Sounds were very echoed after the turn on and very robotic for me in fact sometimes they still are. I spent the next couple of days exploring all sounds possible and working on my checklist book. Talking to the people around me. I remember all I could say most of the time was I heard that, omg I heard that. I was so fascinated by the change and being able to hear all these different sounds again. I know I am a rare case as most cochlear implant users only experience beeping sounds and clicks to begin with so being able to hear actual words and sounds was amazing for me. I talked to as many people as I could all the time, for the first time in ages I wanted to actually be surrounded by people and be out and about to see what I could hear. I was regularly meeting the amazing group of friends I had made in calpe house and sharing with them exactly what it was that I was experiencing. What new sounds I had heard ect. Soon it was time to fly back to Gibraltar and face my family and friends with my new implant finally turned on.
Showing my friends and family my new device was amazing and truly liberating. I know they too had shared in my struggles and frustrations so I knew how much this meant to them aswell as me. Sharing with them all I had done at the first mapping on turn on, the different settings that would need to be changed every 3 days and showing them how I put it on and off. I showed them the new app that was now on my phone which was used to manage the stettings and manage the device too. There was alot of things I still could not hear and things I yet have to discover even now but one of the most important sounds I did want to hear was my children’s voices. Hearing them meant so much to me after so long, my eldest I could remember her voice but my youngest it had been a while since I had heard hers. So when I came home I just wanted to hear them call out for me and call me mummy because to me that was the most beautiful sound I could ever hear.
I remember coming home, going to get the girls from school and talking to people on the way and being able to communicate better with other parents waiting at the gates. I was still struggling with a lot of sounds and words as the world was and is still using masks and therefore that was still hard. Having the implant hasn’t stopped the struggle I face as a deaf person when it comes to masks not yet. Because there is a process when it comes to learning with the implant it doesn’t mean I am instantly fixed, that’s not it. It means I am a work in progress, so I still struggle with hearing a a lot of things. But with time clarity will be achieved.
Whilst I was home I did my homework and practiced listening as much as I possibly could. Engaging in conversations often to help me learn sounds again. I would only be home for 10 days before I would have to travel back to my mapping appointments. I have been travelling to UK every 2 weeks for the mapping appointments with the audiologists and speech therapist. Every 3 days I did as I was told and changed the setting on the device. Some changes were big but some were unnoticeable at first, also I found that because of my long thick hair and the skin around the implant still being swollen and dispite having the strongest magnet on the device that it would fall off known as coil offs. This was a bit frustrating for me and sometimes got overwhelmed with frustration, but somehow I thought to myself ‘ how am I complaining so soon? After everything, this is what we’ve wanted for so long’. I thought I was being selfish for getting frustrated with it all because I had put so much and so had my family and friends for this for me to now be complaining, eventually those around me reminded me that this was a huge change and that even thought this was exactly what I wanted it was going to take time and work for me to get used to it, and if I had to complain and vent and get it all out that that was also part of the journey. Talking about it all and letting things out was healthy and was also a part of the healing process. Soon it was time to head back to England for my next mapping session with the audiologist. So once again I said goodbye to my friends and family and headed off.
My first solo trip as my husband stayed behind to look after our girls, scary but at the same time liberating…. The perfect chance to test myself and become independent once again. And my journey continues………