Tag Archives: Motherhood

Bilaterally Bionic

I am a late-deafened adult, and when I lost my hearing it happened very quickly (within a week of the onset of tinnitus). I now have a CI in my right ear, activated last June, and it is *wonderful*. I am so excited to be having conversations again with my family and friends!

People keep asking if I’ll get one in the left ear as well, and up until a few days ago, I always replied with an emphatic YES. However, I started having serious doubts. When I take off the processor to sleep, shower, change my clothes, or do my hair, I am more aware of the things I AM still able to hear with my left ear. It’s not much, but it’s not complete silence. I can hear loud noises, such as a phone ringing or my daughter screaming at her brother or sometimes even a knock at the door. And though it’s not even close to normal hearing, and I wouldn’t be able to understand speech, it’s still something. And going bilateral would mean, well, silence. Completely. And I don’t know… do I want that? Is that a reasonable price to pay in order to have two good, working, bionic ears?

Knowing there are many people on the Advanced Bionics forum who have gone bilateral, and perhaps also wrestled with these same questions, I posted my concerns and asked for some perspective. I was astounded at the number of responses I received. All held great perspective and food for thought, however one in particular struck a nerve I hadn’t realized was exposed.

PaulW writes:

Mindy,
I wonder if the real issue isn’t fear.
I see that you are a mum. And I know mums are supposed to be perfect caregivers, protectors and comforters. How can you do that if you are deaf? But hubby can hear – right? And there are two children who can learn to look out for each other – even during the night. Teach them what smoke detectors sound like and what to do – i.e. wake you. Teach them not to open the door to strangers and to come and get you. Teach them that if either is sick to come and wake you. I do think that everyone can learn to look after each other and be a secure, strong and safe family. It’s not all on your shoulders! And if truth be told, what can you hear? You might be doing your family a much bigger favor by improving your own hearing and ability to share their happiness, experiences and socialize. That might be your biggest mum gift to them and yourself!

He is right, the issue is not fear. What is the issue? I think it is that I allow myself to have unrealistic expectations of myself. While it may have been realistic two years ago to be able to hear a smoke alarm or whether a kid is crying at night, it is no longer. I am deaf now. Expectations change. My husband knows this, and he certainly doesn’t expect me to hear those things at night, so I shouldn’t either.

But with a change in expectations, we can go one step further and prepare the family so everyone knows what to do in certain situations. The thing is, this is not just for our family. Every family should have fire escape plans. And every child should know who they can come to when they are sick or frightened in the middle of the night. These are things that every family should discuss.

So, back to the burning question of getting a second CI. I still have some hesitation, but if I’m honest with myself, I would say that my left ear is pretty damn useless. I think that I am starting to accept that fact, and am willing to sacrifice that residual hearing in order to gain better hearing by going bilateral. I’m told by many that two is so much better than one. One person said it’s exponentially better, like 1 + 1 = 3. And if I can have better hearing during my waking hours and while I’m with people, being in complete silence all the other times is worth the cost.

Winner winner chicken dinner

It’s about time I brought this up. I wanted to a few days ago, but it just wasn’t enough. But today’s lunch of leftover pot roast and potatoes with yummy gravy, all made into an open-faced sammich of love… well, that just put me over the edge. In fact, I’m a little distracted from writing this, because I’m still focused on devouring it.

Here’s the deal: I am not a great cook. Not terrible, just not great. I can follow a recipe, sort of, and I can pull off a lot of simple dishes. And to match that, I don’t enjoy it.

However, I like to eat good food. Also, food is kind of a necessary thing, and my family looks to me to make sure we have it. If they had it their way, they would eat junk and processed foods all day. But I am not okay with that plan, as my children are still growing, my husband is diabetic, and I have M.S. So healthy eating, kind of a big deal to me.

Where was I going with this? Oh yeah, good food. So the pot roast and potatoes are super delicious. It earned two thumbs up, one from me and one from my husband. I made pancakes and sausage the day before, and the pancakes earned some very enthusiastic thumbs up from everyone. Definitely a winner. Before that, it was penne pasta with marinara sauce and Italian sausage. This one earned thumbs up from the boys, and some thumbs to-the-side from the girls (we are big on thumbs, it’s a very effective rating system). The biggest surprise to me was the parmesan crusted chicken. Super easy, only FOUR ingredients. If I can count the ingredients on my hand, it passes, and four is great because it leaves one digit for rating. And I’ll tell you, the chicken earned thumbs up from all four of us, to my pleasant surprise. In fact, my husband went back for seconds. Of chicken. Which is amazing because he’s always had weird issues with chicken. Something traumatic when he was kid, but I don’t remember the details. Not that you would want to know. But I digress.

I take my weekly meal planning very seriously, and I strive to find healthy meals that the picky eaters will eat. If they eat it, it passes, but if they love it, that’s a real winner in my book. And so I made one. A book. And I’m putting the winners in it. It’s actually a binder, but let’s not be nit-picky. We shall call it The Dinner Winner Book.

Do you have a favorite meal that’s super easy and sorta healthy and picky-eater-approved? Let me know by leaving a comment here on the blog. Maybe I’ll comment too, with links to the winners in my book, just as soon as I finish eating my yummy sammich.

Slacker

I’ve been kind of a slacker about writing, both here and in my private journal. It’s because of this darn trilogy. I just can’t seem to put it down! However, I think I’m keeping the necessities taken care of, showering, feeding the kids, morning devotions, etc.

The challenge I’ve recently taken on is that of NOT internalizing the “chaos” around me. It’s nearly impossible to keep a house neat and tidy while young children are present, so I need to be okay with that, and just relax already. It’s not like our house is up for sale, so who are we trying to impress? No one. We are healthy, happy, and we are together. That’s what matters and that’s how I can let it go.

With that said, there is one aspect of this new role at home I take very seriously. FOOD. I love food. Food is delicious, and food is fuel. I believe that you can enjoy eating healthy foods, and I strive to teach that to my kids as well. I want them to grow up with healthy eating habits. It will save them in the long run on medical expenses and counseling fees. So, each week I decide on a set of meals, and then make a grocery list. In the past I’ve had a friend take me to the store to help me with the shopping. That’s been nice, but that may prove more difficult having the kids with me during the summer. Mondays will be my kid-free day, so maybe I can find a friend who could take me on Mondays. That would be a great way to start the week, wouldn’t it?

What do you think? Do you struggle with feeling chaos at home? Do you have a book you can’t put down? Do you like to go grocery shopping? Are you seizing the day today?!