On this same Wednesday one year ago, I went through my last pre-op appointments, then sat and waited for the CI surgery that would take place the following morning. Killed time and waited. Went to dinner and waited. Made some nervous conversation. Went to bed and lay awake and waited. Couldn't sleep because of my mixed excitement and anxiety and dread. What was I getting myself into?
Today, after meeting with my auditory therapist, I walked out grinning. My one-year CI remapping will be in a few weeks, and although I've reached the point where I'm continually cranking the volume up on my processor, itching once again for more sound and more range, what I have to work with is pretty remarkable.
First exercise: open set of random sentences that I wasn't allowed to look at or study beforehand. I got half of them completely correct on the first try, and got large chunks of the rest (with some missed words or slight flubs on phonemes). My score: 75%, give or take, maybe even 80%.
Second exercise: minimal-pair drills with monosyllabic words, probably one of the hardest tasks for me since I'm literally listening for a difference of a single phoneme, while listening without any context. My score: 90%. Ninety freaking percent.
And the best part: while I felt confident enough throughout, I had one of those head-spinning moments afterwards when I saw the numbers. Why, hadn't I been guessing most of the time? Doesn't seem like it. My conscious mind keeps chugging along, but beneath the surface my brain is putting two and two together, all by itself.
I couldn't have asked for a better feeling compared to that nauseous sensation I had one year ago, while sitting in those hospital waiting rooms. It's been a steep learning curve, but with the CI my brain is clicking. It's starting to sprint along instead of stumbling. It's hearing!