Next week I have two more appointments at the Listening Center and one psychological evaluation. Last week I had a CT scan to make sure there are no rocks in my skull where the electrodes for the implant need to go.
As I was sitting in the waiting room at the radiology place, I was feeling tense, as usual, about figuring out if they were calling my name. I had to watch the speech (or read the lips, though it's not just lip reading...it's everything else, too: body language and head, nostril, throat, and eye movement) of all three people behind the desk...the woman who checked me in, a woman with a stethoscope who was looking at the charts, etc., and another woman, off to my right a bit, who was answering phones. They were all talking with each other, and periodically, one of the two who were not on the phones would call somebody's name.
I was thinking about how much work goes into getting through this kind of experience--and how much patience and focus on the present moment is involved. I suppose I could relax and just read my newspaper and trust they would come get me, but I've missed being called before, and they generally DON'T come to get you. They proceed down their list, and if I've blown it, I have to go to the end of the line. So I pay close attention, and a little bit more of my psychic energy gets eaten up. This is why they told me when I first lost my hearing that I would need extra rest. Well, I've never gotten any extra rest. I've been lucky to just get the normal amount. But I have perfected, in my 7th decade, the art of sleeping while sitting upright in my office chair. Ha. Works for me.
I also was wondering if the cochlear implant will change this experience for me. Will I be able to go to, say, a dental appointment and read a magazine article and depend on my hearing to know when it's my turn? Will I be able to sit in the boarding area and hear when they're calling my flight?
The purpose of the psychological evaluation is to make sure I don't have any unrealistic expectations for this cochlear implant, should they decide to give it to me. I'm curious as to what they consider unrealistic. I want as much as I can get from this thing, if I get it. I know I'll have to work for it, but so what? Do I want to be able to hear music? Hell, yes! Use a cell phone? Sure. Make snarky comments sotto voce in meetings? Yup. Do I want to survive the freaking operation? You bet! Do I want to be able to get on the bus in the a.m. and say hi to all the interesting-looking neighbors I've been riding with for years now? Oh, boy, yes! Do I think it's going to solve all my communication problems? No, but hey....if it works, at least I'll have a shot at it.