Spoiler alert: this blog post will be long and slightly discombobulated.
I have known for a few months now that I was losing hearing in my “good” ear. I have Meniere’s disease which affects the inner ear. It can cause ear pain and pressure, ringing in the ears, vertigo and most fun of all hearing loss. About three years ago when this started I was hoping to be able to save the hearing in my right ear. My left ear never really went back to normal after it flared up. If I stuck to the low sodium diet, ate healthily, exercised often and got plenty of rest I could keep it that way, or so I hoped.
Three years on I have coped pretty well all things considering. I have moderate/severe hearing loss in my left ear. I don’t get too many bouts of vertigo and I have gotten very good at working through those. I get ear infections much more often but medications help to make that manageable. The ringing in the ear can be maddening however I know when that stops it will also mean my hearing has gone. And as indicated earlier my hearing in my good ear has decided to go. My ENT is hoping that the hearing loss in this ear will progress much slower than it has in my left. My left ear has never had any hope, poor thing. However, I have had to accept that I will go completely or “legally” deaf in both ears. I am hoping I have five to ten years until that happens.
I am pretty pissed off about it honestly. But I also know being pissing off about it won’t change a thing. I have to figure out a way to make this challenge work and just move on. I am allowing myself to be angry about it. I feel robbed. I am pissed, I feel like I have really been through enough shit in my life taking my hearing is a sick joke. I love music. Music has quite literally saved my life on more than one occasion. My struggles with mental health issues consumed my twenties. But I pulled through that. I got help. I found my inner peace and started smiling again because I liked me again. Sure I still hit some bumps, I have never taken the easy path in life. But I always got back up, dusted my self off and figured my shit out. I took a huge chance and moved 400 miles away from my friends and family to prove to myself I was ok. And I was and I truly found my home down here.
Then Menieres decided to strike me. Now I have to think about things like where do I learn sign language. I need to get the apartment complex to install a fire alarm with a strobe light since sound won’t always be able to wake me. I need to get an alarm clock that shakes the bed to wake me in the morning. All of that is super annoying but to know I will one day not be able to hear breaks my heart. I won’t hear the sound of my cat purr or meow, the sounds of city life and traffic, the sound of laughter, the sound of birds in the morning, the sound of the waves crashing on the beach, the sound of my friends and family just talking.
I have been on an emotional rollercoaster lately. One minute I am angry about it, then crying about it, then sucking it up and getting on. Right now I am trying to cope my way. I am letting myself be angry, I am even letting myself cry and I am trying to enjoy as many sounds as I can before it happens. I always hated the term bucket list but fuck it. I am going to have a bucket list of sounds to hear before I go deaf. I am going to see Radiohead in July with my brother. I went to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra the other night. I want to go see Carmen this summer again. I want to see Austra in concert. There are so many things I can’t even begin to list them all. My brother and I will be still going to concerts when I am deaf, nothing will ever break that bond between us.
I am in awe of my parent’s determination to be right there with me and refusing to even slightly budge. Up front, I will admit both of them will have sign language mastered way before I do! I put them both through a lot and I know this is hard on them, they hate seeing me hurting in any way. They know I will get through it though. I am just like my mother and father in my stubborn determination to never give in. It is definitely a family trait.
So I am going to go deaf and I need to figure it out. It is going to be difficult at times and my life will definitely be different but still good. I refuse to let it change my inner peace I will be OK. I refuse to give in to the darkness it has cast on me. I will go through the stages of grief about it and cope because there is no other option. I will fall down a few times, I will have to ask for help (something I absolutely hate doing) but I am smart enough to know I can’t do it all on my own. SO these next few month and years might be a little discombobulated (much like this post) while I figure this shit out. But I will figure it out. I always do….