On being Deaf
I am deaf… and I’m about to be even more so! I’ve been going deaf for over half my life now. I was injured as a cop. I was the 2nd female State Trooper in Alaska in the 70s and was also a crash-rescue fireman (2nd female one of those in Anchorage too) at the same time. So the guns and jets (without hearing protection) killed my hearing.
I’ve had 1 cochlear implant and I’m about to have the 2nd. It’s rather scary for me. The surgery completely destroys all residual hearing in the affected ear. But the return is fabulous!!!! Right now, I can hear better than I have in a long, long time. But still drop to 25% or so when there’s any background noise, and I have to have closed captions on TV. Next Thursday’s surgery means I will never-ever hear any sound naturally again till I’m with Christ. Hopefully, prayerfully, the implant will be successful and I’ll hear even more than now. (Stepped in front of a car this week, because all sound comes through my left ear. So I looked towards the sound…. it was coming from the other way. Person driving probably thought I was an idiot
Over the last few years constantly trying to talk on a normal phone has gotten so difficult for me I’ve given up. That’s NOT going to ever improve, the cochlear implants can’t help me with that. But last night my husband, my God-given, blessed husband got me a CapTel 800i. Every day at work I’ve seen this phone, and oh, I’ve wanted one. But there are incredibly expensive. I never, ever even mentioned it to him. Yet, in his love for me, and his understanding, he got me one. WOW! Today, I talked with one son and my mom and was able to NOT have to ask them to repeat (except when their words were unclear to the operator
anything, because I could read their words.
During another conversation today, after mentioning how frustrating it has been for me (on the phone) I was told that I “have to understand” that it’s frustrating for the hearing person too. No, I don’t think I do “have to understand”, because I can’t! I don’t know the frustration of constantly having to repeat myself to a stupid deaf person! Do I?
My husband had a stroke several years ago, and he can no longer run around the block. Whose job is it to understand he can no longer run? His? No, he KNOWS he can no longer run. Mine? Yep, absolutely and if I love him, I will NEVER ask him to run again. Do I have the right to be frustrated with him for not being able to run? Absolutely NOT!
I would really like my loved ones to put their face in mine and speak up so that I can hear them. And if they can see by the blank look on my face that I didn’t get the punch line of some shared joke, please repeat it, without me having to ask! Please?
What do y’all think? I want to put this out there for conversation… Is it up to the person with the challenging limitation to be understanding of the healthy person’s frustration?
© 2012, Luci Wilder. All rights reserved.