RE The Rebuilt Webpage by Michael Chorost 
Monday, June 19, 2006, 07:27 AM
A friend gave me the link to Michael Chorost Web Page

www.michaelchorost.com.

I was moved to tears (seems to happen to me a lot these days I must be getting soft in my old age) by the quote:

My misfortune is doubly painful to me because I am bound to be misunderstood; for me there can be no relaxation with my fellow men, no refined conversations, no mutual exchange of ideas.

From Beethoven's will.

I remember watching a film of Beethoven's life and how much I empathised and pained for his lost of hearing. How difficult it must have been and how wonderful he would have found todayís technology I am confident that he would have done everything in his power to experiment with different music to discover what works best with implants. We would have had a very different Beethoven I am sure.

There is also a link with a download of the first chapter of Michael Chorost book which is as good as Amazon promised it to be.

http://www.michaelchorost.com/docs/Chor ... bution.pdf

I canít wait to receive it now! The thing with him is he is refreshingly honest, clear, very matter of fact and down to earth. Even down to the point where he is over joked with his first negative review. Bless.

I have read his first chapter and also the negative review because I was curious to why he liked it so much. I understand now that his experience of going deaf has been very different from mine. He was hearing impaired (his own words) which means from my point of view he belonged very much in the hearing world - he could use the phone with ease. The fact that he suddenly became profoundly deaf in a very short space of time must have been terrifying and thus affected the way he views himself. He lost his identity and became cyborg.

I never lost my identify, being deaf has always been what I am and will always be an important part of me. It made me work harder, strive further and achieve more than deep down I thought might be possible. In it all I did achieve everything I set out to, I just wish I had believed in my self a bit more.

So for me having an implant did not make me less human, it did not make me less me. I am still ZoŽ and I always will be. What it did do is enrich my life beyond my wildest dreams. It gave me a taste of what life can be like, and it has been a wonderful roller coaster ride that I would not have missed for a million years.

I donít take my life for granted - I canít afford to. after all with the implant and my pacemaker - I am battery powered.

What is interesting to see, is how Michael has developed since he wrote the book. Reading from his webpage he says that Rubin made one reasonable criticism in that he did spend too much time on the idea of the cyborg. Michael said he now realised that this is based on a dated science-fiction fantasy of spiritual abnegation.

To quote Michael:-

It simply makes no sense to label a person a ďcyborg.Ē Itís like labelling someone a ďFiatĒ because of the car they drive.


I also agree with his sentiments that it is not what the implant can do to you that counts; itís what you do with it.
x


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RE Rebuilt By Michael Chorost 
Sunday, June 18, 2006, 03:49 PM
I have found a book called Rebuilt by Michael Chorost who wrote a scientific memoir of going deaf and getting his hearing back with a cochlear implant which he calls a computer embedded in his skull.

He goes on to say that Science fiction writers and filmmakers have speculated about cyborgs for decades, and in his book he attempts to reveal what itís really like to have part of oneís body controlled by a computer.

Sounds interesting. I am not sure if I feel that my cochlear implant controls my body in the same way as my pacemaker controls my body.

Hmmm... My pacemaker keeps my heart beating, which in turn keeps the blood going round and keeps me alive.

My cochlear sends signals to my brain so that I can hear better - is that control over me? Or control over my own damaged cochlear, or control over my brain, thus me?

Guess I am going to have to wait for the book to come from Amazon!


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Re Beeping in the kitchen 
Saturday, June 17, 2006, 10:22 AM
Today while I was cooking I heard very clearly some beeps in the kitching but it stopped before I could figure out what it was.

My partner came in and I said did you hear that? Nope...

I had a little think about it and walked toward the grill and noticed that it was flashing it was ready. I then figured out that it beeps after five mins of warming up!

My! How the hearing live! Such easy lives they lead. Lucky souls.

I count my blessings too for I feel very lucky each passing day.

I notice more and more sounds, which seem to always sound clearer today, than they did the day before.

Doughlas from the Yahoo forum had his operation yesterday and he went home today. I have seen his photos which look good, although he does have some serious brusing there! I guess it is all down to the surgon to decide how big the scar will be.

ALL THE BEST TO YOU DOUGLAS MAY YOU HAVE A SPEEDY RECOVRY.

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Re it sounds odd but 
Wednesday, June 14, 2006, 05:59 AM
I know it sounds odd, but I am sure I can hear better with the un-implanted side now!

Itís almost as if the implant as switched something on in my brain and made it realise "hey there is sound coming through here look!" "what does it say?" "OOh can we work it out?" "Lets give it a try"

Without the processor I can hear much better on the hearing aid than I ever used to. I can actually work out what people are saying without lip-reading although only one word out of say 5 I get. The thing is I got nothing before so thatís a big change for me.

Also I have noticed with no hearing aid or processor I am still hearing things! I can hear myself climb the stairs. I never noticed it before I thought I could hear nothing. I threw a box in the kitchen just now and I was stunned to hear it go bang on the floor. I think I got so use to not being able to hear things that I did not bother listening for them any more.

It really is true that you have to re-programme your brain, re-educate it and re-train it to listen. Itís almost like coming out from a long sleep!

I decided I would call some companies today to arrange for a quote for cutting down our trees which are now house high. The first call went well and I got his name and time that he would come round tomorrow. The second was an answer machine and I could not understand it.

The rest rang and rang and the last one answered and again it went well and I got his name and time. I checked back the name and time and heard him say yes.

It was quite scary and I did not tell them I was deaf, I did not have any really problems but I did have to concentrate hard.

Maybe it will get easier the more I practice.



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RE HAPPY BIRTHDAY! 
Tuesday, June 13, 2006, 01:25 PM
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday Dear Cochlear,
Happy Birthday to you!



Thank You Cochlear, and the Manchester implant centre for everything you have given me!

So my cochlear is one year old today, and what a journey it has been. I have seemed to have celebrated this birthday by designing the logo for ReSound and the Cicada Club both which support people who have had Cochlear implants.

Tonight I am going to cook a celebration meal and eat a slice of carrot cake to wish my Cochlear many more years to come. On switch on day which was the 30th June we will go out for a celebration meal as that was a life changing day.



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RE A Visit to the Pet shop 
Monday, June 12, 2006, 10:40 AM
Today I went into town and I heard the church bells ringing. As I have never heard them before I did not know how to count the rings. Does ding dong count as one ring or two!?! Still that a side they sounded lovely, and I can certainly understand the appeal for church weddings if there are bells ringing out now.

I also went into the pet shop for a look around as I really want a puppy! They did not have any puppies but they had two lovely tortoises which I fell in love with. I had a lovely chat with a lady who already had a tortoise she was telling me that she does not use the expensive vivarium that they like you to buy these days as hers sleeps under the cupboard where the draw has been taken out! To be honest my Nan had a tortoise and it was fine in the summer, but in the winter it went in a box in the shed.

They also had a blue and gold Macaw which was the size of a two year old child. I said hello to him and he looked at me with interest. I was just reading what it said on his cage and he coughed at me and then barked loudly like a dog! I looked up and said "oooh aggressive!" and he replied "yes!" So I said well you did not say hello! and he said Hello!, so I said "ah being nice now then?" and he said "ahh, yes, Hello!" I could hear him very well and he had a lovely voice. I was close to tears when I walked out the shop coz I have never heard a parrot before, especially not one bark and cough at me to get my attention.


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Other things I have now realised 
Sunday, June 11, 2006, 05:10 AM
While my friend was here I noticed that her voice changes when she is having a small seizure. Her voice gets very soft and sometimes goes very quite.

Now and again it looks like she has lost her trail of thought - but she still continues to finish what she is saying but it sounds very vague.

It is quite handy to be able to hear this, because I can moderate my own behaviour or the environment so that it reduces the risks.

This is something I am sure I never picked up before because I would simply not be able to hear her when we were out and I would be lip-reading. So I often got the physical signs that we were in trouble and they normally come when itís too late to prevent the seizure anyway!

Itís amazing how easy being able to hear better really makes life so much easier.

I no longer have to hunt round the house for James I can find him by sound. It takes a lot less time these days!

I do not always put my processor on first thing in the morning and sometimes James is around and he will call me and call me and then march in and have a quick peek under my hair and say oh youíre still deaf! Put your processor on for gwald sake! lol


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Oh the worry! 
Saturday, June 10, 2006, 09:07 AM
My brother rang me today as he was very low because he had failed drill which meant that they have put back the date of his passing out by two weeks.

I could hear the disappointment in his voice he sounded so fed up and depressed! It was horrible - I canít empathise enough towards people who get that devastating call on the telephone. It really is quite distressing. Something I have never had to deal with before.

I worry about him all the time.


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I can listen to my friends while cooking! 
Saturday, June 10, 2006, 06:04 AM
Normally when I am cooking it is almost impossible to chat too, but now it is easy to do and I really enjoy it.

I was able to prepare a meal and chat away and catch up making the most of the time we had together without worrying that I was going to have to spend 60 mins doing the meal (60 mins of lost chat!)

Itís really easy to listen while I am chopping or arranging food or washing up these days without having to lip-read!


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RE The way I communicate and other changes I have noticed 
Thursday, June 8, 2006, 11:16 AM
I have noticed that I still dominate the conversation and I am not very good at taking my turn or allowing others a chance to speak.

I think this stems from when I had hardly any hearing, it was much easier to talk that to listen. It was also easier to listen if I was fully in control of the topic matter.

Now I donít need to do that, but old habits die hard and I just cannot stop myself from taking over the conversation! I really need to practice listening - maybe duct tape across my mouth might be necessary!

I have also noticed that I have many more conversations when I go out these days. I used to be able to go shopping and not say a word to any one. Now I chat to everyone and I will ask questions because I know there is a good chance I will hear the answer.

Life is much easier now as I no longer hunt for what I need, I can ask and generally follow their instructions. Before, this was a waste of time because the background sounds were so loud I just could not hear them - and normally I was too tired to lip-read a new person after a hard days work.

I can hear children and people in our street as I type this (our window is open because itís hot) But itís actually rather distracting and a bit irritating!

I can hear people say things like "do you want help with your bags lovely?" when I go to ASDA. Or this "counter is shutting now, sorry" which is quite helpful!

I can hear people say short sentences to me that are pointless but nice to hear. Like when I said thank you to the guy who helped me unload my car at the dump - he said thatís ok, youíre very welcome. Which made me turn round and give him a big smile. In the past so many people must think I am ignoring them!

I had a laugh with the post office guy as I asked for a first class stamp and I thought he said "where too" so I said Cornwall. He gave me a look of surprise and said "yeah, ok, 32!"

My Nokia communicator from T-mobile has broken and T-mobile no longer sell this type of phone. Vodafone sell the older Nokia communicator with the software - but three new versions have come out since then but there is no compatible software for them.

I have emailed RNID to ask them for advice because on their webpage they talk about new software which can be used with at least six mobile phones including the new version of the nokia communicator.

As of yet I have not got a reply - which I think is poor because I need this mobile for work.

I went into O2 today to ask about the new software that should be available. As I suspected they did not know any thing about it, although they did say they would look into it.

I still do not feel confident enough to use my Motorola phone for voice calls at work without a back up mobile that I can use with type talk if I need it.




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