A Year and a Day

“The first day of the rest of your life.” That’s one of those trite old sayings that – at certain times – smacks you in the face like a cold facecloth. >smack<

One year and a day ago, on October 5, 2017 Andreas took a phone call. He was so rattled by the news that he began to shake. He had a message for me. The message was so serious, so life-altering, so consequential, that he did something he had never done before. 

Andreas started up the computer, wrote a short letter, checked it for spelling and accuracy (I love my nerd). He then hopped in the car and drove to hand-deliver the message. The message:

“You are a candidate for a cochlear implant.”

We both remember the moment. Andreas walked into the restaurant where I work, and simply extended his arm with the letter. I knew what it said but reading it was a big, wet, cold facecloth. The note may as well have said, “Your life is going to be different in ways you are unable to imagine.”

We’ve been away from the podcast and blog for a reason: I broke it. Andreas created a schedule to follow my typically slow progress to regain my hearing. The problem is, my brain didn’t read Andreas’ season outline or show script summaries. My hearing cortex was unaware that I was supposed to be frustrated with the slow progress to understanding speech. 

Instead, I could just hear. I have a t-shirt with #icanhear and #deafnotdeaf on it because there’s no other way to describe my hear. I hear.

Yesterday I read a very upset post on Facebook. The poster was activated a few days ago. He’s angry. He’s upset. He thinks it’s a mistake. He’s not hearing words and he can’t imagine it will get better. 

The Facebook poster is having the near opposite experience to me. And that’s the nature of cochlear implants. It’s the ultimate in customization. It’s still the only sense we can replace. That the guy can hear anything is a miracle. It’ll improve with time. Cochlear Implant recipients learn to be patient.

I’ve been hearing for eight months. In that time we’ve been featured on radio, tv, a magazine article we can’t track down, met with the minister of health and there’s more on the horizon. That’s year one. 

I couldn’t always say it, but I can’t wait for the future.