“The improvements are happening as our brains rewire. It is (now) classic neuroplasticity. Never underestimate temporal duration and persistent practice. The combined positive effect of both outpaces the detriments of aging.”

Never dismiss the outliers. Learn from them. In this age, everyday people more easily connect with more “exceptions” at an earlier stage of experience in trajectories of changing states-of-being. This results in rapid and earlier correction of professional expert and scientific conventional wisdom (assuming truth reflects actual outcomes and not necessarily convenient data–see long trending observation of hypotheses and theories packaged and disseminated as substantiated experiential facts, statistics framed to advance particular paradigm*). Face validity discounted. Lifting veils

Do not set aside those outliers. Rather, identify intervening variables that generated them!

* Often done with honorable intention, but we shall not exercise inconsistent practices in judging standards and advancing management paradigms, with unintended consequence of doing more harm.

Time to measure.

*Energy* plus Flow equals synthesis of inputs and generation of life-enriching outputs.

A bit of everything is contributing.

Even the external portions of my ABI are officially a part of me: I washed my face, put in my eye ointment, turned off the lights, and got all situated in bed, almost asleep, without realizing the microphone, transmitting coil, and BTE processor were still on my head. Talk about “Freedom!” I think this was a first in the two years I have had it.

I’m at the mercy of others for rides for awhile. (It’s informal and self-imposed.) The role is one of capitulation when it comes to few and far-between local trips around town: I’m not all pushy about controlling the tunes. So, bye-bye to my preferred grooves, and hello, unknown/later-checked Sunny 101.5. The perfect laboratory setting, though: caught unaware, seconds after we had slowed for several deer to dart across the road at twilight, and this song sounds familiar. “I think I know this song…” Seconds later: You Can Call Me Al–for sure, based on the smiling driver, and courtesy each of my 4 programs. Program 3 allowed for initial recognition, with Program 2 yielding the best capture of range of sounds in the moving vehicle.

Overall, concern about limb weaknesses grew today. But I do hope to be documenting more settings and listening experiences soon–hopefully feeding back on overall strength building. I had the orientation to all this formulated and put into action so well as a late-teen and through early twenties. I recovered it a couple times, but don’t seem to complete what I need to get things to stick before another hit shifts it all again. When you can’t pin it down, you just try to do whatever you can, and keep at it, altering pieces here and there–aware of plenty that you’re missing. Interaction.
Just so there’s no bogging down in better or worse, rather than just different; the aspects and qualities we miss when we judge prematurely…

Good stuff so far. There’s so much tweaking I can do with four programs in my processor, plus sensitivity and volume adjustments over a good range. We’ll see how beneficial that is. With the BTE, I did have a moment when I felt FREEDOM in full-force. I’ll fill out details of the day, and throw in pictures, when I get back to desktop. I’ve already found a good combo/settings for a noisy restaurant environment and for listening to music over road noise. I’m a little overloaded for now, so choosing rest for the moment.

On our way to Indy. In the Mood (instrumental edition and GMB classic) is in my head. U2 ATYCLB is spinning in the CD deck. I can’t be on the cutting edge of everything in the world of electronic sound regeneration, afterall.

I’m getting my Cochlear Nucleus 22 ABI upgrade speech processor programmed in a few hours. And I’m blogging it.

It kind of figures. The day after I pop Liquid California in the tape deck, I receive confirmation on the first programming session for my Nucleus 22 ABI Freedom upgrade processor. The box came last week.

(pic insert; just see Flickr widget for now; also note marketing demographics: the hip youngsters on one side of box, and “mature” couple on the other side)

I haven’t had a chance to inspect the contents closely and play, er, learn about the components and accessories, but soon enough!

Other mechanical updates:

I’ve resumed my balance exercises. I’m amazed how much stability and flexibility have returned in my legs (as much as I’m nostalgic for my toned, muscular legs of youth). So, of course, I’m encouraging even more. (I couldn’t hold myself up, or get out of a chair or bed last March/May, and had to lean against the counter for teethbrushing.) That’s a rerun of prior recoveries, although at an extreme degree. That’s also after when I started being conscious of actions, I suppose. Weird, wild stuff…

My arms and hands were so weak. I wasn’t up to sitting at a computer, let alone typing. My left pinkie and ring fingers were limp, yet rigid. I could only reposition them with my other hand. Still, I kept up with this exercise where I touch the hand’s thumb to each fingertip, successively, concentrating on strength and accuracy. I’m guessing this builds dexterity. For both hands, improvements came slowly with time (perhaps aided with manual, deliberate teethbrushing). The left pinkie is still significantly weakened, but I’m now able to semi-straighten it (rather than it being in a perpetual claw form), as well as pull it into fist-form with the rest of the fingers. I did not expect that function to return. When I first started typing again, I had to use another finger to type zzzzs (a letter more commonly used by me than most people). I’m now happy to report my pinkie is handling the z beautifully.

All of this is icing on top of just living. I’m just mentioning it for others with various neurodegenerative diseases. My toes, feet, and lower legs are still fairly weak and lack the sensation and mobility of my younger days, but I don’t talk about the losses hardly ever. I do the exercises I can (the ones that don’t require any equipment, as I’ve mentioned before), and what happens is always icing. While I’m receptive to improvements, I’m always doing the best with what’s actually there now. I’m convinced of the effectiveness of momentum and inserting improvements to routine–making routine–for the purpose of body and behavior modification.

Laughing at myself here:
I’ve been wearing my ABI for hours and just now realized I didn’t turn on the power. So I’ve had no sound and didn’t realize it. I was about to make a phone call, then needed to look up more info. At least I wasn’t surprised it wasn’t working.

and ye shall receive.

Visited Indy for a routine ABI reprogramming session today. Um, surprise: My beloved Nucleus Spectra 22 speech processor (circa 1995) is obsolete. We ordered a Nucleus Freedom (sing it baby…) behind-the-ear (BTE) speech processor. I also get a body-worn processor, but it’s much sleeker than what I have. Kind of like buying a new car with all the color and accessory choices.

The BTE processor fits over the ear and is rechargeable, or can use three hearing aid batteries for back-up. The bodyworn processor could be concealed in a fist, and uses two AAA batteries. (“about the size of an iPod® Shuffle,” as described by the website and demonstrated by my audiologist–I commented that Cochlear and Apple should have package deals, an opinion strengthened by the description of SmartSound capability.) I’ve been casually contemplating a direct hook into a musical audio source for many years now. Although, I must say, that I did achieve a great deal of background sound masking, for understanding someone right next to me, aided by lipreading, in very noisy environments, using my S/squelch setting. That changed in the last couple years. I’m curious whether the new SP will match or exceed that performance.

I’ve been unlike most of my friends with ABIs: I’ve never minded the pocket-sized speech processor or wire going from it to my ear/head for the transmitting coil. While many Cochlear Implant (CI) recipients, and even friends with ABIs in Australia have enjoyed BTE models for years, I was always of the mindset that processing power and performance were far more important than aesthetics. Plus, basically, “I love my ABI,” and all the crazy experiences I’ve had as a result of the sounds it’s restored, and the adventures along the way! It looks like Cochlear may have succeeded in bringing the best of both worlds.

The experiment continues!


Cochlear Nucleus Upgrade page:


Freedom Upgrade FAQ:


Payment Options:


Or, it should be something like, “All or Nothing,” but I actually had a day of balancing activity in there–getting things done without burning myself out. (My personal chef and trainer has not turned up yet.) In any case, my anticipations of actions haven’t been very accurate–not for lack of motivation or mental planning. But I’m making progress.

Quick ABI/Captel update (since I’ve been terrible at follow-up):
The clarity of voice coming through the receiver was great today. Better than face-to-face conversations.

I don’t think I’ve been situating myself close enough to people to isolate their voices. I miss the effectiveness of my pre-2007 programs in filtering out background noise (on the S/squelch setting). I think that will just take time and use to regain. I’m receptive to that happening. (It’s been nice this week to realize my mind’s bringing out old coping techniques, potentiality language and such.)

The notable quote from the week: “This is not a mooning contest.”

The frequency of the geese is perfect for me to hear. When there are bird sounds, I’m not picking up hardly anything in the range of normal speech.

I didn’t have time to test any music today. (When I was in a vehicle, I had the window rolled down a good while, thinking the radio wasn’t on. When I finally rolled the window up, the radio was the main sound, but the ride was short and I was “looking around,” so not really focused on testing… Oh joy, run-ons are back…)

It’s ok, though, because the spontaneous funnies have returned verbally!

We’ve got a Father’s Day special post coming tomorrow.

Have fun!

I switched to my own speech processor today. We’ll see how things go!

She said she needed to run home and change between work and the performance because her colored pants might lead her to be “mistaken for a stage hand.” She opted for black.

Just before the start of the show, a couple dudes came out to do mic checks, place water bottles, and other last-minute things. They looked a lot like her in that they were wearing all black.

This was my first live musical event since reactivation of my ABI. Great act!!!

(This is part 1 in a series, but I have no idea how many parts it’ll have. “Parts is parts.”)

… Again.

Sort of familiar scene, although I did not come so close to tears (those overwhelming physical feat/happy-yet-guarded ones) the first time, and I wasn’t hooked-up to an EKG machine this time.

I have sound once again. Wild! The elation of signals still getting piped through is tempered by how we’ve had to pull back quite a bit on my comfort/tolerance levels. I have a good deal of adjusting to do. Like I said yesterday, throw it in the pot and stir gently, patiently.

Still exploring what’s possible here. The roller coaster continues.

So far (a couple hours):
My voice irritates me. Quite a bit. Physically. I’ll need to practice talking to myself, which has never been a problem.

Paul Simon’s Graceland CD passed the basic recognition/enjoyment test in the car. Its not where it was, quality-wise, but much better than I expected!

I’ll have to relearn environmental noises, I think. Keyboard taps are easy to recognize, but I thought a motorcycle was behind me, while I was waiting for the parking garage’s elevator. Instead, it was a woman talking on her cell phone.

So much more going through my head, this fine May day. What’s new?

Performance update report:

The speech discrimination of my ABI around the house here has skyrocketed.

Ease of understanding is a stark contrast. It’s like we’ve actually put in a new program. Things change without changing. Or, actually, it’s just that we can’t observe and measure all the changes that occur. I’m trying to document it somehow, and then maybe we’ll be able to characterize it more.

I’m still very even-keeled and mellow.

Steroid weaning: down to a single 4MG dose of dexamethasone for today and tomorrow. (For anti-seizure med, I’m on

Aaah! Cool Hand Luke is on. Synchronicity. In the hole.

Med… I’m also just taking Keppra (500MG in AM and 1000MG at night). Just making note of level. And so it’s clear I’m not just looped-out on drugs here or something. (I respect the robust skeptics of the world, and the folks who think of more and more variables with which to specify models, with due respect to parsimony.)

This is further confirmation of my longtime theory about how less stess/trying/actual effort in getting what’s said (so that relaxing rather than concentrating hard), significantly enhances the (deaf) brain’s ability to synthesize and process auditory/electrical impulses for the brain to make sense of them.

I know there’s so much context that’s crucial to render meaningful-for-others all that I’ve been writing recently.

Thanks to all you guys over the years who have done the iterative speaking with me, while my ABI was very gradually picking up more and more, and merging with my mind/brain/brainstem. That is so cool how interactive and integrative everything turned out to be. You sense some stuff in flashes here and there, perhaps, but the contingency of life pervases.

Saturated Self. And that’s why I’m not labeling stuff yet.

Bionic woman indeed, I suppose. My Mom is telling me the story of my namesake here:

She’s talking about how when she was pregnant with me, my older cousins (I have tons of cousins), the boys heard her say she had three names to choose from. But when they heard Jamie, none of the other names even got out; they got all excited about the Bionic Woman, and that pretty much settled it. (The actress spells it differently and stuff… I’ll put wiki links, etc. Once I’m on desktop.)

It’s just fun and perhaps germane and relevant to think of that at this moment.

“Believe it or not, I’m walking on air.” Pop culture. Funny soundtracks in my head!!!

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