I gotta have some of your attention…
I’m engrossed in whatever I’m doing…dishes, typing, reading, sewing. Totally focused, listening to whatever weird thing my tinnitus is doing at the moment (Pipe organ! Roaring ocean! Revving motorcycles!). Suddenly there’s a tap on my shoulder and I shriek, peel myself off the ceiling.
Sometimes I feel like being deaf is going to give me a heart attack.
Seriously though, it’s very strange not being able to just hear my name and respond. My family has to go the extra mile to get my attention now. They have to walk up to me and tap me (and scare me half to death), or do an interpretive dance from across the room…waving their arms, waggling their eyebrows and fingers, until I notice the motion and glance over.
Let’s not even talk about what the cats do to me. We have five cats. Three are former ferals and aren’t yet to the point where they are lap cats (we can’t even pick them up) although they do come up and rub against our legs. However, my other two cats are very affectionate. More than once I’ve been totally engrossed at the sewing machine and felt something grab my thigh. It’s even more terrifying because my thigh is the last place I expect to be grabbed or tapped! Inevitably I look down and see a cat hanging off my leg, looking for attention. Before I lost my hearing I always had some warning because they usually meow for a while first. It’s only if I’m ignoring them that they become more aggressive and start grabbing at me with their paws. I told Sabrina, our black fluffball, that I was going to give her a collar with a flashing strobe light on it. Forget the bells (they’re indoor cats anyway so birds don’t need to be warned)…I need a visual indicator that I’m about to be affectionately assaulted by my felines!
I’ve been thinking about setting up a mirror to the side of my computer monitor, so I can tell when someone’s coming up behind me. Sometimes I get a reflection off the printer or my water glass and the movement will make me turn to look. But it gets a little exhausting constantly looking around, checking to see if anybody is trying to get my attention.
I find myself making sure I don’t turn my back to people, if I can help it. If I’m cooking, I’ll do my prep work on our stove top with my back to the patio door. That gives me a full view of the kitchen and there’s no reason anybody would be behind me. No more cutting vegetables at the sink for me!
On a totally unrelated note, I find myself missing music more than I expected to. Whenever I try to think of a title for a journal entry lately, it seems to be a song title or lyrics. The funny thing is, although I listened to music avidly as a kid, teen and young adult, once Dave and I got together (I was in my 30s) I pretty much stopped listening to music. Since he’s got a hearing loss, it was just too hard to converse with music in the background. We’d have to turn it down so low that I couldn’t hear it anyway. Plus, the kids were young and I didn’t want to wear headphones because I wouldn’t be able to hear if they were crying or needed me. Even in the car we rarely played music, again because it was too hard to converse. (We also almost never drive around with the windows rolled down – the background noise makes a conversation impossible. As soon as spring rolls around, we’ve got the air conditioning on in the car and the windows rolled up!)
Yet, I find myself “hearing” certain songs over and over in my head. I make up new arrangements for them too. It’s very strange! I went through a phase where I just kept hearing Beatles songs. I’m not even a big fan of the Beatles but my dad was, and I realized I was hearing the songs I was used to hearing all the time as a kid. Same with the soundtrack for Jesus Christ Superstar, which my dad listened to frequently (and I liked it so much that I got my own copy).
In fact, a lot of the songs that pop into my head are from my childhood. ‘One Bad Apple’ by the Osmonds (yes, I loved Donny Osmond), the soundtrack to Jonathan Livingston Seagull (specifically ‘Lonely Looking Sky’), and from my late teens, ‘Puttin’ on the Ritz’ (the version by Taco). That last song pops into my head all the time…it’s not even a song I was particularly fond of! Crazy!