Cupcakes, Ice Cream & Some Baseball Anyone? -by ‘Daddy, Watch Me!’

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Who’s up for cupcakes, ice cream and some baseball? I am!? That’d make for one heck of talented baseball player- blasting towering homeruns while stuffing your face with goodies, and ultimately burning off the calories rounding the bases!

Okay, in all seriousness– these words do in fact have a common link, which you will figure out shortly…..

With that being said,  I got remapped on Friday (August 28th), and the good news is that I can now tolerate much, much more sound than before without feeling the urge to pull my hair out (Okay, we all know that I don’t have much head hair to grab-and by choice). Since I am adjusting well–and quickly, some new electrodes were activated, which means more new sounds to once again adjust to. When all the mapping was said and done, the new program resulted in a very different compilation of sounds than any of the previous programs. Robot language-GONE. Roadrunner language-also GONE (Thank God). I can’t put my finger on how to describe voices now– but in short, the results were amazing.

AMAZING? HOW? Well in a cup-cake, ice-cream, and base-ball amazing way. No, I didn’t eat a cupcake and ice cream at my appointment (but that is a good suggestion for next time). No, we didn’t play baseball in the mapping room either. But instead…..

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Follow-Up Appointment (Day After Activation)-by ‘Daddy, Watch Me!

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The morning following activation, I rose out of bed at 6am, and the very first thing I did was hook-up with my Cochlear Implant (I like to think it made my wife jealous!). So…. Electrical Currents-ON. This marked the first time of me having to actually turn the device on, which will be a routine every morning. As expected, it took some time to adjust to the electrical currents moving through my head, and loud noise remained everywhere until my ears and head adjusted.

I survived activation day without removing the device at all, meaning taking no breaks from the constant noise being transmitted through my head-all while being on the highest volume level: 10. Initially, I was set at volume 6 when I left the Activation appointment; I immediately set it at 10 the moment I sat in my car to drive home, and its been that way since. I was determined. I had previously made up my mind (the night before) that Day Two would be the same; I’m all in for this journey, and I’m going to do whatever it takes to get to where I need to be. My thinking: the only way to train and adapt to the sounds being transmitted is to glue the device to my head!

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Born Again (Activation) – by ‘Daddy, Watch Me!’

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We now have a newborn! WAIT- Hold off on the congratulations! No, we didn’t welcome another child into the world. No, we didn’t adopt one either. No new pets, plants, or any living organisms. Just ME–born again at 28–at least I feel that way.

Why? I got activated!– finally!

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AND…GUESS WHAT!? No, I can’t hear. No, my ear is not fixed. No, it’s not any better….YET.

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Going Through The Ropes One Last Time-by ‘Daddy, Watch Me!’

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I am now hours away from official activation! I’m ready for launch–and a successful launch (pretty please?). I’ve gotten my share of  “Is your ear fixed yet?”  and “Can you hear now?”–Well, I may never be fixed, but tomorrow can I at least have the privilege to answer those questions with- HECK YES!? Just a little improvement will get me rolling.

If you can’t tell, it would be accurate to state that I am overjoyed at the moment–Just place the blame on the wild rollercoaster ride that took place during my final two weeks of being turned OFF (Or blame my wife-it’s always the wife’s fault right?-kidding). So, what the heck happened? The last few weeks happened, that’s for sure. I’m not sure what angle to look at it from either- so, I went with the ‘feel-good-story’ angle simply because it kind of just made sense from my point of view-based of the upcoming changes!

To further clarify, the beauty of this is that God works in awesome mysterious ways and He did so by having a holistic impact on my family. What I personally took from these final few weeks is different from what my wife gained out of it, or anyone else. Now, I do truly believe her take on everything was the intended priority one message being delivered (and please do read about that in her post: yawns and burps),and I’m so proud of her! However, secondary messages are important as well, obviously- I am a part of her life, as are others–and who says we (others) don’t get a message too? I always try to find a little something in everything–and boy, did my failing ears get exposed over my final weeks.

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Yawns and Burps

It’s funny how the little, mostly unpleasant things, like yawning and burping can be totally taken for granted. This morning was the first time since last Thursday that I was able to get a good, satisfying yawn in. And of course just typing the word made me do it again. I’m writing this from the hospital, which is where I’ve been since Friday afternoon. Here’s what happened:

Thursday morning I woke up at 5 a.m because I had a training at 8 across town. So I blow dried my hair, and Eric left for work. Pretty much right after he left I began having intense chest pressure. I thought I was having either bad indigestion or beginning to get pneumonia (I had a cough and chest congestion earlier in the week, and know several people who have had pneumonia this summer). I pushed through the pain and shortness of breath and got the kids up and we headed to the babysitter. As I got moving and busy, the pain got better, or maybe I just ignored it? I made it through the training, insurance open enrollment, and went out to see my classroom. The chest pain had subsided mostly but I still couldn’t get a good breath of air and I had a persistent upper back pain. We decided that I would go to urgent care that evening, after Eric got home, to make sure nothing was coming on right before I started back to work on Monday.

At urgent care they did a chest x-ray, EKG, and had me drink this stuff that would get rid of indigestion, if that’s what it was, which I knew it wasn’t. Everything that the nurse could see came back fine. But the radiologist would look over my x-rays the next day to be sure.  I knew all along that it was my lungs, but thought it may just be the early stages of an infection. Friday, around 1 o’clock, I got a call from urgent care that the radiologist had looked at my x-rays and saw that my left lung had a slight collapse. They told me to head to the ER. I loaded up the kids, with their over night bags, and met Eric and my parents there.

With the understanding that I had a slight collapse, and wasn’t having any chest pain, just some back soreness, I thought it would be a quick procedure to pump me back up, and I’d be on my way. Even driving my parent’s big red truck, Clifford, home. Oh, how I was wrong. Another chest x-ray later, showed a 50% collapse in my upper left lung. Within an hour of being there I was being prepped to have a chest tube inserted and was told I’d be in the hospital for a minimum of two days. Cue the tears and fears.

They gave me a slight sedative and numbed the location. The entire procedure was done in about 30 minutes. Basically, the chest tube suctions air out of my chest cavity to make room for my lung to re-inflate.


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Wednesday Whereabouts

How can it really be the last week of summer?! Part of me is ready to get back into a routine, so I can feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of each day. The other part of me isn’t ready for the early mornings, hair doing, and new job stress. What? New job? Yes, yes!!! Well, it’s sort of new… I’ll be at the same school I was at last year, but under a different position. This year I’ll start in ESE and then move to 3rd grade in January. I am SUPER excited to be joining the awesome 3rd grade team, who I interned with last fall!!!

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Just What If…..Who Would I Be? By ‘Daddy, Watch Me!’

The wait until activation day is now just two weeks away, I will be switched ON. Now, that is a thought-who wouldn’t want this ‘super power’ ability to simply switch on/off your hearing just like your living room light switch? Nagging wife-OFF. Annoying chirping bird-OFF,  Sister’s “lovely” singing- OFF. Screaming tantrum toddler- OFF. The majority of people would agree that an off switch would come in handy in those situations. But for me, at least for now, I crave to hear those things/sounds, and I’ll do my best to soak it all in beautifully and appreciate it…because honestly hearing is a wonderful creation by God.

With all that being said, I can’t help but think…”just what if I could hear as God originally designed the human body to do and none of this was even necessary?” Sure, no doubt life would have been easier. But, would it have been too easy? Would I have the work ethic I possess today? The drive I carry? etc…

My point being….Aside from being a hearing man, What kind of MAN would I have been if the script was flipped? What about husband, co-worker, boss, friend, and even a daddy? To take it a step further, who would my children be? They’ve been noticeably affected, and it has at least partly shaped who they are. For example, would my 3yr old still be an overly observant, graphic, creative, energetic, and spirited child that she is? And my 1yr old son, would he be the tinkering, observant copycat that he is? But really,Who Would I Be? 

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I’m Gonna Be Famous! Activation News! by ‘Daddy, Watch Me!’

Good GREAT news everyone–Mark your calendars because… on August 18th at 1 PM,  I will officially be activated, putting the implanted electrodes at work and permission to begin bugging my Cochlea and transferring sounds!

I may no longer call Tallahassee my home, but I am proud to be representing the City on that August day. As if it hadn’t done so already, Tallahassee has now cemented itself a place in my heart, providing me with a life-altering experience. I will be the very first person to have Cochlear Implants activated on Tallahassee grounds–that’s right, I’m famous…okay, not quite…but it’s still a cool story to pass on. To clarify, there are people in Tallahassee who walk the streets sporting Cochlear Implants, and yes- they are real implant patients-not just fashionably wearing the head gear- however, these people were unfortunate that at the time, Tallahassee wasn’t prepared to provide them with the opportunity to have them activated locally. So, with that being said- thank you Florida State University, Speech and Hearing Clinic, School of Communication Science & Disorders for providing me with this special opportunity. You can check them out on the link below, Go Noles!



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One Week Post Op- Just Call Me All-Bot-Ton: by ‘Daddy, Watch Me!’

To my family and friend subscribers: Please bear with me- I realize posts like this one may not be particularly exciting to follow. Such posts are intended to be informative and beneficial to fellow hearing impaired and deaf persons with their struggles, fears, and decisions in partaking in Cochlear Implants Surgeries. I feel it is important to document as much as possible. But, I did add some treats at the bottom, check it out!

Oh, one more side note…. I am now introducing myself as Eric William All-bot-ton in respect of my newly implanted electronics! Just rolls off the tongue, right?

The Pain: The pain I am experiencing is surprisingly tolerable, especially considering that it is on my head. Aside from general overall soreness and swelling (like a deep bruising feel) around the ear and incision area, every so often I can feel a throb of pain that mirrors my pulse, generally occurring in two separate areas, The incision and a ‘bump’ area a little further above (which is home to my newly implanted receiver/stimulator). The pulsing pain tends to go away rather quickly, and really is not an issue. My actual ear itself is not experiencing any physical pain, but instead- complete deafness, swelling, and numbness. Mostly, it is just flat out uncomfortable, and constantly feels like my ear needs to pop to clear out fluid. I did begin to regain feeling in/on my ear at around day four (4). On a scale of 1-10, 10 being unbearable pain- I’d give the procedure a 3- It really is totally tolerable and doesn’t interfere with my daily routine. Also note: I have not taken the pain medication prescribed, mostly I am not a fan of medication and putting substances in my body, but again I don’t think I needed it. However, I did take the antibiotics prescribed to prevent any infection, I did not want to take any risk on having any possible set-backs.

Cochlear Implant Image

Here is a visual to help you all. You can see the receiver/stimulator that is implanted just above the ear and electrodes are wired into the Cochlea.

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Surgery Experience by ‘Daddy, Watch Me!’

Tuesday, July 21, 2015- Right Ear Cochlear Implant Surgery

12:00 A.M. – 4:59 A.M.: This was “sleep time”…well let’s just pretend it was sleep time, because in reality it was lay in bed with your eyes shut while remaining fully conscious. It reminded me of a game of pretend that my daughter plays with me. She fetches a pillow, gestures me to lay down with my head on it, fetches a blanket, covers me gently with it, reads me a fake book (hand gestured book), I pretend to laugh at the pictures as she giggles back, she says a sweet prayer to me (I wish I could tell you how it goes- I can’t-but that’s why I am here!), she plants a kiss of my cheek, says “goodnight, I love you”- my brain recognizes/sound memorized that particular phrase from her-,I lay still for maybe 30 seconds of shut eye until she ‘awakes’ me with a hug and says she is making breakfast (hand to mouth gesture). At this point we continue pretending to enjoy our ‘pankcakes’ and ‘juice’. Boy, did I wish it was a game of pretend, my children did not join us for the trip.  It appears that our body has a mind of it’s own because I appeared to not be nervous, my mind was in good spirits, I was content and at peace. My body– or whatever triggers alertness was sneaky enough and successful at providing me with minimal sleep.

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