Last week I had a 5 day break in Poland. My first ‘hearing’ holiday for a few years.
First off the day before I flew out, I had a check up of my right ear with the ENT team. A small infection, so was giving a ‘hoovering out’ and some drops to use, just in case of any problems whilst on holiday. The chap I saw also said he will chase up my appointment with Mr Robinson. I have another appointment in just over 2 weeks.
So Weds morning I set of on my trip to Poland. I met my mate at Temple Meads station. A quick bacon sarnie and off we set on the bus to Bristol Airport, cost me £1 (working on the railways has its uses). We didn’t need to check in as it was done on line. So off we went to the security bit. I went down the lane for disabled people. Was met by a real friendly chap, before I could even say I have a Cochlear Implant, he pointed to my head,and informed his colleagues. My Neptune was in my bag, he said its ok to got through the x ray machine. I had my hand scan with no problem, well there was one slight problem, I had to take my belt off my jeans, and they were slowly falling in a downwards direction, oooo help. Once I recovered myself it was off to find somewhere to sit, oh what a shame, the only seats were by the bar, ahem……..
The plane took off on time. Wow the jet engines were noisy. I had forgotten how noisy they were. I switched to high clearvoice, that sorted that problem. I was busy reading my Kindle so time er flew by. I had a coffee on the plane, by the time that was finished we were on the approach to Krakow. We got through passport ok, then a short bus ride to catch the train to Krakow. We had a nice 40 min walk to our 1st hotel, everything sounded different, people speaking strange, I kept thinking a group of people behind me were saying Sat Nav every other word. I thought to myself, uh oh, this is going to be a difficult week with communication. Our hotel was in the Jewish Quarter, smashing place. Found the room, dumped the bags, a quick freshen up, and off for some refreshments……….
This pub had old sewing machines on all the tables. We had a good tour around the pubs, my mate had been here before. A few more bars, a few more beers, my legs began to get wobbly…..I have no knowledge of the last bar, or going to bed.
So after being very piddled in Krakow we left Thurs morning to head to Warsaw. For the highlight of the holiday, seeing Depeche Mode, on my birthday. I had not seen Depeche Mode for 20 years. This was my 1st live gig with a CI, and to be honest I was nervous, I wasn’t sure what to expect. After a 45 min walk to the hotel we had an hours rest. I set my Neptune up, as it was my plan to wear it as I felt safer with it attached to my arm. I used the pouch and the armband, as it was safer. I then clipped the cable to my shirt collar, and it was fine. It took me about an hour to get used to hearing with the Neptune as my ear was used to my Harmony, I wonder if the T Comm would have made that bit easier. Its a good job we wanted to have something to eat first. I had my music setting put on a live channel at my last mapping session, its normally used with no outside noise, it has 80 Input Dynamic Range ( That’s the setting that allows a certain amount of sound in, 80 = 80% of noise, the highest a audiologist will go) and no clear voice, wooooooo noisy or what. I was a bit nervous at first in the stadium, as I was unsure of what, if any, songs I would be able to hear. I used the support group as my test run to get the settings right, first I had the sensitivity at normal, no good for the lyrics, so I turned that to full blast, that was better I left the volume at ’12 o’clock, I got it just right. When Depeche Mode came the noise from the crowd was amazing. They played a good 24 songs, and I managed to follow just over half, I had a good sing along, glad it was noisy as nobody could hear my awful singing. When a song came on I couldn’t follow I unplugged for a few mins to give my brain a rest. It also showed how bad my hearing was in my right ear, I was in a loud place, huge speakers, I couldn’t hear anything anymore on my right side, I used to hear very loud noises, its all gone now. I was just so impressed I could hear the songs I knew and enjoyed. A couple of songs I had tears in my eyes, shhhh, nobody at the gig saw that. The songs weren’t 100% crystal clear, but its only been 8 months since switch on. What a birthday that was.
So after the gig we went back to the hotel as I was tired. The next morning we were up at 8, breakfast, then a taxi to the station for the long train journey. Look out Gdansk here we come. It was going to be 2 train journeys, 1st one 1hr and 35 mins, 2nd one, 4 hours 30 mins. The 1st train was 20 mins late, but the connection was held at Kutnow, where ever that is. Then the 2nd train was packed, we had reservations luckily. It was so hot in the train. Sat opposite me was an old bloke, who kept staring at me. He was looking at my CI at funny angles, I thought here we go, he’s going to rattle off something in Polish in a bit, and yep he did. I said I was English, which didn’t work. He pointed to my CI. I did a brief show to him, I took headpiece off, gave the thumbs down, put it back on an gave the thumbs up, it worked, he understood. I think he was very interested how it works, he had 2 hearing aids himself. Shame I didn’t pack any cards etc. I now realise how important that could be. But I think he understood my brief show.
We finally got to Gdansk, hot and sweaty. We had to find the hotel, my mate used his GPS and maps on his phone, it didn’t work. Must be round here somewhere he said, as we looked around and around. Hmmm, we were stumped. We looked to our left and there it was a huge 17 floor hotel……….It only took us half hour to find it,doh.
A quick freshen up, and 3 guesses, yep beer and food needed. You can get a decent meal for about £5-£6 over there, so we ate well. And drank well. We found a nice place to eat and relax. Went for a wonder round Gdansk, a really nice place. Loads of bars plus 2 brew pubs and a beer exhibition pub, perfection. I had my usual misfortune, a Pigeon decided to welcome me to Gdansk.
We then went to Sopot, by the sea, lovely and hot. We had some lunch and some refreshments in the main square.
So we left Sopot and went back for our last evening in Poland. A brewpub was visited, a few beers sampled. Then back to a bar we knew which was cheep for food, Beetroot soup, Steak with Spuds and Salad all for under a fiver.
The only way we could get to Gdansk airport was by taxi, good job too, it was miles out. It was a bit more complicated going through security at the airport. I took off my processor, disconnected the battery, and walked through the scanner, no problem, it obviously never beeped, otherwise I would have been stopped, I never heard it bleep…….
So that was my Poland trip, most probably one of the most memorable birthdays for a long time. Seeing and hearing Depeche Mode was absolutely amazing. All made possible with my CI, Thank You AB.