Today I went to meet a woman with hearing loss. We were meeting at my new friend, Joy's house, which is just a wonderful place. Joy has known Cami's mom since the late 60's, I believe. When I went, I was under the impression that Cami's hearing loss was similar to my own and somewhat recent. However, I learned that Cami suddenly became completely deaf 12 years ago. She's a beautiful woman a few years younger than I am, with 3 children. She is going through a really difficult time right now, through a divorce, and dealing with the complete hearing loss seems to be magnified. When you are hearing impaired, or completely deaf, this handicap can very easily isolate you causing incredible loneliness. Hearing and understanding people is so much work. You rely on lip reading as best you can so now you have very tired eyes every day too, not to mention the mental concentration that goes into simply being able to 'hear'... something that most hearing people take for granted. Cami is dealing with many of my own fears as I look down the road knowing that, most likely, my loss will continue to progress. I do not know the decisions I will make down the road, to be able to hear. Cami is a candidate for cochlear implants now but it's a big, scary decision to make that comes with many adjustments afterward. I am borderline as a candidate. My loss is bad enough that hearing aids have pretty much been maxed out for me yet I don't have quite enough loss to be ready for the implants. Emotionally, I know I am not ready for them either. I hope that by the time they are necessary for me, they will have gotten much smaller for the implants. I try not to think too far down the road. I hope that I was able to encourage Cami today, to look at all her options, seek out people that have similar issues that will understand and be willing to put forth the effort to learn to communicate with her so she doesn't feel pushed away and isolated. It saddened me to hear how she no longer has friends due to her hearing loss. People just got uncomfortable, didn't know what to do or how to handle it, didn't want to spend the effort and time to learn ways to communicate, and just drifted away from her. It's heart breaking. That is my biggest fear in my progressing hearing loss. Yet, it is another reason I'm so thankful for friendships I have found online. You don't need to hear to communicate through the web! Technology is wonderful!
So, today I made a new friend. I plan to get together with her again soon. We exchanged e-mail addresses so we can keep in touch.
My boys went with me today and were so good! Joy has a home that is literally hidden in a neighborhood. My kids thought it was the coolest thing. She has property like a mini-forest that can't even been seen from a main street.. you have to drive down a 'L' shaped driveway to find this place. It's like being transported to a different place. my boys had the best time playing outside, jumping on a trampoline, playing with her dogs, etc.. They stayed outside and never came in once in 2-1/2 hours! And they didn't want to leave!
A friend just called and is on her way over to 'kidnap' my boys and take them, with her son, to look at Christmas lights! They'll be so excited when they find out! I'm popping popcorn to send along...