Monday, March 31, 2008

CI Update, and subtitling.

Hello All. My oh my it is storming big time here! The start of Tornado season falls upon for those of us who live in Tornado Alley. Even though Tornado alley is more specified for the states of Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and so forth, tornados hit everywhere. Just as commonly in Missouri and Illinois, this is where I live! Right now the wind has been howling, hailing, lightning, and thunder like you wouldn’t believe. Hope there’s no tornados! What jokes do you guys have planned for tomorrow for April Fools Day?! I have nothing so far, I have to work for 4 hours then go to class to turn in my dreaded 6 page paper!

My paper was about the type of skulls we had to observe in a museum located at my university and we had to write about 1-3 paragraphs, 3 pages minimum about the skulls and any information we could add for it to the paper. Mine ended up being 5 pages typed and one resource page. Not to bad here!

I wanted to update some folks about the CI scenario. My insurance company with SIU-C denied me the CI. So, my dad is going to look at his insurance and check to see if his supports CI. If it does and we think it will, they will switch me to my fathers insurance this summer, so I can go ahead and start seeing CI teams and figure out if this really IS the best thing for me, or if I am better off leaving it as it is and maybe trying out digital hearing aids? I want to thank everyone who showed support, emails, IMs, comments, whatever it was I appreciated them all! I was disappointed to know but figured my insurance would not cover it. In fact that and hearing aids were the ONLY two things not covered under my insurance. Figured!!

I will keep you guys updated as we go along. Should be interesting! I also wanted to add on to what Geo mentioned about protesting subtitles in vlogs, but not protesting it in movies and TV’s. He pointed out to me that a lot of those people who did not support subtitles on his website and many others still supported subtitles on TV and movies. Ok why?

That really is a double standard. I understand some deaf folks want to protect ASL and keep it going. But, some have to face the fact; there are just some people who will never learn ASL. I have heard people go, well “ok if they want to understand my vlogs in ASL, they need to learn ASL themselves”. Ok then My response to you is, “you want to watch my movies without subtitles, go get your hearing back and learn how to understand voice without ASL”. Wow, not that easy now is it?

You have to understand why people do it. It is to reach a wider audience, since not everyone can learn and do the language. Do you expect the English to not translate all the Chinese movies into English for the hearing people to understand then? Do we have to go learn their language then? ASL is a language, a national recognized language. In fact, it is the 4th most used language in the country and maybe the world. Not everyone is going to learn it, so if you want to start your vlogs, be prepared to be asked “will you consider subtitling it” for deaf, non ASL users or even hearing folks who don’t know ASL. You want to be heard by everyone right? Then be prepared to reach out to everyone.

Mike McConnell said it best; use what you know to relay information. However, be sure to MAKE it available for everyone as best as possible, whether it is in ASL, cued speech, subtitles, voice over, whatever is needed. I support sites like Geo’s because he reaches an audience for EVERYONE. He signs, and he uses subtitles. If he had not done that, you can bet I would never have come to his site. I am not willing to go seek out people who don’t try to at least seek me out that is by allowing subtitles.

Sure, I am going to attempt to learn ASL and such. But voice and subtitles will always be my number one usage. I will be prepared to relay it as best as I can, whether by subtitles, signing, cueing, again whatever it is! I already did in a way. If I was going to use your attitude of “well they just need to learn our language then” I would not have subtitled the 6 videos I did for you guys so you guys could understand the video. After all, I should have just said “go learn how to understand voice and get your hearing back” Right?

All I really ask is, once again be open minded. Respect what everyone knows and uses. Also, I have had a lot of people ask me to view their vlogs. Guess what I can’t, why? It is all in ASL, and they refuse to or won’t subtitle the video or provide a written/typed transcript. So I cannot enjoy what you guys are! Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a vlog by Geo of his site to go look that has subtitles. Sayonara!


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

What's next... a CI?!

Hello All! I hope everyone also had a great Easter! I spent mine with my family in southeast Missouri for the majority of the day. They got hit by an ice storm awhile back so we got to see a lot of the ice damage as well. Here is a picture of my friend and me at my Aunt’s house. I am the one holding the boot cup :)

I am at the point in my life regarding my hearing loss where I want more out of my ears. Ya I am quite a demanding person aren’t I? I have been talking to one of our famous CI bloggers, Abbie, and I found she and I had A LOT in common regarding our hearing loss and the situations involving it. She asked me the same question everyone else asked me before, “Why didn’t you get a Cochlear Implant?” At the time it was offered my parents declined it because of how new and still on going the CI was. Plus the doctors felt I would get by and along just fine using a hearing aid, reading lips and using Cued Speech.

They were right! I did get along just fine. I used cued speech through my whole time during school, being mainstreamed. I heard all the sounds I wanted to hear with the hearing aids and spoke to people by reading lips. However, I entered the real world. College, jobs, etc. I was noticing all of a sudden, the hearing aids weren’t giving me the ability of what I REALLY wanted to do; this was to become a flight attendant or at least work for the airlines. The majority of the jobs in the airline business require the capability to understand on all phone types, understand announcements, and have the ability to communicate to people at any type of situation.

IF, and I do state IF the CI works and offers me the capability to be able to do this..? God Damn it I will get in a heartbeat. Of course there are always, always risks in everything, I absolutely understand it. After talking to people like Abbie, who have gotten the CI, and then people who have not gotten it for other reasons, like Geo, I wanted to educate myself and hear from both sides, people who chose not to get it and people who did, like Abbie. I heard pros and cons.

Starting with someone like Abbie. So far I have been very pleased with her results on how she is doing with her CI. We feel confident I would have excellent results with the CI. I of course will be going to see a CI team at some point to actually be specific and ask the questions and be sure I can have them answered. I am very confident if I go through with it, my therapy and recovery time will go extremely fast and easy. I would be able to do the things I want to do, and be a flight attendant, can you say fasten your seat belts?! The CI so it seems like would be able to offer me the three specific things I cannot do with the hearing aids, ability to understand people without text, understand announcements and phones, and use equipment on board the aircraft and at the airports.

Now, I wanted to speak to someone who declined it, and ask why. This would be Geo. He gave specifics on his video and I was very moved to see someone like his own mother accepted him for who he was. Now I am not concerned about acceptance to be quite frank with me, I will do what I want to do to make me happy. If it means getting a CI, then so be it. Geo expressed his concerns about me getting a CI and I appreciate the concerns because they are real and very valuable information. It also brings me to another option, digital hearing aids.

Digital hearing aids seem to keep being better and better. I have heard testimonies of how well it works for many deaf and HOH people. This also peaks my interest because I run the chance of ruining the ears by getting a CI. I don’t want to play it safe though. However I am willing to check it out. Anyone else has any advice or experiences they want to add getting a digital hearing aid? I got them when I was in 6th grade (I am 21 yrs old now) and they did not work well for me at all. So I had switched back to analog hearing aids, and frankly they are getting quite old.

I am hoping after meeting with the CI team that it meets my satisfaction of what I want from it. So far it sounds amazing and something that could REALLY help me in doing a better job and getting the job I want. It truly would make me so happy and I really would be living my dream of doing that stuff for the airlines. I am very sad to see people are bothered about getting a CI. What’s wrong about people getting CI? Big deal, let them chose what THEY want to do. It is their life, let them live it. Let’s not be so judgmental of our choices and just accept that’s what they chose and move on!

Now…I better start practicing my lines for flight attendant if this Cochlear Implant deal works out for me….”To fasten your seat belt slide the flat end into the buckle, to release lift up on the buckle. There are six emergency exit doors...two forward exit, two rear and 2 over the wing……..”

Friday, March 21, 2008

Helping...or Providing Needs?

I hope everyone enjoyed the last 6 clips of the captioned videos I did! I truly do love, I LOVE LUCY and always wanted everyone to enjoy them also. That is why I proceeded to add captions to the ones I could do so we call could enjoy them using subtitles. I understand many people are against it, but that’s fine.

I wanted to ask you all a question and see your thoughts on the whole thing. I was in a discussion with another deaf person about captioned videos. I was very excited to be able to help other deaf and hard of hearing people be able to see my videos. Wait, what did I say wrong here? Apparently I used the word Help. I was informed by this deaf person, that many, many people do not like the word help and prefer to call it providing needs.

I was taken aback. I was shocked to be quite frank. Why can we not use the word help? I was informed many view it as “rescuing” them. Also that it just wasn’t an accepted form for most deaf, and hard of hearing people. But, we ARE helping people are we not? We are providing assistance, whether it is a hearing aid, whether it is subtitles or captions, or something. Instead most of them prefer to simply call it providing needs. To me, it sounds pushy to ask for a need, versus simply asking for help.

I use the word help because I need it. I need HELP in HEARING or UNDERSTANDING people or videos. I ask for help when someone needs to repeat something. I ask for help in turning on a caption so I am able to understand the TV show. I don’t ask them to provide a need. However, I DO understand the view some deaf and hard of hearing people have on using “provides needs” over “helping/help”. I am not ashamed to admit I need help.

Another example I was given was when interpreters are asked why they want to learn ASL. They respond “I want to help them”. Immediately I think “oh that’s great!” I am glad to see they are taking an active stance to help them. Once again, WRONG-O! That’s the wrong thing to say according to some deaf and hard of hearing people. They are supposed to say “I would like to provide needs…” HUH?! So, why can’t they say “we would like to help them”? I don’t see it as rescuing someone, but some do. Can they not be proud of wanting to help someone?

Anyway, in closing I wanted to ask what you all thought about using help versus providing needs. I always grew up on using the word help, because we were providing assistance, helping basically! Yet, this does not seem to be accepted by most folks. I see nothing wrong in using the word help and will not be ashamed to admit to it if I need help in trying to hear something. I have never used provide needs, it just wasn’t used in conjunction with my disability. So, what are your thoughts, and if you use help, why? If you prefer providing needs, please state why!

Have a great day and weekend folks!


More Videos of Captions, Lucy and the Grinch!

Tallulah Bankhead on I LOVE LUCY.

The Grinch- Do I go to the party or not?!

I Love Lucy-The Seance.

Once Again folks, hope you enjoyed these clips! Feel free to comment or share some memories of Lucy!


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Captioned Videos to laugh at!

Hello Folks-

I spent some time editing and captioning some videos ,2 clips from I LOVE LUCY, and a brief comic clip from Mama's Family. Enjoy them!


Luxy and Ethel-Chocolate Factory

Mama and Eunice having laughs!

Hope you enjoyed them! :)


Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Miracle Child

Oy! If anyone watched the recent log by Geo of, you will see one of the mistakes he made. Hilarious. I actually did my own stupid stunt vacuuming. I turned the vacuum cleaner on, and I heard it go on, so I vacuumed my entire floor. Then I stopped, and looked to see my floor still remained dirty! HUH?! How can this be?! I looked, and DOH! Stupid, stupid stupid... I had forgotten to switch the button to FLOOR instead of TUBE. So I vacuumed my floor while the floor button was off! DOH!! *smacks head against wall* I blame Geo for this!! His mistakes rub off on me now!! :)

Anyhow, you are probably wondering why I just titled this blog “The Miracle Child” I am talking about me. Why am I a miracle? I will divulge into this more, but I wanted to talk about a huge, medical problem I had concerning my stomach among many things that nearly took my life the day I was born. I mentioned some of things of what happened in my first blog and how it leads up to my hearing loss. However many people wanted to hear more specifics of what actually happened to me and how I survived the unthinkable.

February 1st, 1987 was the day I was born. At 10:50am history started to be in the making. My mother gave birth to me. This was not going to be any normal birth by ANY standard. When I was being created in the womb, the skin cells concerning my stomach failed to develop stomach skin. So my organs inside, particularly, my intestines, both small and large, liver, spleen, stomach, kidneys, bladder, everything but my heart and lungs. They remained in my chest cavity. The organs that I highlighted spilled outside of my body and were formed inside their own sac, attached to the umbilical cord. I virtually had a hole in stomach skin. So you would be correct in thinking I did not have a belly button and to this day still do not.

No one knew this was going to happen. Mom had one ultra sound, maybe two, but both were at early stages to figure the sex I believe and to make sure there were no problems early on. When my mother went into labor, the organs came out first, and then I came out immediately. My mother remembers the silence following after and a huge loud “UH OH” from the doctor. No mother wants to hear that UH OH while lying on the bed trying to give birth. It was every mother’s worst nightmare. Immediately they apologized to my father and said “we have to get the baby out, no time to cut the cord” The doctors had my mother keep pushing until I was full out, then brought me away. One hand holding the baby the other holding my organs in the sac. The doctors were adamant from the start I was not going to survive. There was not a maybe or if, I was not going to survive. They told my parents I was going to die; there was nothing they could do. Every baby who had this before me died, why should I survive?

They rushed me to the operating table to close me up and try to insert the organs back inside me. They succeeded in doing so but had no hopes of survival for me. Then they flew me by helicopter to the St. Louis hospital, Cardinal-Glennon in St. Louis, Missouri. They did a few more operations for me. My parents drove up later two hours after giving birth to me. Yes, TWO Hours later. They came in, grandparents drove up etc etc. Just sitting around waiting for me to die. Parents were in the waiting room still wanting to pick a name out for me. They didn’t want me to die without a name. They were thinking either Alex or Andrew, they wanted an A name for me to continue the initials of A.S.T. Doctors came out and said we did everything we could, but we don’t think he will make it through the night. I do want to prepare you for the worst, and start calling family and friends. I had already crashed twice, and “died” twice from my heart stopping, and somehow “came back”.

The unthinkable happened though. I made it through the night. Doctors said “now, hold on, we doubt he will make it through the week now He is still very weak. By the way I was actually born late, 3 days late; I was not a premature baby. Then something else happened, they found my trachea and windpipe had been enclosed. They were trying to figure out why I could not get off the respirator. A nurse spoke up and figured it was something involving that. They figured it out and operated on me more, about 5 surgeries on my neck. That was fixed.

More operations happened, more and more to fix me up. Each not knowing if I’d make the next night. I was given a medication so my body would not reject the organs. The side effect was that I could lose my hearing, some all or maybe little. Parents really didn’t have a choice, if I did not take it I WOULD die guaranteed, no ifs or but.

I remained in the ICU for nearly 2 months, and then regular room for the third month. Babies around me were dying of different things. Parents had to deal with me and then being surrounded by other parents who were losing their child to different things. Slowly hoping I would not become another causality of the ICU. They decided to name me Alexander, for Greek being ‘Protector of Man”. Fitting isn’t it? Finally after three horrendous months, when doctors were absolutely sure nothing else was wrong, I was given the ok to go home.

The day I got to go home, was a miracle for my parents. They never, ever thought they would get to take me home. Doctors, nurses everyone knew me on that floor. Calling me the miracle baby, or child. Doctors stated medically I should have died, there is no reason I should have lived. Perhaps there was a higher God that needed me for something and was not going to let me die no matter what.

My poor mother every day she would drive two hours back and forth to visit me all day every day while my father worked at a local news channel. 8:00am the visiting hours opened up, mom was there. 8:00pm when visiting hours closed, mom came home. She was so afraid of leaving me in case it was the last time I was going to be alive for the night. She did all this while being 24 years old, married to my father, and going to college all at the same time.

I don’t know how she did it. I know she couldn’t do it again. But I told her, she didn’t know she COULD NOT do it. She didn’t sit to think if she could do it or not. She just DID IT. Didn’t ask questions didn’t sit and cry (ok maybe she did once in awhile ha-ha) but she didn’t know she couldn’t take care of me. She just did.

Doctors claimed I was the only baby east side of the Mississippi river at the time of my birth to survive the medical condition I had. Another boy, 2 years older then I also had it but if I recall he did not lose is hearing like I did. Also my situation was much worse I had a stage 3 of the condition whereas he had stage 1 I believe.

So what did I have exactly? Glad you asked. I had a condition called Omphalocele.

This website talks a bit about it and such. Very informative. It is still rare, so you cannot find much information about it but the case itself is not unknown. Doctors use my case in St. Louis and all over with other doctors to try and figure out how I survived when no one else had survived it before me.

This is my story and I hoped this brought a better understanding of what has happened to me and eventually lead to my hearing loss. I became stronger as a result of this, and while I don’t remember anything, I see the pictures, the stories my mom says through her tears and just only sit back going “thank you” and wondering why I survived. I don’t take much for granted that’s for sure, and always, always appreciate the friendships I develop along the way, online and in person and hope I make a difference in each persons live as they do for me no matter how small or big it is.


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Can I get an AMEN?!

My fellow single Men. I understand the frusterations of not being able to find a decent girl. Another girl shares the sentiments and would like to share some things.

In the wide world of dating, there are many options. Do you go for the flashy guy with the smooth smile, or the dude in the corner typing away on his laptop? The following are reasons why I think my fellow females should pay more attention to the quiet geeks and nerds, and less attention to the flashy boys.

1.) While geeks and nerds may be awkward, they’re well-meaning 9 out of 10 times. That smooth dude with the sly grin and the spider hands? Wonder what HIS intentions are... plus, I’ve never had a geek guy not call me when he said he would. Score major points THERE.

2.) They’re useful. In this tech-savvy world, it’s great to have a b/f who can make your laptop, desktop, and just about anything else that plugs into a wall behave itself.

3.) They’re more romantic than they’re given credit for. Ok true, their idea of romance might be to make up a spiffy web-page with all the reasons why they love you, with links to pics of you and sonnets and such... but hey. It lasts longer than flowers, plus you can show your friends.

4.) Due to their neglected status, there are plenty to choose from. You like ‘em tall and slender? There are plenty of geeks/nerds who are. You like ‘em smaller with more meat on their bones? Got that too.

5.) They’ve got brains. Come on now, how can intelligence be a bad thing?

6.) Most are quite good at remembering dates. Like birthdates and such, especially if they know it’ll make you happy. Due again to their neglected status, they’re more attentive than guys who “have more options”. Plus, with all that down time without a steady girlfriend, they’ll likely have mental lists of all the things they’d love to do once they GOT a girlfriend.

7.) Sex. Yep. Sex. I’m not really familiar with this myself, but I’ve friends who’ve been intimate with geek guys and it’s raves all around. They say a virgin wrote the Kama Sutra... all that time thinking about sex, imagining sex, dreaming about sex, (they are male after all) coupled with a desire to make you happy? Use your imagination.

8.) They’re relatively low-maintenance. Most can be fueled on pizza, Twinkies and Mt Dew. No complicated dinners needed here, so if you’re not the best cook, eh. Can you order a pizza?

9.) Most frequent bars as often as slugs frequent salt mines. You won’t have to worry much about your geek guy getting his “groove” on with club hotties because, frankly, he’ll be too busy rooting around under his computer wondering where that spare cable went. You won’t have to worry about him flirting with other women because, 9 out of 10 times, he’ll zip right by them in a perfect b-line towards the nearest electronics store. I’ve seen this happen.
Me: “Eww. Victoria Secret’s Models... They’re so skinny. How is that feminine? You can see her ribs!”
Geek Guy: “ooooooo...”
Me: “Hey!” *notices he is staring lustfully towards the computer store*
Geek Guy: “What?”
Me: “Never mind...”

10.) Although he may not want to go to every outing with you, you can arrange swaps, as in, you’ll go to his Gamer Con dressed as an elf princess if he’ll take you to the ballet. Plus, if he doesn’t want to go someplace with you, you won’t have to worry much about what he’s up to. You’ll probably come home to find him asleep on his keyboard in a sea of Mt. Dew cans with code blinking from the screen. It’s ok. He’s used to this. Just toss a blanket over him and turn out the light.

11.) His friends aren’t jerks. I can’t stress this enough. You’ll more likely get “Omg! A GIRL!! Can I see?!” than “Hey hot stuff back that ass up here and let me get some grub on...” They’re awkward geeks too and will, 9 times out of 10, treat you with the utmost respect and, more than likely, a note of awe. A cute girl picked one of their clan to date? It could happen to them! Hope! Drag some of your single girlfriends over, open up a pack of Mt. Dew, crack open the DnD set and get working. Nothing impresses geek guys more than a girl who can hack-n-slash (well ok maybe if she can code... a geek can dream).

12.) They’re rarely if ever possessive. They trust you, so you can be yourself around them. You like to walk around the house in a ratty t-shirt for comfort? He won’t care. He does too! They won’t get pissy if you don’t wear make-up or don’t want to bother primping your hair. If you gain a few pounds, they won’t try their best to make you feel like crap.

13.) They’re usually very well educated. Physics majors and the like. See #5. You won’t have to listen to him blathering on about his car (ok maybe a little), he’ll have loads of other interesting things to talk about. Politics, world events, how much the chicken burgers down at the local place rock, so long as you douse them in hot sauce...

14.) You’ll almost never have to hear, “Yaw dawg whazzap!!” plop out of their mouths. Unless it’s in jest. They spell properly, use correct punctuation, and are able to tell the difference between the toilet and the floor. They almost never get “wasted”, so you won’t have to worry about coming home to find him and his friends passed out on the floor amidst a pile of beer bottles. Mt. Dew cans, perhaps...

15.) And the final reason why geeks and nerds make great boyfriends: They actually give a damn about you. Not how you look (though that’s a plus), not how skinny you are, not how much make-up you primp yourself up with, but they like you for you. That kind of thing lasts longer than “DaMN baby you got a fine ass!!!” Believe me.

So to my friends, there IS hope, god know I am one of them!