Monday, June 30, 2008

Mr Tui

When I moved into my new house here, it came complete with Mr Tui. Mr Tui lived in the large Banksia tree next door, the tree was right on my boundary with branches coming onto my property. There was not a day when Mr Tui wasn't there, singing his heart out, with the most amazing sounds.

I used to watch him from my bed in the mornings as my bedroom window looked out into the tree. He used to not allow any other birds in the Banksia. He would aggressively chase sparrows, white-eyes, mynahs and blackbirds, right out of the tree. Once they were all gone, he would sit in the branches, puff himself out to twice the size and sing to his hearts content.

As the years went on, Mr Tui brought Mrs Tui to the tree and they raised their family. There was nothing I liked better to do than to sit in my lounge and listen to them sing. The joy of being able to hear with the cochlear implant.

But as I've noticed in my brief time on earth, that nothing ever stays the same. First, my cochlear implant failed and I could no longer hear Mr Tui sing. Then my neighbour subdivided his property and built a house right on my boundary. Despite my protests, he cut down the Banksia Tree and I lost Mr Tui and his family, and they lost a wonderful home with unlimited food. To say I was angry was an understatement!

In the last year or so I would occasionally see a flash of green blue as Mr Tui flew into the bottlebrush tree next to his old tree, so I knew he was around, but he never stayed. I decided I needed to attract him back somehow so I headed down to the garden centre and bought a half round planter which I have nailed onto my fence at the back. It's just under a tree, which I think is privet, but I'm not affected by it. I filled the half round planter about 3/4's with soil, then placed weed matting over it. Then I placed pebbles ot top to hold the weed mat in place. Lastly i got two plastic containers. One is just something I picked up from the plastic factory, and the other is an old tupperware container I no longer use.

I fill up the larger plastic container with sugared water. I buy brown sugar, fill up a container of brown sugar 3/4's the way, then place boiling water up to the top, stir it all up, wait for it to cool then fill up the dish outside. In the smaller container, i fill up that with any leftover rice I might have. Any fruit that is no longer edible, I cut up and place it on the part of the half round where there is only pebbles. The birds go nuts over the rice.

Underneath this, I have another plastic container, sitting on a deck chair, that I fill with wheat or chicken feed. What this does is attract the pink doves, whose cooing then attracts all the other birds to see what they are cooing about.

On my feeder right now, I have about 15 white eyes or waxeyes, about half a dozen sparrows and one pink dove. But whats really exciting is that Mr Tui is back.

He's been back for about a month, was only here for a few hours at first, but now seems to sit in the tree for hours, and drinking the sugared water. What's more I can hear him again with my new reimplanted cochlear implant so I'm rapt. He's still a big boy, and his song is very recognisable. In the last couple of days I've noticed he's been chasing all the other birds away from the tree, which means that he has made himself at home. Occasionally he brings Mrs Tui back, but she doesn't seem to feed from the feeder.

You can hear the Tui sound here. My friends young son once got out of the car when they arrived here and commented that the 'tree was squeaking'. We laughed and said it was a Tui. But it was an apt description from someone so young.

I found more information about the Tui from Wikipaedia...

Tui are considered to be very intelligent, much like parrots. They also resemble parrots in their ability to clearly imitate human speech, and are known for their noisy, unusual call, different for each individual, that combine bellbird-like notes with clicks, cackles, timber-like creaks and groans, and wheezing sounds—the unusual possession of two voiceboxes enable Tui to perform such a myriad of vocalisations.

Some of the huge range of Tui sounds are beyond the human register. Watching a Tui sing, one can observe gaps in the sound when the beak is agape and throat tufts throbbing. Tui will also sing at night, especially around the full moon period.

Male Tui can be extremely aggressive, chasing all other birds (large and small) from their territory with loud flapping and sounds akin to rude human speech. This is especially true of other Tui when possession of a favoured feeding tree is impinged. Birds will often erect their body feathers in order to appear larger in an attempt to intimidate a rival. They have even been known to mob harriers and magpies.

I guess this is the behaviour I've been watching - so nice to think that my tree is one of his favourite feeding places!!! I love his white cravat he wears too!

I'm just so pleased I can hear him again, and very pleased he's back.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Khan - Rest in Peace

In November 2006, I had the most amazing experience with a cub encounter at Zion Wildlife Gardens in Whangarei. It was something I've always wanted to do - cuddle one of the big cat species, but never thought I would be able to do it in New Zealand.
I happened to be in Whangarei this day for something completely different, but decided to inquire about the wildlife gardens and try and get out there. I didn't have a car, and the gardens aren't very central, however, I ordered a taxi instead and paid $30 for the ride. That's how keen I was.
I was fairly shocked with the prices/fees to see the park. It was $60 to do a guided tour (you can't see the park without a guide so this was the cheapest option), and then $200 for a cub encounter. Gulp. However, I realise that these prices, although expensive, are needed to help feed the animals and run the park. Big cats aren't exactly cheap to feed, and they do eat considerably more than a domestic one!! The owner Craig Busch is making a huge contribution to the gene pool and conservation of these wonderful and rare animals, so one does need to put the fees into perspective.
I tossed up my options - guided tour or cub encounter. I finally decided on the $200 cub encounter, deciding that this was the best as it would cost me that much at least, to hire out a photographic studio, and here I was going to get the opportunity to photograph the animals I love the most. I was not disappointed.
Khan was simply beautiful. A rare endangered white tiger cub. Feisty and playful. Soft to touch. His head seemed way out of proportion to the rest of his body. Piercing blue eyes. Dopey because I woke him up to play. Cross-eyed. I sat down next to him, and he promptly jumped at my boob and bit it. You can read about it here, when I wrote about a few weeks ago. I was surprised at how big his paws were, and those claws on his paws were large. I was glad he was still comparatively little!
Along with my total deafness, I also have a total lack of balance. This is one of the reasons I have never worked at zoo's or wildlife parks, as I would be more of a hindrance than a help. However, right from a child, I have read every non-fiction wildlife book that I could lay my hands on, and been right through the zoology section of every library near me. My knowledge is quite extensive, and I sometimes get annoyed with my disabilities which stop me from being a vet, or working with wild animals.
I discussed this with the ranger that was with me in Khan's enclosure and he agreed with me that animals can sense when one is weaker, particularly big cats. There is no way I could walk the adult cats in Zion Wildlife gardens for this very same reason. The ranger stood between myself and Khan while I was photographing him, for fear that Khan, being the feisty 'kitten' he was would launch himself of the embankment into my arms like he was known to do. With my balance, I would have ended up on the ground with him on top of me. Then the three lion cubs, also in hte same enclosure, would have thought that was fair game to play too, and I would have difficulty getting up. All sounds loads of fun, but having 4 cubs, the size of large labrador dogs wanting to play would be slightly tricky! At the same time as photographing Khan, the ranger was keeping an eye on the lion cubs behind me as well, as they are also prone to come up from behind and bat your legs to knock you over in fun!! All four cubs behaved impeccably for their photoshoot.

Sadly, just tonight, I have just heard that Khan had to be put down for an irrepairable birth defect that made him very sick. I just feel so sad, but also so pleased I had the chance to cuddle this absolute character.

Khan, Rest in Peace.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Highs and Lows

I heard it, I heard it. Finally!

It's been over a year since I heard my washing machine beep when it finished all the cycles and was ready to be hung out. For me this has been a real nuisance as I would put a load of washing on, then completely forget that I had. Then my washing would go out far too late in the day to be hung out and get dry, or I would find the load I washed the next day and have to do it again so the clothes don't smell damp. It honestly was the bane of my life.

I was remapped on Monday, but it wasn't until wednesday that I heard the beep. Much higher than I've ever heard before too.

I know this is such a small thing to get excited over - but I can't help it!!

So that was my High for the week. Then on friday the phone rang when a friend of mine was here and the conversation went like this...

'Hello Robyn speaking"

'mumble is mumblemumble'

"Sorry - you will need to speak more clearly- Who is it speaking please?"

"aoijf auwpoijfd aodij"

"I think you have the wrong number"

Click. I hung up.

I turned to my friend..

"I have had Sssssssssooooooooooooo many wrong numbers this week - I'm getting sick of it"

We go on to talk about other things when 10 minutes later my friend Bronni turned up at the door.

'Hi - that was me on the phone before" she said!!!

"oh - really?"

I now wonder how many other friends I've hung up on this week thinking it was a wrong number.

If you have rung me in the last week - please let me know LOL. If I've hung up on you - all is forgiven - you can ring me back now !!!


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bothersome Boobs

My boobs are the bane of my life. All my life I've wished for small ones. You know, the pert little A or B cups. After all - more than a handful is wasted isn't it?

But it's not to be. Genetics, DNA, parental heritage, you name it - means my upper half is out of proportion to my lower half. Which is why I have no balance. It's absolutely nothing to do that my docs have destroyed my vestibular balance system, it's simply because I'm top heavy.

When I go round a corner, the first thing anyone sees is my boobs. I follow around 5minutes later.

When guys talk to me they talk to my chest. I often have to click my fingers at eye level and say 'helloooo - I'm up here'

I know big boobs can turn a guy on - but why is it that the machines they make also get turned on? In public toilets I only have to walk past a hand dryer, and it starts going.

My daughter was born in winter. Going outside was terrible - Supersize frozen milkshakes are no fun. The pain indescribable. For those small boobed women who don't believe me - try packing your brassiere up with ice and go hang out the washing!! Men should try this too.

I once joked they were so big they could turn lights on. So after a night of sipping wine with my girlfriends a few years back, we all had a go - and sure enough, I was the only one who could flick a light switch with them. Guess it would come in handy if I ever lost my arms. (I don't do demonstrations!)

I took up running 18 months ago. At first my boobs not only knocked me out several times, but also knocked over several pedestrians, a few cyclists, and a couple of inline skaters. Bra manufacturers were alerted and now supply a bra that can superglue your boobs in place. These are the amazing Wobble Busters, that come in three colours, and use the technology from the manufacturers of quick cement.
QUICK-SETTING CEMENT Specially formulated to set hard in 5 to 10 minutes. For making repairs where high strength and rapid setting are required. For making repairs to highway pavement, bridges, tunnels, culverts, pre-stress panels, curbs, floors, steps, loading docks, concrete pipe, sewers, retaining walls, swimming pools, septic tanks, wobbly bits etc.

The closest I've had to a boob reduction was when I went to Zion Wildlife Gardens in Whangarei and had a cub encounter with a five month old male white tiger cub. I asked the ranger if I could sit down next to him. After getting permission, I sat next to the feisty young male, who promptly decided to play. He grabbed hold of the nearest thing that stuck out the most and sank his teeth into them. My boob. He drew blood. It was painful. I had to grin and bear it, afterall, the ranger couldn't exactly put his hand on it could he? However, I wear my scar with pride it's not every day that you get bitten by an endangered white tiger and live to tell the tale!

I live in hope that someone comes up with some vanishing cream!


PS - Bron insisted I write this up!

Cochlear Implant at Two Months

The last couple of weeks have been a bit of a struggle with my new Cochlear Implant (CI). The reasons are numerous, and some of them complicated. However, today I went back for another remap, and I'm a happy chappy again.

The problems I was experiencing started two weeks ago. I noticed at the two month post switch on mapping that I wasn't hearing well, however, the new map didn't seem to help at all. Everytime you are mapped though, there is a period of 'getting used to it' so I just accepted it and hoped it would improve. It didn't, so four days later on the Friday I went in to have it tweaked again.

Already there was a huge change in my sensitivity to high pitches. What was fine on Tuesday, was unbearable on Friday. So those electrodes were turned down - particularly Electrode 7.

Still it wasn't right. Certain sounds were very uncomfortable - a car starting outside while I was inside, hurt my ears. The ironing board being put up also was painful. The following Friday (last week) I was back at the clinic, but to answer some questions for two people contemplating getting an implant, but I hoped to be tweaked yet again. Unfortunately, my audiologist went home sick so nothing could be done.

This was probably a good thing. Good because - that night, when my friend Bron came over, I noticed I couldn't hear her. At all. I could hear other things, just not her voice. Up went the volume to 9, and the sensitivity went from 10 to 16 before I could hear her at all. Thats a HUGE adjustment. This lasted all friday night, and all day Saturday and Saturday night. Sunday it was back to normal - almost.

Fluctuations in hearing has been around for me since I was 10 years old. I have menieres disease, and although my vestibular system has been destroyed to stop some of the symptoms of menieres, I still get the hearing fluctuations. So it was good I wasn't remapped that day so when hearing wobbled, then settled, it didn't destroy or change a new map. Instead I waited until today to be remapped.

Before I went in to my appointment I tried to listen to TV - but could only hear one or two words, and the sound quality was awful. I started feeling quite tearful as I'm frustrated ith the sound I'm getting from the Cochlear Implant.

This is stupid, because I'm expecting way too much far too soon. Even though I've been implanted before, this one is only at two months, so it will take some relearning on my part. I'm being impatient because I want what I had with the last implant NOW! I want to hear the TV without captions. (Not everything is captioned in New Zealand).

Anyway - the new map is much better, and even though only a couple of things were changed, and only slightly, it has made a HUGE difference to the quality of sound and what I'm hearing. Things are louder again, and I'm sitting watching TV and can hear a lot more of it without the captions. I'm feeling happier - the happiest I've been with it for two weeks.

There's still a question mark over electrode 7, but when we switched it off, it made no difference to the hearing. I've kept in on at this stage, but I suspect I'll need to turn it off eventually.

Be Patient has to become my mantra for the next 12 months. This is going to be hard - patience has never been one of my virtues. I've always been a 'I want it NOW' person.

I'm hoping my hearing won't wobble while in the USA as I want to hear while on my holiday :)


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Say What Club Hearing Loss Convention - Philadelphia

I'm soooooooo excited. In a little over three weeks, I'll be flying to the United States to attend the Say What Club convention in Philadelphia.

The Say What? Club has been part of my life now since early 1996, over 12 years ago. I found them by accident when surfing on the internet many moons ago, and signed up to the club. I have met so many great friends though this email group, and have met a few of them in person as well. We are all Deaf or deaf or hearing impaired. There are ASL signers, cuer's, AVT's, and lots of Implantees that will be attending.

I am looking forward to comparing New Zealand sign language and ASL with people. I'm sure there's going to be lots of laughter!!

When I would read of get togethers of the group in the USA, or conventions they held, I would always be envious and wish I could go, but circumstances, both financial and personal, would mean I would not be able to attend. This year was no different. However each year the Say What Club gives out scholarships, and with a few members encouraging me, I thought I would apply for one.

I'm so glad I did. On the day before my reimplantation operation, I found out that I was one of the people who had 'won' one of the places to attend. So everything is booked and in place.

There are so many things I'm excited about for this trip.

1. I'm meeting lots of people that I've talked to for so many years, but never seen them face to face - Old friends and new. That is just going to be so special.

2). I'm rooming with Kim - Yay Kim! I think our room is going to be one of the many party rooms. I wonder if we'll get any sleep?? I think Abbie is coming too and I will get a chance to meet her - whoohoo!!!

3). Paul is meeting me in San Francisco and we're flying to the convention together. He's such a great guy and was a huge instigator in getting me to the convention.

4). Dwayne and Marty from Ohio are coming especially so they can meet me - they weren't coming but decided to when they found out that I was going. That's really special, especially Marty as I know times are tough for her at the moment.

5). After the convention I'm going up to stay with Emily in New Jersey for a few days. Emily holds a special in my heart as we met in New Zealand 8 years ago when she was out here and have been friends for a long time. She's an honorary New Zealander :)

6). I fly back to San Francisco on the 16th July, and Paul once again meets me and for the next two weeks after that, we will be sightseeing together. We will be hiring a car and heading down Highway 1 to San Diego for a few days. I have cousins who are half way between SFO and SD so we'll stay over and catch up with them as well. Hearst Castle is on the cards as well.

7). In San Diego I hope to see the Zoo and Seaworld and spend a day walking around the area. We may do a day trip to mexico - but the jury is still out on that one :)

8). Back to San Francisco I hope to explore this city, as well as get out to Yosemite for a day tour at least.

I finally fly back to New Zealand on the 30th, and arrive back in Auckland on the 1st August.

I'm still pinching myself that this is happening.

My camera is being cleaned so it's all ready to fire - no doubt I'll be taking lots of photos :)


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Deaf Read, Commercial Sites, and Rachel's Unjustified Removal

I've just read Deaf Read's response to commerical sites, by Jared Evans.

To be honest, I'm still disappointed in their stance that they still have not reinstated the blog for even reading what Jared had to say, Rachel's blog still does not violate ANY of said 'guidelines'.

Jared pointed out these 3 guidelines...

1) Posts about non-profit organizations are entirely OK

2) Posts about for-profit organizations are OK as long as:
- the blogger is not in any way affiliated with said organization and/or
- not paid by the said organization in any form (currencies, freebies, reimbursements etc)

3) Advertisements outside of the posts are allowed

Rachel got kicked of Deaf Read for apparently violating Item 2.

That is -

'the blogger is not in anyway affiliated with said organisation


'not paid by said organisation in any form (currencies, freebies, reimbursements etc..)'

That is a huge step in differentiation from the rules of deaf read about commercial sites in the first place... Taken from their website..

6) Commerical Sites
We do not link to commerical sites for the purpose of generating profit, other than our own (we have expenses to cover!).

These 'guidelines' or 'rules' have just been made up by Deafread today, to justify their expulsion of Rachel's Blog.

Rachel, like myself, and others on Deafread, are VOLUNTEERS for a company. We don't PROFIT from it. We are not PAID by the company. I've already told you in a previous post we get travelling expenses paid for but hey - in our blogs we're not travelling, so we cannot get reimbursed for our blogs. In any case, the blog is entirely separate to our duties as a volunteer, it's a personal thing.

But - how come - Rachel is kicked off Deafread, and I'm not. I'm a volunteer, I'm affiliated with Cochlear because I volunteer for them. I don't get paid by them, but I do get any expenses reimbursed for travelling out of Auckland to give talks to community groups. They did replace my cochlear implant when it failed, so that could be classified as a freebie.

But it's all about raising awareness of deafess. Isn't that a good thing?

Lots of people volunteer for many organisations, and most volunteers will get paid for their expenses. Therefore, anyone who volunteers with any organisation, and is on Deafread, should be kicked off.

Doesn't make sense to me. It makes even less sense now than it did before.

I like how Deafread changed the rules to fit the situation. Where is the justice in that?

Rachel has never ever pushed for one brand over another, or been seen to try and market Cochlear Corp's Implants. She's spoken of her own personal experiences (and others) only. Just like we all do. Deaf, deaf, ASL, Cued, AVT's, implantees - we all blog about our lives and our experiences.

So - is Deafread going to kick me off? What about the other Volunteers for both Cochlear and AB??

Or is it ONLY RACHEL you have your knickers in a twist over?

If you don't kick others off, then you aren't being consistent, so there's no reason why Rachel shouldn't be reinstated.

Deafread - you need to rectify this one way or another.


Monday, June 9, 2008

Sign Language vs AVT - One Cochlear Implantee's Perspective

As some already know, I am a Cochlear Implant user. I have been implanted for 16 years, and have recently just being reimplanted and am learning to hear with it all over again.

My last post about running got some fairly negative comments. I'm not sure whether this is because of the fall out over Rachel's blog on Deafread, or whether it's simply sour grapes because I can use an ipod and hear music again. I rejected the comments as I felt they didn't acheive anything at all, except to make the person who wrote them look small and silly, so you will not see them on the blog.

However I suspect that because I supported Rachel's blog in a previous post because of the way she was kicked off deafread, that this has angered a few people.

I stand by my previous post. Rachel was kicked off unfairly - remember she was not kicked off because of her 'views', but because of her allegedly profiting from Cochlear simply because she is a volunteer. Volunteers don't profit - that's the bottom line.

However, just because I support Rachel because of the way she was kicked off, doesn't mean I share her views on everything she writes. We are two different people, with two very different life experiences, although I admire her confidence and self esteem, something I didn't have at that age, due to my profound deafness.

I spent most of my life deaf. I was mainstreamed, and never met another deaf person until I was in my 20's. I lipread everything all the time. I struggled. In my 20s I joined a hearing impaired club. I learnt to sign starting with Signed English or Total Communication, and then going over to New Zealand Sign Language. You will notice my title for this blog is Sign Language vs AVT, rather than ASL. Simply because I do not sign in ASL and ASL is not a universal language.

When I was 31, I lost all of my hearing, and I was implanted. This was at the time when Cochlear Implants were hated by the Deaf Community outright. Did I lose my friends? No - my Deaf and deaf friends remain close. Did I change when I could hear again? Well - probably I gained more confidence and that made me do better in my working life, but my belief system and sense of justice remains the same, just as my reactions to things around me remain the same.

Do I need sign? No - to be honest, I can't read signs back, and never have been able to as I rely on lipreading, however, I sign for those that need sign, and while I may not be fluent, I am understood well.

Do I think children with implants should only be taught via the AVT therapy and no sign whatsover? Absolutely not.

Every individual on this planet has a preferred way of learning. For some it may be reading and understanding, and others may prefer watching how it's done. I myself prefer to work it out myself by doing, making mistakes along the way and learning from them. Learning languages is no different. But I believe if you give a child communication tools early enough, then they'll communicate much earlier, and therefore acquire language quicker. This was brought home to me 7 years ago when my best friend, who is Deaf, a full NZSL signer, has a cochlear implant and loves it, had her first baby. Jimmi-Zac is hearing. His ears are perfect. (lucky sod). But right from when he was first born, my friend signed and spoke to him. At 9 months old, when most babies when they're hungry just cry for food, he would sign drink or food or the sign for hunger, no crying. Whilst he was far too young to form the actual words, he could easily communicate to mum what he needed. He was an extremely happy child because of it. Today at 7 years old, he's bilingual - signing and oral, and bright and intelligent. He is well above his age in oral communication and use of words.

So - for me communcation and language are the most important things, and if this means children with cochlear implants are taught sign to help them, with AVT as well, then thats the way it should be. Just not one method over the other, but in combination.

I know I'll be teaching my grandchildren to sign as soon as they are born :)


Sunday, June 8, 2008

I Should have been Arrested!

Ever since my Cochlear Implant Reimplantatation Operation, I've been sitting on the couch becoming the proverbial couch potato. If anyone mentioned exercise, I'd point to my head and say - oh it's sore - I will continue to rest up!! And that's what I've done for nearly 3 months.

I was sitting on the couch in my usual spot last week and noticed that the girth around my middle has increased somewhat. I can almost balance a cup of coffee nicely on there if I'm in the right position. The result of too much inaction, and that food group that starts with C. Chocolate is a food group isn't it??

Then I got an email from Coach Derek a.k.a meanie, sent to all our running group, about meeting at the crack of dawn for the start up of the winter running. I decided to go.

Despite getting to bed at 2am this morning, and not being able to sleep until 3am, my vibrating alarm clock woke me on the dot at 7am. I have to admit I contemplated rolling over and going back to sleep. But no, the thought of Dereks wrath sent me scurrying into the wardrobe in the freezing cold to find my running gear.

At 7.15am, I sent a text to Derek asking if the run is still on, in the hope that it wasn't. There's a southerly gale blowing and it threatened to rain. Still on. Drat. I had some breakfast, got my ipod out, found my cochlear implant cable and thought I'll just walk the course, not run, and just take it easy. After all, I'm old, don't want to be endangering my health.

Arrived down at the beach at 7.45. It was freezing. Hooked myself up to my ipod, and set off. It was sooo cold I was forced to run to try and get warm.

The first 1km was really hard, my ipod stopped working, I was cold, I felt unfit and disjointed. So walked while I got the ipod working again. for some reason the cord din't fit into the implant properly at first. Ahhhh music. Beat. I started running again, and got into that groove, ran the whole course in the end bar a 100 metres. Was very impressed that I hadn't lost that much fitness despite the increase of girth.

I started to sing. Now I'm running along Takapuna's Golden Mile, homes along the beach front worth a cool few million, and my singing is sounding worse than a dog on heat. You should have seen the looks I got from other runners and walkers, and even their dogs put on an expression of disgust or threw me a strange look. If it had been me in those homes, I would have rung the noise control officers with a complaint and had me arrested for disturbing the peace! Especially at that hour on a Sunday morning!

I only ran 4km this morning, breaking myself in slowly. But I felt like I could have run 3x that easily. The music really helps. I'm noticing that with this new implant I can hear the lyrics so much better, even heard words I had never heard before.

My only problem I had in the end was being unable to switch off the microphone of the implant so I could only hear the music on the ipod, and not the traffic, or (heaven forbid) me. I sound so awful I don't want to be able to hear myself either!
If any Cochlear Corp implant users know how to do this on the Freedom with the audio cable, please let me know - by Tuesday preferably as that's when I'm running again.

Anyone joining me??


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Censorship is Alive and Well

I was horrified to find that this morning, a fellow Cochlear Implantee had been removed from Deafread simply because she was a volunteer for CAN (Cochlear Awareness Network).

So - If I am removed from Deafread after this post, so be it. What Deafread has done to Rachel is abhorrent.

I am a CAN volunteer here in New Zealand.

Like Rachel, I am not paid by Cochlear. My hours are voluntary. My blog has NOTHING to do with the awareness network - it's my own personal blog JUST LIKE RACHEL's.

So let's see what a CAN volunteer is...

From the CAN website itself..

'The Cochlear Awareness Network is a group of Volunteers each of whom have lived deaf but have had their hearing returned through either a Cochlear Implant or a Baha. They have chosen to be members of the Cochlear Awareness Network to tell their stories, raising awareness for these wonderful changes in their lives. All members are available to discuss their experiences.'

From that website you can see my picture - I'm the lady 5th from the left.

So what do I do as a CAN volunteer???

I give talks. I go out into the community and give presentations to community groups such as Probus, Rotary, Grey Power, Lionesses, Womens Business Groups, basically to anyone that wants a speaker. My talks raise awareness of deafness. I tell them how many people in NZ are deaf, and what it is like growing up deaf in New Zealand. I explain what a cochlear implant is, and how it works, in comparison with a conventional hearing aid. I discuss New Zealand's funding issues for these devices. (We don't have private medical insurance cover so we rely on Govt Funding). I give information of who could be eligible for a cochlear implant. Lastly, I tell people my own personal story, and what the cochlear implant has done for me.

When I'm not giving talks, I'm writing letters to MP's and to the Prime Minister on behalf of people on our waiting lists to encourage more funding for adults CI's.

I talk to prospective Cochlear Implantees here in New Zealand too. Again answering any questions they may have, and telling them what the implant is like for ME, emphasing at all times that it will probably different for them.

I occasionally help with research, and also occasionally get called in to talk to trainee audiologists, or trainee speech language therapists.

The most important part of the volunteer position is MY STORY.

My blog has absolutely nothing to do with CAN. Just like Rachels. I blog about what's happening in my life, whether it has something to do with my failed old implant, my frustrations in daily life, my new implant, or my photography. Even the cats I've rescued. But heck it looks like I'll be booted off Deafread now because I'm a CAN volunteer and I didn't disclose it.

But hang on - why should I? Do people have to disclose to Deafread WHO they are employed by? Who they associate with? What clubs they belong to?

Of course not - that's just rubbish.

So let's hear the REAL reason from Deafread, why Rachel got terminated.

OR - do the DECENT thing - reinstate her blog on deafread WITH an apology.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Cat Purrs Too Loudly

I had another mapping session today. My two months post switch on one. I thought it would need quite a bit of tweaking as I had started hearing the ssssss sounds again on the ends of people's words. I had also noticed I wasn't singing in tune again. The clash was back.

However, I was only there for a short time, and there were only a couple of very minor adjustments, mainly in the comfort levels to get them even again. I still have the sssss sounds, but I noticed I was singing in tune again on the way home.

The louder map was increased in volume a little for me, and that was probaby the most major change, and I also had BEAM put onto one of my programs as I still wasn't having much luck in background noise. Now I have to go to a cafe to try it out. At last I have a good excuse for going out!!

Later his afternoon, I was hit by a huge low of tiredness - probably a mixture of the late nights at a nightclub and drinking of champagne in the weekend, both of which I'm not used to! So I lay down for a while hoping to get some shut eye. No luck. The cat (above) found me and thought it was just WONDERFUL. A person to cuddle up to in the middle of the day in her favourite place! She climbed on top of me and purred. I still had my implant on, and that purr was way too loud to get any decent rest. You'd think I'd take my implant off wouldn't you. Nope - I'm too blonde to think of those sort of things, even if I am brunette again now.

I hadn't realised the cats purred so loudly- I thought they purred quietly, with lots of vibration - how wrong I was!!

I gave up after half an hour!! Back to the grind - sleep will have to come later!


Sunday, June 1, 2008

I Can Hear Clicks!!!

Ever since I've been switched on back in April, I've been hearing clicking noises around my house. I'd be sitting on the sofa in the quiet, and the click would start. No rhythm just a click. Some clicks were louder than others. Some like a stone being thrown at the window. I have mentioned this in passing on more than one occasion to my student, but she couldn't hear them. So I decided that it was completely in my imagination. Going mad. I decided not to discuss the clicking noises I had been hearing with anyone anymore, for fear of being committed to the asylum!

This clicking I have never heard before in my life. I've had the odd stone thrown at my window to get my attention (another long story which I won't go into here), but nothing like what I've been hearing day in, day out for the last 2 months. I've been successfully ignoring it... until this morning, sitting at my dining table having a coffee in the sun with a friend, I heard the click again.

'Did you hear that'? I asked

'What?' said Les (Oh geeze - it is in my imagination!)

'I've been hearing clicking noises ever since I've been switched on and I've not been able to tell what it is' (He's now going to think I'm even more nuttier than before!)


'That - I said - did you hear that???'

'Yes - I heard that' he said with a smile.

Fortunately for me, Les decided to tell me what it was - he could have spun such a tale and I would have believed anything he said at that stage. He's been known to do this on occasion, as he knows I'm the most gullible person on earth.

'It's the glass expanding in the window frames' he said.

'Really? - Is this normal? - Does it happen in all houses?'

He went on to explain that not only it was normal, but every house has it, and wooden houses are every more noisier than this as not only does the glass expand and contract, but the wood does too.


'Did you hear that one?' he asked

I nodded

'Did you notice any difference?'

'I did - it was duller'

He went onto say that it wasn't the glass in the alumninium frame expanding that time, but the wood around the aluminium frame expanding.

I'm amazed. At 21yo (give or take a couple of years) - I'm learning something new - I didn't think houses clicked. I had no idea. I knew old wood floorboards creaked, but that was it. And not only do they click when they expand in the mornings, but also when they contract in the evenings.

Wow - my house talks!!

Listening to the house contracting now and wondering if I can make the house expand with clickss so I can add another room onto it! A self expanding house - might increase in value :)