Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sorrow and Joy, Hearing and Sight


We are camping. Okay, well not exactly camping. Rather we are glamping. The five of us are tucked into a tree house in Southern Oregon. Tonight was our first night and we found ourselves down by the main house without a light. In other words instant blindness finding our way back to our tree.

This sudden loss of sense makes one take pause. It makes one appreciate what one had before it was gone. This appreciation is even greater for me as I have recently lost another sense. The hearing in my left ear.

For the past couple of weeks my ear has felt clogged. Allergies I told myself. When conversations became hard I blamed it on the whirring laboratory machines at work, or the loud oxygen cage or the car engine or the crowd of people. I have been saying, "What?" and asking people to repeat themselves all too often. But it wasn't me.

I also blamed the phone. It must clearly must not be working because I CAN'T HEAR OUT OF IT. Then I switched ears. And I heard perfectly. It wasn't the phone.

I went to an ear, nose and throat specialist. I thought he'd find a ball of wax or some other simple solution. Truly I expected to walk out of his office with my hearing fully intact. Instead I left with a diagnosis of acute sensorineural hearing loss and a minimal chance of regaining function (i.e. damage to the inner ear and/or auditory nerve). Cause unknown.

Now I am on a course of high dose steroids and a prayer -- hoping that my hearing returns (my hearing isn't completely gone -- I'd say it's at 50%. I've lost the low frequency sounds; those which human speech is composed of. If you are dolphin its all good -- I can still hear you).

Next week I get an MRI just to make sure it's not tumor (thankfully typically benign) causing these problems.

So now I'm compiling a list of precious sounds. All those things I want to file should this hearing loss a) be permanent and b) move to the other ear. In no particular order ...
  • My children laughing
  • Crickets
  • The first lawn mower of spring
  • Ocean waves lapping at the shore
  • The coo of mourning doves
  • Chickens cackling
  • U2, The Shins, Bagpipes, James, Norah Jones, Adele ...
  • The crackling of a real wood fire -- full of hisses and pops
  • Jingle bells
I've also always thought of deafness as silence. And for some perhaps it is. Not for me. I have a near constant ringing in my ear. Most prevalent when the world is silent. It's strange. And annoying. And something I suspect I'll have to get used to.

At this point time will tell. Will life go on and I'll adjust. But let me tell you. Appreciate what you have while you've got it. For tomorrow it (whatever it may be) could disappear.



Debi said...

Sending good thoughts and prayers your way.

Karen said...

I lost the hearing in my left ear 6 years ago. Most of those things are on my list too! Adjusting takes time & some things will just never be the same. I know we don't know eachother, but if you ever need to chat about it, please feel free to contact. Feeling along when these things happens doesn't help anything.
Hoping this will still clear up for you.

Anonymous said...

Yikes! I hope further tests reveal nothing else out of the ordinary and the ringing goes away soon. I'm really sorry about your hearing loss.

Shalet said...

Thank you for all your warm thoughts and sympathy. Though no improvement so far I am still hopeful. *Fingers Crossed*

Tammie said...

ive been thinking of you since i first read this. you are in my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

I will keep you close in my thoughts and prayers...
It is no small thing to lose something so precious...

Amy said...

power of pred!

Though our son is 5 and has hearing loss in both ears, and after a rough start, all is pretty smooth. My mom also has hearing loss and got aids about a year ago, my son loves this. I know how important your ears are! for good outcomes. Happy to field rants and questions.
love to you, be well!

Shalet said...

Thank you, thank you. Still waiting for test results. Such an annoying ringing in my ear today. So strange the sudden change. Ah well. It is what it is.

Gayle at Planet M Files said...

I'm so sorry you're going through this, Shalet. Hugs to you.

Melissa said...

so true. i'm praying for your healing.