Cochlear implant blog: Part two
Part two and the conclusion of our mini blog series to mark International Cochlear Implant Day (25th February). Marc Van Cartier-Kerr continues his cochlear implant story.
Part two: Bringing back my world
I had just started a new job and it seemed to be going well. I was missing a lot, but people were being very helpful. I had notetakers for meetings and I believed I could do this, that I could cope as a profoundly deaf person.
Six months after being accepted for a cochlear implant, I was so stressed out with work that I was in tears all the time. My friend brought up the implant again.
I said: “I can’t risk it, I can’t risk it not working and being even worse off.”
I suppose I still thought the odd tiny noise I could hear was something to cling onto, until he said: “and what if it DOES work?”.
One day I was having a casual chat with my boss and she said to me: “Marc you need to do this, it could bring back your world”.
With my employers support I finally said yes to the operation. During Christmas 2013, I went in and had my internal implant fitted. I then experienced four weeks of total silence while I waited for it to heal.
The big switch on
January 2014, was a new year and a new start. We battled through the fog and the rain to Crosshouse Hospital for the big ‘switch on’.
Several scary minutes passed as my audiologist changed settings and then: “Three, two, one, you’re on!”
I thought I was in an earthquake!! The room rumbled – was this how it was when I could hear?
Turns out my first foray into the hearing world was to hear air conditioning, I never even knew it made a noise.
After half an hour of programming, I was sent off to explore the hospital and to see what I could hear. I was a little shaken, but OK. We stopped at the cafe for a bite to eat, everything was so loud. I took a bite of my sandwich and dissolved into floods of tears. My friend hugged me and said: “What’s wrong?”. I wailed: “I can hear myself crunching on cucumber!”
Four years on
I have just celebrated my four-year cochlear birthday!
It’s been a challenging four years for many reasons, but the one thing I will never regret is my implant. It changed my life.
I can socialise, I go on holidays and I even got married! My new passion is music. I had 15 years where my hearing was so bad I couldn’t hear music and now I can hear nearly every note.
Suffice to say I’m still catching up and those lost 15 years of music.