Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Silence is Deafening

March 2006 I was hospitalized with spinal meningitis, was in a coma for three weeks, suffered 100 percent bi-lateral hearing loss as well as loss of balance function in both ears. My wife reports that I was at death’s door three times. Apparently nobody opened up when I knocked. After months of rehabilitation, I am now able to walk again, though I look like a drunk leaving the bar at closing time. I stagger and stumble, wobble and weave and bump into things. But I walk. The loss of balance is permanent, and at this time there is no cure or treatment other than physical therapy.

I received a Cochlear Implant Oct. 5, and the exterior equipment was activated two weeks later. After months of silence, I can hear things now. It works best with a face-to-face, one-on-one conversation. Not so good in crowds or noisy environments. I still cannot use a regular telephone. I can hear the sounds, but I cannot understand the words. In fact, all electronic devices are pretty much just noise for me. This includes phones,tapes, broadcast radio and television. Nonetheless, I am happy to be able to hear people when they talk to me. And if I keep it simple, I can pretty much understand most of what is said. Sometimes I have to ask people to repeat things. We went to a Christmas party, and I was not able to understand a thing anybody said, because of noise and people talking at once. All in all, having the implant is great; being deaf is not. The difference is quality of life is night and day. When people ask me how I like having a Cochlear Implant, I tell them it is just like me: it is far from perfect, but it is wonderful.


Copyright 2007 by William C. Cotter

2 comments:

Tina said...

You went through some durn bad stuff, but you still have your wits about you---you still have those you love and they still have you. And there's still the whole world of reading....and there's still steak and baked potatoes!
In the past few years I have taken up photography. That's something you might like to get into, including getting a free (or paid) site on Flickr.

Max said...

Great writing.

 

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