Starkey Hear Now: Update 1

So, in my last post, I explained what’s required for the program. I did learn, however, that you don’t need to get an audiogram from a Hear Now provider- you only need an audiogram that’s less then 9 months old, and you can take it to the Hear Now provider, and have them sign off on it, on the HN paperwork. This saved me a great deal of time. I got my most recent audiogram from my usual audiologist, brought them to the Hear Now provider, and he signed off on it right then and there (well, mostly- he had to check with someone). He also checked the boxes for the model of hearing aid and color, both of which were my choice. Keep in mind, however, that you can not choose fun colors like purple or blue. 
Next, when I get paid on Monday, I will be getting a $250 money order to send in with my application. After that, it’s time to wait.
We’ll see how it goes!

Advertisements

So, I haven’t updated in about a million years lol.

 

I’ve been pretty down and depressed lately, unfortunately, but I’m actually doing okay in life right now. I have a bit of extra money right now because SSDI paid mean extra $200, now that the state of Iowa is paying for my Medicare premium, and I’m employed at Walgreens now, so now that I have a steady paycheck, I’m doing pretty darn good financially right now.

 

Something I’ve been dealing with that has been a huge pain is not having clothes that fit. Over the last couple years, I’ve gained a huge amount of weight. Well, not huge, I guess, but I did gain weight. Before I started testosterone, I weighed about 90 lbs, and a few years on it I went up to about 115 or 120. Then I went up to 130. Eventually, I went up to about 150. And now, I’m hovering around 170-180. I’m only 5’2″, so I used to be quite small, and my weight now makes me pretty unhappy.

 

Like, I see myself in the mirror, and I kind of have a very slight double chin. As well, my face is quite a lot fuller, and I have a belly and my chest has increased in size quite a bit. Unfortunately, a common side effect of psych medications is weight gain, and that’s where mine is coming from.

 

A while ago, I was put on Tegretol for seizures and mood, and it worked for a while, but it also made me gain about 20 lbs. It no longer works, so I stopped taking it, and I can see already that I’ve lost a bit of weight in just 2 weeks. I know it’ll take time to lose more weight, but I’m working on it as much as I can. I’m trying to eat less pizza (more on that later), and I’m trying to snack less in bed before I fall asleep, because for some reason, I crave snacks while I’m in bed, like half asleep? Idk, I find myself getting sleepy, and then it’s like, “Hey. You should eat those chips. They’re salty and crunchy….” So I eat the chips lol.

 

So, I’ve amassed a decent wardrobe. I have several skirts I like, tights, nice jeans, a nice pair of pants, a couple hoodies, lots of t-shirts- however, since I’ve gained so much weight, almost none of my clothes have been fitting. They’re too small now. With the extra bit of money I have this month, I went ahead and bought 3 t-shirts from Lookhuman.com, and they arrive about a week ago. They’re fantastic! Very soft, they fit perfectly, and the designs are interesting and fun and cute. I plan to buy more later on, as I have a 10% off coupon from this purchase, so it’ll be nice.  :3

 

Anyone who has never gained weight rapidly wouldn’t understand how fucking terrible it is to go into your closet looking for something to wear, and discovering nothing in there fits anymore. You get out of the shower and go, hey, I’ll wear my favorite t-shirt, and you pull it on and even though it might have fit a bit snugly the week before, your arms are too big for the sleeves, and the shirt hugs your belly and makes you feel fat and unattractive and like it’s showing every single, tiny pit and fold and bulge on your body. It makes you feel ugly. It’s something I’m working on.

 

My roommate, Crobat, was employed at Kum & Go for several months, but the manager wasn’t giving her enough hours, the pay was low, and it was just generally a shitty job under a shitty manager. When she signed on, he promised her at least 40 hours a week, and when she left, she was getting maybe 30-ish. So, she applied to several places, and eventually she got a call back from Domino’s Pizza! And now she is a manager at a Domino’s, and the best part (for me) is that she gets 50% off all food items. What’s even better is that the Walgreens store I work at is a block away from her store, so when I’m off work, I can come over to Domino’s, grab a cheap, delicious pizza, and hang out on my phone or my laptop. She usually closes, and I usually work evening shifts, so it’s pretty decent. I usually work 5-10, and she’s often 5-12:30 or 4-12:30, so I don’t usually have to spend a ton of time waiting to go home.

 

Today, Crobat opens the store, so I had to get up at 7 AM and now I’ve gotta wait here until my shift starts at 5 PM, and I’m off at 10 PM, so it’s gonna be a long day here. I brought my laptop, at least, and I put an extra blanket in the car so I can lie down and take a nap there if I need.

 

Crobat and I have been doing pretty well. She found a fancy 46″ flat screen TV at Goodwill for $100, so she snagged it and we’ve now got a nice big TV in the living room, which is functional now! Ever since R moved out, we cleared the house of his crap, threw it away, and we worked on getting the house looking nice and being functional. We have a big couch and a decent chair and ottoman in there, a TV stand for the TV, an Amazon Fire stick for watching Netflix, Hulu, and Youtube, and a mini fridge just for soda. The mini fridge isn’t necessary, obviously, but it was a gift from Crobat’s father, and we figure it works just fine in the living room as a soda-only fridge.

 

I also have food stamps now, so that puts a lot of money back in my pocket each month ($125, to be precise). I still eat fast food, but I try to eat a little less lately, because I’m fully aware that I eat when I’m bored!

 

 

This month, since I have so much extra, unexpected cash, I’ve bought several fun things. I bought a Snapback (Peridot from SU themed, black base, bright green brim and trim, the word CLOD across the front in white), a fancy custom collar (from CollarFactory.com), the t-shirts from LookHuman.com, and some tights from SockDreams.com. So, now I have some clothes that fit, and a few fun things that I’ve been wanting really badly but couldn’t afford. Treat yo self, and all.  :3

 

That’s about it for today, I suppose. <:  Next post coming….whenever I get around to it.  ;3

Hearing Aids and What Happens When You Get Them

So, I thought I’d make a post talking about hearing aids, and the process of getting them. I’m going to try and make this as thorough and comprehensive as possible. 
I started wearing hearing aids about two years ago, and I’ve gone through several different pairs in an attempt to find ones that sound best for me, and fit my hearing loss. I’m profoundly deaf, so I require power hearing aids, but I haven’t always. My first pair were a tiny RIC (receiver in canal) pair by Starkey, known as the Xino. 
Before getting to that, I had to see my doctor about my hearing loss. She used a tuning fork to test my hearing (very basic test) in the office, and gave me a paper referral to an audiologist. I took that, made some calls, and set up an appointment with an audi. She did a hearing test, which involves listening to pure tone beeps and responding when I could hear them at a certain volume, and found I had moderate-severe hearing loss. That same day, she showed me a few different hearing aids, and ordered them after I left the office. 
As a side note, it’s important to do research and actually try out a hearing aid in the office if you can. I found after not trying out an RIC hearing aid, and receiving the ones she ordered, that the receiver (the speaker of the device) that went into my ear would not only keep popping out every 10 seconds, but it was also extremely uncomfortable. It hurt my ears. 
The audi said she would not change my hearing aids, and she refused to try out custom molds because I “just need to get used to it.” Since she was clearly not providing me with the service I needed, I went elsewhere. 
I sold those RIC hearing aids, and bought a BTE (behind the ear) pair. I went to Sam’s Club to get earmolds for hearing aids made ($80 for a pair), and had my BTE hearing aids programmed at a new audiologist. 
Now, the sound on the RIC HAs was not at all loud enough for me to benefit from them. My first audi said this was because she wanted to turn them up gradually so I get used to it easier. This is common, but many audiologists will avoid that and simply set the hearing aids at your preferred volume if you ask. 
With the BTE HAs, I heard much better. With RIC hearing aids, many people do not need a custom earmold, and the small, silicone domes suffice. However, I’ve found that earmolds are far more comfortable for me, and they aid in retention, so you won’t accidentally rip your hearing aid out of your ear by brushing your hair back or something. 
Now, earmolds are pretty simple. You go to your audi, and they will put a small foam block into your ear with a string attached to it. Then, they will use a large, plastic syringe to squeeze some colored goop into your ear, and the foam block is there to keep it from going in too far. You’ll wait about 5 to 10 minutes for the goo to harden, and it’s then removed. The goo comes in a few different colors and they’re pretty much all the same. 
The audiologist will take your ear impressions and send them off to have earmolds made. Between that, and receiving the earmolds, is approximately two weeks. Many audiologists only produce earmolds in plain clear, or one or two flesh tones (by that, I mean flesh tones designed for white people). To get earmolds in fun colors and glitter, you’ll have to go to a provider who works with Westone or another company that produces them. 
Your earmolds are sent back to your audi, and you can pick them up and have your hearing aids programmed at the same time usually. Different models and brands of hearing aids have different cords and 2 different methods of programming them, but it’s basically all the same- plug the hearing aids into a computer with cables and program them, or wear a neckloop that programs them wirelessly. 
Your audiologist will adjust settings until you find something that sounds best to you. This can take a while, but it’s worth it. They’ll usually tap on things, rustle the keyboard, speak the days of the week, etc. to help you determine if certain sounds are too loud or soft, or just plain annoying. 
Digital hearing aids these days have plenty of versatility in terms of programming. Many hearing aids have several different modes you can choose from, such as to eliminate background noise and amplify speech, or a program dedicated to listening to music, and so on. Many hearing aids also have T-coils in them, which allow you to listen to anything the magnetic field can detect, usually in the form of a neckloop. These can be found in some theaters and churches, and a few other places. 
So, now, your hearing aids are programmed and you’re wearing them daily, right? Well, you’ll probably need to change your batteries about once a week or two, depending on how often you wear them, how loud they are, and how often you use streaming devices with digital hearing aids. It is recommended to keep a spare pack of batteries in your bag, pocket, at work, in the car, etc. Then you’ll be able to change them and continue to hear, should you end up with dead batteries. 
With that, I’m going to talk about the hearing aids themselves. Many hearing aids come in both neutral/skin tone/hair tone colors, and bright colors such as pink, blue, and purple. The two big manufacturers who produce colored hearing aids are Oticon and Phonak. Oticon only offers clear earhooks, and Phonak offers several different colors of earhooks on their Sky line (though the earhooks also fit the other lines, you would have to order them online or through your audiologist.) the bright colors are actually for kids and teens, but many adults choose them for the color, and they do not operate all that differently from adult hearing aids. 
Most insurance companies do NOT cover hearing aids, unfortunately, so the vast majority of people end up paying out of pocket for them, and the devices can cost as much as $3,000 a pop, and up to $7,000 a pair. As well, insurance that does cover hearing aids almost never cover the brightly colored ones. 
It takes getting used to, wearing hearing aids every day. Earmolds are often itchy, and they cause your ears to be a bit sweaty and waxy. Eventually, you get used to it. It just becomes a part of daily life to pull your hearing aid out and screech your ear canals and press on your ears to alleviate the itching. As well, tubing needs to be replaced every few months because they grow hard and stiff, which causes the ear to hurt when wearing them. Earmolds and tubing need to be washed and cleaned of wax fairly often to keep them in good shape, and to allow you to hear better. 

Okay, so, I think I’ve covered everything I can think of about hearing aids! If you have a question, please leave a comment down below, and I’d be happy to answer it! Just for fun, here’s a picture of my current hearing aids. 

Anxiety! Aahhhhhhh!!!

So, things are going well, but I’m dealing with way too much anxiety today!!! D:  My psychiatrist always asks me, “On a scale of 1-10, one being nirvana and ten being spontaneous human combustion, how is your anxiety today?” Today, my anxiety is like a 9. I’m ready to cry and hold my blankie and lament about how my life is awful, but I have to remember and remind myself that this is entirely normal. When  you settle from a big chance, when things start going your way, you’re more likely to have a big break. You’ll break down, you’ll cry and lament exactly as I said, about how your life is terrible and you’ll probably never amount to anything anyway so what’s the point in continuing on, and you’ve made so many mistakes, there’s just no point!

 

But, in reality, there’s totally a point. If I had stopped working so hard, if I hadn’t kept going and making those stressful phone calls and all that shit, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I wouldn’t be on the verge of getting a new wheelchair, I wouldn’t be on the verge of having a bedroom, I wouldn’t have new, awesome hearing aids, I wouldn’t have the great roommate I have today, I wouldn’t have a job in my own town a block away from my house. I’d be so lost and in such a crap situation.

 

Anyhow, aside from dealing with so much anxiety, we have a plumber coming today to fix the toilet. It’s been costing us sooo much money because of some flow thing in the back of it that has basically been filling up and using way more water than necessary, so our water usage went from 2,000-2,500 gallons per month to approximately 11,000 gallons last month! And in the last two weeks, it had been 9,000 gallons already! So, wow!!! We’re on the hook for all that water, but that’s okay. Our landlord fixed it so that the toilet wasn’t using that much water, and we were just using a bucket to fill the back of the toilet and whatnot. It’s kind of a pain, ever so slightly, but it works, and it saves us money. <:

 

 

That’s about all that I’m dealing with right now. The wheelchair post will come probably next week or the day after, so! Be prepared for that! It’s gonna be sweeeet! :D

Grey Hair and New Aids!

So, I promised to post about my new hearing aids today, so here it is! These were obtained in the middle beginning of May- on my birthday, actually- and were programmed at the end of the month, so I’ve been hearing out of them for about 11 days or so.

 

These are the Oticon Chili SP9 hearing aids with no pimpage….

agflpou

 

And here was one of my favorite pimps on them over the past few days….

awiunjk

 

And here’s a more…photogenic version of that pimp, earmolds included.

umzdt4z

 

ALSO I got new earmolds! Those swirly colorful ones up there are great, but I wanted something a little more…flashy. So, here we go.

7utq5gk

 

Don’t mind the little fuzz in the side of the picture! Lol.

 

Anyway, the Chili sounds great. It’s crisp and clear, though sometimes it can be too crisp, I suppose after I’ve been hearing for too long and I’m just tired of it (sensory overload! woo!). But, it sounds great, even better than the last ones I had. Also, I can change programs on BOTH hearing aids by pressing the button on only ONE! :D I’m thrilled about that one, to be honest. The volume wheel is a little annoying, but not so bad, and I have a huge amount of volume control. It’s got other fancy features as well, but that’s the main one that interests me. <:

 

Any suggestions for my next pimp? You should send me links to (peel-off) nail stickers! Small decorative stickers work great too to go on top of the nail wraps. :D

 

That’s all for today. I’m off!

Back (again!) and With News! (and bitching about the ex)

Hello, all! :D  So, I did another weird  sabbatical, mostly simply because I keep forgetting this blog is here. Lol. Anyhow, I’m back, and I’m gonna try even harder this time to update at least once a week, even if it’s just a post about my new hair color or a picture of my dog!

 

Things have been…. Well, not great, but they’re seriously getting better! So, here’s the rundown. This is gonna be a long post.

 

 

So, roommate R is the crappy one. Roommate A, for sake of ease, is referred to as Crobat from here on out, and Crobat, basically, is the best, most wonderful, sweetest person in the world.

 

R is less than that, by far. R is…selfish. He’s messy af. He makes himself coffee and cereal, and uses sugar, but won’t even put his sugar and coffee creamer away, and then he leaves sugar scattered all over the stove and counter. It’s come to it that Crobat and I have asked him to clean up after himself, and he just outright lies and says he DOES and DID clean up, but it’s a clear lie?? He lies right to our faces and then gets upset at us for calling him out on being a liar. His ONE chore in the entire house is to feed his cat and my dog at night, around 9-11 PM. Half the time, he refuses to do so, and asks Crobat to do it, and because Crobat is such a nice person, she does it without complaint. He has been using my bathroom stuff, including my towel to dry himself with, and then lies about using it.

 

The biggest issue of all is that he’s not going to be able to afford to pay rent for July, and for the past several months, he hasn’t paid for utilities or internet at all. On top of that, his pets have damaged the carpet and one of the doors so badly they have to be patched and replaced (respectively), and all together, the damage to the apartment is gonna be a good $500 or so, and he has no intention of paying to fix any of it. He’s just going to move out and leave it.

 

Oh, yeah, he’s moving out. Crobat seems to have gotten annoyed enough with him that she’s putting her foot down and has made the decision that R needs to move out as soon as the end of the month. We’re waiting to give him the news until after a certain small event, so as not to ruin said small event. But he’s moving out! And I’ll get to move back into the bedroom and have an actual bedroom!! :D I can’t believe it, I’m so excited.

 

Also, yesterday, I told R off through Skype because he wasn’t answering my messages, and he has a tendency to ignore messages if he doesn’t like what it has to say or he’ll just pretend he didn’t get the message at all. I called him out on it and said that THAT is why he needs to reply to my messages. Apparently, he got all pissy and went to Crobat and tried to bitch about me being, y’know, a bitch, but Crobat wasn’t having it and basically just ignored it haha. Which only made R pissier, I’m sure! LOL thinking about it makes me ugly-laugh.

 

Overall, I’m just so mad that I moved here for him and this is how he turned out. I’m so frustrated and annoyed. It shouldn’t have been this way. I shouldn’t have had to live in the living room for fucking, like, what, 3 months? Almost 4 months? I shouldn’t have been so angry for so long. But, at least now, I get to take this back to my therapist and have good news for once. <:

 

Tomorrow, I’m going to post about my new hearing aids, which have finally been programmed, and I also have 2 new sets of earmolds! So, that’s something cool and new to talk about! :D I’ve also pimped them a bunch recently, so there’ll be pictures of that, too. For now, I’m signing off to go shower and shave my head! <: See ya!

 

New hearing aids!

image

These just came in, so if course the first thing I do while waiting for earmolds and tubing…is decorate them. I can’t control myself apparently.

They are Phonak Savia hearing aids, and I decorated them by using self adhesive nail stickers! I can’t wait to start hearing Wah better around the house, and hopefully I’ll be able to turn the volume on my laptop down a bit. She says she doesn’t mind the volume (and actually says she finds it bothersome to NOT hear my TV shows playing at night and in the morning because it makes her worry), but I’m one big worry wart, the type that assumes their presence is a nuisance. I’m working on it!

Finally- pictures of my wheelchair!

So, last Friday, the wheelchair I bought came! I never got around to taking pictures partially because I was absolutely consumed with knitting, and partially because I wanted to wait until I had made it sufficiently sparkly. But, it’s finally sparkly and colorful enough for my liking, and I’ve attached a cute little bag that I made super fast yesterday.

I think it’s way too cute. I love it! I wrapped some mini garland for Christmas trees around the frame underneath, and wrapped some rainbow yarn around the spokes very loosely. As well, I used the cute fabric I got from the store the other day to cover a pillow form, glued and sewed some Velcro on the bottom of it, and am using it as a cushion! (I chose a regular pillow over an actual wheelchair cushion because memory foam actually cuts off circulation if I sit on it, and the gel cushions feel very strange to me. A pillow works perfectly for me, and doesn’t get too hot.)

I knitted the bag out of Isaac Mizrahi Craft Yarn, picked up at Michael’s, with 10mm/sz15 needles. It’s almost a foot wide, and about six inches long. I used the long-tail cast on for 29 stitches, and I started in the Nubby Sand pattern, but at some point, I must have accidentally repeated a row, because the pattern switches sides. I decided to just go with it, and I alternated the Nubby pattern on each side. I think it looks pretty cute that way, actually, and I’m sort of glad I made that mistake! The bag is attached to the frame with a simple crochet chain, made with black Wool-Ease Thick n Quick yarn, and just tied right on there, the bottom secured with another little knot.

Overall, everything took me about 10 hours to put together, including the time to knit the bag. It was tons of fun.

Similar bags will be up in my Etsy once I get the prototypes down, but in the meantime, I’m happy to knit custom bags for people who are crafty enough to attach them to their chairs on their own! <:

Hello world! (An Introduction)

Yep, keeping the original post title.

I’m a 24 year old, transgender (non-binary), black, disabled person with a number of creative interests, which include knitting and writing. Most people would call those hobbies, I guess! My hometown is Chicago, Illinois, and I spent the last couple of years in Boston, MA, but I currently reside near Richmond, Virginia with three great roommates, two of whom have paws (one barks, the other meows).

My medical diagnoses include Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Type III and epilepsy. It doesn’t sound like much, but the vast majority of my symptoms are due to EDS, like temperature regulation problems, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, chronic pain and fatigue, and muscle weakness (which also affects things like eyesight and fine motor control!). I speak with an intermittent stutter, and also experience tremors, which kind of suck when you’re an artist. I also have bipolar disorder type 1 (depressive), anxiety, BPD, and OCD, and I am awesomely autistic (I tend to stim by flapping, nibbling, tapping, and digging at my skin).

I love talking to new people, and will happily give out my Skype and/or Kik to anyone looking to chat or roleplay! <: