Tomorrow at 11.30am I get switched-on.
I have been waiting for this moment, not just since the surgery 3 weeks ago, but for about 10 years.
I first knew I was a candidate for a cochlear implant when I was about 17 or 18 years old. I always thought to myself “one day I will get it, but not now”. It was too scary a thought back then.
As the years progressed, and my hearing worsened, I always thought, “if worst comes to worst, and it gets unbearable, I can get an implant”. It was always this distant, frightening aspect of the future – a moment when my hearing loss would get the better of me, and I would ‘succumb’.
In fact, it hasn’t really been like that. I probably could have continued on the way I have been – with hearing aids doing very little! Because I lip-read, I can ‘get by’. But who wants to spent their lives just ‘getting by’!?
Some people might say, why did you wait so long?
Well, if you were the one talking to all the doctors and audiologists about the pros and cons, you would wait too! It is not simple. It is not easy. It requires a lot of planning, there are so many potential risks, you need to have a supportive network of people around you, and unless you have private health insurance like I did, it costs a hell of a lot. It also requires a certain amount of faith in yourself, because it’s also a lot about the way you think that affects the success of the implant.
So, you can see why tomorrow is so huge for me.
All the different people I have spoken to that have implants have all had such amazing and different experiences.
I think the 4 main hopes I have for my cochlear implant would be:
- I’d love to be able to hear and understand the voices of my little nieces and nephew. They are all under the age of 5, and they are so hard for me to hear. I want to hear when they ask me stuff, and make comments on things
- I want to be able to play the piano again – I had to stop when I was 18 because I couldn’t hear the differences between the notes anymore. That was devastating, so I stopped playing. I’d be so happy if I could play again.
- I ‘d love to be able to hear the voices on the radio when I’m in the car, and hear the lyrics to my favourite music. Maybe even watch a movie at the cinema.
- And most of all, I’d like to be able to call my mum, and tell her I love her, without having to have someone standing next to me telling me what she’s saying.
If anyone of these things was made possible by an implant, then I will be happy.
But either way, I think that tomorrow will be up there with the other big life moments I’ve had that get mentally added to “The Grand and Unabridged Compendium of the Historical Moments of Kate Locke’s Life”.
2009’s entry will say something like “Cochlear implant happened, and it was good/bad/awesome/stupid/changed my life/ruined my life/made me grow wings/caused nuclear war/saved the planet (select correct corresponding descriptive term).”
Who knows what the future will bring?
Let’s hope not nuclear war!
To my family in New Zealand, South America, Brisbane and Melbourne – I will post all about the switch on tomorrow night! Wish me luck! And maybe one day I might even be able to call you on the phone.