Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Life and deaf

I'm standing in a queue at the bank.
Only one till is open and I'm 14th in line.
More people are piling up behind me.

The woman in front has a small child with a scooter.
She has grazed knuckles on her right hand and looks well 'ard.
The boy scoots over my foot.
I say nothing.

I think there must be an argument or something at the back.
Probably about the queue.
Everyone's turning round and staring.

The woman behind me is speaking to me.
I can see her lips moving.
I smile and say, 'Sorry, I'm deaf. I can't hear you.'
But I must say it too softly and she can't hear me either because she carries on talking.
I broaden the smile and hope it's not an inappropriate response.

I'm at the till at last.
The cashier is telling me something.
I fix on the all-purpose smile.
'Sorry,' I say. 'I'm deaf. I can't hear you.'
She starts mouthing at me and waving a form.
I have no idea what she's saying, but conscious of the queue behind me, I nod and hope she's not imparting crucial info.

Back on the street.
I avoid eye contact, pulling my hood over my eyes, hoping no one will recognise me.

I pass an old friend without seeing her.
She calls me and I don't respond.
Luckily, she taps me on the shoulder and I explain I wasn't deliberately ignoring her.
'Sorry,' I say. 'I'm deaf. I can't hear you.'
I wonder how many other people might be thinking uncharitable thoughts about how rude I am.

I stop every time I cross the road, looking in every direction several times before stepping out and continuing to glance every which way until I'm safely across.
I'm aware that to the casual observer I must look like an over cautious neurotic.
But I know it's all too easy to step in front of a car you didn't hear approach.

Back home.
After just one day back, the boys are off school because of the snow.
They know better than to try to communicate with me unless it's for something urgent.
I give thanks for the internet.

Apologies for the whiny post. Smiley happy Debi will be back in the next post.


Unknown said...

Oh Debi - you remind me of my good friend in Drogheda, who had awdul trouble with ear infections, perforated drums etc. She is nowm finally after much medical toing and froing,the proud owner of a wonderful new in-ear aid, and loves being able to take it out when she's had enough of listening to her kids squabbling. Healing thoughts being sent to you, my dear!

Debi said...

Oh! I also gave in and got those a few weeks ago. TBH I find them of limited use. OK for 1-1 conversations but no use for larger meetings etc. With them in I can hear someone turn a page in Aberdeen but not someone talking a few yards away.

Anyway, can't use 'em 'til drums heal cos of risk of infection.

Moan, moan, moan ...

Miriam said...

I think you have a right to whine. I know what it's like to be "different" in ways that aren't immediately obvious. This one tops them all. It also cuts you off from society more completely than anything I've known.

Hope you return to the world of hearing soon.

Sue Guiney said...

Dear Smiley Happy Debi,
You don't always have to be smiley and happy. I'm so sorry you have to go through this ordeal! I'm praying all will heal soon. xoxo

Debi said...

You're all lovely. Thank you. But I do hate the way this condition turns me into a boring old moaner ....

Natacha said...

ah Debs all will be ok. I can imagine how it must be hard, but all will be well. Anything you need let me know.

Debi said...

You're a sweetie, Nana.

Fiona Morp said...

Well, you know I understand, but I don't know how you feel. I can imagine, but thats seems inadequate.Do what you can do to get through, your friends will understand, and those who don't need a good kick up the arse. Saying this with a loud clear voice, into the good ear-love you and wish you better! Fiona x

Debi said...

Fiona - bless! Am about to administer said kick in arse to you know who.

BTW (sad to say) ain't no such thing as a good ear right now. Whinge, moan, grumble ...

Leslie Hawes said...

You're the most interesting whiner, moaner, grumbler I know...

Debi said...

Leslie - that's one of the nicest things anyone's said to me for ages - perhaps, ever.

Jen said...

'Over cautious neurotic?'

I suspect most people will be jealous that you have seemingly have so many smiles available for general distribution. Not everyone can do that, you know?

Debi said...

Ah, the comments here just get better and better. Thank you for momentarily breaking through the doom and gloom.

Queenie said...

Dearest Debi, you don't have to be smiley and happy ALL the time you know, especially when you're dealt a bunch of horridness like this. The RNID's helpline can offer really useful strategies for managing different levels of hearing loss - I know, I've used them myself. I hope the infection clears soon. Big hugs x

Debi said...

Hi Yer Maj - thanks for helpline tip. Sadly no use now cos I can't even hear on the phone. But good news is that I don't think there's any infection.

Glass half full and all that ...

Queenie said...

I've just checked and, not surprisingly, they have an email 'infoline' at Glad about the lack of infection, that at least is good news.

Debi said...

You're a star. There are new developments which I can't talk about yet. There is hope!

Queenie said...

Ooh, how exciting! My fingers are firmly crossed for you x

Liane Spicer said...

Here's hoping the new developments turn out even better than you hope, Debi. Thinking of you. ((()))