I’ve always believed if you don’t experience something yourself you really can’t understand it.  You can sympathize, but you cannot empathize.  So it is with being hearing impaired.  

For two weeks my right ear lost its function to a rock-hard invasion of wax.  In order to soften it up for removal, I needed to put three drops of medication into that ear four times a day.  Not only did this impede my day, it also reduced my ability to hear even more so.  Never before did I appreciate the wonder of bilateral hearing.

After two weeks (seemed more like two years) my sister, Nell, and I drove to the doctor’s office once more to hopefully have the foreign object removed.  It was with great trepidation that I eased myself into his chair and tilted my head.  Dear friends, it worked…took about 45 minutes, but my hearing is now back to normal.  And I didn’t have to travel to London after all.  My American ENT was as knowledgeable as the British physician who wrote the definitive book. 

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Kermit the Frog says, “It’s not easy being green.”  I say, “It’s not easy being alone and facing frightening changes in life.”  Being alone exacerbates fears because not verbalizing them just causes us to dwell more on their negative aspects.

Regaining my bilateral hearing reminded me of a coping story my grandmother told:  There was once a farmer who lived with his wife and five daughters in a one room wooden shack.  Feeling the need for some breathing space, he asked the leader of his community what to do.  “Bring in the chickens,” the wise man replied.  After a week the frustrated father returned and complained about the chickens.  “Bring in the goat,” suggested the seer.  In the weeks that followed, the horse and cow were also added until the farmer, pushed to the end of his patience, appealed once more to the sage.  “Let out the chickens,” came the helpful reply.

So it was with my hearing disability.  Once it was gone any other complaint I had seemed easier to live with.  I had, in essence, “let out the chickens” which, in comparison, gave me less to worry about.

My grandmother would have called my experience a “life lesson” and reminded me that as long as you wake up in the morning, you have nothing to complain about.  Wise woman my grandmother!

Contact Adrienne at ergosum1@comcast.net