Confessions of a Chataholic

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Archive for the ‘Deafness’ Category

What Kind of Kool-Aid did You Say would Come Out of My Ears?

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I haven’t really said a whole lot about my 2nd cochlear implant procedure.  I’m excited I was able to get one, grateful I had the time to take off work, and looking forward to ‘A-Day’.  But, it also hurts a little more than the last time.  Dr. Berryhill told me afterwards that it took a little longer and would hurt a little more because he had to use hand tools instead of the electronic tools he used the first time.  Apparently, the electronic tools would mess up the first implant.  The surgery itself took about 3 hours and I wasn’t ready to go home for almost an hour and a half afterwards.  The anesthesia was very hard to recover from. 

I’m doing a lot better today.  My right ear still feels like someone took a metal rod and shoved it into my ear canal.  I can feel the fluid moving around in there.  When I was discharged, the nurse wrote that I might have some “Kool-Aid colored discharge” from my ear in the first few days.  I wasn’t able to ask what flavor of Kool-Aid was going to be coming out of my ear though.   

The papers also said to “sneeze through my mouth”.

Ohhhh Kaaaay…

I haven’t learned how to do that yet. I usually sneeze through my nose.  And last, to try not to cough. Excuse me, but you gave me 3 hours of anesthesia.  I’ve got a little phlegm building up in there and need to get this loogie out NOW before I choke on it.

(Hack, spit)

However, I’ve managed to get through today without using the narcotic painkillers despite feeling like an elephant is sitting on my ear.

Charlie bought me a new pillow made from the memory foam and it feels incredible. He also got me a new heating pad, which I have yet to use thanks to COCOA, who keeps hogging it up.  I had lunch with my friend, Jennifer, from MNTC.  I got my hair trimmed by the incredibly talented, Ashley, at Ihloff Salon.

And I watched American Idol.  You have NO idea how exciting it is to be able to actually hear the difference in the bad and good singers now that I have at least 1 implant in place.  I can’t wait to hear with both implants activated!


Written by ChattyCathy867

February 17, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Do you have the time…to listen to me whine?

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Last week, I had to file a complaint on my captionist for unprofessional behavior, because I had 3 incidents with him IN ONE WEEK that pushed me over the edge.

First, he was told to use a specific plug and he decided he wanted to use the one under my desk, which my boss had said NOT to use. I told him this and he blew me off. And yes, I tattled on him. Damn skippy I did. I wasn’t about to have my boss fire ME because he wasn’t following the rules.

Two days later, he answers a question asked by the trainer that was directed to the class not to him. Are you kidding me? That’s one of the big no-no’s of not just interpreting, but he wouldn’t have dared to do that in a courtroom. What makes him think its ok for him to do that in my classroom?

And finally, he actually yelled at me. I was busy working and he started typing, but it wasn’t for the classroom. It was him telling me he talked to my supervisors about needing more frequent breaks. “That’s fine,” I tell him. “That’s between you and the supervisors.” He snaps at me, “Would you at least let me finish?”

Really? You’re going to yell at me when I need to be working not having conversations with you? You’re going to yell at the person who is the only reason you even have this job? And you’re a freelance who has to take what he can get? Plus you’re new in town and need to develop a good reputation, not piss off the few people that actually request CART services.

And come to find out, he’s not doing the CART correctly either. He wouldn’t put any hard returns in the narrative for easier reading. The new captionist does this plus she adds things like “speaker” and “question” so I know who is talking.


Unbelievably, this guy also had a hearing loss and used a hearing aid. He couldn’t hear the questions from the other trainees and would get extremely agitated. He finally started asking the trainers to repeat the questions, but he would be very aggressive and demanding. Even the guy across from me could tell he was getting mad when he couldn’t hear. And get this…he actually started typing to me during a lecture that the supervisors didn’t care or understand that he couldn’t hear the questions.

I’m sorry, but hearing is a necessity for court reporting, transcribing, and CART services. And I’m sure you don’t yell at the judge to REPEAT THE QUESTION during court.


I swear, I must be some kind of magnet for overly sensitive men. In addition to the captionist, I’ve managed to piss off someone I dated in high school. He kept saying something about an “ear dude” fixing me on my FaceBook status. My response was, “I’ll be sure to tell my female audiologist you called her a dude.” He deleted me as a friend after telling me I wasn’t very nice. Who the hell says “dude” anyway? Besides Michelle Tanner on Full House, that is.


Two days into having a new captionist, I’m in heaven. Her equipment isn’t new and fancy like his, but I can read her screen better and can keep up and take notes much easier. I take notes while reading along because it helps me retain the information and then I have it right there for the quizzes we usually have almost immediately after the lectures.

I get along with everyone but that captionist, so I’m pretty sure it wasn’t me.

Written by ChattyCathy867

November 9, 2010 at 11:38 pm

Posted in Cochlear Implant, Deafness, Work

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Weekly Update for Oct 24th

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I got a tattoo Friday. It’s my first tattoo and probably my last because it hurt like a SOB. I don’t like pain. PERIOD. But to show my support for Breast Cancer awareness, the pain was worth every minute. My daughter and I both got the Breast Cancer awareness pink ribbon in honor of my Grandma Marcella (who passed away in 1981) and my Aunt Rita (who is now in remission).


I was finally hired by the Disability Determination Division of Social Security and started Oct 1. Work provided me with CART (Computer Assisted Real-time Transcription) for training and it’s helping me so much. Many times, the speakers tend to wander away from the front of the room or need to demonstrate something on the computer and I can’t see them anymore. It’s a complicated situation because we have computers in front of us and until they find a place to put us in the building, we’ll be doing our actual work in the training room.

Disclaimer: NO I cannot look up your case on my work computer! We are only allowed to look up the cases we are assigned. And yes, they do keep tabs on where we’ve been in the computer system.

Cochlear Implant

As part of my new job, I recently learned that Cochlear Implant recipients are considered disabled by Social Security for a period of one year following the implantation just like any other organ transplant. I had NO idea and this is a fairly new change. It was effective Aug. 2, 2010.

I tried using an ALD (Assistive Listening Device) during training, but the processor doesn’t seem compatible with the ALD. I used one when I had a hearing aid and thought it would help to use it in training, but the ticking noise was overwhelming and I can’t use it. I’m going to be looking into this over the next few weeks and have my audiologist recommend some products.


Now that I’m working full-time, Charlie is taking a more active role in meal preparation. At least he’s making sure the kitchen is clean and helping me choose what to cook. We discovered McCormick’s Recipe Inspirations recently. I absolutely love the Sage Porkchops and Apples and the Rosemary Chicken and Potatoes. Each one has a reusable recipe card so all I have to do is stock up on the spices in the future. This week we’re going to try the Garlic Lime Chicken Fajitas and the Spanish Chicken Skillet.

Advanced TV

Cox finally upgraded OKC to Advanced TV and I love it! I’ve been able to catch up on my shows and even watch a few shows I’d never seen before. We can only record 2 shows at a time. Plus now we can search by typing in the name of the show instead of having to SCROLL SCROLL SCROLL through the listings.

Written by ChattyCathy867

October 24, 2010 at 8:49 pm

A-DAY Here at Last!

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Lookiing good and feeling fine for A-DAY!

Today was the first day since my surgery that I put on makeup and fixed my hair.  Today was a special day.  I had my processor activiated for the first time (or as the cochlear community calls it, “A-Day”).

My audiologist at HELP is Kela Miller, who is also a cochlear implant recipient.  As expected, I didn’t have the “miracle cure” when the processor was mapped and turned on. Kela played some tones of varying degrees and I told her I wasn’t sure if I was hearing the tones or if my tinnitus was acting up. But, from the way I responded, she said I was hearing high frequency tones I haven’t heard in 35 years.

 I’ve been wearing the processor most of the day and for awhile I wasn’t feeling so hot. We had to run to the mall for a minute to pick up a piece of pottery. We weren’t even there 15 minutes and I was ready to puke. I can feel the implant stimulating the nerve and I think the mall was so loud, my body couldn’t handle it!

 It doesn’t sound like my hearing aid. I’m not really recognizing any sounds at all, but I did respond to my husband talking. I had no idea he was saying something and turned around because I heard a kind of deep humming noise. Kela said I was hearing his voice.

 While I was in Kela’s office, she noticed something wasn’t quite right with my incision and suggested we call Dr. Berryhill’s ofice.  We did and the PA kind of drained the incision and removed the remaining surgical glue.  Dr. Berryhill wrote me a script for an antibiotic cream to help with the healing.  

The processor is exhausting right now.  And the draining process hurt a little bit, so I took the last percocet and crawled in bed to watch Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” for the 3rd time.

I have a lot of work ahead of me, but I look forward to it. I don’t mind hard work if being able to hear better is the end result. Next step: find out whether the insurance company is going to cover “auditory therapy”.

Written by ChattyCathy867

June 9, 2010 at 11:51 pm


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I’ve been thinking about the comments from people who don’t support my decision to receive a cochlear implant.  I’m sorry they don’t support my decision, but I don’t want to be deaf.  Why would I? I still remember being able to hear as a child.  I used to sing along with “Bye Bye Miss America Pie” when it played on the radio.  I was only 5 years old when my parents noticed I had a hearing loss, but I by then I had developed a large vocabulary, I was able to read on a higher level than most of my peers, and I loved music passionately.

I understand why someone who grew up Deaf wouldn’t want a cochlear implant (CI).  Asking Deaf to become hearing is like asking a leopard to change its spots.  Or like Michael Jackson becoming white.  It’s the core of their identity.  So, I get it.  I do.  I still have some bitterness regarding hearing people in my life insisting I become “healed” and no longer be “deaf”.  It made me feel like I wasn’t good enough for them.

But I want to be able to have verbal conversations with people in my life.  I’m tired of being left out of the conversation because I can’t speech-read that much or that fast or I can’t see the person talking.  I’m determined to learn to hear without so many visual cues.

Written by ChattyCathy867

June 9, 2010 at 3:45 am

Who Was I in High School?

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High School Graduation - Class of 1985


During high school, I was the only deaf student at a private Christian school in Tulsa that was unprepared to provide adequate services for me in the early 80’s.  

I was isolated because no one wanted to take a chance on someone “different”.  It didn’t help that this particular school’s parent church was big on “faith healing”.  A disability meant you either didn’t have faith to believe in your healing or you were demon possessed.  (Someone in that church told my stepmother to “cast the demons of  hearing loss” out of  me.) 

I was a lonely girl who lost her mother at a young age.  My father remarried several times and his wife at the time (while I was in high school) had mental issues.  She was obsessed with her religious beliefs and married my father because he could provide for her, not because she loved him.  She eventually left him after I graduated from high school because he “wasn’t enough like Jesus”.  

High school was not a happy time.  My issues with my father made me clingy to the few boys that paid attention to me.  My lack of social skills made the “cool” kids avoid me. Yet, I was desperate to be accepted because I didn’t have any love or attention at home.  My sister and I had to compete for our stepmother’s affection; which she preferred to give her own daughter.  

Whether it be by exaggerating (and sometimes flat out lies) her life to make it look better than it was or by promiscuous relationships, a lonely teenage girl is going to find attention.  I ran away from home at 16 on multiple occasions and my parents admitted me to a private facility.  How sad is it that the seven months I spent in that facility was the happiest I’d been in years? 

I have not attended any reunions because until recently, I have not maintained any contact with the people who attended high school with me.  Why would I?  The majority made fun of me or outright ignored me.  One guy even wrote on my favorite shirt during math class.  And because I no longer share the religious beliefs of this church, I don’t have anything in common with 99% of the people who attended this school.  

Graduation from MNTC with my best bud Jennifer 2010


I may take a chance this fall and go to a reunion over Labor Day weekend if it happens.  I’m not the same person I was in high school.  I’m not the same person I was two years ago.  I’ve grown a lot and matured.  I even poke fun of myself.  The Internet has helped me expand my horizons and helped me to communicate.  I renewed a friendship with someone from high school and do my best to keep in touch with her even though she’s in Tulsa and I’m in the OKC  area.   I’m currently in the process of receiving a cochlear implant, which should help me understand what people are saying better than I do now.  I’ve got a great husband and two great kids that I love very much.  Life is good. 

This was a special post prepared for the “Real Housewives of Oklahoma”  website. 

Written by ChattyCathy867

June 9, 2010 at 1:50 am

Road to Recovery – Cochlear Implant Day 12

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My incision about 12 days post-surgery

I feel like such a hypochondriac.  My incision seems to be healing fine, but now I have another issue to deal with; swollen glands on the left side of my neck.  We called the doctor’s office today, because I want to know whether or not this is normal.  And it is, of course.  The person my husband spoke with on the phone says it could last a couple of months. 

I want to go back to being ME.  I’m so tired all the time.  I hope this is all worth it in the long run. 

Wednesday morning and Thursday afternoon, I have appointments with the audiologists at HELP. 

And now I have to figure out what to do about my student loans now that I’m not in school.  Hopefully, I can get a deferment for my disability.

On a plus side, Charlie and I had fun on our anniversary yesterday sitting around catching up on Desperate Housewives thanks to Lifetime TV (the Victim Network as I call it).

Written by ChattyCathy867

June 7, 2010 at 4:34 pm