You Think You See, But You Have No Idea

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Jasper, Alabama, United States

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Soaking Up the Silence

My job is so noisy, that it drives me crazy some days. Like TODAY.
I'm just tired of all the noise. It has physically exhausted me.
I'm just sitting here in the quiet. Hearing aids off. Ahhhh. How nice.
I wonder if other hearing impaired people notice that too?
I wonder if they too, sometimes just want the quiet.

Some noises drive me insane. The vacuum cleaner for instance. Running water in the tub (actually I don't like the sound of any running water). The hair dryer. Mixers. Blenders. Any Electrical saws or tools. Outside with cars constantly passing on the road.
I literally turn off my aids anytime those noises are present. The noise isn't "too loud" and it doesn't "hurt" my ears, it just drives me insane.
I've never seen them listed like that, and now that I look at it,,,,there is a pattern there.....roaring sounds.....don't like them. Odd that I never noticed that before.
Wonder why those noises?

Monday, September 29, 2008

What Do I Want To Hear, When I Grow Up?

I can't believe how comfortable I am with my hearing loss at work. Today, someone called out my name in the kitchen, the very noisy kitchen, I looked around to everyone I could see and no one was looking at me,(I have to do this because I can not localize sound, in other words I can not tell where sound comes from) so I yelled out "Where are you?!?" they were behind a door. They stepped out where I could see them and said "Right Here!" I loved it. It made life so easy to just come out and say it. I was laughing about it, I was like "yeah I was looking all over trying to figure out who was talking to me". It was so empowering and such a burden off my shoulders, to just be me.
Later I got the chance to do it again. I heard someone call my name from the office. I came out to the kitchen looked around, no one. I said "Who called me?" Someone replied, "Melinda, she needs you to unlock the closet." No one thought a thing of it. I couldn't believe it was that easy. Usually I would either act like I didn't hear them and wait on them to come and get me, or I would go around to each person individually and ask them if they needed me. This new method is so much simpler. Gezzz....
I just couldn't get over how easy it was, so I tried it again. Someone was talking to me from across the room, while I was busy doing something. I said "Come over here so I can hear you."
It was that easy. I was making a big deal over what was apparently nothing.
Wow. How nice.
Today was a good hearing day. Another great milestone in my self confidence as a hearing impaired person, in a hearing world.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Word of the Day IS...

Okay, so today I found a new word I was pronouncing incorrectly.

For those of you who are not hearing impaired or have never experienced it, this is a crazy thing. You've went your entire life saying a word a certain way, only to find out later that its not the way its pronounced. For me its VERY hard to correct. Either I misunderstood the word when I first heard it, or I read it, and have never actually heard the word spoken to know its pronunciation. A lot of times too, I will think there are alternate ways to pronounce a word and that is why sometimes even though I know the correct way, I think mine is okay too.
Some of my most common ones, and the ones my hubby and mom have corrected me on numerous times, are just plain funny to me, at this point I know the correct pronunciation, I just don't realize I'm saying the words wrong.

~Suite (I say suit,, Hotel hubby loves that one...hey it makes sense to me, I mean, we have a suit of furniture and suit of clothing which is a group of items so why not a hotel suit?!?)
~Preference (I say per-fer-ance)
~Magnolia (I pronounce it mag-no-yee-a, this is my moms favorite...she has corrected me since childhood and I still get it wrong)

~Todays Word: Ter-tast-er-fee (the actual pronunciation is *drum roll please*........

Catastrophe !!! Thats right folks thats how I've been pronouncing catastrophe.

example: The party was a tertasterfee....)

Oh, the crazy, funny, life of the hearing impaired. You just gotta love it...
Its still kicking my butt at 31. Only now, I can laugh at it. I love being an adult, because its okay to like yourself and laugh at your imperfections when your a grown- up. Its a shame you're not allowed to do that as a kid.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

If a Woodpecker Pecks on a Pine Tree and You Can't Hear it,,,,does it still make a sound?

Today we went hiking. We had such a great time. We always do when we're outside. Especially in the forest. We love to hike, swim, ride our bikes, explore, anything in nature really. So, today, we're out hiking and we find a beautiful resting spot by a little stream. It's the most perfect weather, the most perfect amount of sun and shade. I was sitting there being thankful for the beautiful day, while Cam and Lar were looking for "fish" in the stream. All of a sudden Lar had us all be quiet so Cam could hear a woodpecker.
Mommy can't hear the woodpecker...
Ohhhh, wait. It must be too far away for us to hear it.
"Hey! Cam, can you hear that Woodpecker?"
"Yep, its going peck, peck pe e e e e e e e ek"

By now I'm irritated. I want to hear the stupid woodpecker. My hearing aids have different settings on them that my audiologist and I set up for me. I have one that I use that is basically just my normal hearing but REAL loud. I use it at College to hear the professor in a large, quiet room. So anyway I turned it to that setting....and BAM! It was like the world came alive! I could hear birds, the woodpecker, leaves falling, water trickling down a stream, and way off in the distant other hikers.
I was living more in the dark than I realized! I felt so cheated!

When I first got the aids I'm wearing now, I could hear like that. Over time they have gotten weaker (I'm pretty sure its not my hearing.) and I really hadn't noticed HOW much I was missing!!!!
I hope I can find a woodpecker to peck on a money tree for me.
Because New Hearing Aids = MONEY
Its a double edged sword though,

Because New Hearing Aids = New Technology & Much Better Hearing, which = MONEY....

My biggest fear is money. That sucks. My insurance company should pay for them!
I needed to know that I wasn't hearing as well though...
Thank You Woody Woodpecker!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Information Packet For Your Childs Teacher

This was the best site I found for how to present your childs needs to the teacher. I changed what I needed to and added somethings that my child needed. A BIG Thank you to Cheryl and Listen Up for putting this info out there!
I also listed it at the bottom in my resources and website section.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mommy's got Strep Throat!

I've got strep throat! Uggg. This is horrible. Thanks TK for giving my strep... ;)

I can't get near my kid.

I can't eat.

I can't swallow.

I can't sleep.

But what bugs me the most, is that


However, after much, much searching I found a great resources for explaining and giving the info to the teachers. I desperately was searching for something that would help me explain the strategies and techniques that were needed to give Cam the best start in school that we could give him. I put many searches together and came up with a package I think might work.

Later when I'm feeling better I'll give you a better look at what I came up with.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Time for mommy to teach the educators how to do their jobs!

I've been doing a lot of research into how I want to present Cam's case to his school, and his teacher. I have specific goals I want us to reach with him.
Today I sent a note about the books we had read over the weekend, and also to let her know that Cam didn't know why he wasn't suppose to bring his orange folder home. She sent NO reply. Not professional at all. She never replies. I'm very irritated. She apparently doesn't see the need in communication with a hearing impaired students mother?!? Wow! How ignorant is that? She's suppose to be the educator right?
I guess I need to be her educator. Obviously she didn't see the need in educating herself on her new student.
I guess I will start with communication. She needs to understand how important that is for Cam's education and development as a student.
Let the battle begin. I'm going to go to the school in the morning and see if I can get anything accomplished.
Its just so irritating!!!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Camera, Lights, Action!

The weekend is over tomorrow is Monday. Time for Cam to go back to school.
It makes me angry that he has to go to that school and fend for himself.
It saddens my heart that things haven't changed any since I myself battled the daily isolation of being left in the dark.

Just for a minute you imagine your an elementary school aged child say 6 or 7 years old, sitting at your desk coloring, then realizing all your classmates are getting up and forming a line at the door. You do what they do. The children have their finger over their mouth as to be quite as they walk down the hall. You do what they do. You wonder to yourself, "where are we going". Can't ask, so you just do what they do... You come to a halt down a long narrow hallway, one you've never been on before. You see lines of children in front and behind you. At the front of the line children are going into a room alone, one at a time. When they come out your looking for signs of what they might have been doing in there. Is it good, bad, scary, fun, boring? They are coming out of the room happy, so it must not be bad or scary.
Finally your turn to go arrives... You peep around the door...

Its picture day! Oh, how exciting! Pictures!

Bet you wish you would have known today was picture day, could have worn that really awesome outfit you had all picked out for picture day. You thought it was next week? Silly child. That's why everyone had on their "nice" stuff today. Did they tell everyone that the day had changed, wait, had it changed? How did you miss that? Oh thats what the teacher was talking about yesterday afternoon before you went home, you thought she was talking about music class being in a new location. You thought she didn't want you to forget about music.
How did they know?

I'll tell you how they knew.
They knew because they weren't living their lives in the dark.

It must be nice to go to school and know whats going on around you. It must be nice to have teachers that make sure you know. It must be nice not having to think so hard to figure things out for yourself.
It must be nice...

I wouldn't know.

My son will though, if it kills me.
He will not have to spend his childhood in the dark.
I may not be able to go with him, but I can make sure he has a flashlight...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Trying to Hear in the Dark, "Anyone Got a Flashlight?"

My life is a beautiful Life.
I have my joy all wrapped up in a little boy. My mom is my best friend ~ she's my rock. My mom is a huge part of mine and Cam's life. She has a very special relationship with my son. She has been there holding my hand and giving me courage form the moment he was born. (well before he was born really.)
I have a few friends that I call true friends.
My large family consist of 2 brothers and 2 sisters. 5 nephews and 2 nieces and one great~niece. (Non of which are hearing impaired, by the way.)
I'm happily married to my husband, Lar. We have been married for 8 years. We've been together for 12. We have one child, my son Cam. Cam is also hearing impaired. He has mild to moderate bilateral hearing loss. His is almost identical to mine in every way except his loss is less. Lar is very loving and supportive of the hearing impaired needs that Cam and I bring to his life. We are very lucky.
I work in the restaurant industry, I'm the Lead Trainer and part of the Management Team. I Love my job. However, it is insanely crazy that I work in the restaurant industry, and wear hearing aids. Gees, Could I have picked a more challenging and noisy environment to work in?
Its a great experience to help me get to my goal. which is to finish my business degree and go into business management or an executive position with my current company. Of course if the opportunity arises elsewhere that would be great too.
We currently live in a small town in Alabama, one that has hardly no resources for the hearing impaired. We lived in Atlanta for 8 years that's where Cam was born and had all the advantages laid out for him. Its been a huge change to come back to my childhood home town. I suffered greatly here growing up because the schools here are so backwards when it comes to accommodating the handicapped. The educational and medical opportunities here are a joke. We have NO accredited private schools that are less than an hour away, we have no "real" pre-schools, we have no hearing impaired advocates (they too are an hour away), we have no audiologist for children, we have no Auditory Verbal Therapy (which I'm a HUGE fan of, Cam is a graduate from the Auditory Verbal Center of Atlanta) We have no help at all here. Its unbelievable really. Hearing Impairment is completely over looked here and unimportant. Its not even as good in Birmingham as it was in Atlanta, its better, but still not as good.
We moved back here so Cam could have the joy of growing up surrounded by family. Even though we are still glad we made that decision the sacrifices has been huge. The challenges here are abundant. I knew this when we decided to move back. I just didn't realize HOW challenging it was going to be in the year of 2008! I mean, can we please get beyond where we were when I was a kid?!? NO! Nothing has changed here. Why?!!! Its been 25 years, WHY are they still resistant to mainstreaming our children?
Living here is like trying to read lips in the dark and no one around here has a flashlight...
I'm up to it though, were gonna change this town, one little boy and his pissed off mommy ~you better watch out Little Town.
All I can say is "Bring it on!!!".

Friday, September 19, 2008

its how I hear what I see

Cam came home from school today and he didn't have his folder that we record his homework in his back back. He always brings this home. Its required. But today his back pack was empty. I asked him why... his answer was "I don't know, the other kids left theirs at school, so I just did what they did". He has already discovered how to blend in and function in the hearing world. Its a method I've used all my life. When in doubt, do what the others are doing. Oh I know what your thinking, why don't you just ask whats going on. As a kid you don't want to stand out, and then also at 5 sometimes you don't know you should ask, or even how to ask. So this method follows you into adult hood and you just go with it, you don't even realize your doing it. Now as an adult if its important (such as at work, or doctors or things like that) I don't think twice about asking.
There are so many things I do without thinking. I just nod in agreement, I smile, I pretend to be listening and nod when everyone else nods.
I love it when I need someone repeat something more than once, they get aggravated. OH MY Goodness, I know you didn't just get aggravated with me. So I have responses for that too:
"I'm sorry, I'm just not with it today." "I hear you but its not registering, I don't know whats wrong with me today I haven't been able to hear a thing."
If your rude about it better watch out, I figure if I can deal with being hearing impaired 24-7 you can deal with me for a few minutes. I love to tell them things such as:
"My hearing impairment is a handicap, but your mumbling isn't!" "Speak up and look at me, and I would quit asking you to repeat it!" "Hello! I'm over here look at me please!" or my personal favorite "I'm hard of hearing whats your problem!"

Its a lot of work for me to hear what I see.
I get tired.
I have to keep the background noise from getting in the way, read lips, guess, piece it all together, then repeat what was said.
And when I'm tired, I just want quite. That's where having hearing aids is a blessing. I just turn them off. As soon as I do, all is calm again. I can feel my body relaxing.
I don't think typical hearing people realize that we get tired so easy. Noise makes me nervous, makes me tired, makes me unable to hear. The dark is worst though. I cant hear at all in the dark. If I cant see I can't hear.
I can hear my mom over anything, anywhere even in the dark. She trained herself to accentuate her words and I spent my youth depending on her for my ears.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sitting in the Dark

I live my life about 60-70% of the time guessing what I heard. I have set though many meals with large groups and never knew what the conversations were, so I simply made up the dialog as I went. I know this may sound a little strange, but its better than sitting there in the dark. I started doing that when I was a kid. I had and still have a very good imagination. You should hear some of the conversations I've heard that never existed. People have warts, unwanted children, little big toes, bad breath, anything to pass the time. Sometimes my lip reading is horrible too. If a person mumbles or has an accent, I will think they said really silly things.

I've worn hearing aids since I was 2 years and 9 months old. The cause of my hearing loss is unknown. Although it wasn't considered to be hereditary, my son who is 5 is also hearing impaired he was diagnosed at birth by the Newborn Hearing Screening (he has mild to moderate hearing loss, also the same as me, also no speech delays) I know that makes you wonder. It does me

I read people ALOT. Most of the time I read their expressions correctly, but sometimes I'm wrong. My mom is the only person in the whole world that I am completely comfortable hearing around. I feel safe and unjudged by my close friends and family.
But my mom gets me. She feels it with me. Sometimes I think she must have lived a thousand hearing impaired lives with me ~ and now again with my son Cam.

Only a mom can truly feel another mothers pain.

The Lord gave me the mother he knew I so desperately needed to help me as a hearing impaired child, then again, to help me as a mom of a hearing impaired child.