Tuesday, May 29, 2007

on hearing, finale

It's early Wednesday morning, and I'm reflecting over my Tuesday. I went to an ENT specialist who pronounced a diagnosis for my sudden, profound hearing loss in the left ear. I have a sudden, profound hearing loss in the left ear. He told me it's an actual syndrome. Something went wrong in the inner ear, something that probably cannot be pinpointed, though I'm being tested to rule out lyme disease, venereal disease or a problem with my brain. I have to tell you, hearing that was rather disconcerting, though I knew if it was not an outer ear problem, there's only one direction to go. It was lonely sitting in a sound-proof booth with headphones on, knowing as the seconds went by with no beeps sounding in the left ear, it's bad. I'm functionally deaf in that ear.

So the doc and I sat at a table and discussed the problem and treatment options. The aforementioned testing needs to be done. I'm going for bloodwork tomorrow and an MRI on Saturday. The only medication proven to help in 2/3 of cases is the steriod prednizone. There is a 30% chance I will never regain my hearing. I looked around the incredibly busy office, with folks coming and going, a woman on a cell complaining about the wait, the endless drone of talk shows on a constantly running tv, the women in the cube anwering phones, pulling charts, talking to patients, a jumble of meaningless sound with loud punctuations, and I felt the wind of my competence knocked out of me. I had to get away from the sound. I needed silence so much. I needed to be alone.

I cried first, and sat in my car for some time, not moving. Then I just had to. The tears didn't end for a few miles, but it was time to hit the gas and spring into action. I had prescriptions to fill, phone calls to make, e-mails to send out and ear plugs to buy. I need them to be in public. I took my daughter to see her man, Johnny Depp, in the latest Pirates installation, and would never have stood the yo, ho, ho's without a plug in left ear to stop distortion of sound that loud. I guess I did the Sue equivalent of getting a make-over and buying new clothes to chase the blues-I went to Lowes and bought stuff for my studio and the house. I did about $300.00 in damages. Ok, that made me feel a little better, but is not a good long range plan for coping! It all looks great, BTW.

The depression, the whys, the uncertainty, will not end in a day. The prednizone may or may not work. I might get better, I could get worse. I can still hear. I sat down to my keyboard, tentatively and fearfully, wondering how well I could hear myself still play and sing. It's a tad muffled, but I can hear the music, praise God. I also shared with two praying friends about a heroine of mine, Joni Earickson Tada, who was left a quadriplegic after a diving accident. She learned to draw with her mouth and what remained of working shoulder and upper arm muscles. She was 17, beautiful and athletic, but at the time a ship without a rudder. She prayed for direction and shortly after dove into a too-shallow body of water. Joni is now middle-aged, an unprecedented life lived for the glory of God in the midst of suffering. May I do as well. The story is not over.


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