Why? Really – why?

Maybe my friend David of Deaf In Prison can tell me. Why on Earth does someone start talking to someone and then turn and walk away. What?!  The mouth is on the front of the body, not the back. Is there some switch I don’t know about that moves a mouth from the front to between the shoulder blades?

Okay, I know I’m not the only patient at the surgeon’s office. I get that. Personnel who look familiar to me may not remember me since they are not a primary care office. But, really! What is it with hearies who will say something, before I am close enough to hear, before I’m sure it’s me they’re talking to, and then turn around and walk away and I know they’re still talking. The person could be singing the Torts Law song, “Chicken bone, chicken bone, choking on a chicken bone” from law school torts class, asking me how my New Year was, or telling me something important.

Exasperation ‘R Us

When I was close enough to guess I’d be heard I said, “I’m still deaf.” She turned and looked over her shoulder and I continued. “I was deaf the first time I met you. I have been deaf every time I’ve seen you since then, and I’m deaf today. You have to look at me when you talk to me.” I don’t know what she thought about what I said, but she did face me and did communicate appropriately with me. She’s really a very sweet young lady and I’m sure she just forgot, but I swear I want clothing designed that says – in large type “I’m still deaf.”  Maybe flashing off an on – in red letters – with spangles.

I will give her this, she was as sweet and kind as could be just as she always is and I do like her, I’d just like her better if she could remember I am functionally deaf in noisy situations – like doctor’s offices. (sighing)

The doctor – he’s no problem, he’s got a good voice and is a good communicator.

At the desk for scheduling surgery I’m back to “I’m still deaf.  You have to talk to me. I can’t hear you. Look at me when you talk to me. The piece of paper in front of you isn’t listening, I am.” 

Meanwhile, my daughter who is across the room, near the door, is able to have a conversation with the woman regarding scheduling.  I almost got up and suggested they make the arrangements without me. Not that my daughter tries to undermine me – she wants me to be fully engaged, it’s just that I can’t figure out how the hell these people do it.

Really, hearie friends. Do you routinely talk to someone through your back?  How does that work for you? Is there a way I can get in on this phenomenon?


  1. Awesome..I will by a dozen of the blinking shirts! No mater how many times I tell a cashier that I am (in PC) ‘hearing impaired’ by the time they get to the next item they have forgotten. What is worst is my family for the most part ignores the hearing loss completely &*%#@#

    1. If I ever figure out how to carry this off I’ll let you know.

      I gave up using Hearing Impaired (which is actually NOT PC) and went for Hard of Hearing – which is ignored by the hearing. I moved to “functionally deaf” and that has a better reception.

      In times of stress I get snappish and say “I’m STILL DEAF! What part of that don’t you understand?” By then I’m no longer looking to make friends or influence people – I’m looking to get my needs met.

      I sometimes transform a Biblical quote from A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house to A Deaf Person is not without regard except in his own country and among his own kin, and in his own house.

      I’m contemplating a shirt from Zazzle saying “Deaf” on the front and on the back saying “Still Deaf.”

  2. It amazes me how much people can just forget after you just told them….I can’t hear you, you have to look at me.
    I went to the doctor yesterday. The nurse I heard well enough, but my husband wasn’t talking most of the time. However, she did ask me how tall I am after I turned my back to her and was walking out the door. *sigh* At least she has a decent voice. My husband does talk for me often. At first I wanted him to, it was so much easier, and I would get so upset and literally sick. I ended up having more than one vertigo attack at the doctor’s office because of the stress.
    But now that I have my CI’s I want to be more engaged. But he will sit beside me, and the doctor will be in front of me and they are both talking….ummm, I can’t do this. I said, “OK, Stuart, if you are going to talk you need to stand by the doctor so I can hear both of you.” But the doctor moved by him. That wasn’t much help! Then they were both to my side, and I couldn’t see their mouths straight on.
    ugh! I’ve also asked this doctor numerous times to slow down. She talks so fast. She will smile and repeat what she just said, but just as fast. My husband said, he doesn’t think she knows how to slow down.

    I have to admit, I never sign in or out at the doctor’s office. I let my husband do that. The people will not stop looking at their dang computer screens, so I use my greatest resource…my husband. Plus, then if the appointment is on the wrong date I can blame him. haha.

    Oh if people would just practice more mindfulness, and be fully mindful of what they are doing, don’t try to do more than one thing at a time, and really fully pay attention to the person they are talking to. I do feel compassion for them, they simply aren’t used to dealing with us, and it’s not a normal thing for them. People have to do something over and over and over before it becomes a habit…and they are only human.

  3. This is well written…I can see why you get exasperated. It has me thinking about how much of the time, among “hearies,” we don’t bother to give eye contact or even stay in the same room when we talk….and, tho I’m the first one to enjoy technology…how much has the net, iphones etc made this worse? Especially for generations that know nothing else.

    Hope your recovery is going well…

    1. Recovery is going well, Katherine. Thanks for the good wishes.

      I enjoy technology as well, including text messaging. But I can’t text message at a doctor’s office. And CART – while it works for folks who do not sign – is sterile compared to speech or ASL.

      When I was married to a blind man there were problems, although not quite as many and variations on a theme.

      He would say, “Where is the …” and the sighted person would say, “Over there.” And where, precisely would “over there” be if you can’t see the hand that is pointing?

      1. I should know, but what is CART? Maybe I shouldn’t, but the “over there” story makes me giggle…not at his frustration, but at the awkwardness of it all. I keep finding myself using the word “hearing” differently. Like, if I say “I heard that…” but am talking about something that I”ve read (which is all to often because of how much of my life is online), I realize that: Nope. Didn’t hear that. Just heard the dog barking and yelled “stop!” so that I can read. Interesting.

    1. Katherine,
      I’m not that sweet. I do get mighty upset when I’m at my ear doc’s office and the staff is so clueless about how to handle deaf people??? I mean, come on! you work in an office where people have ear troubles!
      I’m more compassionate at doctor’s offices where the people aren’t used to dealing with the deaf.
      I know I could, probably should, get CART to help me, but I have to cancel so many appointments due to vertigo attacks (I have meniere’s and migraine associated vertigo), or migraines, I would hate to have them all ready to interpret for me and I can’t show up. My doctor’s may not be as understanding and start charging me the late cancellation fees.

      BTW…i’m Buddhist, love and compassion is sort of my thing. : ) Now again, if people would practice more mindfulness.
      When i was working….even before I became Buddhist….I was always totally engaged with my customer. Even if I was busy, they were the most important thing at that moment. People just don’t practice good customer service.

      And Marsha…..I want a shirt that has on the back….I’m DEAF, not Rude! and under that….please do not scare me by touching me. I have the hardest time in grocery stores. I have to read every label because of food allergies, and people will come up behind me and, probably, say excuse me…but I can’t hear them, then they push themselves around me…scares the crap out of me. OK, my pet peeve for the day.

      1. Wendy – I am so boggled by the ENT thing…I keep hearing that over and over from people. It makes no sense at all…I simply don’t get it. It would be different if what I’m reading is that they are not being EXTRA sympathetic and accommodating, but there seems to be a common utter rudeness going on there.

        I just read about CART yesterday but still don’t quite get it.

        So, if you were at a Dr. apt it would be a screen that captions everything being said? does a person have to be there typing it though?

        Another pesky question – if you arrange for an interpreter are you responsible to pay?

        And, if you cancel and they have to cancel a terp, does that feel like a big deal to you? I can imagine that it’s pretty common and part of the life of an interpreter.

        I get the Buddist thing – awesome 🙂 Agreed with customer service. I had a very long break without work and now that I’m back, I am still adjusting to adult behaviors at their worst and best. I’ve been thinking about blogging on a couple of things, but have been telling myself that I’ve gotten past these events…so why do something public. I don’t know…

        how have you been feeling in the new year?

        be well, Kate

      2. Kate, If *I* arrange an interpreter then *I* pay. If a professional arranges for one for me because I need one then THEY pay.

        CART professionals are like court reporters – they even type on a phonetic machine like a court reporter and the machine has legal, medical and other dictionaries. Not have a specific word in it’s memory (dictionary) it will give you something that sort of sounds the same but may be different.

        I prefer ASL terps to CART, but I’ll give CART this – you can get a printed copy of it.

      3. Katherine,

        First, I shouldn’t say I am Buddhist, just that I’ve been studying it a lot and it’s helped me come to peace with a lot of things. Something I’ve been really working on is trying to see things from another perspective. To find more compassion….so…
        But it doesn’t always work. : )

        CART….I’ve never used it, I’d heard a lot about it, but didn’t really know what it meant. I looked it up after Marsha said I should look into it. I believe that there is someone there transcribing and I would read it off a screen.

        I don’t know sign language….I’m trying to learn but haven’t found a great class, and trying to learn with just my hubby, is hard. Plus, trying to learn how to hear again with the CI’s is hard too. (my brain is trying to get used to hearing that way, unfortunately, it’s fighting back a bit. So I may not understand a lot of speech as weel as others with CI’s but I may understand more…is’t such a personal thing, and continues to get better.)

        NO, you do not have to pay for an interpreter of any kind. According to the ADA you are entitled to this even if the cost of the service exceeds the cost of your visit.
        However, here is where you are going to say I’m too sweet…or nice. Since I have migraines and vertigo so often I often have to cancel appointments at the last minute, my doctors are very understanding and don’t charge me for late cancellations. I don’t know if they would continue to do this if I requested an interpreter and didn’t show up. No they couldn’t charge me for it…I don’t think, but they could start enforcing their rules of paying for cancelled appointments.

        There’s really only one doctor I go to that I simply cannot hear at all! And I can’t read her lips. My headache pain specialist. She looks like a little fairy, and she has this very soft spoken voice, her lips barely move. I just can’t get it. And I don’t think she understands why I still can’t hear her since I’ve gotten my CI’s. But we make it work. I’m usually there for the same treatment each time anyway. And I can hear her nurse pretty well.

        I hope that answers some.

        I’m trying to write a couple of posts on this. It’s too hard to squeeze it all into one.
        as you can see from our comments. : )

        Hope your days are doing well.
        I’m feeling better right now….but I never get too used to it, as we know, everything changes…which means the bad days do too!!

      4. There is also remote CART which would require a computer in the doctor’s exam room and would be easier to arrange. And yes, I suspect the doctor would charge for last minute cancellations as they’d have to pay CART charges.

        Do you have an iPad? If so, why not use an application that allows the doctor to type in communications to you and then give it to you so you can read it.

        As to Buddhist – if you study and attempt to apply Buddhism to your life then you’re Buddhist. Simple. 🙂 I have a Tibetan friend who says I’m Buddhist. I’ve studied it for years and do my best to apply it to my life, as well as my Druid leanings (they’re a lot alike).

        Do remember that until you treat YOURSELF with compassion you’ve got a ways to go. 😉

      5. I think I have been hesitant to say I’m a Buddhist because I haven’t decided which school I would follow. But it really doesn’t matter, they all have the same basics. I do find myself drawn to the old teaching though. Theraveda. I’m still learning…and always will be I’m sure.

        I do remember to be kind to myself…Really! It may not seem that way, but I find feeling love, compassion and kindness for others, even those who I really wouldn’t want to hang around…makes my heart lighter, and by not harboring ill feelings gives myself kindness. There is almost no worse feeling to me than to have ill feelings toward another, or guilt because I didn’t treat someone with the kindness.

        So, me being kind to others, is being kind and compassionate to myself. : )

        This post has gotten some great conversations going! Wow!

        Thank you for all you’ve said, you always inspire me.

  4. I find this same problem at doctors offices too, and a lot of front desk type of people. The other day I introduced myself to a front desk guy saying I was deaf and read lips. I asked him for directions to a room and he turned completely away from me pointing down a hall talking. I tried leaning across the tall counter to get a better look at his lips but nope. When he turned back, I reminded him again I read lips and please restate that. He turned away again while talking. People!

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