Thursday, February 23, 2012

Isolation

Until my ears went wonky from an infection 12 days ago, I didn’t give much thought to my hearing. Having always had tinnitus, I’d learned to block it out. Other than that, I have excellent hearing. Now, however, the lack of it has become hugely significant.

I haven’t ventured out of our apartment since Spouse took me to the E.R. last Sunday. Vertigo makes me stagger like a drunken sailor and I still have no strength from two weeks of low-grade fever and virtual fasting. Of course, it would be nice if I’ve lost weight, but I’d gladly give that up to get my hearing back to normal.

A positive development I discovered last evening is that I can croak out a few words. At least now, if someone phones, they won’t think I’m rude or playing games by not talking. The cicadas and locusts are still playing their Rhapsody in A Sharp Major, so I’m not too worried that eventually my hearing will return.

The isolation of low hearing is worse than I ever imagined. I miss being able to hear the kettle when it boils, Spouse’s key in the lock when he comes home, kids chatting in the hallway and all the other little sounds of life.

Closed-captioning on TV is helpful, but often confusing and frustrating because speakers talk too fast for the captioning to keep up with them. Everything about life is so much faster now. If a person doesn’t have all her senses up and running, she’ll miss out.

I don’t mean to complain. My problems are miniscule in comparison to what’s going on in the rest of the world. Being somewhat confined by this temporary health dilemma has given me more (too much?) time to think.

My beloved nephew/godson Alex is hearing impaired. Thanks to state of the art hearing aids, he lives a pretty normal life. Of course, his awesome family deserves more credit than they’ll ever get.

The medical community at Children’s Hospital, here in D.C. kept him alive and supplied the platform on which he could build a life. His family and therapists took it from there. His ingrained exuberance for life keeps him going and his intellect is truly amazing.

Having said all that I wonder if, when he takes out his hearing aids to go to bed, does the silence bother or comfort him. Being impaired really bothers me, but I suspect Alex just goes with the flow. He’s such a cool little dude.

1 comment:

Mark said...

So sorry to hear that. (no pun intended) I'm sure you miss the little things like you said. I hope the prognosis is positive. Good luck, stay well.