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Only for the Lonely

Only for the Lonely
by Charles R. Swindoll

Make every effort to come to me soon. . . . Only Luke is with me. Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service. . . . At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them. But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me.  —2 Timothy 4:9, 11, 16-17

Our Father, we acknowledge that we need You, and our need is not partial; it’s total. It’s not occasional; it’s always—today especially. We pray for those who wrestle with the very real problem of loneliness. It’s not dated; it surfaces regularly in every generation. We pray especially for those who are lonely because they are distant from You. We ask You to bring them to a knowledge of Your Son and keep them restless and sleepless and struggling until they have come to that place of faith in Your Son.

Thank You for meeting our every need. We pray that You will meet this one today wherever we find ourselves. And that You will show Yourself strong where we are weak, mighty where we are lacking. Meet the deep needs of our hearts, our Father, and enable us to get through the difficulty of loneliness by Your grace. In the name of Christ, our Lord, our Savior, our Master, and our God, we pray. Amen.

See also Psalm 25:16-17; 68:6; 107:4-6.

Excerpted from The Prayers of Charles R. Swindoll, Volume 1, Copyright © 2010 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.


Chronicles of a Bionic Woman

Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness. – Maya Angelou


Introducing…Naída CI Q70

It was an ordinary sleepy day at work when I unexpectedly received an email from my Audi (‘Audiologist’ to the uninitiated) that absolutely made my day.

Audi: “Guess what I just saw in the stock room for YOU?”
Me: “Naída!! Please tell me it’s Naída! Yay!! :-D”

At this point I became slightly concerned it might not be the Naída and I was getting all worked up for nothing so I tempered my excitement whilst I waited with baited breathe for her reply…then it came:

Audi: “Correct!!!!! Yipee!”
Me: “YES YES YES YES YES YES YES!!!! OMG!! Feel like I just won the lottery!! Yippeeeee!!! Can’t wait for tomorrow :-D”

Physically at this point, whilst sitting at my desk at work, I’d started behaving like a drugged up monkey, arms flaring about and going, literally as though someone just told me I won the lottery!
To say I was super excited and so happy about getting the Naída CI Q70 sound processor from Advanced Bionic is an understatement. I was over the moon and back!
Anyone who knows the NHS knows it’s not easy getting the newest shiniest CI gadget on the NHS. Nevertheless, God bless the NHS and God bless all the taxpayers (including myself) who make this possible!

I spent my entire lunch hour that day digesting everything I could on the Naída from AB website and reading what I could find on the experiences of others. Even the negative experiences couldn’t temper my enthusiasm then. All it did was tell me what I needed to be aware of, be prepared for the possibility and start researching solutions just case. I had every intention of making sure that me and my Naída were on course for nothing but smooth sailing, so help me God!

So far so good! I can barely feel Naída behind my ears – it’s that light! And after years of wearing sound processors that I was consciously aware of behind my ears, this is such a pleasure in that regard alone.

Sadly, I’m yet to receive the comPilot which would make more features available with the Naída but hopefully at my 3-month review, I should know more regarding this.

I like the fact that on the Naída there are no knobs for volume control or switches to flick up or down to change the program as was the case with the Harmony. It’s all just push buttons. Sure, it’s initially disappointing with the delay experienced when changing from one program to the next but I’m already used to that now and it doesn’t seem like such a lengthy delay as it did in the beginning.

Regarding music – I’m still trying to find a long-term workable solution for using in-ear buds rather than over-ear headphones. The t-mic on the Naida is so flexible that I can presently use  in-ear buds with it but I’m worried I might do long-term damage to the t-mic if I continue like that so I haven’t fully adopted that method. Some people said they are able to use earphones like a hearing person would and still hear music because it sips through the back of the earphones. I guess that may be true for some types of earphones but mine at the moment doesn’t appear to be one of those.

At the end of the end of the day, I can’t do without music on the go so I may just opt for the most comfortable and smallest over the ear headphones I can find. Any suggestions welcome!

The new sounds I have acquired since my re-implantation switch on isn’t that much different on the Naída vs Harmony. There are some differences such as sometimes I perceive sounds are too loud so I’m constantly turning the volume down and then back up again…I’m still trying to work out whether it’s the environment I am at that is the cause rather than the possible sensitivity of the t-mic and/or processor mic.

Finally the batteries – apparently these last 13+ hours per cell! Bye bye to carrying spare batteries with me or my battery dying on me unexpectedly in mid-conversation like I wrote here! I will deliberately time my battery usage to see exactly how much life mine is giving me to start with.

I’m on the Hearing Journey website a lot more now, reading what I can on the experiences / discoveries of other Naída users but if any fellow Naída user is reading this, I would love to hear your thoughts too!

Seasons greetings from me and my Naída!

Chronicles of a Bionic Woman

The Feeling remains that God is on the journey too. – Saint Teresa of Avila

For Turning Bitterness into Sweetness

For Turning Bitterness into Sweetness
by Charles R. Swindoll

Even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.   —1 Peter 3:14-16

Our Father, as we acknowledge Your Son as Lord over all, it is with a sigh, because we cannot deny the pain or ignore the difficulty of earthly trials. For some people the reality of this is borderline unbearable. But being sovereign and being the One with full capacity to handle our needs, You are strong enough to carry our burdens and, in return, to give us the perspective we need.

Quiet our spirits. Give us a sense of relief as we face the inevitable facts that life is difficult and that there will be those moments when life will not be at all fair. Erase any hint of bitterness. Enable us to see beyond the present, to focus on the invisible, and to recognize that You are always with us. Remind us, too, that Your ways are higher and far more profound than ours.

Thank You for the joy of this day. Thank You for the pleasure of a relationship with You and with a few good, caring, loving friends. And especially, Father, thank You for the truth of Your Word that lives and abides forever.

In the strong name of Him who is higher, Jesus the Lord, we pray. Amen.

See also Proverbs 14:19; 15:1; Ephesians 4:31-32; Hebrews 12:14-15; James 1:19-20.

Excerpted from The Prayers of Charles R. Swindoll, Volume 1, Copyright © 2010 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.


Chronicles of a Bionic Woman

“Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.”
― Walt Whitman

For Protection and Strength in the Face of Terrorism

For Protection and Strength in the Face of Terrorism
by Charles R. Swindoll

“Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
The LORD of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold.   —Psalm 46:10-11

O God, as never before in this generation, we are dependent upon You for protection and strength. Though the mountains quake, though bridges fall, though tunnels are destroyed, though ships sink, though there will be the loss of life, though there will be the threat of war, though there are even at this time terrorists and enemies within our midst, we will not fear. Our resolve is firm because our refuge lies in the eternal foundation of the living God.

We pray for parents. Strong and brave, may they stand. May they set their hearts on You for the protection of their offspring, especially those who serve in the military. We pray for loved ones and family members and friends who grieve the loss of those taken in terrorist acts and in fierce combat on the battlefield.

We pray that You will give our national leaders and their counselors great courage and wisdom. Give us sufficient trust and confidence to follow them. May our country and our world remain united as evil is assaulted and as we fall on our knees in humble repentance before You.

In the process of giving us victory, we pray that You will purge our nation. Bring us before You in humble trust and remind us over and over again that God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

We ask this confidently in the name of Christ, our Victorious Warrior. Amen.

See also Psalm 46:1; 121:1-8; Matthew 10:28; Romans 8:35-39; 1 Timothy 2:1-4.

Excerpted from The Prayers of Charles R. Swindoll, Volume 1, Copyright © 2010 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.


Chronicles of a Bionic Woman

“The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” 
― Maya Angelou, All God’s Children Need Travelling Shoes

For Facing Our Own Death

For Facing Our Own Death
by Charles R. Swindoll

“I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.”   —John 11:25-26

Our Father, this is a sacred moment because we all must answer the question, “Am I ready to die?” And not until we’re ready to die are we truly ready to live.

We acknowledge that death is the last thing we want to think about, but thank You for bringing us face-to-face with reality. Thank You for the gift of living on earth and the reminder that our days are fleeting. Make us ready for the harsh moments that are before us, calm our spirits, and remove our fears.

Thank You for Jesus Christ, who is the answer beyond the grave. This day, we acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior of life and death.

Now unto Him who is able to keep us from falling, and to present us faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever.

For Christ is risen indeed. In His name we pray. Amen.

See also Psalm 90:12; 116:15; Romans 8:23; Hebrews 9:27; Jude 1:24-25. 

Excerpted from The Prayers of Charles R. Swindoll, Volume 1, Copyright © 2010 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.


Chronicles of a Bionic Woman

“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” 
― Mark Twain

Day 36: ClearVoice…

On Wednesday this week (Day 34), I had another tuning session with the audiologist which overall went really well! I came out smiling and actively listening as though my life depended on it. Everything sounds so much better compared to where I was in the beginning or even week 2 following the switch on. The main difference has been that people (including myself) no longer sound like they have a cold, something that I had been experiencing prior to the appointment on Wednesday.

So what changed? My Audiologist randomly asked me if I wanted anything done in terms of listening to music; I said I had no idea as I’d no clue what the new strategy can do for me in terms of music but I was keen to find out. We discussed how I currently listen to music and how well I perceive the musicality of a track. This conversation helped us realise that I was on an input setting of 50/50 (50% Aux, 50% T-Mic) which I’d had previously that allowed me to listen to music on the go via an auxiliary cable connected directly to the sound processor. Depending on the setting, I would be able to listen to music without interference from background noises around me or noises in general.

I’d stopped using the auxiliary cable some time ago as I found it a bit fiddly to pull out the T-mic, screw in the aux cable and when I wanted to stop listening to music and rejoin society, I’d have to pull out the aux cable and screw the T-mic back in! Ain’t nobody got time for that…! By some chance, I discovered I could fit my Samsung earphones directly at the mouth of the T-mic, similar to what is described here (I only discovered this tip online recently, long after I had already adopted this method for using earphones) and listen to music with ease and very little interference from surrounding sounds.

So that’s how I began listening to music on the go without the aux cable. I completely forgot about this 50/50 setting I had been given until this session with the audiologist.
I asked her to remove the 50/50 setting and instead have me 100% on the T-mic. It was following this change that soundly sounds were clearer and I (nor others) no longer sounded like we had a cold! It was beautiful! And I found myself commenting to my audiologist that honestly things were sounding like they did on the old CI! I was happy.

Following that, we tried various things; but the key thing I left with was ClearVoice. I’d heard about this initially via Tina’s blog and read it on Advanced Bionic’s website but never could have the privilege of experiencing what it was due to my old CI. Finally though, here was my chance. My audiologist switched on ClearVoice and downloaded it into one of 3 programmes on my processor.

The thing about CV is that in a noisy environment, when it detects spikes in the background noise, it automatically chops off the level of the sounds so that it isn’t so loud (depending on whether CV has been set to low, medium or high. If set to high, it will greatly reduce the level of background noise to a low muffled sound). But if you are with someone or in the company of people talking, the sound of their voices would still be audible to you in spite of the background noise. Genius, huh? I know a few hearing people who would love this themselves! Finally it seemed the prospect of listening in social environments like a restaurant would no longer be daunting. I couldn’t wait to leave and experience CV.

It’s been 2 days now I’ve been on CV and I am finding it increasingly useful. The minute I walked out of the hospital, the sound of traffic I’d heard momentarily a few seconds earlier was reduced to a gentle roar (ClearVoice is set to medium for me). It was peaceful! Then suddenly I clearly heard the voice of someone behind me who started talking on their phone and I turned, startled. I couldn’t believe how clearly it sounded standing next to the road heavy with traffic noise! You can imagine the smile that lit up my face right then.

My experience of CV didn’t stop there; it continued underground on the train where I realised I could hear the voices of the two ladies sat across from me well enough to lipread them if I wanted to know what they were saying. Or the gentlemen who got on at Moorgate Station and I could hear them talking. Usually hearing voices on the train underground has been a big challenge especially if I am trying to have a conversation with someone. The background noise is too much! But with CV, I was beginning to feel that would now be a thing of the past!

We are not quite there yet, but things are better. There are still some things I don’t like and I am trying to make note of these things I notice when I am actively listening so that at my next tuning appointment, I can discuss with my Audiologist and hopefully do something about it. Compared to the first time I was implanted, this time I feel like I am taking charge of my hearing and making the journey second time around one that I am truly going to love and hopefully come out of it with flying colours!

Chronicles of a Bionic Woman

                                  “Life: Enjoy every minute of it!”

Stop Fussing…and Focus Instead

Stop Fussing . . . and Focus Instead
by Charles R. Swindoll

Mary . . . sat before the Master, hanging on every word He said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. “Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.” The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it.” —Luke 10:39-42 MSG

Father, we acknowledge that anxiety is not simply a worrisome little habit but rather, it is a sin . . . a repeated sin. Worry compromises our fellowship with You and with others. We thank You that the death of Your Son, Jesus, provided the payment in full for our sins, including the sin of worry. We trust Him to take care of our worries, just as the psalmist said, “Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.”

We pray that You will quiet our hearts. As You do, please lead us to a quiet and sure confidence in Yourself. Take the things that we needlessly fuss over—those worries that have burdened us long enough—and erase them from our minds. Please teach us to focus on You instead—to sit at Your feet in quietness. And as we cast the heavy weight of anxiety on You, we will trust You to give us instead a peace that surpasses understanding and a confidence that You are at work—even though we remain in the same circumstances. Thank You ahead of time for how You will deal with the burdens that weigh heavily on our hearts. Thank You for how You will relieve the anxieties that cause us to miss the important things in life.

See also Psalm 55:22; Proverbs 12:25; Isaiah 26:3; Matthew 6:31-34; Philippians 4:6-7; 1 Peter 5:7.

Excerpted from The Prayers of Charles R. Swindoll, Volume 1, Copyright © 2010 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.


Chronicles of a Bionic Woman

“Whatever is going to happen will happen, whether we worry or not.” 
― Ana Monnar

Day 26: Hearing in Church

worshipIn the post Sound Junkie, I mentioned I would be attending Church for the first time last Sunday and that I was quite apprehensive about it as it would be my first time in Church since the switch on and the new CI. And if you have read my posts to date which attempt to chronicle my journey with the new CI, then you know it hasn’t been an entirely pleasant experience, but it hasn’t been all bad either as you can see here.

The Church environment has been my biggest sound challenge to date – I felt literally attacked from different directions by all sorts of identifiable and unidentifiable sounds. And it was intense! I kept fiddling with the volume control on my CI, moving from the ‘low’ map to the ‘middle’ map and back again in a vain attempt to make the sound experience bearable. This was just the first half of the service – praise and worship session with singing and music as Churches do.

I’ve always loved the praise and worship session of our Church service as I love music and for me, this session is truly where I feel connected with God. It’s where I pour out the contents of my heart to Him and praise Him in complete and utter adoration.

After my experience with music the night before as detailed here, I hoped that my experience of music in the Church environment would also be positive too. I am a bit sad that it wasn’t and for the first time I felt myself enduring the session rather than enjoying it and actively taking part in it. At some point, I felt so much tension in my body from concentrating too hard in identifying sounds that I had to mentally tell myself to relax more than once! My Audiologist did warn me it may be too soon to face the sound environment in Church so it doesn’t entirely come as a surprise how it all went.

It felt good to be back at Church, and because Church is a big and necessary part of my life, I must continue to believe that this will get better with the new CI. So I am going to find ways of making the listening experience in Church something that I can not only enjoy but also use to my advantage as I re-learn sounds.

And I hope any user of the HiRes90K strategy and who attends Church will be able to help a sister out with any tips or advice dearly needed.


Chronicles of a Bionic Woman

Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

For Personal Integrity by Charles R. Swindoll

From the care of the ewes with suckling lambs He brought [David]
To shepherd Jacob His people,
And Israel His inheritance.
So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart,
And guided them with his skillful hands.
 —Psalm 78:71-72

Father, personal purity is never automatic or easily produced. Integrity doesn’t flow from our flesh naturally or freely. In fact, many of us have lived too many days of our lives in hypocrisy and deception. That’s why we need You so desperately. We don’t know how to unravel the mess of our bad habits or untie the knots of our past, so we’re tempted to continue ignoring Your convicting voice and living lives of regret. But enough is enough! We are determined to ignore it no longer. We refuse to wade any longer in shallow pools of carnality. Beginning today, we are determined to live lives of integrity. We ask You to honor our decision to walk with You, to cease our life of duplicity, to stop compromising our integrity. Give us Your strength, dear Father, Your help, Your courage, Your wisdom. Forgive our foolish and hypocritical ways. Deliver us from the dangerous and deep quicksand of deceitful sin and establish us on the solid rock of vulnerability and integrity.

May Your grace keep us from a judgmental spirit toward others, Lord. Give us the encouragement we need to be all You have called us to be as Your obedient children, so that we, like David with the sheep, might guide others skillfully and well.

In the strong name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

See also Job 8:20; Psalm 15:1-2; Proverbs 2:6-7; 10:9; 20:7.

Excerpted from The Prayers of Charles R. Swindoll, Volume 1, Copyright © 2010 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.

Chronicles of a Bionic Woman

Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you. – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Day 23: Sound Junkie…

So, I managed to get an appointment with the hospital the very same day I last published a post here. I was so happy! And it was not a wasted trip at all! I wasn’t able to see my usual Audiologist obviously as she was fully booked. The Audiologist I saw is someone I have never seen before but I loved her! She understood immediately what my problem was and she did so well to explain everything to me in a way that I must confess my own Audiologist never did! Long story short, I left there feeling on top of the world! The mapping was re-adjusted and, my friends, I was finally hearing the true strangeness of the new CI! It felt oddly wonderful after 2-days of the world sounding muted and subdued.

I’m a sound junkie! In the words of the audiologist, I’m ‘power-hungry’ – I want to hear more, more, more! Which I guess in a way explained why it really upset me that sounds were too low before. I felt deprived of the one thing I couldn’t live forever without, couldn’t function very well without – sound. I’m so glad I went back for another appointment sooner than later.

Today, after experiencing the social setting of a baby shower, I came home, took a deep breath and decided to listen to music for the first time since my switch on. I picked a music track I was familiar with and pressed play.

At first it sounded like a bunch of shrill sounds, several cats being murdered or someone murdering a cello! It was not immediately pleasant. But I willed myself to keep listening, to push past the shrill effect I was experiencing because I love music and I’ve missed it so much. As I listened, I realised that I was hearing music like never before, hearing instruments that previously eluded me and the voices of the singers (the track has a backing choir) was so beautiful!

The whole experience brought tears to my eyes! No words can express the pure pleasure I felt as I listened to music for the first time through the CI. It was exhilarating! For the first time, I felt like I could understand my husband’s passion for music and the way it would make him behave like a mad man! Lol…I previously thought I was mad about music but I must confess it’s much worse than that!

And the most amazing thing is I can hear when the singer hits a high or low note. What the heck?! The high notes totally killed me! I came undone!!

I was starting to wonder if this new strategy (HiRes90K) which made high pitched sounds more pronounced was such a good thing. But I’m beginning to see the benefits – I’m hearing more than I did before.
For instance, I used to wonder how anyone could hear the vibration of my phone from across a room. Now I can hear it too!
I went to a baby shower today and whilst I was still outside, I could hear the women laughing from the top floor of the house!

It’s like I have stepped into another dimension of sound, a whole different level. I feel like a drugged up junkie listening to music! I’m buzzing! How can music have such a profound effect on me?

Tomorrow is going to be a big test – I’ll be attending church for the first time in a few weeks. I’m a little scared of being attacked by the mass sounds during praise and worship when everything is at the loudest volume. But I have to do it…who knows what that experience will bring?

My name is Doose and I am a sound junkie!

Chronicles of a Bionic Woman

                                                                     Music is rocking my world!

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