An (interesting) day in the life ….

This really was an interesting day in the life of this hearing impaired woman. A few weeks ago, as I was leaving my house for work @ 7:30am, my DH was welcoming into our house a man from animal control. We had been hearing those scurrying noises in our attic, again! There had been squirrels up there in the past, but we really thought we had plugged up ALL those holes. However, my husband knew he needed to go up there to set up the squirrel trap, again. (O/c you realize this was a few days prior to the AC guy showing up). So, up the steps he climbed. “That ain’t no squirrel!” he reported as he returned to our bedroom. “I think we have a RACCOON now! He looked at me with two eyes right in front of his face!” he said. “Oh no!” I exclaimed.”Where is the camera?” (Ok, that might have been my courageous side speaking). After perusing the internet, my husband decided we needed to call a professional mostly for his sake, b/c he wasn’t able to sleep! (Now, I must say this is ONE OF THE BENEFITS of having a moderate to severe hearing loss. I never heard anything while sleeping b/c my aids were out of my ears. LOL!) Anyway, off to work I went while they were to pretend they become critter busters!

Later that afternoon, I went to my dental appointment. You know the drill, (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!) decay under a large filling. The plan was to have the molar refilled, and get the tooth prepped for a crown. That was fun! NOT!! Oh my heavens!! FOUR doses of novocaine later, the whole left side of my face was completely frozen! I mean it felt like, I was numb down to my toes! (Ok, I will spare you the rest of those details). Now, I don’t know about you but during medical procedures, I’ve learned to sing or pray (or attempt) to keep my mind otherwise occupied. In this occasion, I began wondering what was happening with the raccoon. Was it a female? Was it pregnant? Did she already have those babies, in my attic? What about my personal property up there? My next thought was, “Well, I have my cell phone in my purse. I’ll just call my DH when I’m done.” I imagined sitting in the parking lot, calling him (b/c I can do some noise control when my windows are shut) and hear better (with the cell on speaker ….and o/c my conversations should be private too, right?). And then it hit me! “I can’t hear well, and I certainly won’t be able to speak very well with, oh yeah, by now FIVE doses of novocaine. Oh, that will be fun!” Result? Hysterical laughter in the dentist’s office! I’ll bet he thought I was absolutely nuts!!

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A vacation ……for my ears…ahhhhhh!

Ahhhh….the beach!

Don’t you ever feel visually overstimulated? Too much bright light? Maybe the bright blue glow of your computer monitor starts to irritate? Isn’t sometimes, the sun too bright?

For the hearing impaired it is similar, yet different. For me, sometimes the challenges of listening, deciphering, comprehending what people are saying (let alone responding) can become stressful. I guess for hearing folk that can be such a foreign concept. Especially in busy places, where there are lots of people talking, maybe even music playing in the background, AND I’m trying to figure out what someone is saying…whew!

The best example I can come up with is my Pre-K classroom. When 17 four year old children are all playing and talking at once, it gets a little much for my poor little ears. You realize, of course, we have boys that love pretending to be superheros with strength, excitement, and LOUD voices, while princesses (or artists) are carrying on, some with much quieter voices. So if we have an argument, or an accident, in the midst of the usual buzz, then hearing the children involved in this little sub activity is, well, challenging!

BUT, guess what happened this week? I just got a tad bewildered and muttered, “OH. I think my ears need a vacation!” The children stopped and looked at me, some starring and others giggling. When one of them questioned me, I said, “Well, yeah maybe I could send my ears on an airplane to a nice quiet little island somewhere. Then they could just relax and lay on a blanket and get a suntan.” After more giggles, I explained, “Maybe, my ears just need a break from listening so much, because they get tired. So a vacation for my ears,” in my quietest whisper voice, “would be a place that’s nice …….and…… quiet.”

And guess what they did? THEY ACTUALLY ALL GOT QUIET! Of course, it didn’t last long but I learned finding a way to speak my needs can be easily understood by four year old children!

Oh, what a night!

My son’s high school hosted their last football game at home last night. He is a senior in the marching band, and we’ve always sat near them to show our support. During senior night, parents were invited to be on the field with their kids. Football families and dance families escorted their seniors onto the field and band parents, were introduced and given flowers to pin on their kids uniforms before their last song at half time. (Awww…sniff, sniff! The last one?)

It was the coldest night of the year (some would say “good football weather”), and the crowd was FiEsTY!!! I mean the PARENTS!!! They were just screaming!!!!!! Sometimes cheering on the football team, sometimes disagreeing with the refs!!! Passionately and LOUDLY!!! (They were probably parents of senior football players.) I might add we were going against a team that was UNDEFEATED and had not let their opponents score at all in the past four competitions.

To make things more interesting a friend of ours was there to support the other team. She was sitting on the other side because her son was in their school’s  pep band. I was excited when she called me before the game to say she’d see us there!! Yeah! When she walked over to chat with us during the second quarter (and watch the half time show), it became real clear to me it would be hard to hear and have a conversation!! Whoa!!

You can imagine that as our team was able to score 20 points on this “Facing the Giants” team, the crowd went nuts!!!! I mean it was cRaZY!!!! At one point, my friend leaned close to say something, and it got REALLY LOUD again! Our guys had caught an interception, and the band went cRaZy!!! !! So much for that conversation! I just had to resolve that I wasn’t there to hear much. I had to tell myself, “Let it go, girlfriend! It’s okay!” We made plans to get together with our friend in the future, and I felt comfort knowing we’d be able to converse better at another time.

Of course, you realize that I was just able to hear pieces of conversations my husband and she were having, right? And then this: When it was our turn to greet our son on the field during half time, that bittersweet moment when I’m trying to hold back tears because my maternal heart was excited, proud and sad all at once, the band teacher announces my husbands name incorrectly!!!! (The name my mom used to call him!) WHY could I hear that? I’m convinced GOD has a sense of humor!!!!

Snippets and snapshots

Do you remember the Readers Digest magazine?

My mom had them all over our house. Weren’t there several different sections, or pages, dedicated to tickling our funny bones? “Laughter the Best Medicine” and “All In a Day’s Work.” This post is my version…….”My last few weeks”

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I recently found a new chiropractor and have started feeling results already. Thank-you, GOD!

One of the first times I “laid down on his bench” (face down of course) for an adjustment, he walked down along my legs around my feet, over to the other side of me, and spoke.

“I’m just gonna look up your shirt.”

“WHAT?” I gasped as I turned around to look at him. That’s when I saw the computer, and he repeated the quote, “I’m just gonna look up your chart!”

“Ohhhh, good idea, thanks!!” Whew!!

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Speaking of shirts ….

One of my preschoolers was telling me about clothes firemen wear. EVENTUALLY, I figured out she was telling me about sweat shirts! Do you know how it sounded?

Sweat shots!  WHY did it take about 5 minutes for me to figure that out?
Maybe because I don’t think of firemen wearing sweat shirts, or maybe…well here’s a clue…

She also told me something had happened to her twin sister. “What happened?” I asked. “That boy took ha toy!” Another day she wanted to be “fahst” in line….

Hhhmmm…what’s going on here?
Sure enough when I spoke with her dad…they used to live in Mass a chew setts…..OOOOOHHHHHHH!!!!! There is nothing like that accent!

You do understand that I love people, and chatting with people, but well, sometimes, it just gets cOnFusInG!!!  That lovely four year old was telling me……

“That boy took her toy!” and …  she wanted to be “first” in line….

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You see, if you expect to hear TOE MAY TOE and you hear TOE MAA TOE,  or if you expect to hear TOE MAA TOE and you hear TOE MAY TOE, well its like your brain can’t quite process it or something. I’m not trying pass judgement or pick sides, I just want all you all hearing folk to sort of “listen with my bad ears” for a while. That way when your grandfather, or your spouse, starts “making things up,” you might ask (or begin to understand) they just might be having a hard time hearing. And, when folks pronounce things differently than we expect, it gets very confusing.

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In closing, and because I like to have fun, here’s a quiz:

What do you suppose this child was saying to me?
“Ms Barb, you are a siwwy gooth!”

I’ll let you know on the next post!!

Happy hearing!

What’s normal?

Last night, I went out to a local diner with some girlfriends I hadn’t seen for a while.

Even though it was a struggle to hear as we ate and chatted about private girl thangs, the “real fun” happened when we went to “powder our noses.” We walked into the ladies room, and the first thing I noticed was the fluorescent light was flickering. How irritating! So, as I sitting there “taking care of business”, I was mentioning to my friend, “That’s like a strobe light, and I hate those!” Well, she is also speaking to me while she was “taking care of business”, and I have NO IDEA, what she is saying!! So, I finally said, “Hey, I think I’m going to write about you tomorrow in my blog.” She said, “Why?”

“Well, because you were talking to me while we were both in our separate places, as if I could actually hear you, silly!”

As she begins to apologize, she FLUSHES the toilet. Now, of course, I really can’t hear!

As we were washing our hands, I turned and said, “What were you saying in there anyway?” “Oh, I was just talking about that flickering light bulb!” LOL!!

This reminds me of the last conversation I had with another friend on the phone, while I heard some very strange noise in the background, which drowned out her voice completely. I asked her, “What cha doing?” “Laundry!” “So, is that the water rushing into your washer I hear?”

“YUP! Sorry!”

On one hand, I had to just laugh with her. On the other hand, I realized family members and friends of the hearing impaired can be educated that “normal is very different” for those of us with a significant hearing loss.

For me with a loss of about 50 decibels, I can either hear the environmental sounds (mostly because they are louder) OR the sounds of spoken language ….but NOT both at the same time!

Please understand, I love my girlfriends dearly. I don’t post these things because I’m frustrated with them at all. I just want folks to understand the realities of a hearing loss, and provide some understanding of what normal is for folks like me!

Happy Anniversary Blog!

This week marks the anniversary of this blog. To be exact, Sept 5th, 2012 was the day I started this blog! Whoa, where did the time fly?

So what has happened in a year?

I bought one new hearing aid….Hallelujah!!!! And I’m hearing much better! You don’t mind, if I say it again, right? Hallelujah!!!! I am hearing SO MUCH BETTER!!

I named her Hortina. I am also benefiting from a loaner hearing aid, in my right ear, with plans to buy a compatible one for Hortina, next January. (I think they might even be able to chat with each other somehow. Isn’t technology amazing?)

See the contrasting stories from A not so typical day to OH MY GOODNESS!!

And, what a delightful surprise it was when I went to the The Movies?

I’ve learned two lessons since last summer:

One: I need to keep getting my hearing evaluated and if necessary (HA!) get newer hearing aids. Whoa! Thank God I have a flexible spending account which covered the cost.This brings up a valid point! I’m sure I delayed this whole process because new hearing aids, are expensive!! Most insurance companies do NOT cover the cost. Perhaps we need to bring this up with “the powers that be.” Many people have vision coverage. I think its time we get folks some auditory coverage. I know, hearing aids are way more expensive than glasses but isn’t that the precise reason why people need it? (Sorry, I not taking the side of the insurance companies).

Two: Keep communicating my needs to others.

See WALK THIS WAY!

To date this blog has received 519 views from 9 countries:

United Kingdom, Bangladesh, Russian Federation, India, Chile, Netherlands, Canada Norway, as well as the good old USA.

I never thought their would be any world wide interest. That blows me away!

However its only since March 2012, that I know about the countries b/c WordPress added a new feature to our blogs at that time:

You can see how many views you’ve received per country by day, week, month, quarter and all time, but keep in mind this feature was introduced in March 2012 and prior data is not available.

This past summer I updated this blog, added new posts, learned how to add tags, all to generate more site traffic. By late August I started receiving a few comments. That’s exciting. Please feel free to include your thoughts as well.

Another development: I’ve linked my jewelry business Heaven Sent Gems to this site.

http://heavensentgems.wordpress.com/

(The link is on the left of my home page, if you are interested.)

That site has received 1567 views from 6 countries. (US, Canada, Australia, Norway, Italy and Greece) Cool, huh? Maybe I should make Hearing Impairment Awareness earrings? Hhhmmm…consider that a note to self!

So, how do I celebrate?

Should buy a headband with “cat ears” on it? or cook some “ears of corn”? or become nostalgic for “rabbit ears”?   (You know we used to put them on top of our TVs before cable TV came along.)

Remember, I work in a preschool, so my silly personality slips out occasionally.

I know I WILL (constantly) thank God for the opportunity to buy new hearing aids, and more importantly, to share my experiences so someone else can benefit!
Happy hearing everyone!! Thanks for reading, and please share this blog with anyone you know who might benefit!!

Hortina

May I introduce you to my world of craziness?

I admit I talk to inanimate objects, and yes, I have been known to name some of them.

For those of you who think this is much too goofy, I won’t be offended if you’d rather view something else now….maybe …Heaven Sent Gems? http://heavensentgems.wordpress.com/

For the rest of you, yes, I named my hearing aid. I’m just now posting about this. Now that I’m 50+ years, I’m willing to take risks, including the risk that you’ll stop reading if you find out how goofy I can be. Please remember I teach Pre-K children and many of us, in my school,  can get downright silly!!

So, when it was time for me to go pick up the new hearing aid, from work, I wanted to celebrate with my 4 year olds. They have a way of making celebrations very lively!!

I decided to buy them all ice-cream sandwiches, but I wanted something additional.

Since I my previous hearing aid had a name, I needed a new name for this one. Combining these ideas, I developed an arts and crafts activity for my students. I had them glue elephant ears, trunks and faces on a piece of construction paper. The elephant, of course, was Horton from Dr Seuss’ book, Horton Hears a Who. Once that was all glued together, they added a tiny square of paper with a self portrait on it. That way they could explain that Horton (Ms Barb) could now hear, Who? ME!! “See my picture, mommy? She can hear ME now!!” (Especially those little teeny tiny Asian voices I love so much!)

Hence, the name Hortina was born. Wanna see her picture? with a new found friend?

GG finds Hortina. Eeeks! Hey, give that back, GF!

A photo finish! (No, they don’t play together often, or at all!)