I wanted to lighten things a bit so today I wanted to talk about the year it’s been since they first turned my implants on, growing up deaf and dreams realized.
Being deaf had its advantages and disadvantages growing up and I always wanted to be like other kids and hear the world around me. I wanted to relate to music, concerts, songs and so much more. Reading book I would read about the sweet sounds of the birds, the fear of approaching footsteps and I could only imagine these sounds and the world around as a child was foreign by comparison with those around me. I remember playing hide and seek where I’d have to find places with a vantage point so I could see the seeker. Or risk not hearing the call to come in or the seeker sneaking up on you.
I remember the moments missed; the cry of my son at his birth and I couldn’t hear his little cry when he was hungry or cold, So I kept him in bed with me so when he cried he could reach out and I would feel his little touch. I remember missing the day he said mama. I missed it all.
I also remember conquering many things like learning to dance by feeling the music through vibrations in the floor and the air. By watching how others move to develop a rhythm so I could follow and “look” like I was dancing to the music when I was actually following someone else’s lead.
But I’ll talk more about my childhood in another post…
Skip forward to December of 2011 when I got a chance to get these cochlear implants and they will give me a chance to hear like normal people. Needless to say I scheduled the appointment for the surgery immediately. It took months before the surgery and the months that followed before they turned them on. Those months seemed like an eternity. I remember wondering what sound was like and being excited for the day they turned them on.
And July 12th, 2012 was the day they turned them on for the first time. The single moment when for the first time I would hear something that wasn’t all in my head. I had imagined this moment many times, though it wasn’t quite what I had expected.
To my surprise it was very painful I can’t even explain the process of filtering sound except like this. As a baby your brain learns to filter out back ground noise, like the buzz of the light bulbs and as the days and weeks progressed I remember feeling overwhelmed with the process. It was like watching 4 movies at once shown overlapping on the same screen and trying to focus on just one of the four pictures before you. But with time and practice I’ve learned to filter. I remember the emotions of disappointment and excitement all at once as I had my hopes to be hearing immediately and the excitement that even through the pain I heard something.
Today a year has passed and looking back I remember many little things from this year like the first bird I heard and a cricket which sounded like it was everywhere at once, the ocean on the day I heard it for the first time. I remember thinking how powerful the sounds of the waves where and how pretty the birds sounded. I remember the day I first heard myself laugh out loud and I couldn’t stop laughing at myself after that I guess I found myself funny. I wasted most of the occupational therapy session that day just laughing.
It’s been a journey and it feels like this year has taken forever and yet my memory seems like yesterday was the first day I ever heard a sound. I’ve been hard on myself wanting it to be faster, thinking I could do better.
But today July 12, 2013 is more special than any day before it. It’s more special than the birth of my son, graduating high school, graduating college top ten in my class, getting my first job in IT Security.
Today I get my real dream. My son has been visiting this summer and today I will hear my sons’ voice for the first time in 14 years, 2 months and 1 day since he was born. I didn’t hear him when he was born, when he said mama, any of his concerts with choirs. Today is my day; my dreams come true.
I know it’s not the end of my journey and I still have months and years of learning to filter words and to learn to speak for myself. This road is a long one still and will be hard at times. Though it pales by the comparison of how long I’ve waited for this moment. What will he say?
July 12, 2013 @ 2:01pm He said “I love you mom” and I cried like a baby and my knees got weak. I’m glad he’s a strong young man because mama needed his strength this time, that hug lasted forever. I still needed to read his lips to understand him but for the first time I heard him loud and clear. Is this what dreams are all about?
Now I wish I’d learned to say I love you too. But now I’ve a new goal, a new dream and that is to tell my son in my voice how much his mother loves him too. Another long road and another paled dream before in the end it will become as vivid a memory as this day and if death were to take me now I would die completed by four little words.
For me this marks a new chapter in my life; turn the page.