Sunday, March 4, 2012

People Think I'm Deaf

     I have managed to get an ear infection every six years since I was six. I've grown to accept this and even though I don't understand why I get them in such a way, I can just go with the flow. I mean, there's nothing I can do and at least I know ahead of time what year to expect one instead of an ear infection popping out of nowhere and being like, "SURPRISE. I'm here to ruin your week!"

     I was given three medications, plus an allergy medication. That's not really a problem. I haven't even needed the allergy medicine. (I would like it noted here that when a doctor says that you should take medicine, I am not advising you to question them. I was not prescribed the allergy medicine and since I have been sneezing and coughing on my own, we thought it was best not to add to that.)

     The medicine for my throat, to make it stop hurting, has been awesome. My throat hurt for almost two weeks and today, it finally went away, completely. The pills for my ears have been great too, since I can usually hear pretty well, as opposed to when I first got the ear infection. Combined, they do make me really sleepy, but I am not complaining because it's working.

     Then there are the ear drops. I dislike the ear drops quite a lot. They're really cold so it makes my whole head hurt. They feel disgusting and greasy, which makes me want to scrub my ears clean from it. Not to mention, I have to hold my head at awkward angles three times a day. Even so, I can deal with all of this because it's helping. I can hear almost as well as I could before I got the ear infection.

     There's a problem though.

     In order to keep the ear drops in my ears, instead of dripping into my hair or on my shirts or something, I have to use cotton balls in my ears. I never thought that it would be a problem, since I had to use them before and I was fine. I mean, sounds are a little muffled, but it's not too bad, over all.

     The really weird part is that I never realized that I have to heavily rely on lip-reading while having cotton balls in my ears. I made it a habit when I was little to look at the people speaking to me because that's the polite thing to do. Today, when I was in the car with my mom, I was staring out the window and I didn't even know she was talking at first.

     When we got to the store, I figured out the problem. It wasn't that the radio had drowned her out (well, not completely, at least) but my hearing hasn't recovered enough to add the cotton balls so I can still hear normally. I can still hear a lot of things, but it was really hard to hear when somebody was speaking to me. In order to feel like I wasn't screaming, I've been half-whispering all day and I didn't even know until my mom told me.

     At the paint counter, two people seemed to think I was deaf. One was a lady asking me if I knew where the paint-mixer-person was and if I was waiting to have paint mixed. When I stuttered over my own words because I couldn't hear what I was saying, she seemed to make sure to look right at me while speaking and raised her voice a little bit.

     The paint-mixer-person spoke really fast and ran his words together. That's kind of difficult to understand in general, but especially when your hearing isn't as strong as you're used to. I had to ask what he said and then when I still didn't get it, despite him slowing down a bit, my mom had to explain it by raising her voice and speaking much slower.

     Since the paint-mixer-person couldn't even help us, the manager was called. He seemed to catch on right away and just spoke to my mom, who then told me everything, along with some hand motions to help illustrate it. I'm pretty sure they thought it was legit sign-language (which I want to learn) rather than something she was making up.

     Due to all of this, and the fact that people have been speaking really slowly and being sure to look at me, I'm pretty sure that my current hearing loss is obvious and that at least half the people I saw today think I'm deaf. Guys, I always knew that it would be a hard thing to deal with, but I'm just now understanding that unless I actually go deaf, I'll never fully be able to understand how anyone has the strength or energy to manage it.

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