It's the 1000th post and some how, it's seems right to speak about deafness and how much it can impact some one's life and in the lives of others.
My life is slowly changing in ways that I have not expected. When I went down to DC for the Gallaudet Homecoming weekend on Oct 2oth, I never realized my hearing started to change. That night, I had gone to a noisy bowling alley in which I meet my deaf friend and members of the local deaf community. After that, I found out I couldn't hear well. I thought my hearing aid was acting up. But things grew worse, especially after a noisy football game.
When I came home, I was driving home differently. I wasn't in tune with my car. I was driving by feeling, not hearing. It was the worst thing I ever knew.
I went straight to the audiologists office where I asked her to please make a new ear mold and send my current hearing back to the factory. But know what? Even a loaner didn't make things any better.
I know my hearing is already bad.
For most of my life I'm hearing impaired in my right ear, deaf in my left ear. My mom is an elderly woman that is stuck in the 1960-1970's audiologists advice to treat me without sign language and make me feel like a hearing person depending on my hearing aid and speech reading.
Unfortunately, that "advice" from those 40-30 years ago doesn't include of what happens when the later adult child's hearing impairment changes to deafness.
You see, audiologists expects parents to pass away in their 50s and 60 years of age. No such luck when it comes to my stubborn mom and her non-changing ways. So my mom treats me just as she's always done.
But would she learn Sign Language? NO SUCH LUCK! She's been anti-deaf since I've went to NTID, Gallaudet University, and been a very bad deaf baptist ministry that was a cult.
At this point, I know I can't hear well at all. My ear mold arrives any day now. I can't use the phone any more as I once loved. I appreciate my videophone much more now. My cell phone? I use it to text with it all the more. (my mom is a non cell phone text person).
Some one asked me if I would get a Cochlear Implant now. I gave that person a look that said "Does it look like I got the money and health insurance to pay for it? (I really don't)".
What's more, I am an anti- CI person. If someone forced the CI on me, I would act BORG like every day with it till it was removed. "You will be ASSIMILATED!" would be my favorite phrase and people would get sick with me real fast with that talk. (laughing).
But seriously to say this: I always knew that some where down the road in my life, I could become more deaf. I was expecting this for later in my life if I was in my late 60s or 70s. Unfortunately, it's early.
I have spent the last few days in a quiet church and thanking God for many things in my life. I have thanked God that I know sign language. Nobody didn't teach me sign language so I learned it myself. I may not be the best in ASL, but heck I do communicate well. I have thanked God for giving me deaf friends. Even good friends that have been around in my life and stayed in touch with me by mail, email, IM, and facebook. (how communication evolves in life!).
What I have wished is for more hearing friends to be appreciate me in my life, but they don't. It's perhaps they don't want to know a deaf person any more than a normal hearing person. (thanks, Fairport/BOCES!).
The saddest thing is? I wished someone loved me, supported me, and being beside me when I needed most. (no, my mom doesn't count. sorry). That's where my former deaf ministry has paid for their mistakes in life and they know it.
Right now, my life changes more. I'm living like a deaf person full time. I leave my hearing aid off my ear because it hurts. I'm paying more attention to the road like never before and I don't listen to music anymore.
Closed Captioning on TV is more important now. I appreciate the newspaper so much more, but there is a day coming when newspapers will be phased out in favor of the news on the websites. (so much for saving the trees).
I act more deaf when I ask for pen and paper at service counters in stores. They still get surprised that I speak well. Yet, speaking well is a disadvantage for me as opposed to the total communication I used to be.
So, how does this impact on my job search and possible employment? very heavy now. Even when I can't use the phone any more and employers eschew the videophones. They'd choose a hearing person over a deaf guy if they could get away with it (and most do every day despite the ADA law).
Even if I run to the doctor and they find out what caused my hearing loss more, it would be too late. All the health insurances and money in the world won't fix things.
As I said, I have appreciated God for giving me the hearing I had before. It could be worse. I could end up like Job (bible figure). But in any case, I appreciate of what I have now. Though family and hearing friends (the few I have) will have to adjust to communication issues. Trying to encourage them to use sign language is the next best thing. I've been trying to advocate to them to learn it before things go bad for me. Better late than never.
So what if I regain my hearing impairment back to normal, if the hearing loss is temporary? PRAY that it is temporary. But if it's permanent, as I believe it may well be, then that's how life happens.
Medical science can't fix every original part of the human body. Once something wears out, it wears out as God directed to wear out. No matter how much people try to tell me of how good the CI is, it is NOT worth the pain and trouble with it.
As I look up at God more, I know one thing: When I die, I will hear wonderfully. That's the next best thing.
Appreciate your life here on earth. Appreciate your deaf friends who are your support system (if you got one). If you have a partner, lover, or spouse, thank him/her for being their to help you when you need it.
Above all, I hope your family will understand and try to adapt to changes in your life, just like mine.
Lastly, audiologists ought to be careful of what they say to parents who nearly outlive their grown children in life. YES, kids who are hearing impaired in their young life DO HAVE A CHANCE to become completely deaf in their life. Even for those who are adults too.
Please parents, don't even think of trying to BORG (suggesting the CI) your adult child either. Sign Language is the better option. WHY? Cost effective and a life time of a second language of communication. :-)
Thank you for reading the 1000th post. *cheers*
Till next post, I'll clue you in later.