Month: October 2014

A Fabulous Weekend

This weekend was one of friends and family.  I had so much fun this weekend I don’t want it to end.  First this weekend had a lot of fear in me.  The kids had their Tae Kwon Do tournament, last year my hearing took a dive on this weekend.  I was starting to get nervous would history repeat itself?  The tournament was on, the movie we watched that night and I was so scared because I couldn’t hear it, part 2 of the movie was on this weekend.  What are the odd’s?  I was getting really scared and nervous and reached out to a friend of mine.  This friend was my ASL (American Sign Language) teacher.  We became friends and I vented  to her.  She ended up coming with me to the tournament and we had a fabulous day!  We were both a tad nervous about hanging out, would we get along, would the kids like this, would there be a communication barrier, were all things I though about.  All these things were unneeded worry.  We had a great day.  I got to hang out with another wonderful friend also.  Her daughter is just a doll, love her like a daughter.  You will see her in some of these pictures also.  Greta helped at the tournament and Henry competed.  He ended up getting 3rd place in his forms and 1st place in sparring.  Here are some pictures from our day our Saturday.  

greta and henry tkd Henry sparring tropheys kids at tkd tournament

Sunday is a family day in my mind.  Today we had lunch together then a day off playing for the kids and watching some Sons of Anarchy for Chad and I.  This evening we went to a Halloween party for our 4H group.  What a fun evening.  We met out a an old Town Hall building.  Think one room school house.  There was pumpkin carving, sscavengerhunt, a potluck supper, and lots of playing.  Here are some pictures from tonight.  Greta was dressed at Katniss from Hunger Games and Henry was superman and then stripped that off and he was wearing all camo under there so an army man.

I hope you all had great weekends and I hope that wonderful feeling I have now will carry on through the whole week.

Henry and Greta costumes Henry and his pumpkin Greta pumpkin Henry and Carlie pumpkns Greta and Carlie costumes Henry in the woods

My Top Ten List

As I look at the calendar I start to get tense and look back at this past year and I marvel of all the changes that have been made. This upcoming weekend is the Tae Kwon Do tournament when I noticed the crowd was more hushed, I noticed I couldn’t hear a TV, or my kid’s voices.   I am not sure at this moment my hearing dropped or it was slowly dropping and it kind of hit me on this weekend. Either way it has been a learning curve with hearing aids, and accepting this new normal.

I look at this past year and I thought I would make a list of 10 things I have noticed and learned. I was able to get a hold of my audiogram from 1996 when I was 19 years old. I was in college and attending the University of Wisconsin and studying Communicative Disorders.   I had a conductive loss at a 30-35db loss. Which in all reality I could have been wearing hearing aids back then.  I am now 37 and I have a mixed loss that ranges from a 60-90db loss. That is a big difference. Will it change from this point, I don’t know but if it does I know there will be frustrations but I feel I will be better equipped to handle it.

Top-Ten-list

  1. Always carry hearing aid batteries with you. I learned the hard way this last week. I decided to leave my bag out in the car after lunch and I was subbing in science. Well both hearing aid batteries went dead. I had about 3 hours of the day left to go with no break to run to the car. Thank God we were watching a movie very little talking and listening had to take place. It made me realize I need to learn to speech read more then ever which will be my number 2.
  2. I hear with my eyes as much as my ears. I need a big boost in speech reading. I can do a word here or there but I need a lot more practice. I lack in this area greatly. Although I have done a few experiments on my own while listening to someone I really do concentrate on their face. I will close my eyes at times and my comprehension really goes down. I need that visual; I need to see it as much as hear it.
  3. Hearing aids are not miracle aids. Yes I really rely highly on my hearing aids. I recently told a friend who is Deaf, I can’t sign proficiently, I can’t read lips for a full conversation. I rely on the hearing I have. I have become great friends with the phonak and starkey hearing aids I own. I don’t have perfect hearing with my hearing aids but they make up for a lot of lost ground.
  4. Ear molds are better then domes. This is an individual thing but wow a big difference for me. I was given domes then got moved to closed power domes in my hearing aids. They annoyed me and I could hear better with my finger in my ear with them. When I bought this up I was told it just took time to get used to. I then went to another audiologist and they told me my hearing loss was to great for the domes and that is why I was having the problem. I was told I needed the ear molds and I sure can tell a difference. What I learned from this, you know what you need. If it doesn’t work for you and you have a finger in your ear, it isn’t working. I will never use domes again. You can change doctors nothing is set in stone.
  5. You are not alone. Family and friends supported me and listened to me but I needed to find someone who understood me. I have found friends and the Say What Club. They understand hearing loss. They can laugh with you and help through the tough times. I urge anyone who is going through a trial to seek out a group that understands. As a fellow SWC friend says you need your tribe. You need the people who walk in the same shoes as you do. Seek them out!
  6. Car radios suck. Ok so I am blunt and to the point. Maybe this again is just me. I try explaining to my husband I can hear the music and the beat but I very seldom can make out the words. I can hear parts of words but it kind of sounds like a broken foreign language. I will keep the radio on I like music but the words nah can’t do it. But I have never been able to really listen to the music and get all the words so maybe this isn’t such a new thing.
  7. I have become to love the assistive listening devices I have. I was very stubborn at first I didn’t want to try these. I felt that I was not profoundly deaf or hard of hearing so I didn’t need these. I was wrong. I use the streamer on my TV a lot. It blocks out everything but the show or movie we are watching. It makes a big difference. I still use the captions but I seem to be more engaged in a movie if I use it. Otherwise I seem to lose focus and I am off doing something else. When we are watching a family movie I need to be involved and enjoy the time.
  8. Keep my family in the loop. My children know when I can hear them and when I can’t. If I say I can’t hear you they are really good at waiting till we are somewhere else and then ask me. My kids understand my hearing aids. My husband will hook up and ask if I want the streamer on the TV or for the music we are listening to. They support me and that makes such a big difference.
  9. Sign language- I know some but I need to learn more. When we are in a situation and I can’t hear my kids I would love to be able to use more sign. Today in church I used sign to my son and we understood each other. I hope another class will be offered soon in my area.
  10. Pimping and blinging my hearing aids have become an obsession. Heck if I can go and see all these fun glasses at the eye doctor why do hearing aids have to be beige or dark brown in my case. I can decorate them and maybe no one will see them but I know they are there and sassy.

So here is my list of 10 things I have learned this past year. I wonder what my list will look like in another year.

A Case of Mistaken Identity

I read this today and had to laugh. It is sooo true. I find myself doing most of these things on a daily basis. Yes I am a super spy!!

The Cookie Bite Chronicles

Secret Agent or deafie Illustration with apologies to Dick Bruna

It occurred to me last week, after a series of frustrating occurrences at work, that my rapidly evolving HOH behaviour patterns have the capacity to be misunderstood. Just in case anyone else out there is wondering whether their deaf colleague might be a secret agent, I have prepared a handy checklist of similarities in order to clear up any potential misunderstandings.

Always first in and last to leave

They might be on an intelligence gathering mission for MI5, or just catching up with all their extra prep and trying to get some head space because their brain is fried after a long day of listening.

Their eyes always seem to be following you

They might be waiting to inject you with a poison dart hidden in their umbrella, or just trying to read your lips.

They keep fiddling with their ear

They’re either wired…

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My Name In Print

Months ago it seems I was approached by this wonderful woman in our area to write an article for her magazine.  Kathy, a friend, started and runs a woman’s ministry called Best Life Ministry.  She is based out in Western Minnesota but will travel to put on weekend retreats which can change lives.

So we are back to this past summer.  I was asked to write an article about being a hard of hearing mother that is a woman of faith.  Ok that title fits me now to get the words to paper.  This was mid summer and as any mom knows summers with kids are nuts.  We have swimming, camps, playmates, vacations and company.  I knew this article would be shoved back to the back recesses of my brain and the deadline date would come and go.  I sat down that night and thought and prayed and typed.  I typed just the surface of what it is like.  I talked about when my hearing took a dive, how I felt and how I reacted.  I was used to a mild loss I had since what I believe was childhood but was confirmed by an audiologist in my late teens.  This was a whole different game.  I was lost and confused, I literally felt like I was drowning.  I wrote these feelings down and how they relate to me being a mom.  I feel it is all related, how can it not be.  It doesn’t have to be a bad or negative thing but it is me.

I didn’t forget about the magazine but when months past it isn’t in the immediate present and other life things fill these spaces.  Last week I was presented a copy of the magazine.  Oh My Gosh to see my name in print was breath taking.  I couldn’t believe it.  I felt numb I didn’t know what to think or do.  It was so cool.  I actually thought back to 5th grade.  I had written a short story and it was published in a book that was a collection of short stories and poems by other Minnesota young artists.  At that time I was invited to the St Paul Landmark Center and read my story.  It was an awesome experience.  Just like this was seeing my name in print on glossy paper that held my words and my thoughts.  I am so thankful for being able to share.

cover

I pray that my words may touch one person.  They may not be hard of hearing or deaf but have another life challenge they are dealing with at this time.  I pray they can see that there is support out there.  A challenge isn’t a bad thing.  It can propel you to do great things.  It is who you are.

I love to write, I admit I may not be great at it but I love it.  I tend to be a shy person but I am really trying to be more outgoing but writing I don’t feel the need to hold back.  My feelings, fears, and dreams can be written down and I can choose to share them or not.  They are my words.  I hope I will have some more chances to write in the future.  I love this blog so this won’t be going away.  I was asked last month to write an article or two for a nationwide newsletter that deals with hearing.  I responded a big YES to the editor so I will see what comes to be.  To write makes my soul feel free.  To get out was was harbored is a feeling of freedom that I don’t take for granted.  What I do here many people don’t have the right to do.  We are lucky, very lucky indeed.

Have a blessed day and find a place your name can be in print.  It may not be in the ink of a paper but the handshake of a neighbor you helped, or the nail you pounded on a project.  We can all make a difference and leave our mark somehow, somewhere.