No worries

No worries! I tend to say this often, though mostly to convince myself that there is nothing to worry about. Or rather, remind myself. I have a habit of stressing about things like meal planning and housecleaning and scheduling. It drives me nuts. What should we eat for dinners? When will I have time to clean the bathrooms? What is everyone doing this week? I live for my Cozi calendar.

In the midst of all this normal, daily stuff, I must remember what Jesus said (found in the book of Matthew, chapter 6): “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.”

See? I don’t have to worry about tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that. Tomorrow will worry about itself, and we aren’t even there yet. And when we do get there, it won’t be tomorrow anymore. It will be today, and today is easy. Yesterday, today was tomorrow, and I was stressing a little about it, but now it seems so silly. Because I’m here now, and it’s good.

One. Day. At. A. Time.

Today, we can do. We got this!

Mourning independence lost

I think I’m finally starting to let go of my “need” for independence. I’ve always been a do-er, a person who could take care of things herself, and had a resistance to asking for help.

That doesn’t work for me anymore.

I hate, hate, hate to feel like I’m a burden to anyone, and I hate having to rely on others. Last fall, I was a burden, but the people who bore that burden loved me just the same and carried it lightly. For that I am grateful.

I have come a long way since then, and have returned to some sense of normalcy, where I feel like I am contributing something of value to my family. I’m feeling useful again, and it’s nice. However, there are still things I cannot do no matter how hard I try.

I cannot drive a car. This means I can’t go get the groceries for the family, or drive the kids to and from school, or to friends’ houses for playdates. And that drives me crazy some days. That there is no option. It just is what it is.

How do you deal with something you cannot change? You could fight it, but what good would that do? No amount of fighting will change my vision. It is 100% out of my control. And I suppose I could cry about it, but I’ve shed so many tears over the past year, I think I’ve run out for awhile (Not to mention, crying doesn’t change the facts either).

So what option is left? Acceptance. Ah, now we’re getting somewhere. But what does acceptance of this low vision look like? I think it is this: you do what you can, and delegate the rest. So that is what I’m learning, to delegate. What I’m learning through the process is that people like to feel needed, and are more than willing to help. They seem to know I’m not just a lazy freeloader (most of the time, anyway) and are eager to help. It seems the bonus out of helping is that they get to spend time with me, and our friendships grow as a result. That sounds a little selfish when I say it like that, but truly, people like me! I’m funny! And, I will buy you coffee. And chocolate. And fill up your tank with gas.

That is it. Accept what is real and true with humor and grace. Laugh a little, be kind to others, and for the love of Nemo, just keep swimming…

 

Re-learning to talk to Momma

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it, but last year, very shortly after I lost my hearing, I also got very sick and was struggling to stay awake. I guess you could say I had “checked out”. In addition to falling asleep all the time, I couldn’t answer simple questions, and I was losing touch with everyone and everything. It was very scary. One thing that grieved me the most at the time was the way my children were affected. In particular, my daughter. She was 3 years old then, and had no idea how to communicate with me. She was lost, seeing me lost, and she just sort of gave up on me. Once I got better and regained my cognition, it broke my heart to discover the major disconnect between us.

My mom had flown in to stay with me as I recovered, and it took her two seconds to see what had happened with Natalie. She didn’t waste any time teaching Natalie how to communicate with me, telling her to make sure she looks at me when she speaks, and to speak slowly, and use hand gestures and simple ASL. Natalie soaked it up like a sponge. As she saw me respond to her, she opened right back up. What my mom did was such a gift. When I thought I had lost my daughter, she found a way to give her back to me.

And now? Now, as I’m learning to hear again with this cochlear implant, I am having to teach my kids all over again how to *talk* to me. Audibly! As it turns out, my daughter had a habit of mouthing her words to me, with no sound, so I’m having to continually remind her to use sound. And as I remind her throughout the day, she gets better and better.  Just in the past couple of days she is really picking up on the “normal talking to Momma” thing, and I am loving hearing what she has to say. She has a fabulous, sweet, funny personality. And I sat her down after her bath tonight and told her so. I told her that I had really missed talking with her, and I am so thankful for my “new ear” so that I can hear what she has to say, and I can hear her giggle when she makes a joke, and of course I started to cry as I was telling her this. But this girl, she understands “happy cries”, and she was not shaken or scared. In fact, she threw off her bath towel and stretched her arms out to give me the best hug ever. And we held each other while I silently sobbed on her shoulder.  

I’ve had these sorts of moments with Luke as well, but I have a different sort of connection with him. Luke and Natalie are so unique, yet both possess the same kindness and understanding. Luke has done very well with the changes my implant has brought. He still likes to use ASL to ask to play video games, but I don’t correct him. I think he does it both out of habit and for fun. When he makes a loud noise or laughs, he knows I can hear him so he looks over at me and smiles his big (toothless) grin, seeing that I’ve heard, and we just stare at each other with sparkles in our eyes and joy in our hearts.

I am starting to really experience what one of my new cochlear implanted friends always signs her messages with… with CI joy,

 

Psalms and asides

Oh, how I love the Psalms. I like how my thoughts follow interject as I read them. Today I read Psalm 13. I’ll tell you how it went, but for reference I need to point out that I have severe nerve damage in my optic nerves, and struggle with partial vision loss. The doctors at Mayo Clinic said it would not get better, yet I have shown slight improvements ever since. It’s been a journey within a journey. So here we go…

“How long, O Lord? (Yes, I’m impatient at times)
Will you forget me forever? (No, no, no.)
How long will you hide your face from me? (Okay, I’m sorry, I know you are here. You are not hiding from me)
How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? (Do you get tired of the same old pleading, every single day?)
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? (He will not win this battle)

Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
Light up my eyes, (YES! PLEASE!) lest I sleep the sleep of death, (Ok,I suppose death would be worse)
Lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” (Negative.)
Lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken. (Shaken, not stirred. I’m standing firm in the knowledge that Jesus is fighting for me and He – WE – will prevail.)

But I have trusted in your steadfast love; (Oh, I have, over and over and over)
My heart shall rejoice in your salvation. (I’ll keep doing this too)
I will sing to the Lord, (Deaf ears don’t lend well to this, but I don’t think he minds, do you?) 
because he has dealt bountifully with me.”

Bountifully. What exactly does that mean? According to the dictionary, bountiful means abundant: liberal in bestowing gifts, favors, or bounties; munificent; generous. God is a generous God, liberal in bestowing gifts. Generous as in He wants to give us gifts, good things, and lots of them!

Here is where my doubt lies – does God want to heal my vision? He has given me so much, and I am thankful for all of it. I am truly happy and know that I am blessed. That fact is not lost on me. However, deep in my heart I guess I still want to pick and choose the gifts. I’m like an ungrateful child at Christmas, who didn’t get that Cabbage Patch Doll she was so hoping for. That girl, sitting on the floor amongst scads of toys and gifts, lamenting that there is no doll. This woman, sitting here in a comfortable home, with her beautiful children and husband, wondering when her vision will be restored. IF it will be restored.

Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful. And I know I am human and that God has plenty of grace for me. Grace to cover my ungrateful tendencies. I don’t know what God is doing with my vision. I know He keeps me in the dark on that point for a good reason. He wants me to trust Him.

Here’s the thing: I have a hard time with grace. I have a hard time accepting gifts. I have a hard time believing that I deserve. But you know what? I don’t. None of us do. That’s what grace is all about – the free and unmerited favor of God. I don’t know if my eyes will be completely healed this side of heaven or not, but I know God wants to give me good things. And who knows? Maybe that’s one of them. I did get that Cabbage Patch Doll, after all.

Vacation defrag

Have you ever run a defrag on a computer? If you’re a Type A (as I am), this is a fascinating process to watch. They take all these pieces, spread all over in one big mess, and put them back where they belong. It supposedly helps the computer work faster, more smoothly, because it’s not searching everywhere for the necessary data every time you ask it to perform a task. That’s where I’m at.

We just ended our last official day of vacation and I am in desperate need of a defrag. Up is down, left is right, and I don’t know where to start. But I seem to remember a nightly ritual of filling the coffee maker, showering, and reading. So I’ll try those things and then see what happens. The battery is almost dead on my cochlear implant earpiece, so I’ll have to put it on the charger. See, it’s all coming back to me.

Hopefully as I get back into a routine this week I’ll have time to share about our adventures this past week. Though it was exciting for us, I can’t promise it will be exciting to read about. I’ll do my best, and if that’s not enough, I’ll just throw in some random funny crap.

Second beep! Thirty minutes until battery dies! Night y’all 🙂

Cochlear implant progression

We met with the audiologist again today. The Advanced Bionic rep was there again, which is extremely helpful. I think the audiologist is not as familiar with the AB brand as the Cochlear brand, so she often has a puzzled look on her face. Not so reassuring, but she’s learning. So today they made a lot more adjustments to the volumes for different types of sounds, and the clarity of speech. After today’s adjustments, I’m feeling a lot more confident in social settings already. And since we are heading to my family’s week-long reunion extravaganza tomorrow, the timing couldn’t be better. It will still be challenging, but not as challenging as it would have been.

Today the audiologist gave me the remote for my device, which is called the ComPilot. The ComPilot is used to adjust volume, change programs, and connect the earpiece to other electronics through Bluetooth technology. Yes, my earpiece is equipped with Bluetooth. Can you hear me now?? The answer is, not really. It connects, but it’s a choppy connection, so we have some work to do with that. But it’s not a crucial piece at this point. At this point, I have enough to do practicing understanding speech. One day at a time, dear, one day at a time.

Gainfully unemployed

I had a disturbingly realistic dream this morning. I dreamt I was leaving my job. As I did for real last August. All the same people were there, but the office looked very different. More like the office in Nine to Five. Do you remember that movie? Anyway, in the dream I was packing up all of my stuff (which in real life I did not do) and saying my goodbyes. In the dream I was sad and frustrated, but when I started to wake up, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace and relief.

I never admitted this while I was there, but I hated my job. Yes, I was doing accounting, but it wasn’t the kind of accounting I enjoyed. I started out at the firm six years prior doing monthly statements and reports and setting up new files, but by the end I found myself in the role of debt collector. Trying to collect from clients who had come to us for help getting out of a financial mess was like getting blood from a turnip. A losing battle. Every. Single. Day.

I still have the box of my stuff my coworkers had packed up for me. It’s been sitting, rarely touched, since the day I picked it up last September. Framed pictures, my iPod speakers, my candle (coffee) warmer. I even have my framed IRS Enrolled Agent certificate, which as of this week is now invalid. I did find my notary public stamp, which is still good for another five years, so that’s useful. The coffee mugs were the first things to come out when I brought the box home. However, I just realized today that my Einstein mug was never there. It must still be back at the office. My sister gave it to me, and it was a favorite. However, I’m hesitant to contact anyone from the office. I am afraid they would not understand my need to retrieve a silly coffee mug after all this time. After all, they’ve never contacted me. I worked there for six years and no one has asked me how I’m doing. Strange, but typical I suppose. Just goes to show a bit of what I hated about working there.

Oh well. The bottom line here is that some pretty crappy circumstances caused me to lose my job, and for that I am super grateful. In a way, becoming deaf rescued me from a life I was afraid to let go of. So, in God’s great power and graciousness, He plucked me out. He knew better than I, what I was afraid of and even more importantly, what I and my family needed. This all still amazes me. Can I get a hearty Amen?

I may be deaf and half-blind, but I am and will always be… still Mindy