(don’t) Call Me

Guess what I did yesterday?  I talked on the phone!  For the first time in nearly a year!

I know this is a milestone and a real achievement, but a big part of me just thinks, “Oh no, does this mean I have to talk on the phone now?!”  😛   I have a serious aversion to the telephone and it was kind of sweet relief to just say, “Well, I can’t hear on the phone” and know I was off the hook.

It happened in the blink of an eye.  Dave was talking to my mom on the phone.  She’s been home for a few days now after nearly a week in the hospital with an unexplained fever and problems breathing.  Dave’s been fighting a cold and/or sinus infection the past few days so we haven’t been over to see her since she got home, since we don’t want to get her sick again.  So they were talking, and she told him to tell me she loved me.  He held the phone to my ear and said, “Just say ‘I love you’”, figuring she’d get a kick out of hearing my voice come through the phone but not expecting me to hear her.

So I did – I said, “I love you, mom!” and she responded.  I could kind of tell what she said, so I said, “Hey, I can kind of hear you!”  She kept talking and it just blurred into noise, so I said, “Wait, hang on” and I kept the phone by my ear, but tilted it outward in the hopes that Dave could hear what she was saying and relay it to me.  (He also has a hard time on the phone, so this was wishful thinking!)  When she spoke again, I could hear her better.  For some reason, if I keep the receiver tilted away from my ear, I can understand better than if it’s pressed against my ear.  Very strange!

So we had a conversation for about 5 minutes.  I caught enough to be able to figure things out well enough to feel like I understood everything that was said.  Even if I didn’t catch every single word, either it would click into place a few seconds later or once I heard the whole sentence I could figure out the words I was missing.  It was a LOT of work – I was actually tired by the time we were done talking.  I was tense and really straining to catch everything being said.  But it was worth it to be able to talk to my mom, because the phone is her main means of communication.  She doesn’t have a computer and doesn’t use text messaging.  If we want to talk, we’ve had to do it in person.  (Luckily she lives just a 5 minute drive from me.)

I guess I’ll probably never get over my phone phobia.  It’s much harder to hear now that it used to be, and even back when I could hear on the phone I still hated it.  I just never knew if I was going to end up talking to someone I couldn’t understand, and there’s no graceful way to end a conversation when you have no idea what the other person is saying.  I also hate the ‘put on the spot’ aspect of talking on the phone.  I like to think about what I’m going to say, and then type it out.  I hate having to come up with conversation on the fly.  I guess I’m just weird!

I probably won’t use the phone unless it’s to talk to my mom, since I know I can hear her and I know it really makes her happy to talk to me.  Even though I still loathe the telephone, I’ll use it for her.   🙂

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About wendiwendy

This was my original info in 2008: I'm a newly-deafened adult. I'm still getting used to the sudden silence, and I want to talk in the only manner where I can still hear my voice...in print. Now: I'm a bionic woman and I can hear myself roar!!

Posted on March 11, 2009, in Cochlear Implants & Hearing Loss and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Congrats to you hearing on the phone for the first time in a year!! It’s cool you got to talk to your mom.

    Happy Wednesday.

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  2. oh wow! 😀 a big achievement huh? 🙂 x

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  3. Hi Wendy,
    I know what you mean by “do I have to talk on the phone now”. I used to enjoy long phone conversations with my sister and my best friend both of whom have soft voices. Those days are long gone but on Sunday I made a valiant effort and had an extended phone conversation with both of them. I’m sure they had no idea how much effort it was.
    I much prefer email and text messaging!
    Maybe you can think of it as you CAN talk on the phone if you want to.
    All the best,
    Sarah (speakuplibrarian)

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  4. I know it’s an effort on the phone– can’t lipread a phone, dammit. I have my druthers too, but for close family members and friends, it’s the “sound of your voice” that they miss. The email or txt messaging is not the same thing for them.

    Dunno if assistive technology can help you, but there are devices that can help amplify or make clearer incoming sound from a cell phone or cordless phone to a CI or a hearing aid with telecoil feature. I use a singular device (there are dual’s, too) with a hook over the ear next to the aid’s telecoil, and that helps me a lot with phone conversations.

    ‘Course, if it’s somebody who mashes his words at the end of sentences or has a thick accent, I’ll go, oops! somebody-at-the-door and hang up. 😉

    Ann_C

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  5. Yay Wendi!!! That’s quite an accomplishment! Hopefully over time your ability to hear on the phone will improve. 🙂

    Keep on learning ASL and we can have a video ASL chat. Do you have Skype or ooVoo? Fun way to practice listening as well as signing. Plus we could text chat at the same time.

    Fun stuff!!

    Jennifer 🙂

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  6. Oy do I know what you mean about it being a nice escape to just say I can’t talk on the phone. I hate it too. I don’t think I used it At All until I was 10. Lost my hearing at 14 but people still tried to call me.

    Now at work I have a deal with my boss. He’s fairly computer illiterate so I write the emails and he makes the phone calls and we are both happy.

    Already people are asking me if a CI will let me hear on the phone, and I just say maybe and they’re thrilled silly. Uhg.

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