Sunday, October 22, 2006


…that’s what I said when I looked down from my perch on the couch and over a stack of papers I was editing to see Otis lying on the floor beneath me, and in his jaws, my implant,the treasured, treasured implant, in 6,000 pieces. To say he broke it would be an understatement; to say he chewed it, also doesn’t cover it. That implant could not have been any more destroyed if George Bush had endorsed it.

What to do?

First, of course, to put Otis in his cage and have a second beer, then, to look at the implant. I have to say – scattered in 6,000 pieces, it was a much less impressive thing than I expected it. Given that it had given me hearing to a degree far beyond what I ever thought was possible, I assumed that inside of the implant was some combination of gold dust, cyborg technology, steroids, and computer chips that were actually alive…but it was just plastic mostly, and flat green pieces mottled with teeth marks.

AJ called Cochlear Corporation and they told her, “It happens, no biggie, but the next one that gets eaten costs you seven grand.” I brought the chewed up implant to the NYU Coch center along with my spare, which needed a magnet (Otis ate that too) and an updated program.

Meg was there, and when I opened the envelope and spilled out the pieces of the destroyed implant, she just laughed.

“I don’t think we can fix this,” she said.

She told me some stories of destroyed implants: canine homicide was the most popular method, but there were other ways – one had been flushed down the toilet; another had fallen in a gutter; and in her personal favorite, one couple had driven away from their implant center leaving the implant of their one year old baby on the car roof – not two hours after they had received it. When they realized what they did, they threw the car in reverse to get the implant and drove right over it.

The point of the story: it happens. But also, it feels good to have this kind of support behind the implants. And also: please, keep your dogs away from expensive and fragile hearing devices.

“Thanks for everything,” I said to Meg. “I don’t feel so stupid now.”
“I want to keep this,” she held up a couple of pieces. “I’m framing it as a warning to others.”
“A warning?”
“Yes. And now you’ve got to keep Otis away from your implants from now on.”
“He never had any interest in them before,” I said. “I don’t think he’s into technology.”

But then two days later he ate AJ’s cellphone.


Blogger Buddy said...

Please, please get a metal case for the implant and put the implant in it immediately whenever you take it off, even for a moment.

6:23 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Heh, heh, dogs and hearing devices are a dangerous mix! We've got ten hearing aids in our family and one earmold-loving dog that got a hold of one pair this summer.

4:38 PM  

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