Category Archives: Family
On our way home from Dave’s one-month checkup with his hepatologist in Fort Wayne, we stopped at Subway for lunch. Although we like the food, Dave kind of hates going there because the ordering process confounds him. They ask a lot of questions, and for someone with hearing loss that’s a real drag.
I have an easier time with this kind of thing (as long as it’s in person) because I lipread, so I am usually the one to order. I just consult Dave first to make sure what he wants, or if he starts to order himself then I will relay the questions to him if he misses them.
Since it was just a light lunch, we did our usual and got the same sandwich in the foot-long size, and then split it. This location had a drive-through but we decided to go inside because I really struggle to understand anything through those speakers.
We were the only customers, and as we walked up to the counter the guy started talking. I wasn’t close enough to read his lips and had no clue what he said (he was talking really fast and also had a bit of a southern accent). I did my usual and just assumed what he probably said based on my past visits to Subway.
I told him the type of sandwich we wanted and the type of bread. He said something else that I missed, but I knew they usually asked about cheese and I thought I’d caught part of his question. “Did you say something about pepperjack cheese?” He nodded, and I confirmed that we wanted it. Then he asked if we wanted it toasted, which caught me off guard. I had to have him repeat the question a couple of times. After I answered him, I added, “I’m deaf and I’m reading your lips, so that’s why I sometimes miss what you say.”
Now, usually I add that I have cochlear implants and I hear with them; that way people know that I do hear sound but they also know that I’m reading their lips as well. But I figured eh, this is just a quick lunch order and why go into all that detail? Here’s what happened when I just let that statement hang in the air without further clarification:
The guy stopped talking.
He had been keeping up a constant patter while we were there, which was making it hard for me to tell if he was asking a question, making a comment about our order, or even perhaps just talking to himself. My statement silenced him, and what a gift it was!
He quietly made the sandwich and just kind of looked up when he got to the veggies, waving his hand vaguely in the direction of the options available. I smiled and said we just wanted tomato, nothing else, and no sauce.
Obviously he thought I couldn’t hear anything and there was no point in really talking to me anymore, so he resorted to his version of sign language – and it was perfectly fine with me (even preferable, if I’m being honest). I thought it was kind of hilarious; it’s been a long time since I’ve had someone react that way when I say I’m deaf. Even before I got my CIs and I really couldn’t hear, when I told someone I was deaf and reading lips, they would still keep talking to me the same way they had been.
(Before I get to my next story, I have to interject and say that Dave had his viral load tested at this appointment, and we got the results yesterday. As of one month into his three month treatment with Harvoni and Ribavirin, he has cleared the Hepatitis C virus! He never cleared it in 2013; he went from over 4 million to 11,000 but that was as low as it went. This time he started at over 3 million and BOOM … now it’s undetected. ! ! ! !)
The other hearing loss-related thing that happened around here was during a power outage. The power really doesn’t go out very often here, and when it does they get it back on within a few hours (at the most). It seems to go out at weird times, though, not during storms. The last time was about a week ago, after we’d had some rain come through. During the storms all was well, but about 3:15 in the morning my eyes just kind of flew open. I could feel that something wasn’t right; I just didn’t know what it was. I realized Dave wasn’t in bed, and then I looked over at the clock and saw that it was off – we had a power outage. (Dave had realized about five minutes before me and was getting candles.)
It wasn’t hot so we didn’t have fans on (or else the room suddenly getting hot would have woken me up). I realized that when I’m sleeping I’m more sensitive to light (and the lack of it) than I realized. I always assumed I wouldn’t wake up from a strobe light on a smoke detector, and that I’d need something that vibrated the bed to wake me up. (Those systems are, by the way, very expensive.) Now I’m kind of wondering if the strobe light would actually do the trick. I must be more sensitive to that kind of thing when I’m sleeping since I don’t have hearing to rely on. Very interesting!
Like many areas around the US right now, Michigan is in the middle of a cold snap. It got down to nine degrees F last night, it’s a generous 13 degrees right now, and our high is predicted only to be 19 degrees.
Last night Dave and I were talking over our plans for today, New Years Eve. We’re making chicken rice burritos but I also needed to fit my shower into the schedule, and I was trying to plan it so that I would have my ‘ears’ on (it makes it easier when we’re cooking together if I can hear him).
“I really dread taking a shower tomorrow,” I sighed. “Normally I would just take it as soon as I wake up, but the bathroom is the coldest room in the house!” I knew with the extra-cold overnight temperature, and the fact that two of the bathroom walls are exterior, it would be even colder than usual. On top of that, the heat register in the bathroom is the furthest one from the furnace and the air that comes out of it is not nearly as warm as the registers in other parts of the house.
“Here’s what happens when I take a shower,” I went on. “I finish up by rinsing the conditioner out of my hair, then turn off the water. While I’m standing there, wet and cold, I put on leave-in conditioner and rake it through. Then I use some kind of curl cream and rake that through. Then I flip my head upside down to finish with some more curl cream, scrunch my hair and put it in a flour sack towel. So I’m standing there for about five minutes, wet and freezing my ass off, while I do all this stuff.” I made a face, shrugged, and said, “Oh well, it is what it is.”
This morning I woke up to a beautiful sunrise. I love looking out the window in our bedroom and seeing all the trees lit up from the sun. Dave was already up. Maxie jumped onto the bed with me and settled in against my hip. I petted her and pointed out the beautiful view, but I think she was more interested in the birds feeding outside on the deck.
Then Dave came into the room, wearing his coat. I waved at him and put on my glasses so I could read his lips. “You’re up and about already!” I marveled.
“Yes! I bought you a heater!”
“A little heater like we talked about.” I had jokingly mentioned that it would be great to have a fireplace in the bathroom; then Dave mentioned a small heater, which I had assumed would be too expensive.
You guys. He went out early this morning and bought a little ceramic heater for the bathroom, for less than $20! It works perfectly. He had set it up to test it out, so when I got up he took me into the bathroom for a demonstration. Not only was the room warm, it made the rest of the house feel cold when I walked back out.
We won’t use it all the time, of course – just for showers, mainly. But my gosh, what a massive difference it makes.
Even better, the car started right up this morning. She’s been fine lately but the mornings haven’t been that cold … so now we know she’s fixed. My clever husband did what three car mechanics couldn’t manage to do.
Of course, I’d love him even if he couldn’t fix cars – that’s just one of the many perks of being married to him. But his thoughtful, kind nature – that’s reason #5,991,580 why I love him.
Happy New Year! See you in 2015!