Sunday, May 15, 2011
Wow, it has been awhile. Tetra had been showing some stress signals at work and I worried about early retirement for a while. Thankfully I realized that she was not getting enough exercise and it was causing stress. She was so excited to be out doing something, but because she was working, she was not able to do dog things like sniff or show interest in people. It was my fault for hiding inside from bad weather, which is a horrible excuse. The problem was fixed with regular walks and doggie play time. Never underestimate the need for a service dog to have time to be just a dog.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
So, after a visit to the doctor to address my physical issues, I am doing much better mentally. I have decided I have plenty of time before Tetra retires, and I am not going to worry so much about it at the moment. I am just going to enjoy our time together, and in a year or two I will re-start my search for either a compatible service dog program or a good, reputable breeder. Then I will have a few years after that to start saving money for future dog. Maybe, just maybe, I can work it to where I can afford two dogs. For now, I am trying to wrap my head around something I have heard several times-an argument against vesting a service dog because it draws attention to the persons disability. To me, just having a dog in a non-pet friendly place is going to draw attention to you, vest or no vest. I choose to always vest because it makes it clear to the public that yes, this is a working dog and it is supposed to be here helping me.
Monday, February 14, 2011
It has been awhile since I have updated-my computer was not letting me access my site. As time goes on I am adjusting to my hearing aids and conversations have been much easier. However, I am dealing with thing far more difficult than just a loud world. I am thinking about Tetras retirement, which will probably happen in the next few years. I do not plan on getting a successor dog until Tetra has passed. This is both a financial and emotional decision. It leaves me scared of what the future holds. How do I deal with worsening physical problems, when my current stability is compromised mentally.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
So despite what I previously wrote about slowly adjusting to hearing aids, and after talking with the audiologist, I pretty much jumped into wearing my hearing aids almost full-time. I do take a few hours to put them on in the morning, and I take a few breaks during the day as needed. I am happy with them so far, though some adjustments are needed at my follow up appointment next month. The aids have three settings-one for quiet environments like at home, one for noisy places-so far anytime I step outside, and a telecoil setting which is for using the phone. On the first day, right after I got the aids, I went to the pet store to pass the time until the bus came. I spent ten minutes listening to the birds with a big goofy grin on my face. I could hear birds before, but it was a muted sound. I was also amazed that from the back of the store I could hear both the bell on the door and the people talking at the registers, though I could not understand them. At home I am hearing things like the clock ticking, people talking outside, the cat eating or grooming, faint whining from Tetra when she wants something...the list goes on. The volume on my TV has been reduced in half, although I still need captions to understand speech. I had asked about my speech discrimination scores-eighty percent in my right ear, and sixty in my left. But I did not fully understand the implications of those percentages until I did some reading. These percentages are obtained using an optimal environment-soundproof box with the voice amplified to your specific loss. So basically these percentages do not reflect what I actually understand without my hearing aids, but rather what I can expect to understand in optimal, read QUIET, environment WITH my aids. Wow, no wonder I still struggle to understand people even with the aids.Very interesting and helpful information to me.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
About seven years ago, I read a book that inspired me-Dharma Punx by Noah Levine. I really liked how in part of the book, the author read and followed a book his father had written-it changed his life. I have been feeling down about the fact that I did not do anything of any significance last year, aside from having back surgery. Well today when I went to the library, that book was up on display and it stood out to me. I knew exactly what book it was the second I saw it, and put it right into my bag. The book? A Year to Live-How to Live This Year As If It Were Your Last, by Stephen Levine. I think I am going to do this, and I cannot wait to see what happens. First I need to read the book, which is fairly short.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Next week, on Wednesday, I am getting my new hearing aids, and I am very excited. I am trying to prepare myself, and in my reading have gotten some very good tips. The most important one is kind of discouraging, and that is to start out using them for an hour at a time, in quiet environments only. So much for my thoughts of wearing them home and hearing what people talk about on the bus-in reality the bus is going to be much too loud for me. The part that is really discouraging is the fact that the longer one has been hearing impaired without using aids, the longer it takes for them to adjust. I have been hearing impaired my entire life-I am twenty-nine-and have not worn hearing aids in about twenty years. So, realistically, it may take me up to a year to get fully adjusted. I plan to get books on cd from the library to practice my listening skills. I look forward to the day that I can watch a movie without captions and still understand what is being said, not to mention being able to have conversations without straining to understand, while still missing things. My main goals with these hearing aids is to comprehend speech. Environmental sounds are also important, but for the time being I have Tetra to alert me to those. I am thinking of the time I was in the library at college working on a computer. I heard an announcement over the intercom, but was unable to understand what was said. Ten minutes later I was tapped on the shoulder and asked-Are you almost done, we have been waiting for you to finish...the announcement was to finish up because the library was closing. I pointed to Tetra and said, I am sorry she cannot interpret English. We had a nice laugh over it, but it shows how much I need these hearing aids.