Tag: Hearing aid

Meeting Your Tribe

Couple weeks ago was the Annual Say What Club Convention.  This yes is an annual event but it is my first time attending.  I should back up, The Say What Club is an online group where everyone has a hearing loss or their life is affected by hearing loss by a spouse or a close family member.  I have been a member for 6 years maybe?

A couple years ago there was an email to try and pitch and sell us your city and we will hold the 2018 convention there.  I wrote a proposal for St Paul.  Now Benson is where I live now but we don’t have an airport, heck we don’t have a Wal-mart for 40 miles.  St Paul had everything we needed and it was right next door to my hometown so easy access to family (watching our kids).  This past year has been busy, stressful, exciting and a growing experience helping plan a convention for people coming from all over the USA.

Attending an event like this was really, really hard for me.  I knew a couple of these people in person.  A large amount of them I knew from Facebook and email.  That didn’t help the fact I have social anxiety and I thank God that Chad was willing to come with me.  Be my anchor, be the one that I could go back to if need be.  First meeting was a meeting where we assembled bags to give to each person and talk about the convention, loose ends and such.  It was great.  I left that meeting with a huge smile.  This is what we planned a year for.  This was my tribe.  They understand hearing loss because they live with it everyday.  It is amazing the ease of a meeting when some listen, some lip read, and combinations in between.  The next day we met and a group of us walked to Tin Whiskers.  It is a small brewery that was just a couple blocks from our hotel.  Chad and I have always enjoyed a brewery tour and have done many through our years together.  I am not a beer drinker but enjoy it.  It was a fun outing that was an easy way to meet some people, talk one on one with some people and meet some new people.

Wednesday night our welcome party. We had a theme as every good party should have, a speakeasy, a roaring 20’s, a Great Gatsby theme. It was fun. We had feathers in our hair, pearls, some had long gloves a few men donned a fedora. We had welcome prizes, MN themed food. We had cheese curds, deviled eggs, wild rice sliders. Something for everyone. It was a time to meet lots of people. A time to meet wonderful friends who you have felt you knew for years but meeting in person for the very first time.

After this welcome party I knew I was hooked. Everyone was just so nice. It really was like meeting long lost family. Thursday was a great day, they were all great days. A dynamic speaker, visiting with the vendors and putting our bids on the silent auction items. Our last workshop of the morning was visiting Starkey Labs and getting a tour. Once our bus got to the CORRECT hotel we were off. A little late but you just role with it. We had a great tour, a lunch we ate in the bus since our bus was late to start with and then a tour of St Paul.

Friday- what a fun day. We had great workshops from clear speech to an artist, which I found fascinating. To the last workshop of the morning and that was mine. My workshop was titled, “Designed to Stand Out” I talked a little about my idea showed some pictures of examples and then let creativity take over. I had been gathering supplies for near a year. I had jewels, washi tape, nail wraps and tube wraps. It was fun.

Friday afternoon was a St Paul Gangster Tour. I think this was a highlight for Chad. We toured all over St Paul and saw so many sights.

House was home to the famous Ma Barker and the Barker Gang

This is the South St Paul post office the Barker Gang held up for the cash that came for paydays.

John Dillinger lived here and had a shoot out with the FBI in the stairwell. I wonder if current residents know the story.

At Swede Hallow Hearing the story of the Hamm kidnapping.

We even passed where F Scott Fitzgerald lived and wrote his first novel.

It had been a very full day but we weren’t done. We went to the St Paul Saints game. My parents joined us and brought the kids. That was fun and special. To bad the weather had to interrupt.

Saturday was the end. We had a banquet and keynote speaker. There were lots of hugs and pictures taken. Greta joined us for this last event. I wish the night never ended.

If you read through this whole blog- bless you. I really just wanted to stress the importance of finding your tribe. Find people that can understand, they get it. I got back to my moms on Saturday night and I just cried. I couldn’t stop myself. I wish I could live around all these people all the time. Chad and I agree this was just a fun week, one we will never forget.

*I need to give a shout out to Andre Binns who took fabulous pictures throughout the convention. Many of them are featured in this blog.

How I joined the HOH club

I thought I would share the weekend/week that I lost hearing.  I haven’t talked about this to very many people but I have met some awesome people in real life and on the computer that I see that it isn’t something to hide or pretend it isn’t there it is who I am and that means it is ok. 

I was at a TaeKwonDo tournament in fact I have a blog posting from that event with a picture.  I felt fine that day and had a great time.  That night we went to my in-laws house and we watched a movie on TV.  No big deal just hanging out in the living room.  Well I couldn’t hear the words on the TV.  I could hear an occasional commercial but not dialog from the movie.  I grabbed the remote and turned it up and everyone complained how loud it was and turned it back down.  I just couldn’t understand what was happening so I went to bed thinking I was getting an ear infection and my ears were probably filled with fluid.  Next day was church and again I noticed I really couldn’t hear well at all.  But I didn’t want to say anything to anyone.  I smiled and tried to answer questions but I was more then ready to go home when the service was done.  That night my husband asked me to sit down at the table.  He looked right at me and asked if I could hear ok.  I played dumb and asked why.  He said I answered questions wrong at church like I hadn’t heard what the person had said to me.  I just said that maybe and I was probably getting sick.  Well the next day Monday is what freaked me out.  Those that know me know I don’t freak out.  I was to sub for just a quick 30 minute job at the school.  I just had to read to some young kids.  I love to read so thought this will be fun.  I went in and started reading and it was going good till all the kids wanted to ask questions at once.  I couldn’t make out what they were saying and I think I started having a panic attack.  I was able to leave right about that time.  I went out to the vehicle and just sat and couldn’t do anything.  I was in shock.  I grabbed my phone and made a call for the doctor to get my hearing checked.  

Next day I got in and had my hearing checked.  It showed a mild mixed loss.  Mixed meaning I have so much scar tissue in my ear from countless surgeries, infections, burst ear drums that I have a conductive loss.  I also have a sensorineural loss which is what I am guessing came on very sudden. I go home with really no answers but get a call to go to an audiologist the following day in a neighboring town.  I went and had more tests then the first time in fact over an hour I was in the booth having test after test.  I was found to have a mixed loss that dipped down into moderate hearing loss in the frequencies where speech is most important.  I wasn’t getting sick, or crazy I had entered a club of Hard of Hearing.  

The audiologist was very nice and explained how hearing aids can’t bring that hearing back to perfect but it would make a big difference.  So I ordered my Phonak hearing aid (only 1 need to save up for number 2). I laid pretty low the next week or so.  I didn’t work at the school or really see anyone.  I got the hearing aid and the first thing I noticed was I heard the clock on the wall.  I hadn’t heard that when I went into the office.  I have had to have the hearing tweaked a few times and the levels upped a few times also.  My biggest difficulty is in a large group understanding someone talking to me or someone talking soft to me.  I need to work on lip reading for those situations. 

Everyday I feel a little bit better about the situation.  It was another thing in life you don’t plan for and don’t anticipate.  I have joined a great group online and it makes you know that you are not alone.  There are others out there that are going through the same things that you are.  

Everyone has a story we just have to let that story out so others know what yours is.  

My Daughter

ImageMy Daughter is one of the strongest girls I know.  She has been through a lot in her 10 years.  She is one of the most caring, feisty, and good friend you could ask for.  I have talked a lot about my son and the amount of energy he takes to raise.  My daughter falls to the side at times and I thought I need to brag about her some.  

Yesterday I had an audiology appt about 40 minutes away from home.  The nice thing with vacation is my husband was home with Henry. So Greta and I road tripped to town.  We had the best time!!! We talked school, friends, TaeKwonDo and much more.  I told her stories of when I went to Jamaica on a mission trip.  It was 21 years ago yesterday that I went there.  Seems like yesterday I went it is so vivid but telling a 10 year old that is was that long ago made me feel a little old.  She loved hearing the stories of when I was young and in high school. 

Greta went with me to my appointment and I think she enjoyed it.  I think she was amazed that my hearing aid could be hooked to a computer and programs changed and certain sound levels upped AGAIN, all on a computer and seeing everything graphed out on the screen.  Who knows maybe we have a future Audiologist on my hands.  She asked questions and was just so grown up.  She amazes me everyday where did my little girl go.  

We ended up doing a little shopping in town and then headed home.  Just so nice to hear her ideas in life and her likes and dislikes.  She talked about bullying in her school.  She is so determined to give everyone a chance and a kid getting teased or left out just whips her up into a frenzy.  I really won’t be surprised if one day I get called to the school for punching a kid.  I don’t advocate this but if she is defending a kid who is getting picked on I can’t fault her.  

My dear Greta has a big TaeKwonDo test coming up.  Next week she is going for her 2nd degree POOM belt( Jr black belt).  My heart couldn’t be prouder.  Watching them train day after day at the gym and their determination fills me with hope for these kids and their futures.  The amount of information, board breaking, numchucks, and lots of other material is mind boggling but these 3 girls that are going for the promotion KNOW IT.  This picture is from almost 2 years ago when she earned her POOM belt in 2012. 

Raising a daughter who is not spoiled on money, would give her jacket to a stranger if they look cold, and feels their job is to defend everyone makes me feel like maybe I am doing something right as a mom.  

Busy Day

Today was one of those days where you just fall into the couch in the evening and take a deep breath and just think of all that was done in a 24 hour period.  My morning started at 5am when I had two great kids dropped off at my house to take to school in the morning.  Helping a friend out who has helped me so many times.  Then I had to drive to a neighboring town.  Living in the middle of no where has advantages and disadvantages.  One disadvantage would be a near 45 minute drive to any medical specialist, any major store, or restaurant.  Well today was another audiologist appointment.  I still could not hear anyone who was talking quietly or softly.  I am not sure if I could when I could when I got the hearing aid or did my hearing slide a little more down.  I am guessing the second of the two is what is happening.  Well I had it upped two more levels and I think it will help.  Technology is a beautiful thing seeing everything charted on a computer screen is really a cool thing.  Maybe I am a nerd when it comes to that stuff but seeing where my hearing lies on the chart and what is being picked up and by how much is kinda cool.  Left the office hearing a little more of the environment that I was missing.  Wow you can hear jingling keys in your pocket.

Stopped by Target and you never know what you will see, or have the impulse to buy.  I saw a friend from town shopping on her own also today so we shopped together and then out to breakfast.  What a nice surprise.  We talked that if we would have tried to plan this meeting and breakfast it would have never happened so nice to have a surprise like this.  A great friend that we can talk freely about Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder, school challenges, and life challenges.  So nice to know your not alone in the world.  A few more stops than the drive back home.

You know I said I wasn’t really in the Christmas spirit well I figured we better put a Christmas tree up so that was our after school project.  The kids were nuts to get that tree up.  Well they think it is the most beautiful tree they have ever seen.  ME- It is awful.  It is a cheap small artificial tree that is so misshapen it should be in the trash can.  Only half the lights worked so it is very pieced together and I guess a tree only a child could love.

It was a busy day but a day of some new hearing, breakfast with a friend, and an ugly tree that has children in awe.