I had the
misfortune to go to a small, local hospital on Christmas Day. I had a persistent ear infection that simply refused to give up the ghost. When the itching, burning, swelling and pain became simply too much to bear I decamped to the tiny ER in Ayer, MA.
By this time I could not get my hearing aid in my ear due to pain and swelling. For all intents and purposes, I am functionally deaf when the HA is out and the ear canal is swollen.
To tell the truth, I can say “I’m functionally deaf” all day long to people in my regular world and have it serve no particular purpose, but this once it made a difference.
Everyone from the registration clerk to the nurse to the doctor were educated to ask (repeatedly) if I wanted an interpreter. They all knew how to get my attention. They all understood my need for a quiet location if I were to understand anything at all. They all got my attention before speaking to me and spoke directly to me without looking away. I’m so totally impressed with all of them.
Because they accommodated me with a private room and quiet environment I was able to cope with a combination of what sound I could hear and lip reading. Also, to be honest, I didn’t want to wait for the staff terp to be called and arrive. Had the conditions not been so ideal, however, I’d have requested a terp in a heartbeat.
I knew what I needed and I got the prescription ear drops promptly (ahhh, blessed relief!). However, I’m still not wearing my hearing aid until the infection is resolved because I have to carefully sterilize the earbud before putting it back in so as not to cause another infection. Which means I’m still functionally deaf.
Now, to be fair, this is the same facility I’ve raised holy heck with a couple of times over what I considered inadequate treatment of a relative of mine. Different issues, though. Different doctors. Maybe more enlightened times are coming. We can hope so. I’m tickled pink.