-up, the second tune-up came around and off we went again.
As I write this it is clearer - I can hear someone in the other room and it isn't tinnitus!!

Now I'm looking into health insurance so that I can get a second implant to re-activate hearing in the left ear. It's been out of action for over a year, so require a bit more training than the right one. But if the results are as good, or even not as good as the right one, I kind of have to do it.

Imagine what it's like in a mono world - sometimes I cant hear from which direction sound is coming. I can hear it but look the other way.
Sometimes it's like there's a wall running along the middle of me head - I can hear stuff on the right but everything on the left is muffled/blank.

So we start along the path to number two...

21 November 2008

A remarkable result!

Today, Friday 21 Nov was the first tune-up session for the implant.

Following on from 'Switch-on' settings were tweaked and settings were set. The diagram on the computer showed that even in the last week my ear has accepted and adopted the implant and is improving.

The Audiologist later asked me to repeat a set of phrases, which apparently is a test for 4 or 5 weeks after 'Switch-on'. I was able to repeat the phrases word-perfect in all but a few cases.
A remarkable result!

Later in the day, after more practice, I found the hearing different. It is more trebley. TV is very noisy. I was able to speak on the phone. It's still fuzzy but I'm able to discern what my father said. No mean feat!

17 November 2008

How is this done?

You may be wondering what wondrous technologies are at work, to produce this wonderful blog.
Wonder no more.
Here's a bit of shameless self-promotion.

These are the tools I use to put these pages together
This is where it all comes together. 
I have a few different blogs - this one is "Curse of Silence", my experience of cochlearisation.
I write the text you read on the pages, make links to other pages, links to photos and movies and documents. It really enables anyone in the world to have their say, no matter how trivial.
The images and movies and Calendar don't live within the blog - they are outside and brought in by "embedding" them using hyperlinks.
Macs or PCs [Firefox works better for editing]

The images you see on the pages are stored at Picasa. It's a web photo album. I took the photographs with my digital camera [or I could scan photographs, or have photographs saved to a CD]. Once I had the images, they were uploaded [saved] to the Picasa web album.
PC users can download the Picasa program which works like iPhoto below.

Google Docs
When you complete one of the polls or use the 'Contact me directly' page you're filling in a row in a shared spreadsheet or database, in Google Docs. It works just like an Excel spreadsheet, except it's on the web and accessible for your comments directly from the blog page. The system also sends me an email when you send me an entry.
In a different application the spreadsheet might also be shared so that the results we collected would be available as-is, or registered users may have editing privileges as well.

I keep a Calendar of my up-coming appointments. One part of it I've devoted to this cochlear process - if you're interested, why not share it with you? That's what I've done. I've shared the cochlear calendar with you via the blog page by including some code which says "put the upcoming events in to this blog-page" All I had to do was copy/paste it. The Calendar now appears and it's updated without me having to do anything, dynamically - it's always up-to-date.

Find all these web-based programs via the Google page located in your web-browser.

Companion programs
Included with every Mac since 2000-ish. Allows to to download images from the camera and basically edit them. Then upload them directly to Picasa [or Facebook, make websites etc]

Included with every Mac since 2000-ish. Get raw footage from the camera, import it to iMovie.
Add titles, and captions [laborious, especially if you're hearing isn't 100%!].
Export to the desktop in this that or the other format.
Makes it very easy if time-consuming.

Now the shameless promotion part.
Got a project like this needs doing?
Need to know how to get the pics of your camera and onto the WWWeb?
Contact me [email best at the moment - phone coming soon!] and lets talk computers.

You've read the blog now SEE THE MOVIE

Here it is
• you'll laugh
• you'll cry
Captioned for those of us with less than perfect hearing
Got something to say? let me know on the Make Contact Directly page

15 November 2008

Make Contact directly

The deadline has come and gone and here are the results, put through the Acme magnifying glass. It was nice to see that the most popular entry was "I'm subscribed and hanging on every post". I hope that wasn't just the donkeys voting.
Also the vast majority of respondents were positive - negatives aren't going to vote, let alone read the blog. Boo, hiss on those negatives.

Even so, THANK YOU to all the respondents!

Although the poll has closed feel free to add a comment as time progresses - Google users can do so using their Google username/password. All and Non-Google users can continue to use this Poll page. I will be notified of all messages received in the system.

Results of the Access Poll as of 6pm 14 November

Overall a reasonable result although I wish there were a few more entries

Of the entries received there were
100% positive
• I'm subscribed and hanging on every post - 45.45%
• I might read it I might not - 9.09%

Of all the entries
Standard, selected entries - 54.55%
'Other' Entries - 45.45%

The Call for Nominations song poll is still open and will remain so until I think I'm ready to attempt to hear music - thats a big step!

13 November 2008

Pics from the Big Day

Entry to the Sydney Cochlear Implant Centre,

The before shot, awaiting cochlearisation. Me, not them

Looking over the Audiologist's shoulder, gettin' configured

Appliance installed, being configured still attached to the computer

The Moment of Switch-On - Hearing Monica speak
Father is flabbergasted and he can't even hear her!

Celebratory lunch at the Sydney Rowers'

11 November 2008

The News is Good

I can hear!! Yes - today was the day my Cochlear Implant was turned on. I am able to hear
  • The Audiologist [Thanx Monica]
  • partner providing sooth
  • parents talking
  • traffic as noise
  • aeroplanes
It was quite an emotional moment as you may well expect. There will be a movie of the moment of Switch-on. Pics too [coming!]

The audiologist took me, and my entourage, thru the set-up process, direct-connected me up and away we went.
Through the big hearing test, with the "Hear this? - yes" sequence. Then after what seemed like 15-20 minutes she said "OK, ready?" We set up the un-connected Speech Processor and I could hear sound, well noise at first. Monica did a bit more twiddling of settings [that's a technical term], then I could make out what she said. Lip-reading made it a lot easier. And I didn't think I was THAT good at it.

So then we went off for the celebratory lunch at Sydney Rowers' club at Abbotsford - average age was 75, the noise [to me] so loud I contemplated turning off the appliance. But I thought I'd better get used to it - but put it into noise-reduction mode. After an hour of the noise I felt it was making me a bit dizzy but I endured...
After lunch needed some quiet time so headed to the Leichhardt retreat for a quick hibernation.

What happens next
Now comes a season of fine-tuning the devices which make up Cochlear Implant System. Dates in the Calendar. This may mean that the hearing I have now will get better, more usable. It's not as good as natural hearing but it IS better than no hearing.

Further into the future
Is a second implant on the horizon? There behind that swaying palm tree [or is that a volcano?] A second implant depends on the ability to gain hearing, is the existing ear structure capable? The external parts may be once-and-for-all disabled to stop infection and once that settles down a second implant will probably be considered. It may be that I'm just deaf on that side.
We shall see.

PS Dont forget
Nominate a song
Say "I was here" closes this Friday AEST

08 November 2008


Here's the calendar - see when things are a'happenin'. If you click an entry you can add it to your calendar. How's that for convenient? [Google, iCal, Entourage maybe even Outlook - PC users advise please]

07 November 2008

+Even later Change+ ^.-.^

I have received word that we're back on for Wednesday 12 September. Re-mark your calendars/diaries. Put that champagne in the fridge a day earlier!!

Don't forget - poll. You'd forgotten hadn't you?

06 November 2008


Cochlear contacts so far
well Rick has his own entry [Hi Rick] earlier in the blog.

As of now [6 November] I've also met two, maybe three recipients at the speech-reading class [Better Hearing Australia at Concord, mondays] [Hi to all the gang there!!]

Today I also chatted [Skype] with another contact - Felicity in Adelaide. She manages the webpages for the Cochlear Awareness Network. You can read her story on their website. She was deaf for a long time before the implant was recommended and the op done just a few years ago. Her story is very touching, but a real triumph over adversity.

Coming up
I have initiated contact to meet the deaf-from-birth child and father trumpet duo. The go-between has been alerted and contact will be established at some point in the next month or so. Watch the blog!

|Late Change| - Date has changed

Yes I received word today that the date for 'Switch-on' is now 13th November at 3pm. So adjust your clocks, diaries, palm devices and iPhones. Make sure they're all aligned.

And have you posted your response in the poll? Takes just a minute, lets me know you're still there, still paying attention. Well you are aren't you. Hello? Anybody...?

I have a lump

Don't Worry!
The lump is the implanted piece behind my ear, which feeds via wire to the piece implanted within my right cochlea. It is the audio processor, sometimes called speech processor.

Recovery from the anaesthetic took about a week and still dealing with the physical damage.
Swelling seems to be all but gone, have a bit of wooziness whenever I need to bend down or walk anywhere. It's like someone else is steering sometimes. I have to lean on a non-movable object to reset sometimes. I've done a minimal bit of work [thanx Gillian] but don't think I can be trusted just yet. 
Still in self-imposed quarantine - have a cold? Stay Away!!

Now I'm looking forward to next Wednesday - 'Switch-on'. The sceptic in me debates how good it'll be with the positive feedback coming from all parties - too much discussion. Let's hope it's as good as it can be! And realistic hearing the result.

Nearly forgot the tinnitus - still there, still entertaining. For the past few days this week I've had an Elvis song [mostly the backing tracks] playing. Over and over. Just about sing along with it, but can't quite hear the words…

Now have you filled out the poll yet? No?
Click the link and fill out the very brief form so I know someone's [anyone] been here - be anonymous if you like - no personal details will be recorded.

03 November 2008

Sculpture Adjacent to the Pacific

Recovery continues, thanx for asking.

We went on my first real outing on Friday.

Something called "Sculpture by the Sea" - I think "... Adjacent to the Pacific" sounds better. Anyway here's some pics, no particular order.

Loved the bubble off-shore - they
should make it a permanent fixture

'ello 'ello, 'ere's a few birds

And the rest of the farmyard friends

The graceful wing never stopped moving, in a light breeze

Sea amenone, nemanone, creatures, in metal

Hardly anyone showed up, and somebody
played Scrabble on the cliff