It's now March and it'll be 4 years since I had my CI implant in May. When I returned from America in September last year, I only returned to Gray's inn road three times that year, and two of them were to pick up spare parts, and one for a remap. I am finding that in quiet situations I am able to have a simple conversation without lipreading or light concentration levels.
I have simply accepted the fact that I will never be free from lipreading as it's incredibly hard-wired into my brain due to my deaf history, I was born deaf and the first skill I learned was lip-reading/auditory listening with my mother. My father did not have much to do with my coping strategies as he deferred this to my mother as my mother was a housewife for a while and was best suited to this task.
I still have snippets of memory where my mother demonstrated enunciation of such words - particularly farm animals. Do you remember those small plastic lifelike objects, that made up the farmyard of animals- cow, sheep, pigs, ducks, birds etc... Mother would hold an inflated balloon and I would place my hands on the balloon and mum would place the balloon at her throat and said the word, and I mimicked the word back until I got it right. By the time I started nursery, I had the largest vocabulary out of all the preschool children in nursery at the time. The teachers at primary school thought I would be a very good speaker by the time I was an adult, how true their predictions turned out. I can speak well as long I didn't let my emotions get in the way. I can still sign but not as where I'd liked it to be but its passable.
I truly believe the method 'total communication' are the way to go as they utilise all methods of skills and strategies that a deaf child can pick up or learn, whether that be speaking, lip-reading, signed English, British Sign Language or Cued speech. I loved primary school as I found it so accessible to education and absorbed as much as I could and with this - it enabled me to go to a deaf grammar school which again gave me the enviable access to a better education and left with good qualifications and onto high education finishing with 3 degrees under my belt. I am saddend by the current government decision to mainstream disabled children.
I wish I could say the same about the workplace, it's such a quagmire of business politics and etiquettes that I am finding that I am struggling at best of times. In the business I work in is such a fast paced and a lot of changes take place in few weeks as opposed to an office where changes are planned in and everyone is upskilled. I've had to swim a lot of the time to stay afloat by upskilling myself and a lot of the time it involved a lot of meetings which I find quite taxing. The trouble with the meetings is that they pretty much ad-hoc meaning they appear without warning and does not really give me time to get an interpreter in or a planatypist in. It has now got to a stage that I am finding that I return home from work each evening feeling utterly spent. Even I have to muster up some energy to go to deaf badminton on Wednesday nights as I enjoy sports and the social side of things it brings. I am now seriously considering asking work to pay for a full time interpreter even though I know the person will not be fully utilised due to the nature of my job as some days is pretty quiet others manic with meetings thrown in. There's no logic or routine to it. If it comes to the crunch that work thinks it's untenable to pay for a full time interpreter, I'd consider leaving the company. It's not fair to one's health on the basis of job requirements and cost considerations. We're supposed to be at a stage where the world should be accessible to all, unfortunately its not true for some, that they still battle on to grain that same equality access as their peers whether that be at home, work, rest and play.
I would love to change jobs to do something I enjoy and would not mind getting up for it, but at the moment things are little too precarious as we're still in the hard times economically everywhere. I hope when I look back to read this in a few years time and wonder how we'd all ever got through all that and survived. If I were to change jobs - I would be most definitely be interested in something of an historical nature like a genealogist as I love researching, travelling and finding that amazing snippets of information from the archives about a person or something. The other one is photography but it's such a competitive place to be in and most areas are pretty saturated in certain types of photography and the equipment is so expensive. I'd love to do some macro photography or landscape photography. People photography does not appeal to me for some reason. Hopefully after May things should start to look up after a well earned holiday from work for a few weeks.