Billy 2.0 – ACTIVATE!

Spit it like Beckham

A month since the operation, and I feel fine. There is however one unfortunate side effect which I need to share with you.

I can’t blow my nose properly.

If I sneeze with my mouth closed, or blow my nose REALLY REALLY HARD, I feel this sudden POP under the skin of my skull covering the implant, like a bit of air’s escaped and has momentarily inflated the skin like a comedy balloon.

It feels… unpleasant.

Turns out there’s only one cure – you’re supposed to snort your snot out of your nose and into your throat, and then spit it out through your mouth.

That’s all fine, but… what if I’m in a meeting or something? Should I interrupt my colleague and hawk a massive stinking yellow-green loogie into a spittoon like some sort of Wild West character, or Gary Busey in Under Siege?

It’s only a minor thing, it’ll pass as soon as I get rid of this cold I’m sure. I’m occupying myself watching various videos on YouTube (not just old Steven Seagal clips).

The videos I’m watching are all on a similar theme, like this one:

Or this one:

Basically, I’m watching videos of lots of people getting their cochlear implants turned on, because I’m getting turned on tomorrow.

It’s been a month since the operation and I’m ready to chuck away my old hearing aid with its annoying whistling, its greasy ear mould, and try something different.

But the more videos I watch, the more I start to wonder what it’ll feel like.

A bit scary, maybe. Different. Unusual.

In all the forums and user groups, a lot of people say it sounds ‘bionic’, or just ‘awful’ at first.

The way I see it, there are three outcomes:

1) It works, and it works really well, and everything is great.
2) It works, but it sounds weird, and it takes me a long time to get used to.
3) It doesn’t work at all, and they have to take it out through surgery.

I’m hoping for option 1, with option 2 being most likely, and option 3 being the worst.

Either way, I’m just looking forward to seeing what happens. Wish me luck tomorrow.

7 Replies to “Billy 2.0 – ACTIVATE!”

  1. Excuse this blatant attempt to publicise my own blog but I do have a serious question for you as well. I have noticed a number of people recently with what appear to be small open discs, about the size of an old penny, stuck to the surface of their skulls just behind and above the ear on one side of the head. It is not clear how the disc is attached to the scalp, whether it is stuck there or if it is embedded somehow into the skull, but this disc/ ariel/ induction loop is attached to what appears to be some sort of hearing aid. My question is, is this a cochlear implant if not what is it? It is clearly some sort of hearing aid but not one I have seen before. Good luck when they “turn you on” next week it must be very exciting.

    You make some interesting points. Disabled Olympic runners with “blades” now run faster than able bodied athletes. Lance Armstrong “augmented” his performance with drugs and won seven Tour de France titles. Ritilin, a drug used to threat ADHD and similar in effect to amphetamines, has become the drug of choice for city traders here and in the US.

    The truth his we have been using performance enhancing drugs to manipulate our performance since time began. Caffeine, nicotine and alcohol are all used to perk us up or bring us down as desired. I read a lot of sic-fi including a series of books by Richard Morgan starting with “Altered carbon”. The main protagonist is a character called Takeshi Kovacs who has been given what is called “envoy conditioning” turning him into a sort of “superhuman” with lightning quick reflexes and enhanced visual and auditory perception. A sign of things to come perhaps?

  2. Best of luck for tomorrow. My 5 year old son had his implants turned on 6 weeks ago and he’s doing brilliantly- hearing things he’s never heard before. His confidence has grown so much in just this short time!

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