Hook up!

Larry Littleton
Larry in Santa Barbara/Postlingual
Clarion High Focus
c 1999

The author of this note assumes no responsibility for anyone's reactions to the following.

I've been hooked up.
What an experience.
37 years of TOTAL silence has changed to a world filled with sound. Most of the sounds, I cannot discriminate (and I know that's perfectly normal, thanks to all the information shared on the CI forum)

Tuesday, October 19th.
Sitting in the audie's office....looking down at the Clarion "S" series sound processor (I will call it that from now on, and the hell with what anyone else calls it)

THE device is gonna "ROCK MY WORLD." And ROCK it did!

After explaining all the necessary information, we hookup the processor to  the computer and hook up my external microphone to my head.
I hesitate.
I don't trust my own head.
I've spent over the majority of my life making my OWN sounds in my head....will the REAL ones register?


Nahhh....I didn't hear that....it's all in my head (like everything ELSE has always been) I'm reserved.  I don't react. Is this REAL?  Is it my imagination?  Is it my  HOPESplaying tricks with my head? I don't want to disappoint myself....yet I can't get myself to say, "YES, I hear it!"

Holy shit.....I HEARD THAT!


Damn...YES, I HEAR it.

(grabbing a kleenex, looking at my wife, who has her own box of kleenex)
It's only a BEEP....but I HEARD IT!!!!!

Staring back at my Audie...who has her OWN kleenex......

WOW....amazing that a BEEP...a simple BEEP can unleash a flood of emotions like this!

Ok...gimme MORE BEEPS!
adjusting as we go.....(mapping, she calls it) MINDBLOWING, I CALL IT!

"OK Larry, ready for it, now?"
Yep....sure am!
Yipes.....electronic impulses racing between my brain, the processor.....it all mellows out in about 3 seconds.

"Hi ya, Larry," my audie says.
I HEARD IT.....I'll be DAMNED!!! I heard IT! Couldn't understand it at all...but I HEARD it!

Audie turns to Susan, "Ok Susan, say something."

Susan is speechless.  Crying with tears of joy. "I love you, Charlie"

(note to those who wonder, "Who the hell is CHARLIE?")
When Susan and I were first dating, late one night she said, "Good night, darling." and I thought she said, "Good night, Charlie," and ever since, I've been "Charlie" instead of "darling."

Susan giggles.  Her giggles are loud and clear. I've tuned in to her giggle!

Mapping done.
Test one.....

A list of 20 lines....three words each.....
Ball.....Baseball....Beautiful, etc.

My face is covered, audie's face is covered, so I have NO visual clues at all.....out of the 20, I guessed 19 words correctly.

I could not tell which word was spoken, but I can, clear as a bell, distinguish the syllables.


We leave the clinic, get in car..crank up the music...I'm BOMBARDED with sounds...the car, the air conditioner, the CD player....crankup Van Morrison....TUNES!

I find it HARD (at this point....20 minutes afterhook up) to concentrate on DRIVING and listening to the music, nonetheless I manage to drive back to the hotel safely.

We walk to the elevator......"DING!!!!" The elevator bell!!!!  I got that!

We go up to our room, I sit on the couch, Susan fiddles with the ice cubes, but I can't see her.  All the sudden I hear this LOUD RUMBLE!
"Susan, what the hell are you doing?"
"I'm putting ice cubes in a glass!"

We walk down to the hotel bar.  At the bar, there is a woman playing a Harp. We sit close to her, and she asks, "Is there anything you'd like me to play?"

I walked up to her and said, "Well, to be honest with you, I just got my cochlear implant, and got hooked up three hours ago. I have not heard anything in 37 years.  At this point, you can play anything you want, I'm just happy to HEAR it!"

She plays Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Pachebel's Canon, Old Man River, 'Til There Was You, and Susan's mom's favorite, Sentimental Journey.

I'm FLOORED I can hear the HIGH NOTES!!! Never before have I heard high notes on ANY instrument, (without actually touching it to feel the vibes) and now I'm sitting 8' away and I HEAR it!

Susan and I have another good cry.  Laughing, crying, we could not stop either.

We were SO tired by 8:30 pm that we went up to our room and fell asleep. ENOUGH for one day!

Day TWO:
We wake up and make love.

Now, let me tell you....this CI thing is NOT designed for love making, I can attest to that.  Ok....OK half of you didn't NEED to know that...but I'm willing to bet my next battery pack that MANY of you DO! Some may wonder, what's so important? I have my reasons.....SMILE

But I'm QUICK......Realizing this little quirk is NOT gonna stop me, I've purchased a runners arm band (used for holding a walkman while running) VIOLA! Problem solved!

COCHLEAR/Advanced Bionics/Med El.....you reading this??? INCLUDE THAT IN THE KIT WILL YA???????? (you must be 18 or have parental consent)

We walk into the hospitality room of the hotel, silverware is banging  EVERYWHERE! My gosh, this is gonna make me a much quieter human being!  I heard myself crunching on my cereal..yipes ...shut up, Larry!

Today, we go back to the clinic for more adjusting. My threshold has increased 5% overnight.  GIMME MORE!!!

We change my programs.  DON'T ask me which one....PPS, CIS, E-I-E-I-O I don't CARE which one it is at this point (I'm not a reference book.....this is MY story) I HEAR is all that matters! I hear BETTER with one than the other....Ilike the tone quality of one more than the other....I have three programs....A,B,C is all I care to know.

We leave the clinic and make the two hour drive back home. Playing Van Morrison and Sting all the way home!  YEA...ROCKOUT! I can hear Susan's voice over the music.  Can't tell what she says without looking, BUT when I am looking I see/hear CRISPNESS, if you'll allow me to call it that.

We arrive back in Santa Barbara and friends ask us out to dinner.  We're in a LOUD restaurant.  My pals decided I should have something that I could HEAR and FEEL at the same time, and bless them, they gave me a Whoopee cushion! I love my friends!I can't hear them talking at all...music in background, people all talking at once...it becomes WHITE NOISE...just noise with no distinguishable sounds. I tolerate it.

We leave the restaurant and suddenly the white noise dies, and I immediately pick up the sounds of voices again.  I LOVE IT!

As we get into the car,  I put the key in the ignition,and left the door open.
BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP......ahhhhhh the ALARM!
Now there was this BIG grin on Susan's face...."NOW you know why I always tell you to CLOSE THE DOOR!"

We arrive home. I fire up computer.....log on....WHAT?????? Keyboard is LOUD! My gosh...I type fast..and it sounds like a machine gun!!!! YIPES!

Turn on CD (with custom speakers hooked up to computer)and play EVIL WAYS ....Santana .......the music is GOOD....can't hear the words still....but KNOW  exactly where EVERYWORD comes in..can HEAR them!  WOW!

Gotta dig into the CD file and get out STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN!

Bummer...gotta go to the office.

Arrive at office and can't BELIEVE all the noise! People WORK in this? SHEESH!!!

Make a call...on TTY.....hear beep beep beep beep beepbeep....thinking it's another phone ringing....nope.....then realize it's the TTY PAPER PRINTER going back and forth.....oh lord!

I'm TIRED already, and it's only NOON!

I take a break and go to the bathroom.  As I walk outside, I hear 'bang, bang, bang' and recognize the sound as a hammer.  I look on the other side of the fence and seea guy doing some home remodeling.  AH...add that to my "sound data-bank."

As I walk 75' away from the construction, I am in the bathroom and STILL hear the 'bang, bang, bang.'  Not only THAT...but going to the bathroom sounded like Niagra Falls! Hmmmm...I guess this is normal. I guess this is now "registered" in my head, and I HEAR IT.  I'll be damned! WORSE,I went back into my office and I could STILL hear the damn 'bang,bang, bang!'

I ask one of the people in the office, "Can you hear that banging?"
"Oh yea...been going on for awhile now.....I learn to tune it out."

Well...boy do I have a LOT of "tuning out" to learn,and it's only day THREE!


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