After visiting all the doctors and several audiologists here in Georgia and not being pleased with most of them I decided to go out of state to visit a doctor that came highly recommended. I made a good choice. The doctor was knowledgeable, experienced and answered all my questions. The good thing is I can keep the CI audiologist here in Georgia, which was really important to me. My audiologist, Dr. Erin Rellinger, from Auditory-Verbal Center, has been so patient and helpful. It was important to me to have the right device from Advanced Bionics, and my new friend Edie Gibson, from Advanced Bionics, helped me find an out of state physician. I am pleased to say my surgery is scheduled for ALL SAINTS DAY. I hope I am blessed, that God looks down from Heaven and there are no issues with surgery. Now that I have the hospital, the doctor, and the audiologist on board I can rest and wait.
I miss the ability to understand what people are saying. Reading lips is hard work. My wife and kids are probably tired of me saying, “Please repeat”. I don’t make them sign enough but with the cochlear implant technology and ClearVoice to improve my poor speech recognition I will be able to hold a conversation with anyone in the hearing community. But, there is something my family and friends (offline and online) need to understand. A cochlear implant is an assistive device; it doesn’t make me a hearing person. When I put on my device each morning it will help me enter the hearing world, but that is not the same thing as being a hearing person. I will be deaf the rest of my life and I accepted that a long time ago. But, here are some of the things I am looking forward to when I get activated, meaning when my device gets turned on by the audiologist:
1. Understanding what people are saying around me or one-on-one.
2. Music - I still listen to music now with my hearing aids but I miss the words.
3. Cellphone - to hear a phone call on my cellphone and stop telling people to call my Caption Call phone. Texting on my cellphone is great but I want to dial and hit the send button.
4. Hear my family. I hear sounds but I really struggle with my daughters’ voices.
5. My cats - to hear them meow when I walk into the house.
This week I picked out my color. Yep, I went with a crazy color. I also got a black one as my backup. The kids in my school are going to love it when I start my student teaching.
Please stay tune to my next BLOG. I have 3 special guests posting and you don’t want to miss their message.
My name is Jeff Swartz and I live in Atlanta, GA. I am married to wonderful wife and have two teenaged daughter.