Personal, Post-Activation

What It’s Like To Go On A Picnic With A Cochlear Implant

This past weekend I did something I’ve always wanted to do, but never really had anyone to do it with. It’s something very simple, but no one would ever do it with me in the past; I went on a picnic with my boyfriend.

Now I’ve definitely been to the park and been on picnics before. But it was always with my family, or a school thing or something with friends. Never a boyfriend. And never quite like how I planned it to be in my mind. But when you meet the one — when you meet someone truly special that you’re meant to be with, it’s like things just naturally have a way of falling into place. That’s exactly how this seemed to have worked out for me.

Larry and I even got new nicknames that coincidentally fit the occasion (I swear I didn’t plan this or do it on purpose). Larry has about 50,000 nicknames for me by this point. Apple Sauce, Dear, Babe, Baby, Cherry Face, Cherry Cheeks, Angel Face, Angel, Princess, Sweetie, and Sweet Heart are among the most frequently used. His original nickname from me is Awesome Sauce, but I call him lovely quite a bit now too. He says I overuse “Lovely” and he wanted a new nickname. So I randomly called him Boo Boo. I don’t know why. It just kind of stuck. He kind of reminds me of a bear like Boo Boo.(I’m sorry Larry but you know it’s true. I know you — you’d like nothing more than the ability to hibernate like a bear haha). And within seconds I became Yogi, because of course.

So anyways, on Wednesday night we decided that Saturday’s date would be a picnic in the park. Because I am a crazy person that takes picnics way too seriously, I began to plan for our Picnic on Friday night. I realized then that if I was going to have a picnic, I should probably buy some food for it.


I bought a little bit of food for our picnic…

You may remember that Friday was the day that I went back to Jefferson for the 2nd half of the cochlear implant music research study.For this reason, I worked from home. One of the benefits of working at home is that naturally, I get home quicker after the work day. ;). This means I can do things like go to the gym a few hours earlier than usual. I’d normally go to the gym at around 7:30 when my dad has to leave to pick my mom up from work. But I finished working around 5:30 and it was a nice day so I decided to actually walk to the gym on my own at around 6.

After working out at the gym for roughly 45 minutes I walked next door to Acme to pick up some supplies for our picnic. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to get pre-made hoagies or just buy lunch meat to make my own. That decision was made quickly after seeing the one single hoagie available. Plus, I myself am very picky with hoagies. I do not like American or Italian hoagies. I always get my hoagies custom made. So then I began browsing pre-packaged and pre-sliced options. They were rather expensive and nothing captured my attention. So I slowly made my way to meat the case.

I spent a lot of time looking at all of the meat. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted. I knew I wanted to make the perfect hoagie for my boyfriend lol. He’s a truck driver and doesn’t get many good meals especially when he’s away, so I try to make them special for him when I can. I also was trying to add up the costs in my head and make sure I had enough money for everything. The guy at the deli was very friendly and kinda laughed at me and my indecisiveness. He just said to let him know if I needed any help.

15 or 20 minutes later I finally decided. I’d go with half a pound of Hot Capicolla and half a pound of Buffalo Chicken. My boyfriend and I both really enjoy spicy foods and unique sandwiches, so I thought this would be perfect for us. Ordering from a deli was an entirely new experience for me. To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever done it before in my life, despite working for a deli in the past.

I was a little nervous at first, but at the same time I felt comfortable. The guy at the deli was pretty friendly and laid back. He didn’t seem at all annoyed by my indecisiveness or my constant pacing lol. More like amused by it. I was able to hear him perfectly and had no anxiety like I would in the past. I always avoided ordering from delis in the past unless I had someone else there to do it for me because if they tried to ask me anything like “is this okay?” or “how’d you like it sliced” I knew I’d never hear them and it would be awkward and embarrassing for me. This was definitely a pleasant experience though and I couldn’t wait to get home and tell my parents and boyfriend all about it.


Are these not the most beautiful hoagies you’ve ever seen?

The picnic at the park itself was also a nice experience. I’ve been to the park a few times now with my cochlear and it’s always an enjoyable experience. There’s always something new to hear. I was there on the Wednesday before our Saturday picnic with my boyfriend and heard a lot of music because there was a cover band playing and I heard a lot of people talking (some even stopped to talk with us a little bit).

One thing to know about my boyfriend and I (in case you haven’t already picked up on it): we’re too big kids. We love to have fun. This picnic just showed that even more. Guess what we brought with us (other than the obvious answer of food?) Nerf guns. And it was awesome!


I actually bought these around Christmas time. Been dying to play with them for these past few months…

We ran all around the park picnic area with them. There’s some trees and woods and a little playground we were able to play around. We could talk and make fun of each other and communicate even at a distance from each other — something that would have been impossible in the past.

When we got tired of playing with the nerf guns we moved on to tossing a football back and forth. Larry tried to teach me how to throw a spiral. It only somewhat worked lol. But I could hear what he was saying without him having to be right by me. At one point we started playing a game where we’d move a step back every time the other person caught the ball. We did pretty well and ended up pretty far from each other and yet we could still communicate which was neat.

At around 7 or 7:30 we stopped playing and decided to just walk the trails. It was extremely peaceful. There wasn’t many people around at this time, probably because of the weather. It was threatening rain most of the day. It drizzled a little as we were walking, but nothing major. We had an umbrella and i had my AquaCase on so there wasn’t much to worry about. I wore my AquaCase all day since it was so hot and humid and I was sweaty and didn’t want to get all of the moisture and sweat into my cochlear.

I was able to hear some of the sounds of nature. I couldn’t hear as much as Larry, but I’m sure I’ll get there in time. For example, crickets aren’t something I can hear very easily yet. I want to though. I’m sure in time I will be able to if we keep going to the park (which I’m sure we will). I can usually hear most of the birds. I heard a lot of frogs which caught me off guard a bit. We sat at a bench for awhile when it started to get dark at around 8:30-9 o’clock. I thought I was hearing ducks (there were quite a few around) but Larry told me they were frogs and when I really thought about it I realized it was the sound “ribbit” I was hearing, not “quack”. I know it sounds crazy or stupid, but I’m kind of learning what animal sound like. I know in my head what noise animals make. I’ve read them and heard them and understood them for years, but I never heard them the way they are supposed to sound. Now that I am hearing them the right way for the first time, my brain needs a little time to process them and figure out what exactly it is hearing.

Larry and I stayed at the park for as late as we possibly could (literally until they closed the gate around 9:30-10pm). One of my favorite parts of the day was when it got really dark and it was just the two of us. It was so romantic. We just sat at a bench in front of the water and talked and cuddled for a bit. It was too dark to even see each other, but I could still hear. Something I never would have done before. It was just so nice.

My first ever picnic with my boyfriend and my first picnic with my cochlear was definitely a great experience. I am definitely looking forward to having more picnics in the park this summer and exploring more of the sounds of nature with my cochlear!

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