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Wednesday, 24 February 2016

A WISH


I can be very materialistic, I love things, silly things that can be replaced at the store or re-done. We all do and there's nothing wrong with that, unless it becomes all we care about and we then don't appreciate it enough. Growing up, like any other kid, I wished for many things. Presents, amazing holidays, a better body, but lately it's dawning on me that the only thing I'd ask for, even if I had three wishes, is to have full use of my hearing again.

Let me start from the beginning. 

When I was just 4 years old, I became gravely ill and had contracted meningitis, but back then they couldn't figure it out, I was basically misdiagnosed. When they finally figured it out, it was getting too late, I'd already lost most of my hearing, I was now just fighting for my life at the end. 
Miraculously I pulled through but came out with a severe hearing loss. I lost 100% of my hearing in my left ear, and to this day have little in right, but enough that I've managed really well over the last 15 years with the help of a hearing aid. I'll admit the early years to me are a haze, I don't really remember the start of it all, except for when I went back to infant school afterwards and began getting support.
I don't remember or can't imagine dealing with things in life any other way with the hearing I have, I guess that's a good thing, there isn't really anything to miss, this is all I know. A lot of people I come across have absolutely no idea that they're talking to girl who's deaf, I'm happy it's not obvious, but at the same time I do need to make the other person aware. Throughout school and college I had to make sure that every single teacher knew about my disability and even though they did need to know, it dampened down my confidence massively, I was really embarrassed to have to use certain pieces of equipment in class, that everyone could see, as the teacher would wear it. It was kind of like radio link connected to my hearing aid, amplifying their speech, so to me it was loud and clear. Useful? Of course, but knowing that certain people didn't understand it, which some don't and that's ok, just made me feel alone in a sense, as well as kind of weird. I'm very independent and have always dealt with my issues privately and head on, but just like that, on my own. I've had my family support me endlessly and I'm so grateful for that. 

Recently I have had numerous hospital appointments, just a routine check on my hearing, and for the first time I got results I never even wanted to imagine getting. There had been a significant drop in my hearing. This was in September. I was shocked, I know what I hear and what I don't, still to this day I think I'm getting on fine regardless of what it says on paper, I can't lie and say I'm not worried. Today I went back again after seeing a specialist for a cochlear implant and still there was drop and no improvement. The audiologist said I definitely now qualify for having the surgery, the one surgery I and my parents have dreaded since one, and she asked if I wanted to go ahead with it. 
I don't think I've ever felt so rushed and baffled at this information and question I was getting. It was all being done by the book, there was nothing personal about this, no suggestions of maybe lack of focus or something mentally blocking me, it's all possible, but they do two tests and continue ticking things off the list. I had zero worries before being told all this and believe me I'm very aware and constantly making sure my head is screwed on right, if I thought there was a problem, I'd speak up.
Since these visits, my mind has been on a constant roller coaster of scenarios and emotions, panicking about never hearing again, crying over the thought of surgery, one where the risks are enough to say no, no, no.
All these things I've ever wanted or still want, suddenly seem so small I couldn't care less about them. My hearing and health is the most sacred thing to me right now as it always has been, but now I feel once again I'm fighting for them. It's easy to take things like this for granted, we don't really think about it, stuff like losing our hearing or eyesight, we assume that it'll never leave us until old age. Even to me I was so unaware and ignorant to the fact it could be taken from me at any time. Yes of course it's a little different in my case, the fact I'm more at risk but that doesn't change the fact I realise how unnecessary some things are, in terms of things I'd wish for. Although this is the only way I've known how to live my life, so I didn't thinking wishing for it back would be something to bother about, now I realise it's the only thing I should want. Let's be honest it's not coming back, but I don't want it to go. Nothing is certain, I'm hearing no different to how I have over the years, but being told and given suggestions threw me into a panic. 
As I was coming out of the hospital I saw young girl sat with her mother, refusing to wear her hearing aids claiming she didn't need them, even though her mother said it was causing her to fail at school, I can understand the denial, you kind of feel like you're the only one. I've actually never properly known anyone else in my position, do each of us just suffer silently and keep it all in? I just don't think there's enough awareness. We're afraid to open up about it, I know I am this will be the first time I ever have publicly. I'm terrified to post this and give people an insight into such a huge part of my life, but it does affect so much about me, even small things people don't realise. I'm not ignoring you, I just didn't hear you. I'm not trying to be irritating with asking you to repeat what you said, I just didn't pick up on it right the first time. I get shy sometimes, I panic about what you'll think. My speech can funny and incorrect, but it's the best I've been able to do. So many things, yet such little realisation. 

I don't know what I'm trying to achieve by opening up about this, or if I'm trying to achieve anything at all. I guess in spite of the negatives I've learned lately, I just wanted an outlet and maybe a chance to raise even just a tiny bit of awareness.

“It's up to you today to start making healthy choices. Not choices that are just healthy for your body, but healthy for your mind.” 

Don't forget to treat your body like a temple, even though it's a cliche, it's true. 
You don't realise how much you treasured it until it is lost.


p.s. the photograph is not mine, found on pinterest
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