This is my Blog, this is my life, as a hearing impaired mother with a hearing impaired child. This is my self discovery with all of its daily trials, triumps, and even its beautiful moments.
You Think You See, But You Have No Idea
Sometimes I think life would be more intresting if everyone else could just hear what I SEE. I'm hearing impaired. Not deaf. I have moderate to severe bilateral sensorineural hearing loss. I wear two hearing aids. I do not know or use sign language. I listen, hear, guess, and read lips to funtion in the hearing world. I also do not have a speech impaiment, so at first most people I meet don't even know I'm hearing impaired.
10 Reasons Why it can be Advantageous to Have a Hearing Impaired Child
10. S/he doesn’t hear the high-pitched bell on the Dickey Dee ice cream cart that comes around every day of summer just before dinner time. 9. S/he can be summoned from across a crowded room with the "silent scream" ("GET OVER HERE NOW"!)because of lip reading ability. 8. S/he sleeps through incredible thunderstorms while camping. Children in all other campers/tents are whining, crying and screaming. 7. Working parents don't need to worry about doing housework at night while s/he sleeps. Go ahead and vacuum under the bed. 6. Opportunity to look really silly chasing your child down the beach with flapping arms, because hearing aids don’t like sand and turf. 5. No need to worry about decorating your house for years, as the walls are covered with vocabulary lists, pictures of words you are working on and object labels for those important pre-reading skills. 4. You can use the child's closed caption decoder to watch television while talking to long-winded relatives, comforting a fussy (but loud) baby or vacuuming the carpeting. 3. In the early years, you will gain the incredible ability to keep up a running monologue for hours at a time. "Do you want some juice? Yes, I want some juice. Glug, glug, glug; the juice is pouring." This is even more fun when practiced in public places. For instance, the grocery store, "Do we need some apples? Let's get some apples. Crispy, juicy apples, yummy." This Auditory-Verbal procedure will draw stares from passersby, especially if you have forgotten that the child is not with you at the time. 2. Loud party (complete with ear-splitting music) at totally rude neighbor's house doesn't wake him/her at 2:00 a.m. 1. Very close parent/child bond formed by all those hours of doing Auditory-Verbal therapy and riding to and from the thousands of ENT/audiologist/pediatrician/AVT therapist appointments.
I hope everyone had a blessed and wonderful Christmas. I know we did. We had a feast with the family, drank hot coco, we sang Christmas songs, we watched old Christmas movies. Its been so much fun I almost hate to see it go. As I've mentioned in previous post I love closed captioning. I was a late bloomer on this one, but wow, it's so nice to hear (or should I say understand) a movie. One thing I have noticed though is I hate it when people turn off the closed captioning. We have a much beloved room mate who feels the need to turn off the captioning when I'm not watching T.V., now I know what your thinking, I'm not watching it so what does it matter. Well that's my question. Why do I get offended? I shouldn't be insulted by this, but I am. Why? It seems irrational.
I have a friend who had a sever sinus and ear infection that caused him to temporarily lose his hearing. Now he says he can empathize with my daily struggles.(he started a new job during this event, thus making his experience more dramatic.) What is really funny about it though, is I can now empathize with all the people in my life who are of ,the regular hearing kind, who have to deal with me. I mean, all the repeating, the questionable responses, all the times you talk and no one hears you....ugg. I must say it has been interesting to see it from this point of view. Thank you to all my friends for dealing with my disability and having the patience, just to be my friend. I've always known my real friendships were few, but now I know it wasn't me, it was them.
I've always be a lover of Christmas. I hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas season. I know I have really enjoyed this year. Due to our new economic status I have went really low key with our gifts this year. I've also discovered how to be a little more thrifty and this has actually been fun. Not nearly as stressful as when I had money and had to find the "perfect" gift. No. This year has been more about finding the fun and the spirit of the holiday season. A very nice change. Who would have thought having less money would be less stressful. What a difference a year makes. Cam is doing so wonderful this year. He's made the A honor roll on all of his report cards so far. His teacher has been a blessing. His principal is wonderful too. They work really hard to make sure there are no communication errors, and with a house full of hearing impaired people that's not an easy job....lol (for those who may not follow my blog, my son and myself both wear hearing aids and have moderate to severe bilateral hearing loss, I've worn hearing aids since I was 2 years and 9 months old, my son since he was 12 weeks old.)
Have I ever mentioned I do Theater? I directed another play this past October. I've been doing theatre since I was in high school. I don't know that I've ever blogged about this. Theatre has been my true passion for most of my adult life. I've mostly been behind the scenes. I've been the director, the assistant director, the stage manager, the light and sound person, the costumer, the prop mistress, the set designer, and for one small night I was an actor. I generally won't work back stage during a production because, well, its dark and quiet. A HoH persons nightmare. Can't hear and can't read lips. Anyway, I just directed The Complete Works of William Shakespeare "abridged". It was a blast. The cast and crew were some of my closest friends so my hearing impairment was never an issue. How wonderful this was.
I wonder what its like to have "normal" hearing. Some parts of it would be nice I'm sure. I just don't think I would like hearing when I'm used to silence. Pros of not hearing: For instance, when its time to go to sleep and I take out my hearing aids, or, when I'm taking a bath. I can't stand the sound of running water, or the sound of a razor while shaving my legs. I don't like the sound of a vacuum cleaner, nor do I like the noise of a mixer or blender. (I turn off my hearing aids before doing those things) Sometimes it just relaxing to turn the noise off. I like being able to just turn off my hearing aids when I want silence. Then there are times I wish it wasn't an issue. Cons of not hearing: Swimming. When a doctor ask me to remove them. When I'm around water with my child (sprinklers, amusement parks with water rides). When your husband wakes you in the middle of the night for love. (nothing more sexy than "Hang on let me get my hearing aids", or better yet, "WHAT DID YOU SAY?!?" Or when you want to be able to hear your sick/crying/scared child in the middle of the night. Someones at the door knocking. Your cell phone is at the bottom of your purse in the floor board of your car. When you have to knock on someones door (you rarely hear "come in" or "go away"...lol) Movies. Telephones. Cell phones. TV. Then there are so many more issues that don't even envolve just not hearing. They involve mis-understanding. That's a whole 'nother talk show baby. Okay so the Cons out weigh the Pros of not hearing in my book. All I need now is my fairy god mother to wave her magic wand. BUT. Then I wouldn't be me. Maybe I would be better. Maybe I would be lost.
I haven't written in over 6 months. I started to feel like I was whining. It came to a point where I had to decide if I was advocating or making excuses. It took my son (as it almost always does) to open my eyes. Cam took a spelling test at school. He failed. He's never made anything below 100 on a spelling test. Now I must tell you this is the Thursday "pre-test". The test that counts is taken on Friday. When I asked what happened this is what he told me: "I was talking to a classmate before she started the test and I didn't know it started. I couldn't catch up, and she wouldn't repeat the words when I asked her to." Now I feel I must tell you that his teacher is a wonderful teacher and she even gave him the test a second time. The second time he was pondering a word and she went on to the next one. He asked her to repeat the word and she wouldn't. Now this made me FURIOUS!!! Now, I will tell you that I did scold him for talking in class because it's against the rules and he would not have been left behind on the first test, but what needs to be noted here is that even though he was breaking the rules he was at a disadvantage. He can't follow a background conversation. Do you think the little girl he was talking to before test #1 knew the test had started? Of course she did. Even though it was his actions that caused him to be behind, it was his handicap that caused him to miss out. Now the second test, that is an entirely different irritation. These words all sound the same. And as a hearing impaired person myself I can tell you it is very hard to hear words called out during an oral test. But these words were: hose, rose, (those two not only rhyme but are formed the same on the lips no lipreading there) rode, those, hope, woke, joke, (again very similar on the lips...grrr) bone, stone, home. A hard of hearing kids nightmare!!! Not only does he have to figure out what word was said, but then his little 6 year old brain has to make the connection from the brain to the ear then he has to remember how to spell it, figure out how to write it, then try to decide if all of that's correct. Give me a break. So I flipped my lid. We studied the words again this time I gave him tips for lipreading and hard of hearing thinking. Something I've never done. On Friday, he made a 100. As always. My kid's ability to overcome never ceases to amaze me.
Did I go to the school. No. Should I have? Maybe. Its one of those parental decisions you never know if you got it right. I guess my thinking was if it was his final grade I would have, and at the same time it was an opportunity for him to be made aware of struggles he will have to face all of his life. Will I bring it up at a teachers meeting. You bet. There's always room for them to learn and attempt to understand that he's always at a disadvantage when it comes to hearing. Will I have to have the way he is given his spelling tests changed, probably. But for now we're going to let it ride.
This is where I feel I've changed. I mean I can YELL AND SCREAM AND YELL AND SCREAM, but in the end it doesn't really help much. And it just makes me angry. I have to choose my battles. This time I chose to put my anger aside and find a way to help my son deal with his limitations.
We have had our first bit of warm weather here! Its so nice. Not too much happening in the Hard of Hearing part of my life. Just the everyday getting by and irritation at not hearing things I want to hear. Now that I'm aware of the world thats out there, I hate missing out. I've noticed that I have the biggest trouble with groups or side conversations (as do most HoH people) where people think you were listening in, and expect a response....I don't know what to say so I do the...(uhhhh), smile, nod, (please be the right response), look away quickly. Irritating. When I'm in a group I try not to talk too much, I tend to make myself look like an idiot. People are like "What are you talking about?", and then I'm like "Oh, I thought we were talking about something different, never mind." then I exit as quickly as I can to avoid any more humiliation. Sometimes I wish I had closed captioning in my mind or better yet on the inside of my glasses, like they do on those sci-fi movies! Only in the movies its enemy info they are reading, but the same concept.
I started using the closed captioning on my T.V. Let me tell you I was shocked. I've been watching some of favorite movies, again - for the first time! I can not believe what all I was missing. Cam had his first "big person" hearing test last week. Its the first hearing test with truly accurate results. His hearing loss is almost identical to mine. It shocked me actually. I was comparing his to mine and I got confused as to which was which. I had to look closely to keep it strait. On a good note though nothings changed. (I'm always afraid he might lose hearing.) Not this time though, Thank Heavens. We got Cam's IEP set up for next year and met with his 1st grade teacher. I think she is going to be fantabulas (my own created word there). That was an adventure all in its self. As the head of the special education department from the Board of Education said "We have a delightful problem with Cam, he doesn't qualify for services." Crazy I know, but its like his hearing is a disadvantage not a disability. His hearing is the disability which causes him to be at a disadvantage which qualifies him. Crazy yeah. I thought it was hysterical that I had to get a hearing test to "prove" he was hearing impaired. I guess the hearing aids in his ears wasn't proof enough. Anyone seen the new movie Knowing? Not giving away anything here, but the little boy character in the movie was hearing impaired and wore a hearing aid. Too Cute. Odd but facinating movie. I think it was the hearing impaired little boy with a hearing aid that I loved so much. :)
Cam has the most awesome baseball coaches ever! I mentioned today at practice how I might need to help him look where he needs to look in order to follow their directions on the field, and his coaches said they already noticed that and were going to work with him... They went on to say, they've coached Cam for 3 years and they'll take care of him, and see to it he knows whats going own. How wonderful! He is so cute out there playing ball. Sorry you guys, but I'll be living at the ball field for the next few months, your going to hear a lot about it... :)
I am so amazed by how much self acceptance along with the awareness of my own needs that I have acquired since I started this blog. Writing this blog has had the most profound impact on who I am as a person and how I view myself and how I view being HoH. It has truly opened my eyes to a world within myself that I didn't even know existed. I had no idea how much my life was effected by wearing hearing aids and being hearing impaired. Almost every area of my life is effected by being HoH, and yet I had never given it much consideration, nor did I know how much help I needed. It seems so easy now. This is who I was meant to be. Becoming aware of my limitations has, as odd as it may sound, been the most freeing and liberating experience. I'll give you an example. The other day at my little boys baseball game, I said, without even thinking about it, to one of the other mothers, that I needed to coach Cam to play as a hearing impaired child. (to use his eyes as his ears) I was shocked that I said it so casual. Then later I said I need to tell the coach that when Cam is on second base and looking at his coach for the signal to run, he needs to stay focused on Cam, so Cam can stay focused on him. Then just as natural as could be, one of the moms commented to me about something that had been said and I asked her what had been said because I couldn't hear. Wow. In the past I would have just done the yeah, I don't know what your talking about but I'll pretend I do, nod. Its really okay to be Hard of Hearing. Its okay to need help. Its okay to ask. Its okay to be hearing impaired and not pretend you hear everything. Because I don't hear everything, and sometimes I do need help.
I'm proud of myself. I'm proud of all that I can do, despite the hardship. I'm proud that I can do what I fear. I can live and function in a world that doesn't notice that I struggle. I can do it all, and still be sane.... I noticed today that I have risen above, above my own fears. For that I am proud.
I had the meeting with The Board of Education and also with Cam's school. I brought along the information packet for his teachers and the other educators that were present. It went really well. Better than I had hoped. That was about 3 weeks ago. Everything has improved so much. Its almost like having another school, another teacher and also another child. I didn't realize how much it was effecting him. Cam is happy and learning so much more than before. Its so nice to see him happy its nice to see him enjoying school again. I feel so blessed right now. I never would have thought it would work. The whole experience has opened my eyes to the fact that sometimes you can get the help you need. Sometimes people really do care. Sometimes the system works. Sometimes I need to let go of my past and realize the whole world isn't out to get us because we're Hard of Hearing. Don't get me wrong, this doesn't happen often, but when it does, it shows me what the world is capable of being. A world where being HoH isn't a burden, just a different way of living.
Note: For those of you who follow my blog you will notice this is the first blog where I've used the term Hard of Hearing. I've done a lot of research on the terms and its not that I don't still see myself as Hearing Impaired or that I will never refer to myself as such, but I will use which ever term fits my mood, after all its just a term.
It’s okay to be called deaf, hearing impaired, hard of hearing or whatever title you feel comfortable with. It’s when you limit yourself, put yourself in a “poor me scenario,” and degrade yourself . . . that will stop you from reaching your greatest potential and aspiration in life. ~Justin Osmond
Cam and I went with my life long best friend (we'll call her Ruth) and her two older children, along with one of Ruths other friends to the Toby Mac concert at the Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center Arena. It was Ruths Birthday. We all spent the entire day together and had a fantastic time! Ruth and her two beautiful kids.
On the hearing impaired end of it though, the Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center Arena was an ABSOLUTE NIGHTMARE! It saddened my heart beyond belief at the ignorance and callousness of the people who were employed at the event to help people.
But before that,,,
We arrived 4 hours early for the concert and stood outside with our children (imagine the pain of that...lol) and waited on the doors to open because there were no pre-sell tickets. But, even that was fun...
Waiting, waiting, waiting...
When we got inside, Ruth, being the person she is and my forever friend, asked the floor manager if there were any seats for the hearing impaired or if they could help us because my son and I both read lips. They had seats up on a platform set aside for this sort of thing, but my son and I wouldn't be with our friends. WHAT?!? Okay so the fact that they couldn't set aside an entire section for the hearing or visually impaired and their entire group of friends, I get it, sorta, but the fact that they wouldn't help us?!?
If we weren't willing to to it their way, then sorry. Go away. HUH?
I told Ruth to forget it anyway, because we were early enough to get seats on our own. So, we go over to a section at the side of the stage that was filling up. Only to be told we couldn't sit there the section was closed. (I've been to concerts where you couldn't sit back stage so that wasn't all that surprising.) Ruth again asked if we could stay so we could read lips. No! Go over there, to some reserved seats for hearing impaired. We go. No seats. By this time the arena is full.
WHAT?!? You've got to be kidding me.
We've spent 40 minutes getting the run around and lost all chance to be any where near the stage. Up top we go. I know it wasn't my fault, but I felt horrible for my friend. If she hadn't been with us and tried to help us, she would have been very close to the stage herself. But as always Ruth wasn't even fazed by the whole thing, lets get seats and have fun!
I get up to go complain, because we got the run around. They should educate their staff on reserved seating, or the lack there of, and not send people on a wild goose chase.
The lady at the service desk tells me that they have equipment for the hearing impaired. HUH? Thats not what I'm here about. I'm talking about the ignorance of the staff. I ask to see this equipment, I wanted to see what it was that was suppose to help me in the nose bleed section. She digs around in a box on the floor that has written on the front of it in a marker, "Hearing Impaired and Evacuation Papers". Now you've got to be kidding me?!? What does hearing impaired equipment have to do with evacuation papers? How insulting.
after a few minutes of searching she brings out a amplifying headset. Again, YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME. What good is that going to do me? I read lips. No matter how loud you make a sound, unless I have something to work with,(facial expressions, lip reading, captioning, something) I can't figure it out anyway. What a waste.
I go back to my seat.
And sit. In the dark.
Everyone around me is laughing and having a good time with the music and praise.
I sit. In the dark.
Cam at 5 has learned to adapt as well. I look over and he is pretending to play drums by himself while his friends are engaged in the show... My little boy sits in the dark too.
Now I'm Sad.
Then to my astonishment what do I see? The section that was closed is now open for the second wave of people. They only closed it so the first half of the arena would fill up so when they let the second wave of people in they could find a seats instead of it being scattered.
Now, I'm spitting fire!!!
I go back to the service desk to write a formal complaint.
A very nice gentleman listens to my story and tries to help me. He sees the floor manager and stops him to see if he can help us find seats closer. The floor manager is irate when he sees me and says "I've already talked that woman! She didn't want to separate from her friends!" No I didn't and my son isn't going to leave his buddies either.
So, I go and search on my own.
I find seats behind the stage, but at least from there we can see the big screen.
I went back to get everyone. My beautiful hearted friend Ruth and our other friend and all the kids were thrilled with the new seats. We got to see the performers as the entered and exited the stage. Very cool. Thats why we're forever friends.
Cam never lost attention, and in fact during intermission he went to the restroom, when he returned he asked me if he had missed any music. At that point we were having a great time. The concert wasn't over until 10:00 pm. Cam was exhausted. (He is usually in bed by 8) He fell asleep in my lap during a slow song. I turned off his aids and rocked my baby for the last couple of songs. Only a hearing impaired child can sleep though a christian rock concert...lol
Why is it so difficult to help us? Why does it irritate people that we need help?
I've been so appalled by what happened last week that my heart wasn't even into writing about it. My little boy went an entire day at school without his hearing aids because his teacher had them on her desk... Preposterous you say, but I am here to tell you it happened. His batteries went dead at 9:30 am in the gym. He goes back to class, his teacher then makes the assumption that he had been sent to the office to call us. (btw, I personally gave her a pack of batteries and Cam knows how to change them himself) 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 1:30, 2:30, 3:10 his dad picks him up at school. When Cam gets in the van, he doesn't have his hearing aids... She never bothered to call us, and it was so unimportant to her that she didn't even remember to give them back to him at the end of the day!!!! Disgusting isn't it? And Oh btw, when my husband went into the school to retrieve the aids, the teacher couldn't even find the hearing aid batteries that I gave her.
Let's just say Cam's School is in for A BIG WAKE UP CALL!!! I have a meeting in the morning with the head of the Board of Education. If that doesn't make me happy I will go to the State.
If anyone has any suggestions, please feel free to shoot me any suggestions or links!
Okay. So I'm reading my comments and I come across this one. I must confess I was baffled.
Amy, Every time I read your blog I cringe. Have you taken a Deaf Culture class? Have you educated yourself fully? I just had to let you know that saying "Hearing Impaired" is incredibly disturbing the the Deaf/HOH community. Hard of Hearing (HOH) is the term that we prefer. Saying impaired implies so many negative attributes. If you notice MANY of your commentors also use the Hard of Hearing term. I encourage you to investigate this further and talk to other HOH people. Blessings, K
Why would anyone care if I referred to myself as hearing impaired? There's a "politically correct" way to describe yourself, in your own personal blog? I do consider myself well educated, in fact I would say I've got 30 years of experience being hearing impaired and furthermore why would I need to educate myself in the proper way to reference myself while writing my own blogs about my own self discovery as a hearing impaired person? Also I don't consider myself culturally deaf so the Deaf Culture concept has never really appealed to me as a lifestyle. I've never taken a Deaf Culture class, not that I wouldn't find it interesting, but I do have friends that are deaf and live within the deaf community and my life experiences as a hearing impaired person trying to function in the hearing world is not the same as that of my deaf friends. Actually, I don't feel like I belong to any one group. I'm just me. If you were to describe me as being deaf, hard of hearing, or hearing impaired it would all be just fine. I don't think people should be made to feel shame or be afraid to talk about things because they might offend someone, especially when that wasn't their intention. I also don't think people should take offence to something when nothing was meant to be offensive. We all have different stories and backgrounds, and the way we refer to ourselves varies based upon where those stories and backgrounds have lead us. Whats negative about that? If you, yourself like to be referred to as HOH instead of hearing impaired, I totally respect your decision, but what does that have to do with me?
No matter where my support went this election, or what my political beliefs were, as I sat and watched the 44th President of the United States be sworn in office, one thing came to mind: Equality. As I sat and watched the first African American President and his family stand on the west side of the U.S. Capital Building one feeling came over my heart: Hope. The hope for equality for all people, even the hearing impaired. Even my son. So, for me, no matter where I stood politically, today was about everyone coming together. Today, I was reminded of why I fight and write so much for equality for my son and myself. Today I was reminded of why it is all worth it. Good luck Mr. President, and good luck to every one who is continuing to fight for their dreams. May all our dreams come true.
I figured out why I wasn't hearing so well. It turns out that I have a humongous hole in my left hearing aids tubing. I don't know how I'm hearing out of it at all. I was shocked when I noticed it. I mean gee I really don't pay much attention to my aids huh? Its such and eazy fix. Crazy Amy... Just Crazy. :)
A very interesting thing happened at work last night. We were very busy and it was extremely loud in the restaurant and I had a couple of my co-workers double-check to make sure I heard them. That was awesome, because I, indeed, had not heard them. They didn't assume that I heard them. I guess they have finally realized that if I don't respond I most likely didn't hear them. It was over all a fantastic night. Me and my friend ZDaddy took the kids to the movies this afternoon. He has a daughter the same age as my Cam. They have a lot of fun together. I love going to the movies, I can usually follow the entire movie because its so loud. Its nice to have days without hearing issues.
I still do not seem to be hearing well though. I'm going to have to get that checked...
My hearing aids haven't been working well for the last few days. Its like I can't get them loud enough. I'm worried they are on the edge of self-destruction. Ugg... I will be working tonight. I agreed to work the weekend nights to help boost morale among our servers and front of house staff. This is usually a fun job. After all a good attitude is contagious. Tonight however, I found out that "The Queen" will be in our restaurant. Now don't get me wrong, for the most part The Queen has great ideas and suggestions. I also like the fact that she encourages everyone to do their job-the way they were trained to do it. After all I am the Lead Qualified Trainer at my restaurant, so I love to see everyone doing it the way they were trained. But anyway, what I dread is the music. Queen turns it so loud you cant even hear yourself think. Now I know she is following the "lets make it a lively place, happy and fun". But GEEE's it makes my night so stressful and it makes me angry. I'm trying to hear my guest, I'm trying to hear my fellow workers, trying to hear the bosses, and all the while trying to hear everything around me so I don't look like an idiot when someone calls for me or ask for something and I don't respond because I didn't hear them! Well, its time for the peasant to get dressed and go serve her lord at the manor, all in hopes of keeping his queen happy.
Being the parent of a hearing impaired child comes with many challenges. Being the hearing impaired parent of a hearing impaired child makes those challenges,,, different. For instance, something I've noticed that typical hearing parents worry about is how their child is going to be perceived by its peers. Are they going to be made fun of or even have friends at all. I don't give that a second thought. Hearing impaired or not all children will either be liked or not. Then at the same time, because I have lived it, I fret over things other hearing parents might not notice. Number One on my list is and always has been education. My school days were a living HELL, and I don't say that lightly. School was a complete nightmare for me. Not because of lack of friends, but because of lack of education. I was always a failure. I never "applied" myself. I was "scatterbrained". I "didn't listen". I "wasn't paying attention". I "talked too much". And my personal favorite, I was "Lazy". All the while, I didn't know why I couldn't "apply myself" or "listen", or "remember my home work assignments". I wanted to be a good student so desperately. That's what made every day of my school life torture. I CAN NOT let my child live that experience. He's smart. He's beautiful. He's also hearing impaired. If that teacher had to go though one day trying to function in the hearing world with only hearing aids... Ha! I laugh at what would happen. Ok. I know I'm ranting here. I'm just angry. Today at work it was so nice to be there, doing my job, listening to conversations and when I got lost, I could just walk away and go do my job. After a while you get used to missing everything. Actually its okay. I thought today how strange it was that I just accept it. I always think to myself, "its not important anyway". On second thought, though, maybe it is. I don't know. I want to be more. I WANT TO HEAR WHAT YOUR SAYING! Okay it matters. But the older I get the less it really matters. I just give the "didn't hear you, but I'll let you think I did" nod and walk away. Hide. Get lost in myself. I've spent my life within myself. Ok. This is turning into a rambling of sorts when all I really wanted to say was that I spent my life in the public school system here in Nowhere, Alabama as someone who was "nothing exceptional". When all the while, it was the teachers who were nothing exceptional, because they let a beautiful mind go to waste. They let my education slip right though their hands, and didn't even know it or care. Ok. Again I'm rambling. I'll stop. "There are few pains so grievous as to have seen, divined, or experienced how an exceptional man has missed his way and deteriorated" ~Friedrich Nietzsche
I've been writing for as long as I can remember. I have poems and diaries that date back to when I was as young as 8 years old. Writing has always been my outlet. Even though I was part of the "Forgotten Generation" of hearing impaired children, (the ones who were taught to be mainstreamed then over looked and forgotten about as if we had no disability) It was always in the back of my mind, and sometimes it would show up in some of my earliest writings.
One of the older poems I still have, dates back to October 1986. I was 9 years old.
Alone Alone beneath the beam of the sun and the rays of light There was no way to tell how I felt so alone.
I can remember witting that poem as if it was yesterday. I remember how the sun was shining so beautiful that day and I can still smell my mother cooking dinner. I remember it more because of the weirdness I felt. It was the first time anyone had ever called me a name because of my hearing impairment. The girl called me a "Deaf Mule". Hey, we were 9. She didn't even know what it meant. I'm sure she meant to call me a Deaf Mute. How crazy is that.
Heres an interesting diary entry. I was 11.
Dear Diary, July 7, 1989 If I had just three wishes: #1. That I could hear like others #2. I could have 3 boyfriends #3. I could have magical powers
You know what though? At 31 those still sound like pretty good wishes....lol ;)
The best way I can think to sum the blog up is with one of my favorite quotes.
"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." ~ John Adams
I'm part of the 1980's hearing impaired "lets figure out how to fix them" children. You know, the time when they were discovering that early detection was key. Experimenting with what would work - audio, visual, cued... Then putting us out there with hearing aids to fend for ourselves so they could see how it worked. A time when hearing impairment was still "in the closet". My mom had never seen nor heard of a hearing impaired child with hearing aids when I was diagnosed and fitted with my aids. (December 1979) If a child was hearing impaired with hearing aids it was probably stricken with other conditions that landed it in an institution of sorts. That was the idea people had then anyway. It probably didn't help that I lived in rural Alabama at the time either. I was fortunate that we were swept up by a team of specialist in Birmingham that were doing the, "mainstreaming concept". They went a little too far I think, because for most of my life I didn't realize I was hearing impaired... lol Of course it was better than putting me in an institution (my mom visited one for the deaf and hard of hearing, and says it was horrid experience, after which she was sold on the "mainstreaming concept" even if no one else was!) I was the youngest child that my audiologist had ever fitted with aids. I was 3 months shy of my 3rd birthday. My mom says that she and dad were so excited to find out I was hearing impaired, because everyone thought I was mentally retarded or worse. Seriously. Even our family doctor just thought I was a spoiled mean brat. I was the baby of 5 kids, my mom knew better, and at her urging he sent me to an ENT in Birmingham. One of the first things they asked my mom was if she was sure she wanted to know what was wrong with me, because it could be more than hearing impairment if it was hearing impairment at all. After a diagnosis there was no turning back into oblivion. My mom never blinked. She HAD to know. Turns out I wasn't spoiled or mean. Then it was time to go pick up my hearing aids. I have no memory of this trip and what memories I think I have, could have been planted by the many times I've had my mom tell me the story. This is how it goes. It was December and snowing. The trip to Birmingham took over an hour in the late 70's because the interstate hadn't come through yet. I was sitting in my moms lap as the audiologist put the ear molds in my ears measured them to the aids, removed the molds, cut them, adjusted the aids and then slipped them into my ears. When they were turned on, I peed in my pants and all over my moms lap. I looked up at my mom with scaredeyes, and she reassured me it was okay. And in a matter of minutes it was. The ride home was filled with wonder as I watched the big diesel trucks pass by and listened to the sound that their tires made in the snow. I was never the same after that. Even the family doctor was shocked to see my changed behavior. My mom once told me that she believe children who where hearing impaired were either introverted or fighters, thats how we survive. I always thought of myself as an introvert, she always referred to me as a fighter. As an adult I know, I am a fighter. After all, I learned from the best.
Its been awhile since my last blog. Life Happens. I got my hearing aid back, its working great. I had and iron infusion, and take two pills a day. I took a small leave of absence from work over the holidays because I had strep throat, and my mom was in the hospital. Life Happens. Christmas came and went. My car bit the dust. Got a new van. Went back to work. Celebrated my 9th wedding anniversary. Life Happens.
Everything has fallen into place now,, for a while I hope... :) I worked my first two shifts back at the restaurant Wednesday and Thursday. They went well. It felt good to be back. I've taken a step back from management for awhile. Its taken away a lot of the stress. Hearing isn't an issue when you don't have to prove yourself all the time. I'll jump back in there soon, I'm sure... I can't stay silent for too long. Right now, I just cant fight the fight. I've fallen back into my comfort zone. I just need a break from the struggle to succeed in the hearing world. Sometimes I just need to be Amy. Not the Amy fighting for equality.