Busy bee me

Well, i’ve been a busy bee. Hard at work as normal. But in between allow time for fun. We had a weeks holiday at the end of May, the Annual camping holiday, 7 large tents, 19 people, yep great fun. I took my Roger Pen and the clip on mics with me this year, and it helped no end. In the car on the way down there were 4 of us. So, i set the Network up, my wife had a clip on mic as it would be easier as she was driving, the 2 passengers at the back had the Pen and other mic. It was so useful. We could chat, have a chuckle, and when i was asked which way do we go, i could reply. No turning of the head like an owl, was good. The holiday was like most, beer, food, beer, sleep, food…………3 lb in weight gained oooops.

We are currently coming to the end of a major build project in the house, our kitchen is being extended, its nearly done, 6 weeks so far, and about 2 to go. I’ve never seem so much dust. We started the project 3 years ago, but unfortunately at the time we didn’t realise we had a rogue builder, yep, after 4 months the work stopped, and he disappeared, with our money too. But we were not the only ones, we were informed of a group forming, we joined in and informed trading standards, and the police, he’s now serving 5 years at Her Majesties, good. So we saved up again, and found a good builder through someone my wife works with. We still have a challenge trying to locate all the money, which we have a plan, but i cannot disclose on here……..shhh its a secret.

During the building work, Roger Pen has been a life saver. Its really noisy, but on my days off watching TV has been so easy. I have a setting on my CI which is 100% Auxiliary only, no outside noise can be heard, so i sit and watch TV to my hearts content, no noise, just brilliant, oh its great having the best of both worlds.

I tried a little cover from a company called Ear Gear yesterday. It fits over your CI processor, and for those who use AB Naida, coupled with a 170 battery and a Roger 17 receiver, it has a good purpose. If you feel nervous about the receiver coming off (which mine never has, it fits really tight) it protects that accident happening. Very handy for small children, it will stop little hands playing. There is also a version which has a cord you can clip to an item of clothing, ideal for the energetic people who ride bikes, or like jogging, or if doing DIY etc, it also adds as a moisture protector.

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I tried the connection to Roger moving around the house and there is no change at all. Still as good as ever.

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I have both docking trays by the charger/TV connection, depending on which needs charging is which one i connect to for watching TV. Here i have the clip on mic. Roger Pen is there waiting to be charged.

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The little clip on mic sat in its tray. Very good. The distance and sound quality is the same as the pen. This doesn’t have the option for connecting to a mobile for taking phone calls. But when paired to Roger Pen, makes a really good network.

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I’m back, so is Roger and his friends.

Well its been nearly 4 months since i last updated my blog. Life has been a bit chaotic. Work wise, i’m still covering a shortfall at work so my telephone use is still alot. Good practice, but some days when i’m tired it can be a struggle, no mistakes made so that is good.

In my last post i mentioned a blood clot, well, it wasn’t that simple. The signs i was showing, weight loss, sweating at night, tiredness, had alarm bells ringing with my GP who immediately sent me for lots of tests. They were looking for Cancer, thankfully after 3 months of tests, scans, blood tests there is no sign of any Cancer in my body, and i have sure been tested, every bit they can test, was tested. The problems i had were put down to a virus, coupled with the blood clot and urine infection sent my body into overdrive. They found a nodule on my lung, which could be a scar after meningitis 2 years ago, so i’ll be having 6 monthly scans on that, and X rays showed i have a compression fracture on a vertibrae, and after a bone scan i have Osteopenia, thinning of the bones. So i can relax, with a pint of course.

So CI wise, the Roger testing carries on. I am testing a newer version of Roger, 1.1. Its got a stronger bluetooth connection, bolder buttons, and the warning lights are a bit simpler. I’ve been putting it through its paces both at home and work. I also have 2 clip on mics to make a network. This is ideal at meetings. With those, i pair them to Roger, and other people in the meeting can use them. They simply clip them to their ties, or shirts etc, and off they go. The meeting is far easier. The main person chairing the meeting wears Roger. We’ve noticed in the meetings that the stronger connectivity is far better, my boss forgets to take Roger off and wanders around the office chatting to people, whilst i sit listening in. Can’t hide any secrets from me………

Media side of things, i’ve always been able to connect Roger to my phone to listen to music. Before the connectivity would drop out if Roger was in my coat pocket, now this doesn’t happen. I can walk to the office listening to music, sit on the train and put my phne and Roger in my coat and hang it up. Then you look at the commuters with their silly huge headphones, and me, little do they know, i can also sit in the quiet coach, even more fun .Isn’t having a CI just so fabulous?

Using Roger on the phone is still the same to use, but with the buttons a bit bigger and better to see, answering is a lot better. The quality of sound is just as good. I learnt something the other week from a Compilot user that when their phone rings it tells them who is calling, something which Roger doesn’t do. Hmmm, maybe a suggestion for Roger, as it must just be software that can be updated.

Phonak also have released a simpler version of Roger called Roger Easypen, which is the same style, but without the Bluetooth compatibility. So its basically just for microphone use, like i would use in meetings, in the pub, and busy places. It wouldn’t work with a phone, or media etc. Links to both versions are below:

http://www.phonak.com/com/b2c/en/products/wireless-accessories/products/roger-easypen/hearing-aid-accessory.html

http://www.phonak.com/com/b2c/en/products/wireless-accessories/products/roger-pen/hearing-aid-accessory.html

 

Below is some questions that i was asked on Facebook last month, names have been removed. It may be of use to anybody thinking about Roger:

Question: Hi everyone. Can you clarify something for me those who have the Nadia CI and who use the Roger pen. When you use the Roger pen are you able to switch back to your normal every day programme using a switch/button or do you have to take off a part? I have the Harmony and have a phonak micro link. I have to take off my t-mic and use an I- connect whenever I use the micro link. I have to take off the i-connect and reattach the t-mic if I want to revert back to my normal everyday programme. I find this footery  time wasting. I would love to use my micro link more often with my CI in my teaching job because it is much clearer when I use the micro link. Hope I have made myself clear. I am hoping the new Nadia will help.

Answer: With my Naida and Roger, as soon as i switch Roger off i am back to usual CI, i only change channels to use Roger. No need to remove the ‘foot’ on bottom of battery or anything, just switch Roger on when ready to use, and off when finished. So much easier.

Question. So do you keep the ‘foot’ on the bottom of the battery all the time? Also what kind of situations do you use the roger pen?

Answer :The foot has never been removed since it was put on last year. I use Roger at work, at meetings, group discussions, (my boss loves it lol) for media like listening to music, plus in noisy areas i use it. Its a brilliant piece of kit. You can also add Clip on microphones to make a small network, which is very good at a meeting of 3 or 4 people

I also forgot to add i pair my works mobile to it so i can take a call if in another part of the office, as long as no walls are in between. Voices come to me instead of me struggling to go to the voice

Question: And do you have one CI, or are you bilateral or bi-modal? I struggle at lunch times sitting at a long table with 10-12 folk trying to keep up with conversations and hearing what people ask me when other conversations are going on at the same time. Would the Roger pen help there?

Answer:  I only have the 1 CI and nothing else. My other ear is just a fashion accessory to support my glasses lol. The pen would help, but i’ve never tried it with 10-12 people on a long table. If the Pen is laying down, it switches to conference mode, which picks up where the sound is coming from, becomes directional, but if alot of people talk at once it can be difficult, even for a normal hearing person.

Question:  Can I ask how you cope at lunch breaks? How many do you share your lunch break with? Do you use the Roger during lunch breaks? Can you clarify what you mean when you use it in group discussions and in noisy places? Thanks for answering the barrage of questions!!!!

Answer:  No worries about the questions, 1st part, in my job, i don’t get lunch breaks, long story which would take a lot to explain, i work shifts on the railway lol. Group discussions are normally about 4 to 5 people at work which i guess is like meetings, if you get my drift. Noisy places, like in the pub, it works well, if with just one person it is great especially in noisy places as it does help to bring the sound clearer to my ear.

Question:  And where In the pub do you put the roger pen ? Does the person wear it for you or do you hold the pen ?

Answer:  The person I am with will wear the pen around their neck. Roger Pen then is in 1-2-1 mode.

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Roger with the cable attached to my phone

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Me at work, yes, evidence of me working

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Roger and the 2 clip on mics

 

I have a meeting at work next week, so watch this space for more photos and hopefully a short video, coming soon, to a blog near you,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Finally some time to rest, and Happy New Year

Wow has it been a busy couple of months, but then the run up to Christmas always is. All over for another year, phew.

November was just a busy month at work, lots going on. I have been covering a person who is on leave for 3 months. Its doing a job i used to do a few years ago. 95% of it is telephone work. Some of the shifts i was taking 150+ calls in an 8 hour shift, so it sure gave my CI a good run for its money. Exhausting, but worth every bit. It helps me as i can prove to myself i can do it. Every hour i was taking a 5 minute breather by taking my processor off and having some peace. I have about another 7 weeks then i go back to my normal job.

The 1st week in December the wife and myself decided to go to New York and Boston. We planned the trip at the end of October. I had never been to both cities so was looking forward to it. We decided to treat ourselves to stay in nice hotels, and yep we picked cracking hotels. The 1st part,security, they were fine at Heathrow and i had a quick hand scan as i was nervous about going through the scanner.Then the flight, never flown on a Jumbo 747 before, i was impressed, a big gentle bird, still cramped seats. But it was a nice flight and,er, flew by. The first thing i noticed, the accent. On my previous visits to the US i had terrible hearing and was unable to pick out the accents, but i noticed them good a proper this time, it was really exciting. We jumped in a taxi to our first hotel from the airport. It was dark and all i could see was the bright lights of New York, a wonderful sight. We checked in at our 1st hotel, was nice, very nice. Cases dropped off, next stop the bar, it was 2200 and we didn’t want to go far looking for a bar, plus my knees were really puffy from the flight.. We had 2 pints each, then settled the tab, i nearly fell on the floor with shock, it worked out at £8 a pint, so that was the last beer at the hotel bar.

The next day, wow, Noisy or what. I went over the road from our hotel to get some breakfast and cups of tea, and was amazed at the noise. Cars blowing their horns, and just the general hustle and bustle. Still had puffy knees, but we decided to do the sightseeing. We went everywhere, up the Empire State Building, now that was amazing, wish the lifts at work were that quick.

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The views were amazing, before we went on the top we went on a ride showing all the sights of New York. I heard every bit of it, i put my processor on the Ultrazoom setting and that was spot on. I was so so happy to be able to hear it all. After we came down to earth in a fast lift, we decided we were rather cold and needed some refreshments in a nice warm establishment, yep, we found a bar round the corner and sat and had a nice
beer….or 2, still had puffy knees…….and they were sore……….

We travelled up to Boston by train the following day. That was a 4 hour journey, but very comfortable, and we could see some proper American towns on the way. I prefer train travel to flying. I am quite lucky as we get 50% off train travel in America, thanks to a British Rail staff agreement. Again, we picked a rather posh hotel, and it was, posher than the 1st one in New York. 10 min walk from the station, huge rooms, enormous bed, needed a step ladder to get in it…We did the same, drop the cases, then find a bar. I had looked on google maps before we left the UK and new a bar was around the corner. We found it, i was happy, it had Boston Lager. That is a wonderful beer. It was a noisy bar, and i found again Ultrazoom a huge help. I could chat to the wife, and hear her. I could hear the bar staff when i went for more drinks. It was just so amazing being able to hear the accents, and tell the slight difference to the accent in New York. The Christmas decorations around the city were wonderful, trees with lights, pubs with nice decorations, none of the rubbish we see here.

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We found the Cheers bar, that was a must, but said we will go in there on way back later.There are 2 Freedom Walks in Boston that take you round the historic parts, we did the 1st one on our 1st full day, taking us down some proper gas lit streets, and old houses. It was lovely, we stopped for a Hot Chocolate as it was freezing cold. Warmed up nicely.

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We did half the 2nd Freedom Walk, but we found the 2nd Cheers bar, and that was the end of that…….We made our way back towards our hotel area, and stopped if in a bar on a side street, a proper bar. The chap next to us began to chat about where we were from. Then out of the blue he said ‘ My son has 2 Cochlear Implants, same make as yours’. I was shocked. So we had a good chat about how his sons hearing had got worse in his early years, and how hearing aids made life hard work, and how i lost mine, and how the CI had given me my life back. He was saying how the Cochlear Implant had changed his life, how well he was doing, and what a amazing device it was, we raised our glasses to Advanced Bionics!

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We continued the Freedom Walk on the 3rd day, knees were puffly and were getting painful. But still carried on, stopping for a coffee to rest. Was worth the effort.

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We made it back to a street with a few bars, and had a beer or 2 with some food. I began to get some nasty pain in one of me knees and no painkiller would ease it. It got to a point where i couldn’t walk, so we had to cut the evening short and return to the hotel. A good sleep and i wasn’t to bad the next day. I walked across to a bakery to get breakfast, tea, muffin, and a cherry Danish, my favourite whilst in America.

We were travelling back to New York in the evening, so we left the cases at the hotel and went for a wander, through the park then it was beer time, one of 5 for the train home.

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We arrived back at New York at 2230, and when we got outside the station, the people and traffic, nothing was moving, we joined the taxi queue but gave up. We jumped on the Subway but could only get part the way to where we were going. We realised, there was protests over the verdict of a death of someone when arrested by the police. We got Google Maps and worked out roughly where we had to walk. Phew we had a lucky escape when 40 protestors appeared from round a corner, i was grabbed by the wife a s i never heard them coming, we hid in a shop door way until they had gone, they had bars, sticks etc and were being chased by the police. I was more concerned about my processor being knocked off than anything else. We finally made it to the hotel, 1hr 50 mins later and tired. Still had puffy sore knees…….

We did some more sightseeing, went on the Statton Isle ferry to get good views of The Statue of Liberty. That was good, then after that we went to Ground Zero. That was something else. I’ve been to places to do with 2nd World War, Auschwitz etc, but Ground Zero felt very eery. I think its because its something that has happened in my life time, something that has changed the world. But, it was so worth seeing it.

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So our holiday came to an end, the above beer was my favourite, that  was my last pint in America. Our flight home was a very quick one. 6 hrs. We arrived at Heathrow early, nice, we could catch a earlier train home so i can get some sleep before i go to work that evening….wrong……..delays on the trains it took us just over 6 hrs to travel 118 miles, quicker to fly from New York, 3000 plus miles.

So, the sore knee saga continued, my leg swelled up as well. On the Thursday morning after our return i thought, hmmm, best get that looked at. My GP sent me to Hospital, i had a DVT clot on my leg. So i am on tablets until March to help reduce it. Now we know why i was in pain in Boston…..Ooooopsie. I had a Ultrasound scan just before Xmas and there is a sign of the clot reducing with a small trickle of blood getting through.

Christmas came and went rather quickly, i only drank 3 glasses of wine, i just couldn’t drink beer, i didn’t fancy it.. I was told to day i can drink beer, but as long as i keep hydrated with water, so next week………..maybe a couple…………

I was working New Years Day early turn so i had no beer New Years Eve either, my 1st New Years Day without a Hangover for 15 years!

Holiday over

This month i had a 2 week beach holiday in Cape Verde. What a beautiful place. We were on the island of Sal, and had a town called Santa Maria near to our hotel. The hotel was really nice. This was my first proper beach holiday since i have had my CI, so i had alot of catching up to do. I took my Neptune with me as well as my Naida. My Neptune was really good, i was able to get in the pool to cool off, and join in the conversations, sit at the pool bar, sit in the Jacuzzi and laugh at the noises it made. I had a few hiccups with the Neptune, but it was ok to use in and out, its had to go to AB to find out what was causing the ‘hiccups’.

But i didn’t let that stop me. One day i went in the sea, but the soft sand and waves threw my balance well off, so i sat on the edge, then, wooooosh, a wave covered me. I stood up and my shorts were full of sand. It was so funny, my brother in law later said to me, in all the years i have been going on the family holidays he’s never seen me get completely covered in a wave, and sat there laughing. He’s right, i never have done that. Just shows how a CI can bring you back to life

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Last week i appeared on ITV West Country News. My wife and myself were interviewed regarding a Cowboy Builder who conned us out of £20k. We were just one couple of about 42 people who were caught in this man web. The total amount was around £1.4 million. He got 5 years. Not enough to be honest. We all felt disappointed. The interview was filmed from my left so my CI was seen quite clearly.

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Here i am being interviewed by the ITV presenter. And as you can see, my CI stands out. Hopefully i’ll be able to get a copy of the interview from ITV. If anybody wants my autograph………….

August went quick

August came and went fast,i must have blinked.

We had one of our CI South West gatherings in August. This one was in Bath. It was a real good turn out, plenty of people came, both new and old. We had candidates come to who found the event really useful. Also we had people come who had not met other implantees before, which was also brilliant. The weather stayed good too.

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We all had a really good time, and look forward to the next one.

The weekend before our event i had to do 2 12 hr night shifts at work. That was my first night shifts for about 5 years. And my 1st with my Implant. It was busy. On the Saturday night i must have answered around 50 calls. That’s low as Saturday nights are the quietest. But the Sunday, wow, that was busy, within the first hour i had taken 25 calls. I thought at this rate i’ll be over 100 calls by the morning. Luckily it quietened down by midnight, by the time i went home i was on around 68 calls, not bad, but i was exhausted. To me it was a personal achievement.

The next few weeks at work were the hardest of the year, pure concentration, plenty of phonecalls, and a sore ear at times.

 

 

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The picture above shows my slightly sore ear. So i swapped my processor to my other ear. I have a long cable so i can swap round. Its very useful. I still hear on my left side. Its useful also for anybody who had been recently activated and the operated ear is a bit tender still. Also on the above picture you can see parts of the internal part of my implant, its the lump above my ear.

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Here you can see the long cable in use and the processor on my other ear. I’ve not tried this at work, the main reason, i’d forget which side i was on and have my headset on the wrong ear…….

On Monday this week i attended a Effective Communications course run by the company i work for. It was an ideal chance for me to try Roger Pen out to see how it works in situations like his. On arrival i informed the person who is taking the session what i wanted her to do. She wore Roger pen around her neck at first which was perfect, but, i noticed the other people in the room were not as clear. There was only 6 of us and we were sat i a circle to start with, so i placed Roger on the floor. This enabled Roger to switch itself to conference mode, it was then picking up everybody. (When it is worn around the neck Roger is in a 1-2-1/Interview mode). This was very good. i was able to hear where people were speaking from at a pretty good distance. We had some exercises to carry out, one was sitting back to back to recreate telephone calls. This was very difficult, not seeing a persons face can make life awkward, on the phone its ok, but normal chat is hard. So the person sat with their back to me used Roger in 1-2-1 mode. Spot one. No problems with the signal. At the end of the course we were given feedback, i was told my voice was very clear and a good level. This was good news for me as i have never been told this since my CI, and to be honest o wouldn’t have known. There was a confidence issue picked up, so that’s something i have to work on. I do admit, there are days i am nervous of certain situations. I have to further courses to attend this month so more tests with Roger will be tried,

I can’t believe i havn’t posted for a month

Well, i cannot believe i havn’t posted for a month. Shows how time flies.

Since my last post i have been a bit busy. Begining of the month we ha our Annual AB Mentor event in Nottingham. Was nice to meet other mentors and AB staff. We had to cook our own tea, which was really funny, making our own pasta etc. Whilst having a drink or 2, or was it 3…..

My drink sits nicely lol

My drink sits nicely lol

We were all split into groups and then the head chef chose the winning group (We never wo, i think thr winning team slipped the head chef a tenner)

The best group

The best group

We then retired to the bar for more drinks, and fun and games. There was a hen party staying there, and someone had some fun with their ‘decorations’….sorry no pictures. But it was really funny, who needs Mrs Browns Boys…………..Roll on next years event.

The next day we had a briefing session. I was used to show Roger pen and how i find it useful (more updates in a bit). It was a really useful nriefing session, plenty of news, and things coming up. Keep a watch on AB’s website, or the Facebook page for whats on the horizon. We then had our group photo taken.

2014-07-05 17.31.23I’m at the back……

Roger Pen is going well. I have had some changes made to my Naida settings. My number 3 slot is now also set up for Roger. I have decided to have that set for a 50/50 mix, and the t mic active. I am trying to see if i can use my telephone headset at work, and keep Roger on my desk and not have to keep swapping settings. That will be tried on Saturday night when i am at work, i have time to test it then, this setting is my ‘Work setting’. My 5th setting is my original Roger setting, it has the 70/30 mix, but i have had the clearvoice taken off, and the IDR increased to 80, this allows a bit more sound in. This is my Media setting. Music does sound better.

I was having a real tiring few days at work a couple of weeks back, so i slowed down how much music i was listening to, i felt i was over doing it and my concentration was dropping. Then, i had the surprise of having to cover the main desk again at work, over 160 calls taken over 2 7 hr shifts. Phew…………..But the rest has helped, so its back to music again and listen to my body, when it says i am tired, it means it.

Last Sunday we had a social gathering in Oxford. It was arranged to meet my Bionic Twin who is from Switzerland. We had never met before, only chatted on AB’s Hearing Journey Thursday chat session (HJ Chat is a chat session where people can chat, ask advice etc, whether you have a CI, a candidate, a parent of someone with a CI. Its on AB’s Hearing Journey website http://www.hearingjourney.com/index.cfm). We had some lunch and a couple of drinks. Then off to the park for more chats, and some proper Swiss Chocolate. I also showed one person Roger and how it works, and how i find it useful as a person who works in a busy office.

Chocolate in the park

Chocolate in the park

More chocolate, real chocolate

More chocolate, real chocolate

My Bionic Twin

My Bionic Twin

So, thats the month gone. I did have my birthday as well las month. 4 and a half this year.