Category Archives: Deaf

I Very, Very Happy

A man at work was diagnosed with cancer in a salivary gland.  After extensive testing, the course of treatment was surgery to remove the gland followed by radiation. He was to be back at work in four to five weeks.  Unfortunately, the cancer had metastasized and spread into his jaw bone.  A 2 hour surgery turned into 14.

When he woke, he had a new jaw on one side constructed from grafted bone from his femur.  The cancer had not spread to his brain, thank goodness.  Instead of localized radiation though, he began six weeks of intensive chemotherapy.  He caught pneumonia because his resistance was down and struggled daily, but after being off work over four months, returned, cancer free. Continue reading I Very, Very Happy

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Signs To See

The first time I saw them was when my daughter tugged on my shirt sleeve in church.  She nodded slightly to the row over from us or I would not have noticed.

Everyone was seated, and in the middle of a row of college students, one young lady was discretely using sign language to interpret for the young man sitting beside her.

He was a tall, slender guy, maybe twenty years old, with tiny hearing aids perched on each ear which were almost completely covered by his hair.

He watched her hands from the corner of his eye as she interpreted in sign language to him for the rest of the service.  She nonchalantly signed the words occasionally moving her fingers in rapid succession to spell out a word or name. Continue reading Signs To See

Smiling Eyes

It was a short run into the grocery store before work for a few apples and coffee creamer, but the only checkout line was long, too long.

The lady at the front of the line was an elderly lady and the bagger said something I couldn’t understand, then walked out with her to put her groceries in her car.  The next person checked out and was on the way out when the bagger returned.

The man bagging was probably 65 years old and had a round face with sharp features and a big pleasant smile.  The lady in front of me checked out ten or twelve items and the man’s face seemed locked into a smile.  He’d grab a couple of items, glance at the checker and customer, as if searching for something in their faces, and then bag the next items.

After the lady paid, the man handed her grocery bags to her and said something, but again, I didn’t understand him.  She smiled, spoke back to him and he laughed out loud beaming a huge smile.

I wasn’t paying attention when the checker checked me out.  I swiped my card, spoke to the checker and turned to grab the plastic sack from the bagger.  I caught a glimpse of his hearing aids just as he said in garbled words like someone severely deaf….at least I think he said, “I love eat apples!  And coffee!”  Continue reading Smiling Eyes

Ba,Ba,Ba,Ba,Ba

Jared, my second son, was diagnosed as severely deaf in one ear and profoundly deaf in the other when he was two years old. He grew up with multiple ear infections, hearing aids and speech therapy. He could, and did, what every other kid did, but it was harder for him, like soccer, for instance.

Jared would be on a dead run dribbling the ball down field while simultaneously adjusting his hearing aid so it wouldn’t fall off.  When the whistle blew, he kept playing until other players stopped.

Crowded rooms with multiple conversations made focusing on a single voice or sound impossible. Jared never complained, and despite everything, even learned how to play the guitar. Amazing!

When he was twelve, Jared had a cochlear implant. The surgery wasn’t covered by insurance, so a home equity loan, negotiated cash prices with the hospital, surgeon, anesthesiologist and provider for the device put the price tag just below $50,000.

Part of his skull was drilled out behind his ear and a computer device the size of a quarter was implanted in the crevice behind his ear. A wire implanted in his skull runs into the cochlea where it stimulates the auditory nerve going to the brain.

His only disappointment? He couldn’t head a soccer ball anymore because it might knock the implant loose.  Otherwise, everything was a plus and the possibilities were all butterflies and roses. Continue reading Ba,Ba,Ba,Ba,Ba