On the days when…


On the days when I am not totally bombed out of my mind on painkillers (it happens more than I’d like since there is some interdimentional inquisitor with a big knife pick who regularly attacks my right shoulder – if you see it, please ask it to stop now) I sometimes contemplate a meaningful post.

On the day I was transported to the hospital in an ambulance there was a mantra I voiced over and over.  “I’m deaf.  I can’t hear you.  I’m deaf.  Please look at me when you talk to me.  I’m deaf and I can’t hear you when you stand on my left side.”  One woman walked in and knew how to sign and I was enormously relieved, but I never saw her again.

When, like me, you can voice adequately, “they” assume you hear.  It seemed ever time I saw someone I’d say, “I’m not hearing you.  I’m deaf.  Really.”  One woman said, “Okay, I’ll speak more quietly.”  

I am right-handed dominant signer and my left hand wasn’t up to the task.  

The day I left the hospital I was yet again saying something about being deaf and said, “My daughter is acting as my interpreter.”

“Why do you need an interpreter?”

“Because I can’t hear you!  I’m still deaf.  I got here deaf.  I stayed here deaf.  I’m leaving here deaf.  My daughter has told you over and over again I can’t hear you.”

In a small voice she said, “We have a sign language interpreter on staff.”  

I need a button to wear that says, “I am very hard of hearing.  Please call your ASL interpreter.”  (sigh)

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6 comments

  1. Do you wear a medical bracelet? Not that it would ensure that first responders would know how to handle it, but maybe it could tip them off to have an ASL interpreter handy on your arrival.

    I hope your arm is healing well, my friend! Watch those painkillers, they can be a Trojan Horse!

    1. I used to be a substance abuse counselor. I know how dangerous they are, but fortunately, I’m not a person predisposed to addiction to opiates. I despise opiates. At this point I use 1-2 a day (maximum) mostly to deal with extreme pain levels – and often use 1/2 a tablet at a time to see if I can do with less.

      No, I don’t wear a bracelet that says, I use American Sign Language. Under the right circumstances I can limp along with lip-reading and my hearing aid, but emergency situations are not one of them.

      Because I learned how to speak when I had better hearing I sound like a fully hearing person, although I’m not. I have a button I sometimes use (if I know I’ll need it) that says something to the effect that I’m hard of hearing and need people to look directly at me when speaking to me.

      No matter how often you tell someone, though, they seem to be unable to juxtapose my speech abilities with my inability to understand them. 😦

  2. What a nightmare. I too am a speaking deaf person. Yes I have a CI, but it only helps partially…maybe it will help more the longer I have it, or after I get the second one…but right now I HAVE to see a person’s lips. I’ve only had one person ever say to me….but you can talk, how can you be deaf? I said, Not everyone is born deaf, I’ve only been deaf for 2 years….actually deaf in one ear for 2 years, in the other 1 year.

    When I ask most people will start out talking to me so I can see their lips, but then they forget and talk while looking away. I remind them once, then I simply don’t reply. They’ll look at me, and I’ll say, I can’t hear you when you aren’t looking at me. That often does it.

    My biggest problem is I don’t know ASL very well. I’m learning slowly, my husband and I are learning together, so he’s a better interpreter for me than a trained one. I’m not that fast and don’t know a lot of signs, he knows what I know, so it makes it easier. We’re getting there.

    I hope you are feeling better. I promise if I see that interdimentional inquisitor I will take his knife away!

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