Last Saturday I had an opportunity to meet a new CI blogging friend, Valerie! She has a blog at Tales from a CI Gal so go visit her! She and her daughter, Jenna, were in Gatlinburg last weekend for a dance competition. I love meeting new people, especially those that I've met through blogging and the Internet. I had a beautiful drive through the Smoky Mountains on the way there and back and appreciated getting away for a day. It took me just over an hour to get there from my house. We met for lunch at a noisy Cracker Barrel in Pigeon Forge and had a wonderful time.
Valerie has bilateral cochlear implants and is approaching her one year anniversary date on July 19th. The one thing different about Valerie's bilateral implants is that she had them done at the same time. There aren't too many adults that get bilateral implants simultaneously. Her insurance company denied her request for cochlear implants at least seven times before they finally approved them. She said her recovery was rough. I had enough trouble recuperating from cochlear implant surgery on one ear. I cannot imagine what it would be like recovering after having two done at once!
Her hearing loss journey is so similar to mine and we could have talked for hours! She is such a sweet person and I was so glad to have the opportunity to meet her! I felt like I was meeting a friend that I had known for a long time. We couldn't talk long because Jenna wanted to play miniature golf and do some shopping before they went back home to Nashville. I needed to get home, too, because my husband was flying home from a trip and I hadn't seen him for almost three weeks! But, we made the most of our visit and promised to meet again!
Laurie and ValerieJenna and Valerie
I love this picture of Jenna and Valerie. In fact, I loved watching their mother/daughter relationship as we visited and ate lunch together. Jenna is very understanding and supportive of her mom's hearing loss and shares her joy of hearing with her. She makes sure her mom can understand her, isn't lazy with her speech, and articulates her words very well. She'll tap Valerie on the shoulder if she wants to tell her something. It reminded me of how my children thoughtfully communicated with me in their younger years. And how they have always been there for me and supported me when I couldn't hear. I loved talking and interacting with Jenna, too, and think she is such a doll!