And then there are days when things don’t go right

Today I went to yet another small town hospital to get ready for a day surgery on Monday.  Totally different experience.  I’m still saying “I’m functionally Deaf” and “I can’t hear you” and “Are you talking to me? Because you’re talking to a computer screen (or the wall or a binder), not to me.”  Some folks were standing 10 feet away talking at me (certainly not to me since I couldn’t hear a bloody thing).

Now, mind you, this hospital has signs all over about providing free interpreter services for the Deaf, but there was not one person there who had a clue. I ended up not responding. I’d make them say it 57 times until I understood it.  I kept repeating, “I’m functionally Deaf.”  Oh gee, there’s that D word again – the Deaf word.  I kept wondering what part of “I can’t hear you” is that hard to comprehend?

I kid you not, the receptionist, registration, insurance, volunteer, R.N. – you name it – they were all in the Ozone. SMH – this place is a law suit waiting to happen.

So it took about four times as long as it had to take because I got my back up and refused to do their work for them.  I’ve heard this place is lousy regarding service provision (apparently so) and yet it is owned by the same mega corporation that owns the great little ER in Ayer, MA.

The day surgery center is there and I wanted to get the surgery done in 2013 so I’m stuck with the place. But when we go there I’m going to make sure my daughter is front and center and making sure everyone is doing what they need to do the way she did when I got hurt last May.


  1. Oh gosh. I’m taking notes because one day this will be me. Just a matter of time. Thanks for educating me on how the general public responds to HoH folks. And I’ll do my best to help bring awareness to the Hearing Community. Best of luck on your surgery!

    1. One thing I didn’t do was take a pad of paper and a pen to insist people write things down.

      You never know what you’re going to get from the “general public.” It could be a great experience (now and then) and then again it could be “up your nose with a rubber hose.” I tend to think the latter is more likely than the former.

      And I know I could have been more assertive. But I’m tired and in pain and not feeling like I should have to educate medical professionals – who should know better. Shame on them.

  2. it is so hard trying to get anyone to actually pay attention and believe that…NO we can’t hear you. Yes, I have cochlear implants, but in a crowded area, or one with bad acoustics, or at a time when I’m nervous (as in every time I have to deal with someone I need to understand but can’t) I cannot understand people. And it’s not my fault!!

    The sad thing is, I can’t even ask for an interpreter, I don’t know enough sign language. And this past year has not been conducive to me trying to learn a new language. I know a little, but not enough to really communicate. So I have to depend on my husband, then I get home and am so confused by the things he says the doctors or nurses said. I hear a little, and that’s not what I heard. Plus hubby has ADD, I know he doesn’t always listen the way you should. He listens while he is thinking about the next thing to ask, or something else, and doesn’t really hear what is being said. I need a stenographer, so I can look back and really understand what the conversation said.

    i hope your surgery goes well. A great way to start off the new year, getting patched up from your spill in the previous year. (Yes I am optimistic!)
    Good luck!! and Thank goodness your daughter can help.

    1. You can ask for CART. Don’t forget that. CART is the interpreter option for non-signers.

      As to me, I realize today I was being stubborn. There was absolutely no reason I had to go through that. I’m tired and in pain and I’m sick and tired of ignorant people. I was clearly spoiled by the good hospital.

      I have ADHD and take ritalin. You should see me without it – I bounce off walls.

      Don’t forget to take pen and paper. If you need a steno then make sure you’ve got the means. And if you have an iPad or something like that, you can also communicate via text.

      Yup, one surgery down – one to two more to go in the new year. I’m ready to start fixing and stop hurting.

      Thanks for chiming in. 🙂

      1. You know I’ve heard of CART, but didn’t really know what it was. I’ll look into it. My hospital visits really have been good. The nurses in that area at Duke are fantastic. But there are doctors who talk to me while looking the other way while typing. Yep, that’s no good. Stuart does do his best, and normally he’s good at it. But sometimes….well let’s say they are still working on the right meds for him. He was just diagnosed a little over a year ago. He also has OCD. They masked each other.

        I’m so happy you will be getting fixed up. Pain is not fun. I have constant hip pain. The surgeries didn’t help much. The doctors say I have a little bit wrong in many places so I have a big pain but nothing they can really just fix….yet.

        I may not chime in often, but I do read your posts…..I read them in my email, often on my phone, and it’s hard to comment from there. (no not an iphone….it’s an older Droid.)

        Thinking of you in the upcoming year.
        may your recovery be speedy and a painless as possible!

      2. CART is probably something the doctors are not used to. The CART operator comes in with what amounts to a court reporter’s keyboard and a screen the words print on (large letters). They transcribe everything that is said. If there is a problem with the dictionary (doesn’t have the right words for keystrokes) it might get a little wonky, but not too bad. The CART operator is held to the same confidentiality standards as an ASL terp (they are really tight standards) so no worries there.

        I interrupt someone who is talking to me but not facing me. “Are you talking to me? I can’t understand you when you talk to the computer.” We should not have to educate people, but we end up doing it. And I’m like a broken record – “Are you talking to me? Are you talking to me?” Sometimes they get irritated but then they’ll say, “No, I’m talking to myself” and I say, “Fine, let me know when you are talking to me and then you can face me.” I’m fairly nice about it unless they get rude in which case I begin removing the head at the shoulders and using the body for a waste dump.

        Thanks for your kind post, Wendy.

  3. Tongue in cheek or true? I am hearing impaired and don’t know how many times I have to repeat that phrase to the same people and it seems like they just do not care.

    1. Hi Pete,

      If you sound normal (no “Deaf accent”) most people assume you can hear more than you do. In fact, people who are in prison who are totally Deaf but who watch everything around them and lip read are usually thought (by the guards) to be 100% hearing.

      Being Hard of Hearing (HoH) is an invisible disability. When I was in law school even the ADA officer there (a lawyer and professor) didn’t believe me and I had to take out my HA and show him.

      I swear to Buddha that it took 35 years for my kid to “get it” that I can’t hear. She’ll still walk to the door of the room and start talking to me when I’m in bed (no glasses to lip read her, no HA in my ear) and start talking to me.

      I had one hearing tech who told me to tell folks: Go in your bathroom and turn on the shower. Then shut the door. With your back to the door have someone talk to the in a normal tone of voice from a position with their back against the door. That’s what you hear WITH a HA. Even if they don’t actually do it, the “thought experiment” does give them pause.

      In reality – most people don’t really care about our hearing issues unless it inconveniences them. Sad, but true.

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