Every night, I follow the same routine. After my contact lenses are out and my pajamas are on, I take both of my CI processors off. They consist of three parts: the rechargeable battery, the actual processor, and the T-Mic earhook (the part that hangs over and into my ear). I leave the processor and T-Mic attached but I slip off the battery from each processor and slide them into my battery charger. The CI processors go into my Dry & Store unit, which does a good job of removing any moisture that’s built up. I nestle my processors in with Dave’s hearing aid and ear mold, turn the unit on, take off my glasses and get into bed.
I don’t fall asleep right away – I usually read and mess around on my Nook tablet for at least an hour. Dave does the same with his tablet. We usually don’t talk – it’s just too much of a hassle. Besides being deaf, with my glasses off I’m so nearsighted that I need to basically be about an inch from something to see it. I read with my tablet pretty much touching my nose, and even with Dave lying right next to me, I can’t see him well enough to lipread him unless I have my glasses on.
I really do miss being able to just lie in bed and have a casual conversation with my husband. If we need to talk, I put my glasses on and he uses the tablet to highlight his face better (we just have our bedside lights on when we’re reading at night). Sometimes he has to lift his head up onto his hand so I can see his mouth better. There’s no tossing off a quick comment about something he’s reading – I can say something to him, though, since he can still hear me well enough with his hearing aid off.
So last night we’re reading, and I’m in my silent world, and I notice Dave get up and leave the room. He goes into the bathroom, comes out and turns on the hallway light…which is definitely unusual behavior. I just had to know what he was doing! When he came back, I put my glasses on and asked him what was going on. He answered, using the slower, more enunciated manner of speaking that he uses when I have my ‘ears’ off. (I asked him once if he also talks louder, and he laughed and admitted that he does. He knows I can’t hear him but it’s just habit. However, he is very, very good about slowing his speech down to a degree that I can usually lipread everything he says with no problem at all.)
I furrowed my eyebrows. “Airy…something?” He tried again. Again, it looked like he was saying ‘airy’ and then a word I really couldn’t figure out. I shook my head.
He grinned and made the sign for bird, then scrunched his face into an angry expression.
“Bird! Oh – Angry Bird!”
Dave laughed and nodded, and went on to tell me that he’d stepped on something coming out of the bathroom, which was why he turned on the hall light. One of the cats had dropped their Angry Bird toy right by the doorway, apparently.
“That is so weird…I really didn’t see the ‘ng’ part of ‘angry’…it totally looked like you were saying ‘airy’!”
Usually if we have trouble like this, Dave will completely rephrase his sentence or fingerspell for me. But every now and then we just do our own version of sign language like this, and it gets the message across.
We were watching Switched at Birth last night, which features many deaf people as well as hearing people that sign. I enjoy catching the signs that I recognize, which admittedly aren’t many. The hearing people always speak while they’re signing, and I noticed they usually sign what they’re saying, in the same order they say it…not every single word, which I believe would be Signed Exact English, but the words they sign are usually the same as the ones they’re speaking. I don’t know ASL but I know a little about it, and the signs aren’t always in the same order as they would be if you spoke the sentence. I asked Dave if he thought they were doing ASL or something else, and he guessed maybe Pidgin Signed English. That’s closest to what we do, when we sign.
It made me wonder if there are any classes that teach PSE. As I’ve mentioned before, there aren’t any ASL classes around here other than the super-expensive community college class. I think, though, if I were going to take sign language (and I really, really want to!) I would want to take PSE since that’s what Dave and I use, and he’s really the only person I sign with. We’ve rented videos and looked online at sites, which is fine, but it would be so cool to find an actual class we could attend together. I’m keeping my eyes open – who knows!