Thursday, September 29, 2011

Upgrade .... and Update!

I am due for an upgrade tomorrow. So here I sit, knowing that part of me is about to be replaced with a new improved model, feeling a strange fellowship with an iPhone 3G or a monochromatic Kindle. 

Over the years I have had enough experience with computer upgrades to know that the path to technological improvement is often paved with uneven flagstones. I can almost remember being driven to tears when Windows 95 swept away Windows 3, wondering what on earth had happened to my familiar landscape. But with computer hardware and software you always have the option of stepping back, sitting this one out on the digital dance floor. But this upgrade is far more personal than that : it is an upgrade to my very sensual being. As of 10.00am tomorrow morning, it is goodbye to the old, slow, dusty Alan Burnett and hello to the sleek new Alan Burnett 5.

Yes, for the first time in the 13 years since I received my cochlear implant, I am to be upgraded to the all new Cochlear Nucleus 5 system. Now that might sound like small beer to you lot, but believe me it is a pretty important date in my calendar. What you hear and how you hear it has a considerable impact on your view of the world : and my own view of the world might be considerably different tomorrow morning at 10.30am. I have read the manuals and watched the instructional video with the enthusiasm of a devotee. I know much of what I can expect : the delights of my new remote assistant - "the ultimate in personal control - at the touch of a button" - and the ability to put together my own programmes to meet the demands of any situation. But I still dream of what might be in there - hidden away among the small print. Will there be a setting that automatically translates Spanish into English? Will there be a masking mechanism that automatically shuts out any comments that I find offensive or marginal disagreeable?

All I know is that in less than 24 hours time, things are going to be different : and I am as excited as a kid counting the days down until Christmas. And just in case there is even a single person out there who thinks I am making fun of a serious situation let me stress something in, what for me is, a rare moment of sincerity. For the last 13 years, each morning I have woken up and given thanks to the scientists at Cochlear Ltd who developed the system, the medical and technical staff at the Yorkshire Cochlear Implant Service who enable me to benefit so much from the system, and to the absolutely brilliant National Health Service which has provided me and thousands of others with the gift of being able to hear. And with the new Nucleus 5, I expect that daily vote of thanks to continue.

UPDATE (11.10am)
The post has just been. Only one letter.  "Dear Mr Burnett, Due to unforeseen circumstances it has become necessary for us to cancel the appointment for Friday 30th September at 10.00am. Please accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused you. Another appointment will be sent to you at a later date."
Ah well, back to Windows 3.

29 comments:

  1. Oh, that is wonderful! I am so happy for you, and I loved the way you wove computer upgrades with your own personal upcoming upgrade. Technology is just amazing, and your gratitude for how it has improved your own life is really touching.

    All best with the process, and congrats!

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  2. Having worked in Deaf culture, and learned ASL, I have strong feelings about the implant, but yours is truly none of my business.I'm glad for you.

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  3. So pleased for you, Alan. I don't keep abreast of developments at University of Southampton as much I should, but I'm certain that the folks in ISVR are working as hard as they ever did, in their research. They are at the hub of implants in the South of England.

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  4. Having read a post or two dealing with your hearing difficulties from years gone by, I'm hoping that this latest development will only improve things. Great to hear about this... no pun intended.

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  5. Good luck Alan, with your positive attitude, it will certainly turn out to be 100%!!

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  6. Brilliant piece of writing, Alan. How unfortunate that you're now having to wait. Hope you can prolong the excitement.

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  7. T'was ever thus.

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  8. Hopefully it turns out great, had to laugh at the added snippet at the end..haha

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  9. Fingers crossed that the extra wait is worth it. Good luck, Alan!

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  10. A postponement? What does it all meeeeaaan? ;) Sorry, I couldn't resist my impulse to see other meaning.... It sounds like it makes a huge difference to your world and I can understand why. I trust the next appointment is coming right up and all adjustments will come readily with not one negative aspect to it. May I call for a Hear! Hear! ?

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  11. Yay for you! Sorry you have to wait hopefully it'll make the outcome that much sweeter.

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  12. I hope the new appointment is timely and quickly dispatched. May your new implant be everything you hope for.

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  13. Oh, good for you, Alan! And commiserations over the postponement - these are SO frustrating, aren't they? Let us know when it's all done and dusted.

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  14. Well, who knows maybe Friday will be a better day anyway...good luck with it all....!

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  15. You look like a kid with a new toy. I really like your hopeful vision of life and... technology. I think science and technology have brought a lot of positive improvements to medicine.

    I'm sure they'll write you soon for another appointment.

    Ta ta for now,

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  16. Oh how disappointing. Let’s hope you don’t have to wait too long for a new appointment. I do rather like the idea of something translating for you too.

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  17. How exciting to have such a change waiting in your near future. Yes indeedy, the medical world can be quite frustrating, as are computers also at times, but the wait sounds like it will be well worth it.

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  18. Alan the bionic man. Do you have super human strength too? :) Congratulations on your new device, I'm truly happy for you.

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  19. What a pain! I hope you don't have to wait too long!

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  20. Awww well I hope it's not along delay. My father in law has hearing aids in each ear and still finds listening to conversations involving more than two people impossible. Sadly at 80 he's a little old for an implant. Hope it works like a treat. (Men have selective hearing at the best of times)

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  21. Oh, that sucks, it really does. I do hope the next appointment isn't too far away. But it is wonderful that it will happen - I can't get over the way technology is changing so many aspects of meidcine.

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  22. Life is waiting. For tomorrow. Hope it comes soon. As I always say when people complain about Air Travel: Travel is all about waiting; to get to the Airport; to get through security; to get through boarding; etc etc.
    When you are finally on the plane, you wait for it to land. Then the waiting starts over again. But you are not complaining. Well Done! May your next appointment be tomorrow.

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  23. Oh, those appointment changes! Geesh! LOL! Just a little more time with the anticipation!

    I found your blog just as you were doing a series on your journey without hearing and your first implant. I remember thinking what an incredible person you were, how your gift of writing was such a pleasure to read, and how fascinating the implant was! Can't wait to hear all about the new one! Hope the appointment is rescheduled soon!

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  24. Forgot to say that WOW, you look SO much like my uncle Steve in that picture. Amazing. :)

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  25. Watch out you don't turn into one the the Borg.

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  26. As my hearing keeps getting to be less and less I keep an eye on people like you for inspiration to do something about my loss. I quit teaching because my hearing as it was causing minor problems in the classroom and now that I am beck subbing, I really do need to do something.
    Thanks for the info and I hope that appointment gets set up again soon.

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  27. Gee, how disappointing to have a last-minute cancellation. When you get the new gear, I do hope it isn't too difficult to adapt to. It took me over 6 months to get used to my latest aids - and they had to tone down the hi-tech-ness of them in the end. I couldn't tell what anybody was saying for weeks. Pretty scary actually. I keep hoping they'll come up with hearing aids that will get Radio 4! And specs that will display subtitles of everything that everyone says to me.

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  28. How exciting and frustrating Alan. But perhaps like upgrades in Windows, a small wait may move you into 6.0! Best wishes.

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  29. I hope you get scheduled again very soon.. you sounded so excited! :)

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