Tag Archives: Connor

Changing Environment

Illustration of internal parts of a cochlear i...

Hey Guys!

I know it has been a very long time since I’ve updated, and I really appreciate all of the nice comments and feedback left on my old posts. I still check them every couple of days and I always enjoy what people have to say.

I haven’t updated in a while due to the fact that I had nothing new to tell, but as of yesterday there is some new news and information!

I’ll start in the beginning. I’ve reciently taken on a new job as a Holistic Reader for my university. I’m loving the change of jobs and the semester is going very well. I’m still on track to become an audiologist, hopefully I’ll see that dream come true within the next few years!

I’ve recently been experiencing difficulty with comprehension on both my implant side and my hearing aid side. Both my comprehension and sound recognition have gotten more difficult to work with the past few months. I’ve been putting off going to the audiologist because my insurance doesn’t cover appointments but the difficulties finally became severe enough that I went.

I spent two hours getting mapped (new programming for the implant), and my audiologist decided to start a new stimulation style for my implant. If you would have asked me two days ago if I knew about alternative stimulations on the implant, I would have had no idea what you were talking about. Basically getting the new stimulation means that the way the implant stimulates my nerve is different than before. We decided to try this alternative mapping because the old one was over-stimulating my nerves in my neck and face and causing a shocking sensation down my neck and shoulders. I’m not exactly sure on the science behind it, but I can certainly tell you about how the patient handles the new stimulation.

It seems as if I have just been activated for the first time all over again.

Unfamiliar sounds are all around me, I can clearly hear people on the telephone again. Everything is different and it is definately a learning experience. People’s voices are unfamiliar and my car makes noises that I’ve never noticed before. The toilet is loud and one of my co-workers sounds like Mickey Mouse. The rain was loud last night and I’m still unfamiliar with what a blizzard sounds like. Music for me has changed and my keyboard sounds very loud. All of this is another whole new experience for me.

To some people that sounds horrible and scary, but to me it is one of the best sensations in the world. My old mapping was starting to become ineffective and I was starting to miss out on key things throughout my environment. Although I’m facing a learning curve ahead of me, I can tell that this alternative stimulation style will help me in the long run. As my audiologist put it, “I’m taking one step backwards to go three steps forward”.

After discussion with my audiologist, we are going to start looking into getting another implant on my left side. My audiologist would like to see me wait until the fall to get implanted for newer technology, but it is definately news that we are looking into getting another one. I’ll definately keep this page updated with additional news as it unfolds.

I hope you have a great afternoon and please feel free to comment in the section below, I love reading feedback!

-Connor

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Deaf Reporter

Hey guys! I hope this post finds you well. I always enjoy finding that my writing makes a positive impact on somebody, so please read on!

Tomorrow marks the beginning of a new semester and I always get really nervous about a new set of professors. Not because I’m nervous about school, but I go through the jitters of finding that I need to acclimate myself in a new environment.

I’m more nervous about little questions like, “Are you going to be able to hear the people?” and “Is the room going to be really noisy when I walk in?” Ever since the cochlear implant, I’m finding that those worries are quickly dissipated when I arrive to my classes.

I’m sure tomorrow will go well, life has been a drastic improvement since activation. Sure, there have been little bumps along the road and there have been some struggles. I’ve found that anything worth having in life though is worth fighting for, both with my cochlear implant and in other aspects of life.

I’ve recently taken on the job as a reporter and a writer for my campus’ paper. I’m thrilled that I may be able to write and recieve pay (miniscule but rewarding) for it!

I’ve quit my serving job so that I may be able to focus more on school. Every day I see ways that my becoming an audiologist will help benefit others, and it gets me excited.

Every single day before I leave the house, I always pray that “God helps me to make a positive impact on others as he does for me.” Every day that I pray that prayer, I find that almost instantly after I leave, I’ve been able to make that impact that I hope for.

I’ve always aspired to be a role model for both deaf and non deaf people alike. I don’t take that lightly. When people walk up to me and talk about the cochlear implant, most times it is because they are thinking of getting one or are just amazed that I am able to talk clearly. Although my rapid success rate with the cochlear implant is rare, success with the cochlear implant is almost always prevalent.

It has officially been a full year since I’ve had my cochlear implant. My life has had a complete turnaround since activation. If anybody is ever considering getting one, if your a parent reading for your child, if your studying them in school, or if you are just curious, always remember what you’ve read here and remember my story, it may help down the road.

I try to write so that my post’s may be understandable to everybody. I hope to say something that may strike the reader personally.

Although you may not be deaf, you can always still strive to make a positive impact on others. You may not know what it’s like to have that awkward feeling in the classroom when you are the only deaf person, but everybody understands isolation.

Always remember that somebody else out there is able to sympathize with your situation, just open up and let them in!

God made us social beings for a reason, use it and do something to benefit others!

Good luck this semester and have a good week!

Connor

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Coming of Age

Starbucks ubicado en el Distrito de San Miguel...

So this is it… as of today I’m 20!

I’m not really noticing much of a difference yet. Oh well, maybe tomorrow. Anyways, I got asked a really interesting question today that made me think of yet another blog entry!

The person at Starbucks (a favorite place of mine) asked me if I was able to change everything, meaning changing my life to where I would’ve been born with hearing instead of being born deaf, would I do it?

That is such an interesting question, and I’m sure many of you would think I would literally jump with excitement at a “yes”. But in reality I didn’t even hesitate to answer “no”. There would be no way that I would ever wish that I could go back and change to being born with hearing. I’m sure that sounds very hypocritical that I say that because I have gotten a cochlear implant and all, but please allow me to explain.

You see, by being born deaf, I was exposed to different life situations and feelings that had I been predisposed otherwise, I would’ve never come to know some of the emotions that I am so common with everyday.

Think about it, if you are able to hear right now, do you know what it truely feels like to have somebody talk to you like you are mentally challenged because you have something on your ear?

Do you understand what it feels like to not have the same chance at a job simply because of a hearing loss?

Do you understand the fears of going to sleep at night, not knowing if somebody is going to attempt to break in your house and you might not hear it?

Do you understand the feelings of rejection because of something out of your control?

Are you able to comprehend the feeling of not being able to dance to the same music as everybody else but you have to fake it just because you want to fit in?

Do you know what it feels like to be doing bad in a class, not because you don’t know the material, but because you didn’t hear the teacher say the big assignment was due that day?

Do you know what it’s like to have somebody never consider you as a potential boyfriend/girlfriend because of something you can’t control, such as being deaf and have them tell you that is the reason?

I don’t type these things to complain about being deaf. You will never catch me complain about it. Instead, I use these experiences that I have been through to benefit others. I feel like God put me exactly where I need to be so that I may experience everything I need to so that I may use those lessons to help others.

I don’t feel that by having these lessons, that they put me above somebody else on the “feeling meter” or the “lesson graph”. Because somebody else may have certain life experiences that I may have never learned that could help benefit and teach me about life.

Everybody takes life and their current situation so seriously. I used to do that, than I realized how much life changes in such a short period of time. What is so important and serious today may seem small and stupid tomorrow. I feel like the most important things in life are your faith, family, friends, and career.

People please relax, nobody makes it out of this life alive anyways. Enjoy it and be happy please. It’s my birthday.

Have a good week guys!

Connor

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What a Week!

Hey guys, I hope you had a good week!

It is really weeks like this that really put things into perspective for you. I had a really rough one for sure. My mom was rushed to the hospital and I was thrown into the reality that I could’ve lost her forever on Monday night. It wasn’t fun, but thankfully she is at home and okay now.

I had a good friend of mine’s cochlear implant actually go out like the recall predicted. She’s got the exact same model as mine and she’s gonna have to go to the hospital and receive another surgery to get another internal piece. I feel awful for her because she’s literally sitting in silence right now while mine still works, and the outage could’ve just as easily been mine as it was hers.

I had somebody in the class above me from high school die mysteriously right by my house in Edmond, she had a terrible car accident and passed away.

It was hard this week, but I had to keep looking at the positives that are given to me within my daily life. Yes, there is a risk that my cochlear implant will go out just like my friends, but that is no reason to get upset or to be upset with Cochlear about it. I’m really thankful that my cochlear implant has lent me the ability to hear for the time that it has and I’m thankful for the ability to hear while I have it. If it does decide to go out, I’ll get another one!

I’m even more thankful for my family now that I’ve been shown how easy it would be for one of my family members to be jerked from my life. It was that coupled with a friend from high school dying that really freaked me out. It really taught me the lesson that life is short and I need to appreciate every little thing I have because I never know when my situation will change. I try to treat every person I come across in life with the most respect I can. If they are rude, I pray for them, even if it is sarcastic. I’m hoping God gets some kind of humor from my prayers. It seems to work.

I try not to hold grudges about things. Because more than likely, the grudge is stupid. Life is so short and we all have such short times with each other. It is so stupid to spend our time with each other angry and rude. Frustrations only make our attitudes negative instead of positive. Even if I feel like my anger or frustrations are valid, I try to just overcome them so that I may be able to preserve a friendship with the other person.

A good example was the other day, somebody grabbed my cochlear implant off of my ear and hid it from me. I believe I had every right to be angry and tell them off, but what good would that do? I got it back, it was fine, the worst thing that happened was that I was deaf for 2 minutes.

Well… I was deaf for 19 years before I got the implant, so big deal.

My point that I’m trying to make is that I try to calm down before I speak so that I don’t do something I’ll regret. Many people don’t understand deaf people or cochlear implants. By getting angry and throwing a fit, that doesn’t benefit anybody. They will immediately shut off anything I say. By staying calm, maybe somebody will actually learn something. I try and educate people everyday, because as anybody that knows me should understand, there is more to deaf people than sign language and interpreters.

I hope that somebody gained a lesson as I have from this hellish week, I’m hoping next week is a little bit calmer. My Youtube video has gained tremendous popularity since about two weeks ago, which is awesome! I think it is great that people are interested and are learning about cochlear implant activations.

Have a good weekend guys!

Connor

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In A Bubble

Dr Pepper

I hope everybody is doing well today, I’m doing pretty good. I’ve been pretty busy, mostly with work and school. Everything is going well but I’m getting weary of the summer school. I’ve got an 8:00 a.m. math class that I’ve gotta meet at and it’s proved to be pretty difficult.

I met some pretty amazing people at work the other day, these people were truly awesome. They were a nice couple who were the CEO’s of a local bank in town and they sat and talked to me while I broke down my section. We talked about our jobs, they asked me about school, about what I’m going to major in, and than we started talking about my cochlear implant. They were very impressed with me, and these were people that I had just met that day. I’ve always loved people who have shown care in people outside their normal range of friends. I try to emulate that quality in my own life by caring about everybody around me, not just the people I know. That amazing couple left me a great tip when they left and a business card with the instructions to contact them via email. These people are amazing and truly are a blessing to the people around them.

The other day at work I seriously felt like I was in a literal bubble made out of latex….. Your probably wondering what I mean, and no not that…. I mean I couldn’t hear a thing. My hearing fluctuates with the weather, and that day my hearing had hit an all time low, while at work. I’ve never had such a difficult shift. Everything sounded the same, “Dr. Pepper” sounded like “Tortillas” and “Enchiladas” sounded like “Extra Napkins”. It was horrible. I basically just had to suck it up and get through the shift. Luckily I didn’t run into too many issues and I moved on with life.

It is days like that that can sometimes leave somebody dealing with this feeling lonely and really stressed out. How many people do you know have to deal with their hearing fluctuating with the hours that pass? It can be a little trying on your emotions. When I was younger, I used to get so angry at myself and God for making me have to go through dealing with this. I’m different than your normal deaf person, because my hearing will be “okay” (within reason) one day, and than almost gone another. It can fluctuate a bunch.

Now that I’ve gotten older, I’m glad that it was me that was the one that was chosen to go through this. Yes, it can be difficult sometimes to deal with being deaf, but I got it. Somebody, who was deaf, came into work the other deaf soliciting the customers for money by giving them a card asking them and signing. You will never catch me doing something like that. I try to be approachable for people in the same situation, or for people who have questions so that people may learn from me about a different part of life. I feel it was a blessing from God for me to go through this so that I may be able to help others in the same situation.

I hope you learned something new today!

Connor

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People Can Be Something Else

User:ProtoplasmaKid explaining Wikipedia and W...

Good Morning Guys,

I hope everybody is having a good day! I’m committed to working 12 hours today, but I’m trying to stay positive.

People really can amaze me sometimes, for both the positive and the negative: positively, I got to work with amazing children this week who have overcome boundaries set on them from birth. These children are truly inspirational to me and everybody who knows their story. Most of these children were born completely and profoundly deaf, and now they are communicating with the world just as easily as the rest of the children their age would. Watching kids fight like that to learn a language that they can’t even hear is amazing and makes them my heroes.

Negatively, people can be inconsiderate and rude. Before I tell you of my run in with these people who also amazed me you must understand something about deaf culture.

Within deaf culture the views of getting a cochlear implant can be VERY split. You either like them or you don’t. The people who don’t like cochlear implants can be extremely passionate about their views sometimes. Not to say that people who get cochlear implants aren’t passionate as well, but I’ve yet to hear or read of any negative impacts of somebody talking about getting implanted with somebody who wasn’t. The extreme negativity used to be much more prominent about 10 years ago, but some negativity still resides about cochlear implants with some people.

People always have to tell you whose side they are on, and why your side is wrong. That is basically what happened with this “cochlear implant controversy”. The only difference is that these people got extremely passionate. Friends within the deaf “community” were lost because of getting an implant, I’ve read of protesting going on when kids got implanted, hate mail was written (and still is), and just your normal hate talk went on.

This is all because people feel like either, that you are going against God’s image of yourself by getting an implant, that you are trying to wipe out the deaf community, or that you are trying to abolish sign language and are not accepting yourself for who you are.

Now that you have your crash course in deaf controversies, now for what happened to me. I noticed a table sitting in my restaurant last night, one guy kept doing a familiar sign to me. I don’t speak sign language but I recognize a few signs. He was doing the sign for cochlear implant, but from what I understand there are two different versions. The offensive one and the okay one. He went offensive. He kept doing it and pointing at me, then the entire table would look at me and glare. Then somebody would say something while motioning the cochlear implant sign and they would all laugh while looking at me. After reading their lips I discovered they were making fun of my implant. They kept doing it for about 15 minutes, and then I worked it up and went over there. I asked what they needed, seeing as every other server in the building noticed them doing it too. Those people acted like nothing was going on, that really drove me crazy. I don’t think those people truly understood what they were laughing at or what signs they were using. I wasn’t really offended, just taken aback.

People just don’t understand sometimes that things other people have to go through. None of them were deaf. It just goes to show you that anybody will try to put somebody else down if they think it’ll make their night better. I just let it roll off my back and go on with my day.

I hope everybody has a good weekend!

Connor

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After Class

Well, I got my six month mapping yesterday, I can definitely tell a difference in what I had been missing. For those of you who don’t know, a mapping is a personalized programming of a cochlear implant to your own specifications. I can help maximize your benefits and enhance your potential from such a device. I got a new one yesterday, but it definitely takes some adjusting.

I had become accustomed to a stabbing pain in my neck and head from the cochlear implant for the last three months. It was especially prevalent whenever loud music was being played, when a man with a deep voice spoke, or when somebody was yelling at me (it happens more than you think ha ha). The pain eventually became simultaneous with noise and I got somewhat used to it, but it was extremely uncomfortable. Thankfully I was able to get that taken away yesterday with the new programming, I am actually able to listen to some music at an acceptable level without wincing at every bass beat!

Unfortunately I have learned that I have again lost more hearing in my left ear. For those of you who aren’t familiar, I had lost nearly all of my hearing in my right ear last summer right before school of my freshman year. I got a cochlear implant over Christmas break last year and now I am adjusting to life with it. Now it seems as though my left ear is going away as well, thankfully not as fast.

I had, for most of my life, had about 80% of my hearing in my left ear and 40%-50% of hearing in my right ear. My right ear is now completely deaf and about two months ago I lost 20% in my left ear leaving it to 60%, and now I’ve lost even more according to the test I took yesterday. I am not yet on the track to get a cochlear implant on my right ear, but that goes to show you that nothing in life is permanent, no matter how promising it looked at one time.

I am still very optimistic about the outcome though, because I feel that whatever needs to happen, will happen. Many people, complete strangers, have come up and talked to me about my cochlear implant and have begun to become educated on the fact that just because people are deaf, they aren’t welfare reliant Americans. That makes me feel good that I can teach people and talk to them about that. I have been extremely successful with my first implant, and if God has in the plan for me to need another one, then I will get another one with time. I always make the best of a situation, even if it isn’t ideal.

I hope everybody is having a good day!

Connor

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It’s Been Awhile

English: Starbucks at West Coast Plaza, Singapore

English: Starbucks at West Coast Plaza, Singapore (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It has been quite a bit since I’ve updated or even thought about this blog, but this past week I’ve talked to four people who have either thought about getting a cochlear implant or have just gotten activated. For me, I felt that was a lot and it sparked my memory about this blog!

I’ve gone back to serving tables at On the Border again, that has been a tremendous challenge. Every single person in this world has a different voice to adapt too, and if they aren’t aware, they could mumble their order and cause strain for me. Due to my (kinda) still newly activated cochlear implant I can get it taken care of and it has made life so much easier.

I can’t stress how much easier life has gotten since I got my cochlear implant. It still amazes me every morning how much of an improvement the hearing is every time I put it on. The vast array of sounds in the world is amazing, and the ability for me to finally have access to understand and for my brain to comprehend them is awesome. I still to this day am learning new sounds.

People have no idea what they have until they lose it, I promise you. I had enough hearing in my left ear to learn how to speak, and now it is slowly going away. It makes you appreciate what you have and thankful for everything. It makes you appreciate every song you hear, every goodbye you witness, and every hello you come across. Thank God that I was blessed enough to be born in the era where cochlear implants where derived and that I was enabled to have the ability to get one.

I have to be honest for people who are reading this blog and are thinking about getting about a cochlear implant. For me a huge issue was the cosmetic appearance of a cochlear implant and a wire “coming out of my head”.  I will be flat out honest with you, my biggest fear was that people would stare at me, and I can tell you that some uninformed people in this world do stare. I have even had some point at me, it doesn’t even surprise me anymore.

To this second as I am typing this sitting here at the Starbucks I have caught the wandering eyes of two people looking. I use that as two opportunities. One opportunity being that people naturally like checking out a hot deaf guy at a computer…. (I’m just kidding), the real reason I use the staring as is that I teach people that deaf people are normal and able to function just as the rest of society. That lesson is best learned when I’m serving tables or am in class and people don’t even realize that I’m deaf until I make a joke or break that wall. Sometimes I’ll flat out say something, nothing rude of course! Just something to teach them that I’m normal like they are.

Something to remember if you are reading this, is that getting a cochlear implant is hard. It is the hardest thing in the world I’ve ever had to do. It caused me feelings of isolation, loneliness, fear, and it stressed me out to points some people don’t understand. But it has it’s rewards. If you ever run into somebody with one, and they want to talk to you about it, ask them. There are questions they just don’t know how to answer.  But never assume that everybody is like me in the sense that they like joking about it. Because not everybody has a sense of humor like me, I promise! I don’t mind joking with people, but that is me. Not everybody!

I hope everybody is having a good week, I’m sitting here at Starbucks waiting for my friends class to get out so I can actually go home. Have a good week!

Connor

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Video, and Updates!

First off… Here’s my activation video!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzFUutSMun0

Thanks to my friend for getting that recorded and edited and such. Sorry that took so long to get up, we’re both very busy.

Sorry about no posts in months, I’ve been very busy. This semester seems much, much busier than last semester was. Today I’ve since decided to go back to my restaurant job and pick up shifts as needed. I think this time around will be much easier now that I’ve got my cochlear implant! I may ACTUALLY hear voices!

Getting the cochlear implant in January has been a complete life changer for me. I still get asked questions daily about how it is and what it is like after being activated. The best way I can describe it is like having a sense opened up to you in a completely amazing way. It’s like you didn’t have a sense that everybody had, and than with the flip of a switch all of the sudden you can hear the sounds of the world. It’s completely awesome!

I still hear completely weird things that I never knew made a sound. I’ve begun relying on my deaf ear for little things. I’m starting to think my old reliable ear has started to die and I’m starting to rely on my right ear for day-to-day listening activities. The other day I heard chirping birds for the first time. That signaled to me that Spring was on it’s way (or is it already here? You don’t know with Oklahoma…). Hearing that sound was one of the coolest things that I had experienced since being activated.

Most people that read this blog have their hearing, and they never realize what they hear when they hear it. Think about it…. right now your probably hearing all kinds of different sounds while your reading this blog.

For instance, you may be listening to music, hearing the TV, hearing somebody making dinner, hearing the keys click as you are texting on a phone,  or hearing your computer’s motor’s fan, (or in my case I keep hearing my brother blowing on his trombone…). These are all sounds that somebody with hearing aids or a cochlear implant must learn and get used too, and sounds somebody with their hearing takes for granted (which they should, don’t get me wrong!)

Getting the cochlear implant wasn’t an easy decision for me, as many people around me know. There were endless debates and back and forth arguments about it. I changed my mind in my head a thousand times. I got worried, I got sick, I felt excited, I felt nervous, I felt alone a lot, I felt supported, anybody reading this may ask “why?”.

Because your making a permanent life decision. It may not be as successful, and you cannot go back if you don’t like it. Nobody close to me knew what to say, because they had never made that decision for themselves. I am very happy that I decided to get one now that it is all passed.

Something I had to come to realize for myself is that there will never be going back to the old ways of life when it came to my situation. I had to come to accept the fact that the past was the past and I had to accept that and move on. Once I did that, my decision to get the surgery and accept the fact that I was “deaf enough to get it” became much, much easier. I’ve used that philosophy for several decisions in my life, “the past is the past, it will never come back, but this is what I have now and I need to make the best of it for me and everybody around me”.

I hope everybody is having a good semester! Check out my video if you haven’t yet!

-Connor

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