Cochlear Implants come to Malawi!

Medical Electronics (Med-El), the cochlear implant company, posted this article on Facebook about 2 children in Malawi who received implants! This has significance for me for two reasons:

There are a few problems I have with the article:

– There is a picture of one of the recipients wearing his implant and the caption reads that he is “all smiles after the operation”. This is not possible because after the operation, your head is all swaddled like a mummy. And you don’t get “turned on” or rather, “activated”, until several weeks later.

Parts of a cochlear implant from the Med-El website. From left to right- the processor with magnet and the internal device

Components of a cochlear implant from the Med-El website. On the left is the processor that sits behind the ear. In the middle is the coil with a magnet inside it that rests on the head. On the right is the internal device (which also has a magnet in it to which the coil attaches to) which is surgically inserted underneath the scalp near the ear and is connected to an electrode array that is threaded through the cochlea.

– I am concerned about whether or not the children will receive the necessary, consistent follow-up to help with speech and listening. It looks like both children live in a major city and can, hopefully, easily get to the clinic to receive services and equipment if needed. Because the children got implanted so late in their lives (at 16 and 9), it is not clear to me how successful they will be with the implant- it all depends on when they lost their hearing. If it was at birth, it will be very difficult for them to catch up, but because they are still young, there is hope. If they became deaf AFTER they acquired speech and language, then there is great potential for them to re-learn how to hear. The younger kids are implanted, the better the chance for success at speech and listening.

– This article and other videos showing people getting their implants turned on seem to convey that the implant is a “cure-all” and once it is turned on, the person can suddenly hear. This is NOT the case. The person may hear a semblance of sound but they will almost never have an idea what kind of sound it is.

I’m excited though, that this technology has found its way to Malawi, the warm heart of Africa!

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Monday Morning Contemplations

Today is Monday. I am feeling sluggish- got a pain in my back and the weather is still ominously grey outside. It’s Seattle, after all. I swear I could be related to Garfield the cat sometimes.

I took my electric toothbrush out of my mouth too soon this morning and THIS is how it felt.

I took my electric toothbrush out of my mouth too soon this morning and THIS is how it felt.

I keep reminding myself, I shouldn’t complain. I’m no longer an east coast gal (Buffalo, NY is where I lived til I went to college) and where I live now (Seattle, WA) is paradise compared to what’s happening over there, with those endless winter storms pummeling everyone with snow, snow snow. Global warming doesn’t seem to be affecting them over there! Over here, we are really feelin’ it.

Snoqualmie Ski Area- very little snow this season. Taken by Steve Ringman, Seattle Times

Snoqualmie Ski Area. Taken by Steve Ringman, Seattle Times

The Snoqualmie ski area is just less than an hour away from my house. I feel lucky that I’m surrounded by mountains and water and can get to them fairly quickly.

Anyway, I gotta get off to work, but just writing this post makes me feel better. There’s a lot of good going on out there in spite of all the weather madness and the Brian Williams disaster. I’m determine to post something inspiring soon. Let me know if you have something you’d like me to share!

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What’s New With Me These Days?

I know, I know, it’s been a while since I’ve posted. I’ve no good excuse except for being incredibly busy with a new contract, my current job, juggling husband and kid activities, staying true to my goal of exercising every day, keeping up with friends, worrying about my elderly parents, and trying to stop my cats from scratching up my furniture and eating my cooking. But my blog is never far from my mind and I really miss writing.

My kids don't really think this way...

My kids don’t really think this way…

I’m having fun with this new contract. I’d been wanting to pick up some hours as my current job was only part-time and I was feeling ready to expand my skill set a bit. In fact, this past fall, the work I had done with my coaching group made me realize I was ready to launch a consulting practice.

I really love how serendipity works: I received a fundraising email from a parent at my son’s elementary school who happened to be President of the Board at a small arts non-profit. I had been wanting to do some more volunteering to expand my skill set and also to get to know some other nonprofits a little better. So when I got this email I was intrigued: how did this very busy guy get a pretty cool volunteering position as President of a Board? I made a mental note to email him and ask him some questions.

That very same day, I kid you not, I was at the grocery store when I ran into HIM of all people! During our brief conversation he told me this organization could use some help. He learned I had some extra time, so we decided to email about this and a few weeks later met for coffee to talk more.

Turns out, what he needed and what I wanted were a perfect match!  One of the things I have been wanting to do through my consulting practice is help organizations through transition. It was a match made in heaven! So much for having the time to volunteer. It’s still on my list of priorities, especially doing it with my family.

It’s only been a few weeks, but here is what I have learned so far:

  • I LOVE using my untapped skill set: being a mentor and coach to staff and being a leader during an uncertain time.
  • Being a good listener and being steady and calm are essential particularly when people feel stretched thin and have not been given clear direction about priorities.
  • I am a big picture person and love thinking about how systems are currently working within an organization. How is the organization marketing itself? Are the databases and marketing materials accessible and user-friendly? Who is the audience and are we reaching them?

Thanks for being my 12th man (go Seahawks!!) by continuing to read my blog! Will be back soon!

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Fight the Ladykiller

My Parentmap post about Barbra Streisand and heart disease is up. Check it out!

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Feeding Kids over the Weekend

And here’s another post I enjoyed writing about a program with the schools that we have been partnering with at FamilyWorks. Check it out.

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Eating Granola for Good

I have been eating some really yummy granola. What’s the big deal about that?

Well, it makes me happy to indulge in my (mind you, infrequent) consumerist habits knowing that spending money on granola just gets donated right back to FamilyWorks!

Read my blog post on the FamilyWorks site and find out more!

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An Inspiring Post Gleaned from Facebook

I’m at home with a sick child, doing some work and decided to take a break and check Facebook. Yes, when I need a diversion, that’s what I sometimes do, I admit it. Although, I prefer to stand up after sitting down for way too long and work on peeling an orange to see if I can do it in just one long peel.

So I saw on Facebook that a friend had shared a really moving post written by a woman, a poet, who was stranded at an airport. She heard an announcement that someone who spoke Arabic was needed at her gate immediately (coincidence, huh?). Check it out.

It will make your day.

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