Saturday, February 9, 2008

A CI hitting too close to me!

G'day Everyone!

This came across me in my e-mails early this morning. This person requested that it be posted on my web page. I changed seveal things to hide the identity of the persons involved. Please read:
Dear Sherlock:

My group of friends are in shock and surprise over another friend's recent decision to have a CI done a few days ago. We all knew our friend loved to hear sounds when our friend was younger, as we were told about, but recently, our friend's ability to re-try the hearing aids have failed. (We think the audiologist was a pro-AGBELL person who wanted a different outcome to happen and it did. Yes, we do curse that audiologist for suggesting the CI!)

When we found out that the CI was a done deal on our friend already as we were kept in the dark of when it would be done, some of us screamed and cried and held numerous chat rooms sessions to discuss about it. We all felt that our friend had gone into a last desperate chance to recapture the sounds the person enjoyed so much as a child.
Many of us felt that if AGBELL were to find out who this individual is, our friend would be plastered all over the AGBELL web page as the next "Former Deaf Poster Person who has chosen CI/SOUNDS over ASL!" Translation: This person has proven AGBELL's policy on CI works against deaf people using ASL!!

In the coming days, we're all going to be confronted with our friend wearing the CI. We're concerned if more people find out about our friend having it. We're not sure if we want to defend this person because this person is well known in the deaf community. It will take time for all of us to get to know our friend all over again. It will not be easy. We feel a sense of betrayal in the deafhood. We knew our friend had successfully fought and advocate against the CI before, but now, having a CI installed as well? It creates a conflict on a scale of personal ethics for all of us.

But there was one thing that we all agreed on. Our friend should have stayed over night in the hospital since the CI was put in. Hearing that the CI surgery was done on an outpatient business, we all felt it was a new version of : " come in, CHOP your ear open..CI..SEW up..and send home" type of things now. In the past times, we felt better for a 2 day hospital stay. That is.. "come in early in the evening, next day have the CI put in, stay the next night, then go home the next day after if everything is ok".

We didn't know what else to do. But we did ask our local priest to hold a private mass to honor the loss of our friend's deafness. Afterward, he held a counseling session for us. We all unloaded our feelings the discussion of the pros and cons of someone having CI among us as a friend.

In the end, the priest said: "Forgiveness is one step you must do. I agree that your friend should have discussed with you before going ahead with the decision. Having a CI done can have a profound effect on your group of friends. Especially when you don't tell them before it's done.
I have had a CI done on me (some of us were shocked when he showed us his CI, but didn't put it on), but I never told my friends about it before I had it. When it was done, I attempted to explain my reasons for withholding the decision from them and apologize. But, they excluded me from their circle of frienship. Everytime I tried to be freinds with them, I was turned away.

That is why I became a priest. I knew these events would personally happen among deaf friends in the deaf community. It is a horrible impact. The need to "hear" for yourself often outweighs the links to deafness and ASL. But when a choice is made without support of your close friends, that's when the line of frienships are drawn. It becomes an ugly pesonal choice of decision. So this has become my ministry to the deaf for the pentence of my personal decision. It is a cross I will bear for the rest of my life.

You will have to forgive your friend's decision. While it is a pleasure to hear sounds again, the price of losing my friends is a high personal cost. Now I understand why "the war" in the deaf community is so much against the CI. "

With that being said, he gave us a blessing and suggested to us that we bring our "new CI" friend for a friendship celebration mass and a discussion session after that. He prayed that God would give us a strength of understanding.

But, we are not ready for that yet. One member of our group has already asked NAD to drop our friend's membership and transfer it to AGBELL where AGBELL is proud to promote the CI.

Pray for us, Sherlock. We have long days ahead of us.
Thanks for lettine me unload on you.

(name withheld by request)
When I read that email, it became a struggle for me to understand one of my own friends who hid about the plans to have a CI installed. It was already a done deal.

But now, the question is, we remain friends despite that my friend has a CI or not? Just like the letter above, the rest of our group of friends sit in a divided state.

As I've been against the CI for many years. Even now, I hate CI being applied to deaf babies when they are small and defenseless. For the person, who invented the CI, may have well thought he was doing a favor for the deaf community and "cure" deafness. But how does he sleep at night knowing he has caused trouble, pain, and division among the deaf community? How will he explain himself to God one day?

For those who use CI, that is your "blessing". Your cure, your bionic ear. But with it, you have crossed into a zone between the worlds of hearing and deaf. Just like hearing aids were once said to be when they came invented.

How does it look for the future deaf community? If CIs outrank the ASL users, then we can kiss the word "Deaf Community" a good bye and rename it "Hard of hearing / CI Community" .

I have already decided to defend ASL. I am against the CI. Even if my own hearing aids fail me if I grow older, I'll be thanking God for making me deaf as He intended me to be. To me, it seems the battle lines are drawn. The only thing left to decide is.. how long conflict will remain within the deaf community? Perhaps it will remain until the next generation deaf/ CI users become involved to decide the end of it.

The day the popularity of CI ,that comes to an end, will be the day we'll all celebrate it's demise and celebrate the strength of ASL.

NOTE: at the bottom of this blog is a series of CI polls going on. It will last a month. I modified the BLOG to show only the current posting for the month. The polls will run until march 10th. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

"We didn't know what else to do. But we did ask our local priest to hold a private mass to honor the loss of our friend's deafness."

Wow. Someone said in another blog that your deafness should not define you. It should be a part of you, but not all of you. This person clearly feels deafness is all there is to his/herself and his/her friend. They need to step outside of that mindframe. Their poor friend. The friend does not deserve to be treated like this for making a informed, consensual decision about THEIR deafness. If the person who wrote this letter was a true friend and a good person, and a good Christian, they would not judge. They would accept and support.

"If CIs outrank the ASL users, then we can kiss the word "Deaf Community" a good bye and rename it "Hard of hearing / CI Community" ."

CI does not equal hearing. CI equals deaf. So you will always have a Deaf community regardless of what devices people may use- aids, CIs, or nothing at all. All that is needed to keep the Deaf community around is acceptance. I can see you, as well as the person who wrote the letter, and even many others in the Deaf community, are having a hard time accepting that CI wearers are still deaf. That's the first step to keeping the community together- realizing that once Deaf, always Deaf.

moi said...

Steve, I feel for you. I went through something similar when someone in my local community got an implant. The community was in an uproar for a while.

I'm very against implants too. But it is an individual choice. Your friend was wrong to hide it from you until after it was done, and that made me appreciate how my friend was upfront with us in the first place.

The thing is, it's done. Yes, your friend is showing him/herself to have a different center than you thought, and that sucks. It feels like you're being betrayed. But is it worth losing a friendship over? Some adjustments would need to be made, definitely, but he/she's still the same person in many ways. He/she still signs and still wants to be a member of the community, right? That's important.

Just some gentle thoughts and supportive pats on your back... :) best wishes on your journey with your friend.

Dianrez said...

People who drop friends because they get CI's are a bit off the mark. These friends simply got better hearing aids and aren't going to magically change into hearing people. Get over it.

notxer said...

Sherlock Steve,

To your comment, I said and will say once again -- Amen!

mishkazena said...

Steve, I am so sorry you and your friends are taking the news hard

Just because this person got a C.I. doesn't mean he/she rejects Deaf Community. This person will still use sign language. ASL will still be in his/her world. That won't be changed as this person got a c.i.

I know some people who got c.i.s You know what? They are still the same people. They are still very much involved in Deaf Community and never lose their Deaf selves.

Anonymous said...

I feel as if the person who wrote this is a busybody with way too much time on his or her hands.

Your friend does not need your permission to get a CI.


And why is it okay to wear a hearing aid but not have a CI? Isn't a CI just a more elaborate form of a hearing aid?