Wednesday, July 18, 2012 9 Comments »

For those of you who were kind enough to offer words of encouragement (or even just send a kind thought my way) in the midst of my recent hearing crisis, I thank you.  Your messages made me feel a lot better about this first of many milestones in the aging process.  I'm trying to approach it with a sense of humor, but there have been moments when  "funny" wasn't enough -- you've helped me through that.

Here's an update.

I am scheduled for surgery to correct the deviated septum on Friday, August 3.  My surgeon is very good, and says the procedure only takes about 20 minutes.  Contrary to the way in which some nose guys do the procedure, he does not use packing afterwards, so no 8 foot wads of gauze to pull out 2 days later.   He claims I will be back to work on Monday.  He'd better do a good job, because I'm even more dangerous with my rotary cutter when I'm under the influence of anaesthesia  than usual. 
I also visited the Happy Hearing Aid Center and Car Wash to see what options were best for me.   The process was painless (except for the finances!) and I'll pick up my aids on Friday morning.  They are tiny, fit behind the ear, and have a clear, almost invisible wire going into the ear canal speaker;  there is a remote control to adjust the volume.  In addition, they are bluetooth capable, so I can hear my cell phone in my head once I get it hooked up.  I can probably also open my garage door.  Of course they also cost an arm and a leg and are not covered under medicare.  Guess the government doesn't care if we old folks get run over by political campaign bus because we can't hear it coming. 

I will be able to test these babies out at work on Friday afternoon, then at Nancy's church's Quilt Day on Saturday.  No more talking behind my back, sisters!  They also come right in time for the classes I will be taking at Quilt Odyssey in Hershey PA next week.  I was kind worried that I might hear one of the instructors incorrectly and accidently cut two 12" strips instead of twelve 2" strips.  Now I am good to go!

Thanks again everyone, for your kind words of encoragement and support -- bloggers are the best!


Friday, July 06, 2012 9 Comments »

My mom’s hearing, or lack thereof, was legendary.  I’m not sure when her hearing started to diminish, but by the time she was in her 70’s, dinner conversations approached sitcom level, with mom jumping into conversations based on a misheard word, and then going off on a totally unrelated tangent.  The one where she mistook the word “woozy” for “floozy” was particularly memorable. 

At the beginning of May, I came down with the same summer cold that seems to have afflicted many of you.  My sinuses were stuffed up, and then one evening my left ear just closed.  That’s the only way I can describe it – it felt like it slammed shut.  One minute I could hear out of it, and the next I couldn’t.  When I talked, I could barely hear myself – felt like I was 100 feet under water. 

With rest, antibiotics and a trip to the beach, the cold finally went away, but my ear continued to be stuffed up.  Some days were better than others, but I could not hear people at work, I missed two-thirds of what was being said at our guild meeting, and I became terribly self-conscious about always having to ask people to repeat themselves or speak up.  I even started to wonder if some of my co-workers weren’t speaking extra softly just to get my goat.  Hubby suggested a visit to his ENT.

The ENT visit was yesterday.  Who knew that I had a badly deviated septum that was almost totally blocking my left sinus passages and Eustachian tube?  The blockage had kept that tube from draining, so my left middle ear canal was swollen shut.  Dr. Nose put me on a reducing daily dosage pack of steroids to reduce the inflammation and wants to see me in a couple of weeks to chat about septum surgery.  After a day of drugs, I do notice a slight difference in my ear and a really big difference in my stiff  knees.   The thought of septum surgery, though,  is keeping me awake at night. 

Wait, there’s more!

While I was there, he suggested a hearing test.  The one with the trained audiologist, the sound proof  booth and the big headphones.  I failed.  Boy did I fail.  I have turned into my mother.  According to the tests, I have roughly a 50% loss of hearing in BOTH ears.  Apparently my hearing has been going for quite a while, but the clogged ear thing brought everything to a head (no pun intended).  That’s hearing aid territory, folks.  What’s next, a Seeing Eye dog?
So in 2 weeks I also have an appointment with the Hearing Well Center, where we will talk about my options – the options being expensive hearing aids, wildly colored hearing aids, barely visible hearing aids or big-ass ear trumpets.  If any of you have experiences along these lines, please feel free to share – I’m in uncharted waters here and need all the advice I can get.  In the mean time, can you just speak up?  Eh?