Saturday, 2 July 2011

Music and the appreciation of sound

This is a bit of a mixture of an update. Officially it's about the wedding music, but I thought I'd also take the opportunity to explain a bit more and post some pictures of my BAHA (bone-anchored hearing aid).

As I said in my last post, my brothers will be walking me down the aisle and handing me over to my future husband. My bridesmaid, J, and I will walk the first section of the aisle alone in acknowledgement of the fact that Dad isn't there to walk with me. We will then meet each of the brothers in age order; starting with N (16) and ending with W (28), who will place my hand in R's at the altar. The music for this is going to remain a surprise. Come on, I can't tell you everything, can I now?

We had some difficulty in choosing the hymns for the service, mainly because R doesn't know very many. We've been joking to our friends that we're going to sing 'Swing low, sweet chariot' (the song for the England rugby team), 'Little Donkey' (funny for so many reasons) and 'Jerusalem', as they are the only ones that R knows.

Actually, we're going to be singing three very traditional hymns:
1. Be thou my vision
2. Great is thy faithfulness
3. Tell out, my soul

There are four hymns in the standard Church of England order of service, but we're keen to get on with the Champagne, so the fewer the better! Not entirely true. Three just felt right to us, and we love all three of our choices.

During the signing of the register, we will play a recording of three Latin motets by Stanford (Justorum Anime, Beati Quorum Via, Coelos Ascendit Hodie). They are all very beautiful, but my absolute favourite is the Beati Quorum Via. I would also like this to be played at my funeral. If you don't listen to any of the other pieces of music linked in this post, I would encourage you to listen to this one. 

And finally, our recessional is a Prelude by Bach (BWV 553), which will be played on organ by our friend, Sara. It's an unusual choice (we did consider many of the more 'normal' choices), but this one really appealed to both of us. I love Bach, and Sara plays this piece beautifully. I'm sure that R and I will both be beaming smiles wider than our faces as we walk back up the aisle as husband and wife to this piece of music.

So now a little explanation of the piece of equipment that allows me to appreciate all this beautiful music: my BAHA. It's a small device that converts sound into vibrations. It clips onto a titanium abutment, which is fixed into my skull (and has a bald patch around it so the hair doesn't interfere with the sound processor); this picks up the vibrations and transmit them through the bones of my skull, so they can be detected by my one functioning vestibulocochlear nerve on the other side of my head.

The device itself (you can see the clip on the back and the big round button on the front, which allows me to switch between different 'modes' - e.g. using microphones to pick up sound from all around, or just from the front):

This is the abutment, which is fixed into my skull. Although I'm not wild about having this square bald patch,I am really pleased with the way the skin graft has healed - this was done less than nine months ago, and everyone in the auditory implant clinic has been amazed about how beautifully it's healed, and how clean it looks.

And this is the BAHA clipped onto the abutment. One definite advantage of having rather wild hair is that the BAHA isn't particularly noticeable, even with my hair tied back. With my hair down, it's completely invisible.

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