Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Dial Up The Ear - Dial Back The Fear

As I approached what will soon become my most frequented Doctor's office I was struck by the notion that this change was good.  How can that be?  My mind immediately questioned while my heart patiently continued to beat providing time for logic to catch up.  Because I'm different the light bulb flashed above my head, and not in a bad way.

In fact, I've been on a quest for awhile now to love people.  Whoa watch out, I'm not going all hippy on you now "Peace and love man.",  (insert hippy accent with a lopsided grin).  No, that is not what I am saying at all.  I'm also not saying that I want or believe that peace can exist in this world,  (insert bumper sticker that says COEXIST).  No, I am not saying that either. 

So what do I mean?   I mean that I want to drop away the judgemental glasses that a high school girl looks at the world through and become someone who goes beyond.  Someone who appreciates the uniqueness rather than turning away from it because it isn't the same. 

Truth is I haven't had much luck.  It's hard to like the person who goes in the speedy checkout lane with 30+ items, the customer that yells at my high school cashier and makes her cry, or the someone that has hurt you beyond what you think can be carried.  Yes, life makes these challenges seem big and overwhelming.  And as hard as I've tried I feel my tolerance lowering, not growing as I get older. 

So why do I feel different?  Pinpointing the why isn't revealing itself clearly yet but I know that I am.  There are several subtle changes I can sense.  1.  Small things are not hurting me like they might have before.  The bumps, scrapes and paper cuts of life are simply minor irritations that I deal with by slapping a band-aid on whatever the ailment may be and heading out the door.  2.  Things that used to scare me don't anymore.  3.  I have more empathy.   

And so with all of this rambling around in my head I met with my hearing aid consultant.  To help you envision her, she's young, married with no children yet but she absolutely loves her nieces and nephews.  She is very friendly and animated making me feel warm and welcomed each time I arrive.  In short I like her a lot.

She asked how it was going and I revealed that the sound had dulled considerably and that I was having issues at work still.  I also confessed that last night it was once again hard for me to hear the TV.

"Hmmm, can I see them for a minute?"  she asked and I immediately handed them over.  "Well, their working."  Her brow furrowed as her hands began typing on the computer. 

"That should help."  she said handing them back to me. 

I put them in and she was grinning broadly as she explained that my mind may not have assigned back ground noises yet at work.  That every clanking dish, steamer, tv, etc. was a distraction from my hearing what was being said.  Apparently it takes the brain awhile to deam those as unimportant sounds and naturally dim them so she adjusted my hearing aids to do that for me.  They were also hiked up a bit - she "dialed up my ear" and said there was plenty of room to go up. 

As I placed them back in sound flooded my ears immediately.  When the hearing aids are out now I feel like I have a cotton ball blocking my ear from hearing.  I don't like that feeling at all.  It also sounds like a chorus of crickets and locusts are singing to me on a warm summer evening.  The hearing aids help put that to bed as well. 

Later in the evening when I had taken out the hearing aids for the night the ringing returned with a vengeance.  It's getting louder my brain began taunting me and this time the heart agreed.  Fear began to move into my thoughts.  I let it in knowing it can't be helped and that it has to surface sometimes.  So there it was fresh after a "significant" (her words) volume increase.  To be expected I reasoned with myself. 

Just two weeks until my next hearing test and then I will know for sure if things have changed.  Another moment of truth in this journey.  A day that won't be easy on me. 

I can do this I tell myself repeatedly.  I can do this because I have to.  I. can. do. this.

So I dialed up my ear and then I dialed back the fear.