My Nana

Sightsnbytes:

a tribute I wrote for my grandmother, who passed 18 years ago. We still miss her

Originally posted on SightsnBytes:

As she shuffled across the floor, feet never seeming to lift, she found her way to the counter. Reaching in the cupboard, she slid her fingers from the bottom of the door and up until she found the knob. Carefully propping herself against the counter, she reached inside the cupboard to find the perfect bowl.

When the correct bowl was discovered, she carefully put it on the counter. She then felt her way across the cabinet and found the drawer where the utensils were stored. She found her whisk and lay it on the counter. One hand in the flour and one  in the bowl, she was able to judge exactly how much flour she needed, the same for the eggs and the other ingredients. She  carefully mixed the ingredients together, always with her secret ingredient of love. When this was finished, she poured the mixture into cupcake pans, clicked…

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water droplets

PHOTO PROMPT – © Santoshwriter

PHOTO PROMPT – © Santoshwriter

water droplets on a leaf

The bugs get to the water first.

Our rivers and streams are polluted

and now the world is dying of thirst.

We send so much shit up into the skies

that we cannot drink from our water supplies.

But the bug, he knows he can survive

because he knows nature will always provide.

Posted in Fiction, Friday Fictioneers, Poetry and other deep thoughts | 3 Comments

Listen to the deaf guy: My life with hearing loss

I have been dealing with hearing problems for the past twenty years, perhaps even longer. Surprisingly, I have taken advantage of hearing aids only over the past three years. The problem with hearing aids is that they are EXPENSIVE! Try $2500 per hearing aid; and most people require two. Depending on what you need, the price goes up even more.

I have been living with hearing loss for so long that I forgot I even had a disability. Rather than admit I had a problem, I would pretend that I had no problem at all. A coping skill that people with hearing impairments sometimes use is Word Association.  When people speak to a person with hearing loss, there is always that one word that we don’t understand. Nobody wants to keep asking people to repeat themselves, so we try to guess what is being said, usually by replacing the word in question with something that rhymes with the word. We do it unintentionally. This practice, although annoying for the person talking to us, allows us to feel as if we are taking part in the conversation; even if we might sound like morons by doing so.

On one occasion, a friend of mine, who also suffers from hearing loss, was helping me renovate my home. He asked me for a tape, to measure a piece of siding that he was installing. I returned with a puzzled look on my face….with a piece of cake. When he finished eating the cake, again he asked for the measuring tape. We both laughed, but really it wasn’t all that funny.

God knows how many people I have been introduced to in my lifetime; some of them influential people who could have helped me along the way. It wasn’t as if I couldn’t remember their names, I just never heard them when we were introduced, and again, I didn’t want to ask the person to keep repeating himself. It was embarrassing to be deaf.

And Crowds! Talk about a nightmare. If any more than one person is speaking, I could not differentiate who was saying what. Throw me into a room where there are ten or more people and I am lost. Noisy night clubs and rock concerts are also a challenge for me. I usually nod and pretend that I hear what the person is saying, just to be polite.

Trying to watch television was also torture. I used to strain to hear so hard that I ended up getting headaches. I can’t tell you how many times I watched my favorite TV shows with subtitles scrolling across the screen. I could have continued doing this, but I wanted to hear what was going on. This led  to depression and confusion.

Little things that people with normal hearing take for granted are very confusing for a person with a hearing loss. Things like trying to find the cordless phone when it rings. When I was lucky enough to actually hear the phone, I could not determine where it was located. I can’t say how many calls I missed because of this. Even now with hearing aids, this remains a problem.

You remember that commercial on television for the Whisper 2000? The one where the guy sat and laughed as he overheard everyone talking? I knew a guy who actually ordered the thing. He explained how it was not near as effective as it appeared on the commercial. He said the thing hung from your neck, and when people seen it, they simply stopped talking in front of you. Not that it actually worked, but given the ad on TV, people believed he could hear their innermost secrets and desires.

I remember when I had my hearing test. I sat behind a soundproof glass and the audiologist would say various words and ask me to repeat them. I got them all right. Confused, he put a piece of paper in front of his face and did the exercise again. I got them all wrong. I was reading lips. I didn’t even know I was doing this. he said that lip reading is a coping mechanism that hearing impaired people use to function in society. He explained that often, the person doesn’t even know they are doing it.When I think about it, I do tend to stare at people’s lips when I talk to them.

The audiologist was amazed that I functioned this long without any kind of hearing aid. The test showed that my right ear 20% hearing loss, my left ear 80%. That is enough to throw anyone off balance. Maybe this explains why I am so clumsy sometimes.

When I received my hearing aids, I doubted they would be affective. I put them in and right away I was deafened by the screeching of song birds outside. This is a sound I had all but forgotten. I had to ask my son to tone his voice down, as he was deafening me as well. He was confused by this, because ever since I have known him, I have been asking him to speak up so that I could hear him. In fact, everyone I came in contact with on that day yelled at me. I felt as if I had done something wrong.

To celebrate not having to yell at me or repeat everything she was talking about, my wife (my fiancée at the time) asked if I wanted to go out to dinner to celebrate. I agreed; I should have stayed home.

When we got to the restaurant, I was in torture. Forks scraping on glass plates, glasses clinking, babies crying loudly, and gossip everywhere. Since this was my first day with hearing aids, I wasn’t able to tune out various sounds, so I heard everything, all at once! God, I don’t think that guy should be out to dinner with that young woman who obviously wasn’t his wife. And the things they spoke about made me red in the face! One would think that being able to hear things not meant for you is a laugh. I tend to disagree.

Afterwards we went for a walk along the beach. What a racket the waves made! I never heard waves crashing in so long, I forgot how intense and powerful the sound was. I forgot how many things sounded. Hearing aids allowed me to enjoy sounds that most people take for granted.

Let me tell you this. Hearing aids are not the answer for hearing loss. They are an aid, but not a cure. The sound that you ‘hear’ is not the sound you expect to hear. They certainly take some getting used to. At first, everything seemed to have a squeaky sound, like a cheap transistor radio. Eventually you do get used to this, but it took me at least a year to do so.

That being said, my hearing aids did improve my quality of life. They also improved the quality of my wife’s life. Only now did she reveal her frustrations. She said that on countless occasions, she spoke to me, only to have me stare into empty space, unaware that she said anything. God love her for her patience. Actually I have her to thank for even having hearing aids. She said that if we were to get married, I would have to do something about my hearing problem. I am glad I did!

Hearing aids have evolved since they first came on the market. My grandmother had a set over twenty years ago. Two hard plastic things that sat in her bedroom cabinet for years. “I am not wearing that!” she would argue. “They hurt my ears and everything is too loud” she would say. She kept them in the drawer next to her teeth. Go figure.

My hearing aids are very small. Most people have no idea that I am wearing them. I could have gone even smaller, a unit so small that the entire hearing aid fit into the ear canal. I chose the ones I have because I have a fear of a battery in my ear canal.

IMG_0268

The unit I have also came with a remote control. I joke with my wife that I can now put her on ‘mute’. She says that she has been on mute since she met me. If anyone has benefited from my new hearing, she is the one. It must have been torture for her.

According to the doctor, my hearing loss could have been caused by one or more factors. Since my father also uses hearing aids, it could have been caused by genetics. I have also been subjecting my ears to loud noise all my life. From the time I was 16 until the age of 37, I worked in the logging industry, using chainsaws and being around loud machinery without the use of ear plugs or any other hearing protection. Add to that my 25 plus years as a mobile disk jockey, with anywhere between 400 and 800 watts of sound banging in my ears at any given time. When I think about it, I really abused my ears. It’s no wonder I can hear at all.

Battery life isn’t all that great with hearing aids. Even though I remove the batteries at night, I still only get about three days out of a pair. This can prove quite costly for some. Anyone without a good health insurance would pay dearly for the ability to hear, something most simply take for granted.

My newfound hearing ability has allowed me to do so much more with my life. My self-confidence has increased, I am less reserved and I can get involved in most conversations, and I can better function in society.

If you suffer from hearing loss, get yourself tested. I can’t emphasize how much my life has improved since receiving hearing aids.

 

 

 

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Dripping faucets and barking dogs

PHOTO PROMPT – © Madison Woods

PHOTO PROMPT – © Madison Woods

Drip Drip Drip goes the faucet

as I try my best to sleep.

The neighbour’s dog is barking

and so is the mutt up the street.

I tried warm milk, counted every sheep on old MacDonald’s Farm

and still I lay awake, waiting for the morning alarm.

On the clock in front of me

a one changes to a two, and then into a three

Two cups of strong coffee in the morning

and groggy until the next night

falling asleep wherever I go, can’t wait to make it right

until I hit the bed and already I know

I won’t sleep tonight.

This annoying little poem is how I spent my night and is also my entry into this week’s Friday Fictioneers. Click on the link to read more stories in this week’s collection.

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Where is that dude???

PHOTO PROMPT – © Dee Lovering

PHOTO PROMPT – © Dee Lovering

Back in the late 80’s, a series of books were published in which kids scoured the pages searching for a crudely dressed dude named Waldo. Waldo chose to wear red and white striped shirts, and tried to hide in a crowd. I remember my sister staring at the pages until her eyes crossed. Great fun.

Kids today need more stimulation in order to peak their interest. To deal with this, the writers of the Where’s Waldo series have upped the ante. They still feature the Waldo character, but this time, he is dressed more conservatively, and hidden in actual photos.

This is my entry into Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Friday Fictioneers. Be sure to click on the froggy for more great stories.

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Read the signs, get a clue

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

There’s always at least one of those clowns on the lane, the ones who fail to pay attention to the signs. Luke Bannister was one such person.

Loud parties late at night, little or no respect for his neighbours, and now this!

The ratty old house that his uncle left him was no more, thanks to Luke parking his white sedan directly in front of his home one Tuesday morning. Local fire fighters couldn’t get close enough to fight the fire. For once his lack of respect has bit him in the ass.

Neighbours couldn’t be happier.

This fiery hot lesson in attitude was brought to you courtesy of Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Friday Fictioneers. Click the link for more stories.

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the squisher

Featured image

Clouds rushed across the clear blue sky as two young kids lay there, staring up at the heavens; and dreaming.

With my best friend by my side, we imagined the clouds to be many things, such as ice cream cones and flowers, and puppies.

Then suddenly we heard it, a loud whistle echoed through the valley and reminded us that the train wasn’t far off.

We jumped to our feet and headed for the tracks. Carefully placing pennies along the rails, we anxiously awaited the arrival of the locomotive.

In it’s speedy arrival, our pennies were squished flat. Mission accomplished!

This is my entry into Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Friday Fictioneers. Check out the link for more stories.

Posted in Fiction, Friday Fictioneers | 13 Comments