I think it’s safe to say that the Cochlear Implant has been a true gift and blessing in both mine and Dales life.
Approximately 1 year ago, Dale had his Cochlear Implant switched on and his (fairly short) journey of learning to hear again started.
If you’re curious about the Implant, this is my testimony of being with an Implant Patient:
In the month of May, Dale had finally received his operation date; 16th July 2015. There had been much build up of Anxiety for Dale regarding it, especially since there had been no noise about the operation for months, even though he had been accepted in January. When he was accepted, he took a while to reciprocate the acceptance, having anxiety of the chances of success and chances of hearing music etc. Good on him, he accepted. After he got his date, it started a whole new round of Anxiety about whether he will be well enough to have the operation, whether I’d love him if he came out the other side completely deaf (the operation seriously diminishes natural hearing, and in some cases completely destroys it) and again, whether he’ll be able to hear music.
If there’s one thing I could do over on Op-Day, it would be being able to be with him when he had his cannula (needle) put in. FYI, I’m a needle phobic so it probably wouldn’t have worked well anyway. He was taken away to the operation room and that’s it. Neither mine nor Dales life would be the same. 3 hours later, we were told he was waiting in recovery.
I admit it, I did cry when I saw him lying there after the operation. He was miles high on anaesthetic and morphine, so he wasn’t all there. He repeatedly asked whether he had the operation and whether it was done. He also tried to sit up quite a few times, which he really couldn’t do. I mean, imagine trying to sit up and do things when you have a concussion. That’s pretty much the same thing.
Doctors came along and talked to us (mainly me as I was the only one of us hearing and they had no Sign Interpreter for Dale) and explained the aftercare and recovery process. They also explained all the after therapy and the process of learning to hear again. Dale also wanted to pick a bone with the Anaesthesiologist because apparently they told Dale he wouldn’t dream, but he did, so the Anaesthesiologist lied. Oh my silly Aspie. Dale ‘claims’ he remembers saying that, but I honestly don’t believe him. He was higher than cloud 9.
It wasn’t long before he was wheeled into his overnight room. We met his nurses who would look after him for the night and the following morning. After relieving himself and returning to the bed, he proceeded to ask whether the surgeon had removed his underwear to which the nurse looked dumbfounded, then replied, “Did you not see them when you went to the loo just a second ago?”. Queue much laughter from myself and the nurse when Dale replied, “Oh. Yeah!”.
1 month later, the Implant was switched on, and Dale began his journey of hearing again. The results were pretty much instant! With some difficulty, Dale could follow conversation better than I had ever known him to. We still had to be patient, and not tire Dale out too much. If he pushed himself too much, Dale could back track all the work he and the audiologists had done and at worse, risk the success of the Cochlear. He began hearing sounds that he had never been capable of hearing before.
Around October/November time, Dale began practising music again. At first, Dale struggled, not because he didn’t like the sound, but because the sound was vastly different that all previous memory of music was distorted and out of tune. Songs he had written, which to his old Acoustic Aid sounded fine, suddenly became droning and horrible sounding. He reworked some of his own compositions to better sound how he imagined. Some he didn’t change, adement that he would learn to hear them how he remembered. I don’t think they still sound exactly like he remembers, but he has learned to like the sounds.
His confidence has sky-rocketed in the last year; he has changed jobs, started a Punk Band and started actively engaging in conversation in group situations.
The Cochlear Implant has drastically changed mine and Dales life for the better and we don’t regret a single moment of it. The Implant has opened Dales life up to so many possibilities; The Implant Company sent him a waterproof Processor so that he can swim without the need to remove the implant, a Mini Mic so that he can listen to his music directly, like headphones wirelessly (pretty much like a personal hearing loop).
Dale has filmed with the Hospital a testimonial video of his journey with the cochlear implant which tells of his struggles and highlights of having the implant. If you would like to see it, watch it below: