Monday, April 29, 2013

Deafness is Difficult
(for Everyone)
April 29,2012

All my life, I have been an "I can do it myself" person.  I don't like to ask other people to do things for me that I think I should be able to do for myself.  Now, I often have to ask Ron (my husband) to do things for me.  The most frequent request has to do with telephone calls. 

Without the personal amplifier that I use, I hear...NOTHING.  I don't hear the TV turned all the way up.  I don't hear a car honk.  I don't hear the garbage disposal running or water running.  I don't hear the amplified telephone ring, the special doorbell play loud chimes, or my grandchildren scream or cry.  NOTHING.  With my hearing amplifier, I can tell the TV is on, but have no clue as to what they are saying.  At the dining table, I can tell that people are talking, but can only tell what the person next to me is saying if they speak toward my amplifier. 

One of my grandchildren, Rachel (the one who prays for Grandma's hearing) has learned that I carry the amplifier in my pocket much of the time, so she will run up and talk to my pocket.  Others try speaking to my left ear - the ear that used to work.  Unless a person is within 18 - 24 inches of the microphone on the amplifier, there is little chance I can figure out what they are saying. 

Telephone use is very difficult.  With effort, I do manage talking to some family members (as mentioned in an earlier blog entry).  Making a call just doesn't work.  Today there was a list of calls that needed to be made.  Ron has been so good to handle calls to the doctors and medical facilities.  He has made calls to set appointments at the earliest opportunity and by doing so has moved this process along quickly.

Before the surgery, I need to pre-register at the hospital in Houston and have lab work done there.  Our son in Dallas has been wanting us to come for a visit, so we have been trying to combine those two trips.  Today my husband called the hospital to see if we could make an appointment for the Tuesday after Memorial Day.  They said that would work out for them.  We will spend the holiday weekend with our son and then travel to Houston to get the pre-operative things done before coming home.  That was one phone call.

Next we needed an appointment with the surgeon for a follow up after the surgery. As soon as we had a surgery date Ron called the Houston Ear Research Foundation to set up an appointment for the activation of the device.  (The device is not turned on until the patient is healed from the surgery.)  There will be two appointments on consecutive days the first time.  Those are scheduled for July 2 and July 3.  Each appointment will be 2 1/2 hours as they program and adjust the device to meet my needs.  Since we have to travel about 5-6 hours to go to these appointments we try to do as much on each trip as possible.  So today he called the surgeon's office to see if we could do the follow up during the time we will be there for the activation of the implant.  Those appointments are in the mornings and the surgeon will be able to see us the first afternoon of those two days, so that will mean we don't have to make another trip back up there the following week.

Then I needed Ron to be sure the surgeon was aware of one medical need I have.  I thought we discussed it on our first visit, but I found no record of it so he asked about that.  The answer: A nurse will call you back.  Then I was concerned that we had not gotten all the things at the hospital set up, so he had to call them back.  They said it was all set. 

I had another question for the surgeon's office so he was able to talk to them about that when the nurse called back.  They also wanted the dates of all the other appointments we had set up, to be sure all the things were being covered. 

Those were just the phone calls that I needed him to make today for me on medical needs.  That doesn't count the business calls I had to ask him to make that normally I would have been able to make: calls to people who said they would be right over with the check last Wednesday, the customers who need to be told their items are ready for pickup, the merchandise that needs to be ordered from suppliers that I would normally place.  Then over the weekend I needed him to call my hair dresser to make an appointment for me.  There were calls to our son about arranging to meet him, and on and on.  It is easy for a person who can't hear to withdraw more and more as time goes on when you hate to ask others to do things for you. 

Those phone calls are just one aspect of the whole picture.  I can't just pull up to the drive-up window at the fast-food restaurant and place my order.  I can't pick up my prescriptions at the drive-up window.  I can't hear their questions. 

My daughter -in-law has been out of town for a few days and today my mom was helping with the seven children.  I took lunch to them and stayed a while, but couldn't hear my youngest granddaughter's cry.  The other children could tell me that she needed me.  I returned to the office for a while and then picked up supper and took it to their house.  As we ate, I could move my microphone from one side to the other to hear my mom on one side and a young grandson on the other side, but could not hear the others around the table. 

Don't get me wrong.  There are a lot of things I continue to enjoy, but these things are the reality of "profound hearing loss".  These are some of the daily challenges.  I still could enjoy our youngest granddaughter making faces at Ron and pointing to the food items she wanted him to feed her.  I could enjoy looking at our oldest grandson in his Boy Scout uniform as he hurried through supper to leave for a scout meeting.  I could enjoy the hugs and kisses from all the grandchildren.

This weekend was very nice.  We are in the midst of the Spring migration of birds from South and Central America to their summer homes in the northern United States and Canada.  The birds were hit with a cold front about the time they got to our area along the southern border of the U.S.  They stopped over for refueling.  Friday, my yard was filled with orioles of several varieties and numerous other beautiful birds.  My husband encouraged me to spend extra hours at the house doing one of my favorite activities: bird photography.  In the last few days I have taken around 1,500 photos of these awesome, God-created, little beauties. 

Saturday I spent much of the day taking photos of the birds in our backyard.  Mid-afternoon Ron went with me to South Padre Island where thousands of migrating birds are being fed and photographed by bird lovers.  What fun to watch them hop through the trees and see that they were watching us as much as we were watching them.  It would have been nice to hear them, but what a blessing to see them.  Then we went to dinner at Pirate's Landing, a great place with a view of the bay and delicious food.  It was a relaxing evening.  Their grilled fajitas alone are worth the drive.

Sunday we spent the morning in the Bible Study class Ron teaches and in the worship service at our church.  Then two of our grandchildren came home with us for the afternoon.  We picked up lunch and went to Ron's mom's house to share lunch with her.  A downpour had started while we were getting lunch and we enjoyed watching the wind and rain bring relief to our drought stricken area.  The grandchildren were spellbound watching the orioles in the yard.  They were spotting and counting.

All of those things could be enjoyed with my very limited hearing.  Our oldest grandson had spent the day at our office Friday and at one point he, Ron, and I were chatting.  He said something he hadn't intended to say.  The look of horror on his face was priceless.  What he let slip was something I had told him ages ago and he thought it would upset his grandpa, but it didn't.  In fact I got to laughing so hard about the look on his face that I couldn't talk.  Ron later said he was so delighted to hear me laugh more than I had laughed in months, that it wouldn't have mattered what our grandson said, my laughter, to him outweighed it.  That reminded me, I am not the only one suffering during this time.  It is hard on everyone around me.  They all want me to be able to hear and it isn't just about the extra workload for them.  It is wanting to laugh at life, share experiences, and discuss things.


  1. Hi, Linda,
    You are doing a wonderful job with this blog. I read all your entries and cried a little for you/laughed a little with you. (If we can't laugh at some of the things we mishear, we're doomed to crankiness.) I can't wait until your activation. Rachel's going to be one happy girl.

    Chin up! I wish your surgery date were sooner, but it's not too far off.

    Thanks for doing this blog. I'm going to share it. Meanwhile, love those bird photos!

    1. Thanks, Pat. I feel like I am coming out of a fog of shock and adjustment of the last 3 months and maybe it is best that I come out of the before the surgery. Appreciate the encouraging words.

  2. Linda your blog is an awesome inspiration to us all! I believe it is also ministering to YOU. There is such a wonderful outpouring of ones soul in blogging...and you do it well!!! You are proving that God is not also in the sounds of his creation, He is also in the silence!

    Love you like a SISTA

    Becky McLendon

    1. Very true, Becky, but I really look forward to being able to hear your new song that you just recorded. Tried to listen but couldn't hear enough. Love the words. God has given you such a great gift!

  3. You are so fortunate to have Ron as your husband, partner, helper, & all around person. He is smart & inventive with an awesome sense of humor as I remember him & you have confirmed thru your blog. This is a big THANK YOU RON from me for being there for you & answering the challenges y'all have faced. Hands together for you both!!

  4. Yes, Dottie, I am blessed. There are so many things Ron is able to do to make my life easier. And you remember correctly - he has a great sense of humor. Sometimes I have to explain it to others, tho'. Thank you for the prayers.