Just about four years ago, I found myself in nearly this exact situation: in a large auditorium, at Northern Illinois University, filled with people who are following directions spoken from the stage. Four years ago, Dave and I stood there, confused and unsure of which direction to go. The difference? This year I was able to hear and understand as they announced that students studying Health Sciences should follow the gentleman carrying the green sign.
This wasn’t exactly the same scenario – we did this in June 2008 when Eric had his freshman orientation at NIU, and Paige is not that far along just yet. This was for “Admitted Students Day” at the same school – a chance for kids and parents to learn about and visit the school. So much of it, though, was similar and I really got a sense of déjà vu, especially as we stood in the auditorium waiting to break out into groups based on field of study. When we did this in 2008, it was just me and Dave; Eric had gone off with the kids to do a separate program. Normally we would rely on him to be our ‘ears’, because Dave doesn’t hear well in noisy situations with his hearing aid, and I was completely deaf at the time. We ended up having a little disagreement – Dave was sure we should follow one group, while I was pretty sure it was not the right group (but wasn’t sure which one WAS). We started off with the (wrong) group and realized it was for the Accounting profession…Eric was studying Fine Arts! After we asked and got pointed in the right direction, we were finally able to catch up with everyone but still, it was stressful and embarrassing.
Of all the experiences I had during those 5 soundless months, having to go through Eric’s college freshman orientation and both kids’ graduations (high school for Eric, middle school for Paige) without hearing a thing were the hardest. I was able to get by pretty well with my lip reading, but those situations were just so difficult, especially the orientation which lasted all morning and afternoon. It is such a relief to know I don’t have to go through that this year because I have my cochlear implants to help me through.
I didn’t do as well as I thought I did – Paige was part of a trivia contest, and she was on stage answering questions along with a bunch of other kids. (Brave girl!! There were hundreds of people there and she jumped right up when they announced this contest.) As the kids were eliminated one by one, it finally came down to Paige and one other girl. They had round after round of tie-breaker questions, until finally they were asked the average class size. Paige’s opponent guessed 27, Paige guessed 50…but I was sure she said “fifteen.” Still, I was close! Even if I miss a few things entirely, or mishear them, it still beats hearing nothing.
So far, 2012 has been pretty good. Paige is finishing up her senior year, and has accepted her admission to NIU (she’ll be studying nursing). She’ll graduate high school in early June, have her orientation at NIU later that month, then move in to the dorm around the middle of August, right after her 18th birthday. Dave and I are planning to work more on the house through the summer and probably list it for sale sometime this year. We slimmed down the candle business in order to have time to do the work on the house, so I’ve been working on a new website that reflects the wax melts and tarts we will be selling instead of candles with wicks.
My cochlear implants have been stable and I actually didn’t go for a mapping last year…partly because I didn’t need one, and partly because I’m waiting for ClearVoice (a new listening program from Advanced Bionics) to be approved by the FDA. Once it’s approved, I can get my mapping and have ClearVoice added at the same time. :) Dave is due for a new hearing aid this year, so we’re excited to see what they have for him at the VA. He’s hoping this one will have an FM boot, for convenience.
So many changes coming up this year…we definitely won’t end 2012 in the same way we started!