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Already Given Back What I Lost

Dr Bartels,

In this, the Season of Miracles, you really have given me one with my Cochlear Implant.

I cannot believe it has only been a month since I was turned on to the world again.  In so many ways, the CI has wiped out the last 13 years as far as being part of the hearing world.  I cannot believe now, that I clung to those horrible alien type blips for the last 13 years and thought I was "hearing" something.  Yet, those blips were the only connection I had to the hearing world and I was terrified of loosing them.

For me, the CI has already given me back what I lost 13 years ago. This is the easy ability to communicate with the people I love and the friends I enjoy.  The second day after turn on, I told my husband to stop signing to me because I could understand him.  He met and fell in love with me as a deaf woman and always signed, but now.... WOW!  We are having such a great time with this miracle I have been given.  Sunday night we drove around looking at the Christmas lights and in the dark, laughed and talked together.  Then it hit us what a miracle I have been given.

My daughters have their mom back.  Just four days after turn on I sat and talked to my younger daughter on Thanksgiving night.  Later, she and T. and I had our first conversation without any signing from T.  My older daughter was up North and when she came back she met me for lunch and could not believe she was actually talking to her mother easily for the first time since she was 12.  My son left for the Air Force just before turn on, but on Thanksgiving I clearly heard a few words over the speakerphone from him.  He was 5 when I lost my hearing and now his voice is that of a man, not the little boy I remember.  This was a shock.  I look forward to hearing him in person as soon as he has a leave.

The other day a co worker and I walked to get cappuccino.  We were talking and walking.  such an everyday event for most people.  That was the first time I have done that and enjoyed it as I used to enjoy being with people.

For me, my CI brings the sounds I hear very close to what I remember.  I am fascinated with the inflections in people's voices.  So many meanings to just a simple work like "ok".  I love to hear people laugh.  Such a melodious sound.

My bells and music box are constant reminders of what I thought I had lost forever and now have again in my life.

Dr Bartels, I was truly terrified the day before surgery when you told me about my enlarged vestibular aqueducts and the possibility of a spinal fluid leak.  I went home and prayed with my husband.  I wondered if I was doing the right thing by wanting this CI so much.  In the end, my trust in you as a surgeon and my desire to re-enter the hearing world and be the person I was before the deafness won out.

You are my "miracle worker".  The technology of the CI, your expertise, the Audiologists ability to do the mapping when I don't make it easy for her, have all given me back my life.  But unlike hearing people, I have been in another country called, deafness, and will never ever take my hearing or my CI for granted again.

I must admit that when my warning signals beep for the "seat beats" at 6 am, I do tell them... "oh be quiet" and then laugh out loud and correct that statement to be... "no don't ever be quiet again."

Eleanor Roosevelt has said it best when she stated, "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." I never gave up wanting to hear again and now I have my dream come true.

My God richly bless you and bless the ability you have as a surgeon.  You are truly one of His angels here on earth to touch lives with miracles.

Merry Christmas,

L.K.