Monday 27 January 2014

Tracking my deafness

Since the moment I found out I was deaf, aged 10, I have always tracked my hearing loss by what I heard yesterday, last week, last month and least year. Sometimes the results are heartbreaking.

When I was 10, I could still hear the phone ring and on occasions the cat meowing. By 16, I could hear neither. At 12, I could still listen to The Archers (I was a very hip and trendy kid you know) and watch some TV without subtitles, by 16, I could do neither. From 16 to 18 I watched sound slide out of my reach in the most alarming manner. My flute became largely silent, and I was left with no choice but to give up my violin.

When I got my posh car in 2005 with a radio that worked without the need to keep a wooden stick on the passenger seat to bash it with, I could hear it on volume 23. By 2012 I needed volume 40-something and drive through the streets of west London like the deaf granny in the Specsavers hearing aid advert.

And then I got hearing aids, which gave me sound back like never before.

Post hearing aids, I have gradually been adding to the list of things I can hear.

Cats meowing: tick

Telephones ringing: yup, some of these, but not all.


The doorbell: yup, can hear this.

So recently, I was surprised when this Things-I-can-hear-with-my-hearing-aids list started to change again.

The cat meowing: Not always, much to her annoyance.

The doorbell: Not always, much to everyone else's annoyance.

Telephones ringing: If I hold them up to my ears, which is not really the most practical thing to do and gets weird looks from people if you're out and about.

So what's changed? Is it my ears? My hearing aids? Or that thing GPs always claimed caused my deafness before looking inside my ears and realising it didn't: WAX...

I'm not sure which one to check first...

Any advice peeps?

Love deafer DG

Friday 24 January 2014

DG's thankful Friday

The other day when I was in the dry cleaners, absolutely not dropping in a Burberry mac I got for a bargain price on eBay because I absolutely do not need another coat (*whistles innocently), I read a thought for the day on the counter that made me stop and think.

I'd had a trying week. The usual neighbour dramas, unhappy tenants, general shit piling on top of me and apart from the Burberry coat (because I really needed another coat), I was feeling a little bit down in the dumps. Until I read the following:

If you're feeling down about everything in your life and can't see the positives, just imagine how you'd feel if everything in your life was taken away. All of it. Then imagine how you'd feel if you got the whole lot back.

And that told me.

Because really, apart from a neighbour with issues, who is really not my problem, I should really be bloomin' thankful for everything in my life.

At the end of last year, I made the decision to change my life quite a bit. And that decision has opened up some amazing doors that I never expected to open.

At the end of last year, I decided to write and see what happened. That is exactly what I am doing.

At the end of last year, I decided that I would say yes to things I might have otherwise said no to and see what happened. That is exactly what I am doing.

And at the end of last year, I made a promise to myself that 2014 would be different. And that, it certainly is.

So you see, on this Thankful Friday, I guess I am thankful for that Burberry coat that took me to that dry cleaners where I read that thought for the day that kicked me into check in the 2nd week of January and reminded me of what it's all about.

I am thankful to the amazing people who are making this amazing year possible.

And I am thankful to Deafinitely Girly. As she's the reason I'm sat here right now.

Have a fab weekend peeps.


Monday 20 January 2014

No blog name needed

Sometimes it's the easiest thing in the world to find a blog name for a person I want to write about. Since I started this blog, I've had to think up quite a few names. For people who're always in my life such as The Rents, Big Bro, SuperCathyFragileMystic, Fab Friend, The Singing Swede and Friend Who Knows Big Words to more fleeting visitors who get their blog names and lose them again just as quickly.

But tonight as I write this blog post, I realise that I don't have a blog name for someone who, when I was growing up was a massive part of my life. Someone who, until Friday, I couldn't quite imagine not being here.

And then on Friday she died. And I don't have a blog name for her.

So who was she?

Well, she was one of my ma's first work colleagues. They taught together and she knew both me and and Big Bro from the moment we first arrived in the world.

She lived down the road and drove a Morris Traveller that she still has now.

She always had a jar of Lime Marmalade in her fridge and I always had some when I was there, even though I didn't really like it. I just liked the idea of it.

The fridge was the ultimate toy in her house. It was giant and covered from top to bottom with fridge magnets that could be arranged by colour, size or animals all in a line, marching in a parade up and down around the other colourful plastic creations from all four corners of the world.

Her house was a fantastic place to play. There was a caravan in the front drive and in the back garden a giant sandpit that was once an outdoor pool. 

There was also a sunroom with a Russian doll that shed its layers bit by bit until only the tiniest dolly was left. As a kid, I was allowed to take it apart and line them all up on the window sill if I promised to make sure I didn't lose a single layer.

And there were always dogs. Labradors and retrievers. And puppies who were going to become guide dogs. 

Last summer I was lucky enough to see her and her husband when a visit to The Rents coincided with a visit from the two of them, too.

We went on a day trip to an airfield and watched the planes come in an out as I heard all about his amazing escapades as a cameraman, travelling the world.

When I started writing this, I was trying to work out what blog name she would have liked. Something to do with her involvement with The Guides? Her Morris Traveller? Her tireless work for Guide Dogs for the Blind? The lime marmalade? The fridge magnets?

And then I realised that perhaps she doesn't need a blog name. Perhaps she should just be here as Aunty Eileen, which is what she was to me. Or actually more of a surrogate grandma. Stern enough to make sure I wasn't going to draw on her walls in felt tip as a kid, practical enough that she could tell me to pull myself together, but a very good giver of hugs, too.

I'm so happy that I got to see her last year. So happy that I got to tell her some of my plans.

But I am sad too. Sad for Ooge – her fab husband who does get a blog name, her family and my ma.

My ma who I know if Aunty Eileen was here would give a firm hug to and tell us all to pull ourselves together.

She was practical like that.

So instead of being sad, I'm going buy some lime marmalade and rearrange London Aunt's fridge magnets and wave at the first Morris Traveller I see. 

Thanks for the memories Aunty Eileen. I'll miss you.


DeafGirly: How I feel about being deaf at work

It's been a whole year since I posted a blog on here. Life's been happening. And I guess I am no longer 'deaf in the city and ha...