Category Archives: October 2013

Tuesday 29th October

At Lip Reading, we did numbers. Our teacher told us numbers to write down with her voice turned off. I got a surprising amount of them right. I’ve really improved at lip reading. This doesn’t mean I can lip read everything. Far from it. But on the rare day when I’m tired or there’s a lot of background noise, being able to see parts of words as well as hear them gives me a huge help. It makes listening much less effort.

One of my friends at the class has just got a cochlear implant, and her hearing has gone from literally nothing to 40%.  She joins in conversations now, rather than sitting on the sidelines waiting for us to fill her in by writing on a piece of paper. Even her pen-and-paper-personality was lovely, but now it’s like she’s come out from behind a cloud. She can hear enough to understand the tea-break conversations, and we can talk and get to know her better. I feel like we’re finally meeting her.

Maybe this is how my friends and family felt when I started to hear properly.

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I haven’t posted anything for a while- not because I’ve got nothing to write about, but because things have been hectic. It’s all written down in my diary, so I won’t forget the last few days. Not that they’re particularly forgettable. Do my best to post them as soon as possible.

Sunday 27th October- The first song I ever heard

I’m back from the wedding. Happy, tired and a little hung over.

There’s a story to go with this link. 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErMWX–UJZ4

Years ago, I was at a friend’s house and she showed me this You Tube video. We were amazed at how talented this kid is. He’s only about five years old and plays “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz on the Ukulele, singing along. It was funny, charming, and his musical skills were mind-blowing. As we goggled at the screen, my friend said that it was cute how he was making up the words.

Is he? I thought. I had the same song at home on iTunes and the words the boy sang sounded exactly the same to me. Not that they were words exactly. As far as I could tell, the “words” in songs were mostly just mouth noises. But the tune was catchy and I like the sound of guitars, so this was one of the very few songs I recognized.

 Funnily enough, this was also the first song I ever heard properly. It was the 26th January 2012, about three years later, and I’d been listening to my new Johansen CD for about a month.

My small collection of music was starting to grow, but “I’m Yours” was still one of my favourites. Listening to it, for the first time I heard real, understandable words. They were about love.

From then on, I couldn’t hear enough music. My little group of CDs had a population explosion and I started listening to new genres.  “I’m Yours” may not be my favourite song anymore, but there’s nothing else I’ve listened to that makes me feel happier.

Saturday 26th October- The Wedding

It’s a nice coincidence that I can start my blog with a wedding.

Yesterday my cousin got married, so we travelled to Aberdeen for a day and night. It was the first wedding I’ve been to, and I was equal parts excited and nervous. Excited about the actual wedding and very nervous about the reception, which was going to be full of loud noise and people to talk to. I’ve still got anxieties about how I’ll cope after my life before Johansen IAS therapy, when I could only hear Gibberish in this kind of environment.

The service was short and sweet, in a little church across from the hotel filled with my family. The bride was beautiful in a white dress and my cousin looked great in a kilt. They signed the marriage documents while their friend played on the piano “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica, or Metta-leeka, as the slightly bemused reverend pronounced it.

I smiled so much I thought my face might split open. Everyone was happy and there’s no one I’d rather have as a new cousin.

The after-party was pretty great too. It was in a huge tent. Well not really a tent. Saying that it was a tent is like calling a Ferrari a skateboard because they both have four wheels.  This Tent had tables, a dance floor, plush portable toilets and chandeliers. There was also heating, something those who wore kilts were grateful for. Late October in Aberdeen is a bit nippy about the Trossachs.

I probably would have appreciated the delicious meal more if I hadn’t been so amazed by how clearly I could hear. My family (and new family) are a friendly, chatty bunch and wine wasn’t just flowing, it seemed to disappear of its own accord. The Tent was noisy!

By listening hard and lip reading a little, I hardly missed a word. I talked as much as anybody, almost forgetting about the food on my fork. I was thrilled when a new relative across the table started talking to me and I could tell exactly what she said. My mum saw us and helpfully bustled over, asking me if I wanted to swap seats with my sister so I could hear her better. I was so happy and proud to give her thumbs up and shout (over the noise), “It’s Okay, mum! I can lip read!” l felt on an equal footing with everyone there, being able to hear without any help.

The microphone was faulty, so the speakers gave up and just shouted. My cousin had three best men, a solution suggested by the bride when he couldn’t choose between his best friends. I’m glad he picked all three. They were entertaining.

A band arrived and set up, wedged into the corner of the dance floor, and the new couple had the first dance. They played some Ceilidh tunes and a whole range of covers, filling the Tent with colour. I joined in on the dance floor, jumping around beside my cousin in her green bridesmaid’s dress and second cousins I’d never met before.  Despite volume levels that had the portable loos shaking, I could still hear what people said as we danced right next to the band.

My uncle joked that no good wedding is without a fight, but last night there were no such problems. Towards midnight we were all hugging, saying how great it was to see each other, then heading to the bar together.

Some people say very funny things when they’re drunk, but I won’t embarrass anyone.  Besides, I enjoyed the free drinks quite a lot too.  

I’m so lucky to have such a kind, funny, loving family.