Not Quite A Bionic Ear

Posted in Miscellaneous on March 1st 2012 by Randy Reichardt

.: On Tuesday of this week, 28 February 2012, laser stapedotomy surgery was performed on my right ear.  This is a procedure in which a CO2 laser is used to cut into the stapes bone in the middle ear, so that a prosthetic piston made of composite material can be embedded within to improve hearing.  I’m spending the week at home, recovering from the operation.  Essentially I am simply resting, and dealing with lingering pain near my right ear following the surgery.  I have a Medtronic Ear Implant, a “Fisch Fluorplastic and Platinum Piston,” inserted into my stapes bone.  I do not yet know if I will set off airport security alarms, but I have a card I can carry with me that I would need to provide to any MRI facility at which I might appear.

My hearing in my right ear has been diminished since at least the mid-80s.  For years I’ve been using a hearing aid and thought that would be the status quo for the rest of my life.  However, two years ago, my brother called to tell me he had had the operation himself.  I wasn’t aware at the time that he had a similar condition.  I decided to call my otolaryngologist, only to discover that he had retired.  I consulted with my audiologist, who recommended another otolaryngologist.  I met with him, and he concluded that I was eligible for the surgery.  When I met with the surgeon in the fall of 2010, my understanding was that it would be a stapedectomy, where the stapes bone is completely removed.  I was put on a waiting list for 18 months, and when I went to the pre-op clinic a few days before the operation, I was told I would have a stapedotomy instead.

My friend, Margaret, and I arrived at the Royal Alex hospital in Edmonton at 06:00 on 28 Feb, and I was prepped and wheeled into the operating room at 08:05.  I was given a neuroleptic anesthetic, which kept me awake during the surgery.  I remember my head being covered in small sheets, and could detect a very bright light over my right ear.  My head was turned to the left while I lay on the table.  Eventually I could hear various noises – whirring, clicking, a vacuum-like sound, etc.  At one point, the surgeon did speak to me and I responded.

Soon it was over and I was moved into the recovery area.  My brother had told me that he was quite nauseous and a bit dizzy after his surgery.  However, while laying on the gurney, I could tell that I had neither symptom. The surgeon did drop by briefly to tell me everything went well, and that the stapes bone was somewhat misshapen or out of alignment.  (I can’t remember his exact words.) At noon, Margaret came back to get me, and drove me home.    I was amazed that all of this could take place in 6 hours.

My ear remains plugged with some kind of packing, and I am constantly changing cotton balls in the ear.  I cannot get water into it, so when I shower, I need to pack the ear with a cotton ball with Vaseline on the end of it, and keep my hair dry.  I can tell that at least some hearing is working, but I really can’t hear anything until the packing is removed next Wednesday.  Afterward, my hearing will be assessed again.  Hopefully it will be better, and continue to improve.

Petition Against Bill C-11

Posted in Miscellaneous on February 10th 2012 by Randy Reichardt

58 (Penrose Place)

Posted in Personal on June 27th 2011 by Randy Reichardt

.: 58 Penrose Place is the address of the last house in which I lived in St Boniface (Winnipeg), Manitoba.  My family moved there in 1971 – I can’t remember which month – and stayed there until 1985, when my folks moved to a mobile home in St Vital.  I moved to Edmonton in the fall of 1978, but the time I spent living at 58 Penrose Place was memorable for many reasons.  While living in that house, I attended the University of Manitoba, where I met many new people and made the first new friends outside of my school years.

58 is also the age I am as of today, 28 June 2011.  I was born at 01:05 MDT in Winnipeg on this date in 1953.  With each passing year, I become a little more nostalgic about parts of my life, less so about others.  Regardless, it’s good to be alive, there is always much for which one can be grateful.  I work in one of the best library systems in one of the best universities in North America.  I have great colleagues who have tolerated my moody behaviour for almost 28 years!  The job has afforded me dozens of opportunities to travel, including a trip in February 2011 to India.  My parents are still alive and in decent health, as are my brothers and their families.  I live in Edmonton, a great city in perhaps the best country on Planet Earth.  I have a seemingly unlimited supply of good friends in many places, and am surrounded by people who care about me.  So on this day, I give thanks for all of these blessings.

In 2011, I have already traveled six times in the following order: Chennai and Mumbia in India, Winnipeg, Cambridge MA, Winnipeg again, San Francisco, and Philadelphia.  Please check the photos and videos from my trip to India, which was a work-related visit, but perhaps the most fascinating trip of my life.  It was the first time I’d been to country other than Canada or the USA.  I hope to make the time to write more the India trip, and the other trips, sometime soon.

SLA 2011 Engineering Librarian of the Year

Posted in Miscellaneous on April 25th 2011 by Randy Reichardt

.: Recently I received an email telling me that I was chosen receive the SLA (Special Libraries Association) 2011 Engineering Librarian of the Year Award.  At first I thought a mistake had been made, not feeling I deserved such an accolade.  But eventually it sunk in, and I began to realize what an honour it is to receive this award.  It is peer-recognition from my fellow engineering colleagues throughout North America who are members of the association.  The award will be given to me at the annual conference in Philadelphia in June at a luncheon.  Personally, it is very humbling moment in my career.  Also, it is the first award I have ever received in my life.

An article about my receiving the award appeared a few days ago in Folio, the University of Alberta newspaper.  It contains at least one error, but that’s par for the course regarding any article ever written about me (there have been a few, mostly related to musical activities.)

UPDATE 1: Another article appeared on the Department of Mechanical Engineering page.

UPDATE 2: Reprint of the first article on the Faculty of Engineering site, with the picture from the printed version of the article.

UPDATE 3: Mentioned on P7 of the Spring 2011 University of Alberta Library and Information Studies Alumni Association newsletter.


Posted in Miscellaneous on February 8th 2011 by Randy Reichardt

This is from the Knovel Blog:

An Interview with Randy Reichardt of the University of Alberta.

From Cambridge to Chennai

Posted in Miscellaneous on February 6th 2011 by Randy Reichardt

.: Late November 27th, I flew to Boston to spend a week hanging out in Cambridge MA.  I had been in Boston during the same week over the past three years, each time to attend meetings at a conference.  In 2010, those meetings had ceased, so I wasn’t invited back to the conference again.  But in 2009, I had spent some time in Cambridge and Somerville, meeting people with whom I’d become friends on Facebook, and visiting some of the amazing music clubs in the area, including TOAD, Lizard Lounge, Atwood’s, Johnny D’s, and The Burren.  Wanting to experience more of the music scene in Cambridge and Somerville, I decided to return during the same week, but stay in Cambridge and go to the clubs every night to experience the great music there.  There were local musicians performing that week whose music had always impressed me and who I had never seen perform before, including Kristin Cifelli and Jennifer Kimball.    I also wanted to reconnect with the people I’d met in 2009 and meet a few new ones as well.

All of the above happened.  I had a great time.  I went to a club every night for seven straight days.  In addition to seeing Kristin and Jennifer perform, I saw shows by Tim Gearan, The Wild Sea, Dennis Brennan, The White Owls, Hugh McGowan, Amy Correia, The Gilded Splinters, and more.  I spent time hanging and jamming with Paul Janovitz, and visited friends at MIT and Harvard.  The only times I was in Boston were to arrive at and leave from Logan Airport.  I hope to return again in 2011 for more of the same.  The people with whom I spent time were very friendly; I felt like I was part of the community for a few days, and I want to experience that feeling again.

.: On February 15th, I will be flying to India with my friend and colleague, Margaret Law.  This will be the first time in my life that I will visit a country other than the United States.  Yes, it’s taken that long for such a trip to happen.  Our first stop will be at IIT Madras in Chennai.  We will be attending a conference of engineering librarians, and I will be speaking at one of the sessions.  We will leave Chennai on the 21st , and fly to Mumbai, for meetings with other engineering librarians, engineering students, and faculty, at IIT Bombay.  I will also give a presentation to the librarians at IIT Bombay.

We leave Edmonton on the 15th, and fly to Vancouver, Hong Kong, and Chennai.  We leave at 10:35 hrs on Tuesday, the 15th, and arrive in Chennai at 01:35 on Thursday, the 17th.  The return flight will be on the 25th – a very long 25th that will see Margaret and I fly from Mumbai to Hong Kong.  In Hong Kong, Margaret will board a flight for Korea, and I’ll return to Vancouver.  I’ll arrive in Vancouver a few hours before I leave Hong Kong, thanks to the IDL.

I’m not looking forward to the flights to and from Hong Kong.  Each flight will take over 13 hours.  I’ll report back after the trip.

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