Tag Archives: God

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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No Air Conditioning

English: Series of air conditioners at UNC-CH.

As I’m writing this blog, I’m experiencing the beginning of my house loosing the nice cool air and having it replaced with hot, unwelcome air. It is definitely an unwelcome addition to my house after having worked two doubles and after going to church this weekend. It’s situations like this that make you appreciate what you have when you loose it.

That is what my topic is for today, appreciating what you have before you loose it. Now, I’m sure everybody has heard this saying a million and one times, but it still sucks just as much when you have to face the downfalls of not listening to the saying. This saying could apply to anything; not appreciating a nice car you have, not appreciating a good person in your life, not appreciating a good job, or not appreciating yourself, but it always sucks when you loose something you care about or something happens to you that you were not expecting.

I’ve recently suffered the major downfalls of not appreciating what I have. Not to say that I’m going anywhere or doing anything, but I’ve had to suffer the consequences of not taking advantage of every situation I could.

I feel like everybody needs to experience disappointments in life so that they may come to appreciate all of the good that life and the people in it has to offer. Believe me, everybody at one time or another experiences major setbacks in life. That’s what makes it life. If it was heaven, we wouldn’t have to deal with that. But we aren’t yet in heaven, so we still have to deal with the stress and anxiety that all this life has to offer. But there is still good in life, you just have to sometimes look harder for it some days than others.

A good example of this, I went 19 years of my life with having extremely poor hearing on my right ear. I didn’t hear much sound on that side at all for most of my life. If I ever did, I don’t remember. Than, one day I got it turned on. Now, that was one of the best days of my life, but it took a long journey to get there. There were many days of disappointments and despair before approaching the January 5, 2011 activation date. Now, I am much less stressed out about that. Had I not experienced the anxiety and learned to appreciate how it feels to be deaf for the majority of my childhood life, I wouldn’t know how to truly appreciate the gift God gave me.

I believe that that philosophy is everywhere in life, you just have to keep your chin up in times of difficulties and just push through it. I’m about to go take a cold shower to get rid of the heat stroke I’m about to go through due to no A.C.

Have a good week 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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Hearing Tests Again….

Here we go again.

I can’t enjoy having my new cochlear implant for three months before my left ear has started loosing it’s hearing! I cannot explain why it is happening but when I went for my test last week, the audiologist informed me that I had lost about 15 decibels in the high frequency range of pitch. Basically what that means, is that on my left ear I’m loosing the ability to hear sounds in the areas of things like woman’s voices and certain songs. That sort of thing. The decibel rating was already lower than it should have been, now it is very low.

In all honesty, I knew it was going to happen. I’ve been told since kindergarten that my hearing wasn’t going to stay stable, due to the type of hearing loss I have. I’m not all too torn up about it but I’m anxious that a cochlear implant my become a real reality for me on that left ear.

I’m kind of stuck in between a rock and a hard place right now, I really love my new cochlear implant on my right ear, but to think long term about implanting my left ear would require a lot of adjusting, obviously if that is what is suggested, that is what will happen. It is the adjusting that will be hard.

My left ear has been to what other people could understand to be as their dominate hand. It would be like me telling you tomorrow, “Okay, your hand works right now, but more than likely, your hand will be getting pretty bad within the next year. We have a sort of a solution but it would require us to cut your hand off and we put a new one on, your new hand will suck at first. But with a lot of therapy you will be back up to speed. But it will never be quiet the same.”

I’ve never been somebody to sit and wallow in my own situation, and that isn’t going to happen now. It’s just something I’m going to have to deal with in the upcoming months.

My already implanted ear is going really well, I just got a new mapping (new programming) and it caused me to think that my girlfriend had a lisp the sensitivity was so strong. I hadn’t ever really heard the “s” come from her so that was pretty awesome. It obviously wasn’t a lisp, but hearing those sounds for the first time was a little bit surprising. I never knew I would still be discovering such basic sounds 3 months in!

I always try to learn from a situation, or something that happens. The thing that I learned from losing my hearing so quickly in my left ear is that life never goes as planned. Just as I didn’t have planned for my left ear to get quieter, there are other things in life that will not go as I had planned in the future. I just try to adapt to changes quickly and do what I can with the situation I have. I know that God will take care of me in what I decide to do and that everything is going to work itself out with the recent
loss in hearing.

I’m on the first page now, out of over 500 videos!
My Cochlear Implant Activation

Have a good week guys!

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2 More Days!

I know it’s been over a week since I’ve updated this blog, but I’ve been busy. As usual a lot has happened though.

Everybody should know that when your getting a surgery done, that the hospital is more than likely going to expect a down payment. I wasn’t aware of this small fact. There have been small hoops coming up all this past week, the hospital has been calling me saying that they need a $400.00 down payment before the surgery can be performed. I called the hospital to get it in writing that I needed to, in fact, provide that down payment, and then they told me it was just highly suggested. That wasn’t what they said before. So lesson to learn from that…. Hospitals may or may not expect down payments on procedures done. I’ll keep you posted on whether or not they made me pay!

Don’t even get me started with insurance.

I feel like this day really jumped up on me. I kept telling myself that I would start really paying attention to how close the date is for this after my show was done, then I said after my birthday, then I said after finals. Now it’s two days away.

Everybody keeps asking me if I’m nervous, I’m really kind of indifferent to what is going to be happening Monday. I mean before you think I’m a big insensitive weird person, let me explain what I mean.

What is happening Monday isn’t going to be anything but the actual surgery. They will not be giving be the part (called the processor) that allows me to hear all of the sounds God intended me to hear until January 5th. THAT is the day I’m excited and nervous for. But Monday is a surgery. January 5th is the activation.

“Why does it take so long?” – You might ask.
Because We have to wait for my stitches to heal and for Christmas and New Years to pass. Yes, I will not be hearing a sound out of that side through Christmas and New Years.

“Aren’t you already deaf on that side?”
To a point, I cannot make out any sounds without hearing aids any more, and even with the hearing aids it is a hit and miss. When I’m getting the procedure done it is going to remove all residual hearing. I will never be able to hear out of my ear without the processor.

Honestly I’m just ready to get it over with, I had to cut my hair really short, I’m not a fan of it. I liked it longer. I promised one of my friends that I would post a funny story again so that will be my last post that I make before the surgery. Thanks for the continued reading!

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Here We Go

Left ear cochlear implant as worn by user

Left ear cochlear implant as worn by user (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sorry about the lack of posts, I’ve been pretty busy lately with being in show and the end of the semester and stuff. But anyways here is the new one…

So new occurrences in my life, it’s starting to really seem like my hearing is still continuing to go down. It’s like my hearing changes with the weather. Everyday I feel like its gone down so low it couldn’t possibly go down any further but several days later it will surprise me again with a new record of lowness. Last night this girl was talking to me and I knew she was talking because her lips were moving, but no sound was coming out of her mouth, to me at least. I didn’t tell her because it was odd. It was really weird for me. Usually I at least hear a little noise that can be interpreted. It was very strange and a little unnerving, I would at least like to hear a little before all of my hearing is taken away in surgery.

Apparently I’ve been offending people lately too. Like somebody will be talking to me right next to me and I don’t hear them. This goes back to why I’m getting surgery. I seriously cannot hear any noises sometimes and when somebody is talking to me, it may seem like I’m paying attention but then I’ll just walk away. I’m really not trying to be that rude but it really comes across that way. This also leads to the isolation thing, people think I’m being rude so they avoid me. Then they talk about my rudeness to others and it spreads. It also looks like I’m ignoring directions backstage when somebody tells me something to do, and I don’t do it. Honestly, I’m not trying to be that way.

Another thing that’s changing is the fact that I’m not hearing intercom announcements backstage anymore. That is weird. Those things were blaring loud at first and now they are not so much. It seriously feels like somebody shoved some cotton balls in my ears and pushed me out in the real world.

I’ve always been taught that there is no point to sit and mope about circumstances that are out of my control. I’ve always been told to do the best I can with what I have and make it better. This is something that has always kept me going. This blog is purely an observation of pre-surgery symptoms that I’m experiencing.

Even though my body is going through these weird changes (gah! it sounds like I’m describing puberty) everybody still expects top performance around me. I cannot slack on my grades or I loose my scholarship, I cannot slack on my crew or my grades fail, I cannot slack on communication with friends or I have the potential to have them get very angry with me because as much as they love me, they just don’t understand, I cannot slack on any parts of my life.

I’ve chosen to make myself a mainstreamed student (meaning, I make myself part of normal society, not in the deaf society like deaf classes and sign language) and one of the downfalls is that nobody really can quite understand what it can be like to experince these events that I do on a daily basis. I don’t blame anybody by any means, and I’m very happy with my speech ability to make myself able to be a part of mainstreamed classes. It can just be difficult, just like everybody has their obstacles in life. The only difference is, is that I’ve decided to start a blog about mine!

Every time I get a chance, I thank God for the ability to speak and be a part of mainstreamed society, I thank him for the ability to get a cochlear implant, and I thank him for everything he’s given me. Even though I don’t have my hearing, I’ve been given the ability to read lips and the intelligence to get around that downfall. I’ve been provided with a great life and a great education to further my great life, I have great friends around me and I’m very thankful for it.

Even though some things don’t work out the way I would’ve wanted, there isn’t a thing I can do about it. They are completely out of my control. To waste my days on thinking and moping about it would be a waste of what I do have. At times it can seem like I don’t have much, but others it seems like I have almost too much. Be thankful for what you have because there is always somebody who has less. They might be sitting next to you in a class you have or in a restaurant your eating in.

Have a good day folks.

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