The MRI From Hell


I just recently had the very frustrating experience of further testing. Thank goodness for insurance… how in the world do people get diagnostic tests without it? (Now if we can just get them to pay for hearing aids… but that’s for another post)

Any-whoooo…. the MRI was horrible! I wear a little badge with “Please face me. I read lips!”. Plus, I make sure the people who are working with me, KNOW that it means what it says! (Somehow they think you look so normal, and your speech doesn’t give any clue at this early hour in the morning after a good nights rest) So afterI make sure everyone is clear they begin to explain how I’ll know the scan has started and that I must remain very still. Of course, I “hear”…. “beeps begin, …. very still… breathing”

So I ask if I’m suppose to hold my breath. Very blank stares, and confusion. I ask for clarification. (Oh!She CAN speak a little clearer, but MY! Look at the tension in her shoulders!)

“You will … beeps. …. very still, but you CAN BREATHE” (She makes very sure I “see” this! smile)

I explain that I cannot hear beeps, so I think I will just hold very still the entire time. She again gives me a very blank stare. Now the tension has reached her face. She goes to the door and evidently asks for helps.

Enter…”help”. They discuss something with their backs to me and their arms gesturing wildly. One comes towards me with her palm out and says, “You can’t wear your hearing aid in there” (Well, I knew that! But am determined to find out what is going on before I give it up! Smile. I’ve become very stubborn in my old age of 37!) I explain I won’t hear the beeps; I will lay very still the entire time; can I have a blanket? — I’m freezing! Grin.

So anyway, the tests begin and I figure out the “tube” I’m slid into not only beeps… it “shakes, rattles and rolls” Smile! So I know when the next round of “pictures” are being taken as it starts to click over by my left elbow, or down by right shoulder blade! Wonderful! (Why didn’t they tell me this?) Then I’m slid back out into the bright lights and face a lady with a needle.

Ok. Now my tension level is up! No one told me about a needle! She explains what she is going to do… but does it WHILE swabbing my arm. (When you are getting “prepped”, you watch what is being “prepped”, not the lips of the “prep – er”.)

I ask if she could wait a minute and explain why she’s holding a needle.

“Dyes, more scans, won’t hurt…….. am I allergic to latex?”

So 4 tries later, and 3 collapsed veins (can stress cause this?), I’m slid back into the machine. Evidently I can now glow in the dark. I think I’ll join the “X-Men” Just call me….Glowing, Hear with the Eyes. Sounds kinda like a name from “Dances with Wolves”, not “X-Men”.

Anyway, I digress…. I’m released to the waiting room where my husband awaits with concerned look. Oh NO! The “look”! I dissolve into tears. His compassion for my plight can be too much sometimes! One look at my arms and he asks “WHAT IN THE WORLD HAPPENED!?” So compassionate hubby gets… an EAR full! Oh boy! Welcome to the world of diagnostic testing. No acoustic neuroma…. CAT scan next? I think I’ll wait awhile.

Denise Portis
©2006 Hearing Loss Diary


I have been using the HATIS for two weeks now and wanted to give an update. The HATIS, can be used in conjunction with any regular cell phone that has a headset option. Most cell phones, if not all, do now. I went to Verizon to purchase a new cell phone. They were having a great sale and I bought a very nice phone — a camera phone, much to my teenagers glee — at a price lower than most of their “regular”phones. I already have a “minute plan” with Verizon so it was relatively easy to just have my old # switched to the new phone.

The HATIS was also available through Verizon so I purchased it at the store. They keep them in stock here, but I imagine it is because my little town is “home” to the School for the Deaf and many HoH people live here. The sales people said they “sell a lot of them”. The HATIS is a thin black silhouette that fits behind my BTE’s very comfortably. (I have been told HATIS does NOT consider this piece to be “silhouette”, but really that is what it is!) I put it behind my “better” ear which only has a severe loss. The silhouette is placed between the BTE and your head. About 12 inches from the silhouette, a small clip allows you to secure the HATIS to your collar or shirt itself. This is very nice, as I talk with my hands and would have thrown the device across the room if it hadn’t been secured. The clip keeps the pressure from “the jerk of a hand-talker” on the shirt or your collar instead of the silhouette. (Without this clip you’d “throw” your HATIS and BTE both!). The remaining 2-3 feet of the length of the cord plugs into the headset of any cell phone. I wear the HATIS when I’m away from home, but do not plug it into the phone unless my phone begins to vibrate indicating I have a call. I need to start running the wire down beneath my clothes and attach it to the cell phone. I miss most calls and have to check my messages as I can’t get the HATIS plugged in quick enough. I wear a neck loop most of the time with a Pocketalker and I feel like I’m so — so –WIRED! But being “wired for sound” is a good thing I suppose! TheHATIS provides a very clear sound and I hear the voices of my family very well. I simply switch the BTE that has the silhouette with it, to “t-coil”, and the other person’s voice goes directly to my middle ear and I don’t hear any background noise around me. I don’t have to hold the phone itself up to my ear, and I talk into the phone’s microphone — as if you were talking into a walkie talkie. I realize this is a very amateur and “non-technical” way of explaining it, but — there it is. When I’m away from home, I feel much more at ease about “hearing”when my family is trying to reach me. I’m still a little nervous using it, but I am nervous using ANY phone. When I answer any telephone there is a moment’s panic right before I say “hello” –Will I hear the other voice? Will I be able to understand what theyare saying? Will I have to ask them to repeat themselves?

Denise Portis
Frederick County SHHH
Any mention of opinions or products is that of Denise Portis, and not necessarily that of any organization or other person affiliated with organizations that work with those with hearing loss.
©2006 Hearing Loss Diary

Explain to Me What it Sounds Like

Earlier this week I was talking to a friend of mine while outside work after classes. We were just talking about unimportant trivia; the kind of chit-chat that co-workers/moms/teachers tend to find themselves talking about when they find someone who “gets” them.

Some geese flew overhead. I spotted them immediately as they were in my line of vision, and I had already looked up to watch them fly by.

However, my friend pointed and said, “My! Aren’t they noisy?”

Without skipping a beat, I said, “Explain to me what they sound like…”

Her face immediately turned ashen and her lip even trembled as she grabbed my arm and wailed, “I’m SO sorry! I didn’t even stop to think!”

Well, honestly I couldn’t have been more surprised! “EXPLAIN TO ME WHAT IT SOUNDS LIKE…” is a common phrase in my household. I ask it all the time!

If my hubby says, “gee the microwave sounds funny”… I say, “Explain to me what it sounds like…” (I don’t ask for detailed description as he might do something AWFUL like take it apart to pretend he can fix it!)

On a hike with the family when first arriving in Maryland, my son pointed to a Baltimore Oriole (his first ever) and said, “How pretty they sound!”

I said, “Explain to me what it sounds like…”

When my daughter says her cat’s purr sounds like it has a cold, I say, “Explain to me what it sounds like…”

I say it all the time! I don’t mean anything by it; simply put… EXPLAIN TO ME in words. There are so many things I can’t remember WHAT they sound like, even though I know I’ve heard them before. I’ve been using the vacuum cleaner since I was a kid (wasn’t my mom a slave driver?).

But I can’t hear the vacuum cleaner today unless I lie on the floor and “hug” it. (Don’t laugh! It’s what I do after it is explained to me what it sounds like! I can still FEEL!)

So my friend’s watery eyes and quivery lip took me by surprise! I squeezed her arm and said, “Hey! I’m not upset! I automatically ask for an explanation in words. You didn’t do anything wrong! Be my ears — EXPLAIN IT TO ME.”

So… she did.

Denise Portis
Frederick County SHHH
Frederick, MD
©2006 Hearing Loss Diary