Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Prayer and Praise from My First Sunday Back to Church

More posts from my Christian CI Group:

Saturday, 3/25 11:50 AM
"Prayer Request for Church Tomorrow Morning"
(for my first Sunday after activation)

Ok, you guys...I have to admit I'm quite anxious about church tomorrow and what the experience will be like. My own voice singing is still a high-pitched, robotic monotone, and I think the sound of everyone singing at once will be horrifically overwhelming. I actually do not expect it to be a very pleasant experience at all. I'm trying to have "realistic" expectations" and I just don't know WHAT to expect.

A CI online friend said bring a box of Kleenex, it will be so wonderful. I think I might need them for the overwhelming disappointment of how hard it will be to adjust to that complicated and noisy of an environment--especially one that is so important and dear to my heart and soul.

It helps that I go to a tiny church rather than a mega one. It helps that we have fairly simple accompaniment. It helps that I know 95% of the songs. I even have a CD of the pastor giving a sermon and doing the Eucharist liturgy! So if I listen to that today, it will help me "build a template for his voice," according to the audiologist yesterday.

I dreamed last night I'd been kidnapped, and if the RA of my dorm didn't pay protection money to the local gang, I would be beat up. They sent me back to the dorm, and the RA said the dorm fund was in the red, and we didn't know what to do. A little bit of anxiety coming out in my dreams?!?

And when I woke up this morning, the last thing I wanted to do was put "that thing" back on. So I've been concentrating on quiet sounds, like enjoying the whoosh of pouring oatmeal out of the cardboard box into its tupperware container, the crunch of scooping some out into my bowl, the crunch of scooping salt out of a bowl, the crunch of cutting fresh strawberries onto the cooked oatmeal. (That's a lot of lovely crunches--most of which I had no idea happened!) So I'm trying to be quiet and kind to my brain this morning. Yesterday was fun, but exhausting.

The audiologist said don't work too hard on it, let it be fun. I am determined to make this work, and if that means relaxing and having fun, so be it! {grin}

So pray for peace for me tomorrow (and today, anticipating it), and for trust that things will only get better. Pray for some lovely "CI moment" at church, even if most of it is hard to handle or listen to or whatever it might be. Having fairly realistic expectations has helped me so much already, for the moment of hook up and for the rest of the day yesterday. I want to be realistic so that, yes, going to church tomorrow will be a joy and I will be so glad to be worshipping God, even if it sounds odd or difficult and so very different!!

Trusting Him to do His work in me--
Post from one of the guys:
My CI was activated late in the week and then I went to church on Sunday, too. At that time we belonged to a small little church with 5000-6000 members every Sunday and it was LOUD. For the most part, the praise band sounded like metal being processed through a shredder.
At that time speech wasn't very clear to me, but I could immediately see a improvement in speech comprehension once David stated preaching.

I think you will do fine tomorrow. Adapting to artificial hearing takes time, same a adapting to using a artificial leg.
Saturday, 3/25 6:15 PM
Hi, friends,
I have to let you know that ALREADY I feel God pouring His peace into my soul. I had a lovely day with my 18 year old son (sometimes that is a miracle in itself!), going out to a dcotor's appt and going "fashionista" shopping at Nordstrom Rack afterwards. He's a riot.
And I got some fun pants, to boot!

I just feel like God has replaced the anxiety with comfort and peace, and He will be glorified in the process. Thank you SO much for praying. We are all part of the Body of believers that is our gift, our heritage as "precious children of the Most High God."

{HUGS} to all of you!!

Sunday, 3/26
Hey you guys!
Thank you so much for your prayers! After church I hung out until I was nearly the last one left, then my kids and I went shopping for a birthday gift for Joe, then got lunch, then came home and it was already 3:00! And I crashed for a lovely hour-long nap.

Church was...great. I felt totally peaceful, and I think that was the message God had for me. I told David and John, "I really want to get to church on time, but I also really want you with me. I don't want to wait for you and be late, but I also don't want to leave you behind. So, don't please don't push me this morning!" Well, I'm happy to report all three of us got there, less than 10 minutes late.

The first part of the service is the singing, which was my greater concern, anyway. I got there in time for the last half of the last beginning song. It was not too loud. Very good sign. I always sit in the third row, partly so I can hear, and partly just because I am an incredible creature of habit! :)

I tried to relax into the sound--not tune out, but not strain to hear. It worked really well. I could follow the Scripture readings because they are all printed out in the bulletin. I followed enough of Jays sermon to enjoy and not feel so frustrated. During "The Prayers of the People," the pastor beckoned me, and a family with a new baby, to come forward and give our praise! So I could say I'm grateful for how well I came through the surgery, that I got activated already, that's a long road to adjust to the electronic stimulation but, yes! I'm hearing! I probably said more than he intended me to say, BUT that got me off the hook of people coming up and asking me, "So, can you hear now?!?!"

I had even printed up a little blurb and got it to fit on a 4x6 portion of an 8.5x11 paper, explaining that no, I do NOT hear perfectly now, and made a bunch of copies. I didn't need to use it once. I guess that shows I was afraid of other people's expectations, as so many people know so little about CI's. But I got LOTS of hugs afterwards and people are just so excited for me.

I'd say the things that were "best" about the service were
1. I had an incredible sense of peace and quiet enjoyment
2. I didn't have to be constantly switching back and forth on my HA remote between enough power to hear an individual speaker and little enough power to be able to even stand the singing.

The singing always gave me a headache unless I put my HA's on audio-zoom to "cut out background" to keep the sound from just being very loud buzzy mush. But then I couldn't hear if the pastor said something between songs. So I was constantly switching back and forth between my programs, constantly on the alert the whole service.

It felt SO GOOD to just relax! During the fellowship time afterwards, I was again relaxed, not straining to hear every word. I got to stand around and chat with people I haven't talked to much, and it was lovely. (Part of that is because my husband is out of town and not nodding his head toward the door in a not-so-subtle indication he'd love to get OUT. My dear shy man..."fellowship hour" is almost painful for him...)

So there's your update--thank you SO MUCH for your prayers!!



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