Monday, November 11, 2013

Slight: small in degree; inconsiderable.

What an overwhelming response I received from my Facebook post!  Thank you, to everyone who read it and an extra dose of gratitude to those who reached out and made contact.  I truly appreciate all of your support and encouragement.

Let's just dive right in.

Slight: small in degree; inconsiderable.

I finally after much begrudging and several days of reminding am on my way for a hearing test.  Chris practically made the appointment for me.  In fact, he was the one that provided the first clue that something was changing again.  It is both comforting and frightening that someone knows me so well that he can detect a change through my behavior faster than I will admit it to myself.  I'm glad I have him to keep me honest. 

The other not so subtle clue was through my two year old, Chase.  He is in the early stages of formulating speech and with each day comes a new word or phrase.  Unfortunately this time the new item is the word, "huh".  He has started saying it constantly and after everything we say to him.  I will ask him for the ball and his response is, "huh?" (pause) "huh?" (before I can repeat) "huh?" (after I do repeat).  It is always in three's and very annoying.

Hello kettle this is me, pot.

Yes, this from the person that has come to say "huh?" after much of what people say. 

Since he picked that up so readily I have been working on new ways to indicate that I need something repeated.  Some of my creative choices are:

I'm sorry?
Say that again?
I can't hear what you are saying.
I don't understand what you are saying.
Can you repeat that?
Or my more intimate conversation move is to lean in with my ear turned towards the persons face.

The mere fact that I had to come up with more ways of asking people what they are saying shows just how bad off my hearing actually is and how much this hearing test appointment is needed.

So, here I am back in the soundproof room and for the first time I wonder if the lack of sound is reciprocal.  If I yell will the administrator hear me?  I feel like screaming to test this out.  Even more strongly I want to rush the door and bang on it like a madwoman while I yell "I don't want to be here!"

Despite these feelings I smile to myself.  What would that poor woman think if I rushed her little 20x20 window where she sits safely observing.  I'm sure it would be a first, after all a hearing test doesn't hurt immediately.  It's the results that hold the dagger and bare the blow of finality.

As the test moves forward I'm drawn into the beeping that seems increasingly spread out.  I try not to look directly at the person giving me the test as I am afraid that they may reveal when I am missing sounds.   "That's right", I start talking to her in my head.  "I cannot hear that beep so please move on."

This line of thinking leads me to wonder how many times they actually do push the tones that I don't signal for.  Is is once, twice, or three times?   How long do they persist in an effort to get my ear to hear?    

Immediately after we are finished the hearing test administrator brings in the chart for me to see.

"Looks like a slight change since March specifically in the 2K range which is where all speech sounds are mostly found."  Her voice bared no pity or real concern. 

I nodded in understanding of the results but I was far from satisfied.

"Isn't it odd that each ear is losing hearing at the same rate and in the same categories?" 

"Well it's genetic right?" She said very matter of fact.

"No."  I shook my head emphatically.   But the words Index Case floated over my head with a big fat arrow pointing down at me. 

I'm pretty sure as the years go by I will grow to hate those words. 

Click on this link to read my previous post on what it means to be The Index Case.
Slight.  Her use of this word was bothering me more than it should.  My last test in March had also only shown a slight decrease.  How easily that word was thrown around with regards to my ears.

So after getting my tune up and admittedly being able to hear better, I am setting out on a mission to figure out just what slight really means.  Armed with coffee and my computer I begin first by recording what the hard of hearing numbers actually are.

The numbers for less than perfect hearing range from 20-120 with the higher the number being the less you can hear.  The chart below show the breakdown of the ranges.

Degree of hearing loss Hearing loss range (dB HL)
Normal –10 to 15
Slight 16 to 25
Mild 26 to 40
Moderate 41 to 55
Moderately severe 56 to 70
Severe 71 to 90
Profound 91+

Now here are my results since September 2012 in the 2K category:

September 2012              35 Right Ear and 45 Left
March 2013                     45 Right Ear and 50 Left
September 2013              60 Right Ear and 65 Left
 Total change                 -25 Right               -20 Left

Over the course of one year I earned the honor of moving up two categories in my right ear, from mild to moderately/severe hearing loss and one category in the left from moderate to moderately severe.

Slight: small in degree; inconsiderable.  The severe numbers mock me. 

Logically and now historically if I keep on the path of losing 20 - 25 points over twelve months I'll be almost deaf by next year.

My stomach is churning at the thought.  I swear sometimes I write this blog more like an outsider looking in on someone other than myself.  Because of that I believe I have been and may still reside in a place called denial.

After my first diagnosis when the initial shock wore off I looked at the end game as being years down the road.  I never dreamed and still don't believe this kind of timeline is possible.

I still hold tight to the hope that the pregnancy is to blame for the significant and NOT SLIGHT decrease.

I want to hate something or someone for this new realization but there is no fault to place. I am at the mercy of what my body decides to do.  I just don't understand how it is possible that in each ear little villi are dying off in exactly the same pattern and at exactly the same rate.   Am I doing something to cause it and if so what would make both sides act in almost perfect unison?  Is this my bodies predestined path?  Only one answer seems logical for now and that is that it's time to go back to the specialist for further testing and advising. 

It is clear that control of this situation does not reside with me and I no longer feel as if I can brush it off as nothing.   Denial is leaving and a slight change has occurred.

Slight: small in degree; inconsiderable.  I wonder if they know how hurtful the use of that word is.

Nothing about what is happening with my hearing feels slight at all.