My trip to Poland

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……….

DSC_2375This 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.

DSC_2379This pub was like Café Rene from Allo Allo.

DSC_2389How about this for a Gents toilet.

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.

DSC_2406Me showing off my where my Neptune was and DM ticket, oh and a beer. The stadium was enormous.

WP_20130725_006Me and my mate doing what we know best, Depeche Mode and a beer. And can you see my Neptune………

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.

DSC_2445DSC_2443DSC_2421DSC_2420DSC_2423Saturday was our last day. In the morning we climbed 400 steps to the top of the church, was hard work but worth it. The views were amazing.WP_20130727_004Round and round and round……………..

We then went to Sopot, by the sea, lovely and hot. We had some lunch and some refreshments in the main square.

DSC_2454 DSC_2455 DSC_2456 DSC_2458The self portrait is terrible, my eyes look everywhere, mmmmm.

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.

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Isn’t the weather lovely?

Isn’t this sunny weather lovely? I’ve not done an update for nearly 2 weeks. I have been a busy bee work wise.

Last week in the lovely weather a friend at work said did i fancy a milkshake, i said ok as long as it’s not a McDonald’s thing. Off he went and came back with a proper thick strawberry milkshake, made with ice cream,cor. He got it from Roosters near our office. As i finished it i was slurping at the bottom of the cup and realised how much noise it makes. I had forgotten how noisy it was, no wonder i used to get nudged when i had milkshakes on holiday in America a couple of years back.

Saturday just gone, i was in work and the desk i was at, the phone was ringing, i’ve been a bit nervous of the phone at work lately, so i put my headset on and took the gamble. I had to ask the caller to repeat his name, advised the caller to speak slow and clear, i could understand him quite easy. So a bit more practice is needed again to boost my confidence.

Yesterday i did my first BBQ with my CI, (i didn’t use my CI to cook by the way) it was good, hearing the food hiss and crackle. It was very hot though, coupled with the warm weather made me thirsty…………..

Tomorrow i am off to see the consultant at St Michaels hospital to have my right ear checked again. It’s not been brilliant, discharging, ear ache at least once a week. Hopefully he will clean it out, and give me some more magic drops. I need to find out when they are going to operate as i am slowly getting a bit fed up with it.

Wednesday, i am going on holiday to Poland for 5 days, and i cannot wait. We fly to Krakow and spend one night there, then catch the train to Warsaw. We are seeing Depeche Mode there, that will be interesting with my CI. I will use my Neptune that night, as i can secure it better and safer to my clothing. I will use the pouch and armband set up. With cable clips to clip it to my clothes. Friday morning, back on the train to Gdansk, 2 nights there and fly home.During the day I will mainly use my Harmony with my snuggie so it’s firmly attached to my body. Thats the only bit i am nervous about. Luckily, working for the railway, the trains are free. I get 10 free year days in European Countries. Should be fun, a few lemonades on my way as well……….

 

What a week…….good and bad

So i returned to work last Monday. Only for 5 hrs a day and 4 days for the 1st week. On the Monday i got to work,logged in, and started to catch up on what i had missed for 6 weeks, not much. Towards the end of the shift a headache started, oh well, just a tense one. Got home, had a magic smartie and i went. Tuesday same sort of day, i had a pint on way home, or was it 3… Weds morning i woke up and felt a bit rough, put it down to the 3 pints. As the day went on i got worse, tired, dizzy, headache was throbbing. I started to get worried. By the time i got home, every time i stood up the pain was bad. I took some Migraine tablets, took the edge off and went to bed. I woke up Thursday and i felt rough again, so i rang the GP and got an appointment for 1045. The GP did a complete thorough examination, she said i seemed ok, but wanted a 2nd opinion, so could i go to the hospital and let them run some blood test. So here we go again. Went to a clinic called ACC or was it ACU.The Dr i saw there was brilliant, went through everything with me, took some bloods, gave me some pain killers and a sarnie. I had a snooze on the bed whilst i waited for the results. They came back, liver, kidneys etc all ok. White blood cell count was normal, but my infection rate was up at 59, he said it pointed to some viral infection. He said my ear problem may also make the rate go up. I was told to just take it steady, and be careful. My body has had a serious illness and will take time to recover, and any bugs i get will take longer to go. He said if i get any worries they are there all the time, pop up and they will reassure me. That made me feel so much more relaxed. So that was that scare over.

On Saturday i went to the AB/BEA Annual Mentor event. I was so glad i could make it. It was held in the Royal York Hotel by the station. Very nice hotel too. On the Friday evening we went on the York wheel which is in the Hotels gardens, below is a view from my room window.

DSC_2325

The views were from the wheel were brilliant, i kept looking at the North York Moors i could see in the distance each time we went round, bought back memories of my holidays with my mum,dad and brother when we were younger. The wheel went round 4 times which was really good. Then it was time for our evening meal and awards. The food was real nice, and the wine was free flowing, oh dear, i’m not a big wine drinker, too much i get piddled. In the award, my original Mentor Michele won an award, that was really good. I had a couple of beers in the bar and we sat outside until gone midnight chatting, the weather is proper summer.

Saturday we had a busy day, excellent presentations by AB staff, and hands on experience with the new processor, the Naida wooo that was good. The picture below shows it on my head with the longer life battery, looks so nice. And it felt so light behind my ear. The one i had on was a training model so it didn’t cause any problems with my implant.

DSC_2327-1

Also shown at the hands on was accessories that came with the Naida. Heres a link to the AB page:

http://www.advancedbionics.com/uk/en/naida_ci_q70.html

We had a group photo done and individual photos done. The one of me i had done was a really nice photo, i looked happy for a change. We finished at 1600, so it was a quick 2 pints in the York Tap, and caught the train home. I went via Kings Cross as i hate Cross Country trains, 4 hours on one of their trains would drive me loopy. By going via Kings Cross the journey is broken up.

At Saturdays meeting i got 3 AB rubber ducks. They had there 1st swimming lesson tonight, smile for the camera:

DSC_2328