Thursday, November 21, 2013

Leaving the Waiting Room

You would think that a nine month absence would bring forth at least a bundle of joy, gently cradled and ready to show off to everyone, like a new parent wondering how it will change life as I know it. But that’s just not exactly the case here. I am a bundle of nerves, and I am grasping onto a ball of anticipation trying to figure out how this next turn in the road will affect my life.  I’ve researched, questioned, and pseudo-prepared myself mentally and physically to receive that long awaited cochlear implant this coming Monday. 

This baby analogy is not too far off.  I think I’m even nesting a little bit. Doing a little more laundry than usual so my comfortable clothes will be ready to slip on. Making sure the kitchen is stocked up for those easy meals that the hubby can put together without too much help from me. Dusting, scrubbing, organizing, and purging a little more extensively because I know I won’t be able to do it later. Bending over and lifting are big cautionary threats that I must obey for 6 weeks, although not being able to blow my nose far outweighs the need to clean, but there is no way to do that ahead of time.

Like a pregnancy, the details of the last nine months are probably too gross, too mundane, too self-absorbed to bother repeating, but I do have to say that I have lived through the mounds of doctor bills, inconsideration of insurance companies, and a roller coaster ride of emotions.

So what is this cochlear implant anyway, you may be wondering. You can visit this link if you really want to know the technical ins and outs of this tiny prosthesis. I can only really tell you that it will be an opportunity to bring back to life the gift of hearing. This is not a “have to”, life or death surgery; it’s elective.  The protests of my friends and family claiming that I really do so well and hearing better than ever with these last hearing aids, stab me, okay, not stab, but they do prickle a bit. Even I have had to struggle with the realization that my residual hearing will be permanently lost. But I can only relate this to maybe someone who has received a devastating blow to the knee. The leg is mangled and beyond repair, but the foot is still in perfect condition, untouched by the damage. What good is that foot if there is no leg to support it? What good is one or two tones of hearing a snore or a foghorn blast if I can’t hear the conversation of a loved one or the endearing question of a grandchild wanting to know when she can help me make a 3-2-1 cake for dessert tonight?

 I can’t even tell you when I last heard the punch line of a joke. When we are in the throes of telling a story, the inflection and body language are animated and pretty easy for anyone to follow. But as we built to the climax of the last line, our voices hit a higher frequency and then, reaching the best line of the story…POW, we blast the words out faster than a speeding bullet. Anyone with a hearing loss has just missed the G spot of grasping what was said. Asking for a repeat just kills the mood, you know.  

Living with a hearing loss can be done. My deaf colleagues with their admirable pride and lack of shame have tried to show me that they are not broken, and their lives are just as fulfilling as any hearing person’s life can be. But for the most part this is all they have ever known, and being deaf is their normal. They have the gift of communication using ASL. As a post lingual adult with a progressive hearing loss, I never learned sign language and, all too gradually my communication tool, the voice, was lost. When I am with a group of deaf and hearing individuals, my isolation just doubles, because I cannot sign, and I can’t hear the conversations of the hearing people either. But, I have spent the past 30 years proving that it indeed can be done, and I am proud of my accomplishments.

    I guess I can blame the aging process and lack of "umph" to keep working at both hearing and listening (They are two different things). Before, I was too busy to worry about what I didn’t have, but after retiring, I have had the time to really know what I am missing and I want it back. I want more than hiding in my quilt room, looking at a computer, or settling for close captioned entertainment.  Birds singing, visiting with friends in a noisy pub, the gentle car conversations, a musical concert or a play, an energetic discussion of a lifelong learning classroom, the garage door opening to know Wayne is home, the punch line of a joke. Those things and more are waiting for me, and I am ready!

Oh, just so you know, the stories are flowing again, and I will be back not only sharing this amazing adventure, but relating the moments of the past to our lives today. I hope you continue to visit.




  1. Many prayers are with you. I truly hope things go well for you and, once again, look forward to your posts. You certainly deserve some good news.

    1. Thank you, it's good to be back. Those prayers out there are working wonders. You letting me know yours is among them is especially healing. Blessings to you. ~Suzanne

  2. We have such similar stories , im going to get the ball rolling again and SOON. ( chickened out at the approaching surgery date 2 yrs ago !)
    Ready as i will ever be now . Turned 60 , hubby retiring soon , one sweet grandbaby and another on the way . Im an artist and want to get back to teaching art again ! Thx for inspiration

  3. I have to blame operator error on my delay in responding to you. I may have been working this blog for a while but the technical in's and out's are foreign to me and I am not getting all comments. I do apologize. I wish you well on getting that ball rolling again. You DO want to hear every word those grandbabies utter. Sheer joy!
    Blessings to you


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