January 19, 2013
I have had an amazing mental/emotional aerobics week. I have gone through just about every emotion imaginable, and instead of being completely drained, I feel refreshed, relieved, and calm about whatever is ahead of me. I think my blood pressure is even a bit lower because of this.
To begin, a week ago, as I was still agonizing over this whole decision process, my daughter was in a road rage accident of some madwoman who didn’t like that she was driving the speed limit in morning traffic. Stephanie moved over as soon as she could to exit, the woman followed her and rammed into her at the stop sign. Wayne and I went to pick up a very frightened, but lucky young woman. The trials and tribulations of online police reports, insurance calls, estimated filtered in and out through the entire week. Staying calm for a child is a mother’s first instinct, and maybe that helped me through the week’s process. Funny though, I usually go in a corner and have a private meltdown after these kinds of events.
My four hour meeting with the audiologist and surgeon (he was only 30 minutes of all that time, no surprise) on Monday encapsulated the major decisions. After all that fussing about my hubby earlier, I was so surprised that he stayed all that time, asked questions, and supported me throughout the whole process. He really is the best partner for me. We had to learn about all the devices and their programs, make a choice, order all the accessories, and understand exactly what the surgery was like and expectations afterwards, and finally schedule the day of surgery…February 20th. It seems so much more simple when it is just put into one sentence, but I assure you, by the time it was over, and the nurse took my BP, we all were shocked at it 201/104 reading. This was HEAVY stuff.
All that was left was to get insurance approval, and I have spent the last 3 days in agony with the what if’s. I even tried calling my insurance company to at least get some sort of answer. Beyond my understanding, they could not even tell me it was a covered benefit to my policy until they get the pre-authorization from the surgeon. The surgeon would not send it until it was 30 days until date of surgery. What a silly ping pong match. I was left with the agony of just waiting, and worrying. Second-guessing starts to roll in. Maybe I should get a second opinion. But, what would that really do? I get an agreeing answer, no change. I get an opposing answer, more decisions. I get, it’s up to you, well, I just wasted my time.
Then in what only I can call a real epiphany, a favorite Joseph Campbell quote which I have “preached” to others for years whispered to my mind’s ear.
You have to let go of the life you planned to embrace the life in front of you.
I had planned to spend the rest of my life accepting the slow gradual loss of hearing and stoically trudging on. The biggest worry I had about this surgery was that I still function (albeit very, very basic functioning) with the little bit of hearing that I have. It sounds “natural” beefed up with the old hearing aids. With cochlear implants I will lose ALL my hearing and I would no longer be able to use hearing aids if for any reason the CIs don’t work. The likelihood of that happening is less than 1%, but it is there. CIs will give me what an amputee has with a prosthetic leg, not the same, but it works better than crutches.
For whatever logic battle my brain was having, it suddenly made sense to let go of the essence of natural hearing (which is really only 10% of what you hear) to embrace a new way of hearing at 85% or better. The voices may sound like Mickey Mouse and it will take a lot brain training to re-learn sounds and voices, but I am ready to embrace that challenge. And IF things turn south, and I am left completely deaf… I will embrace that too…. And maybe get a service dog.