May 16, 2011

As the World Turns

When Hadley was first born, I never thought there would be days when I would forget that she lived with a hearing loss. But, sure enough, one day I realized that I hadn't yet thought about her hearing aids or hearing status. We were just living life and rolling with it.

Not one to document all of life's little moments, there were still many times when Hadley would say or do something so extraordinary (or, to be honest, so outrageous) that I'd think to myself, "Oh, I'll never forget this. No need to write it down." I've since forgotten a bunch of them (which is okay, because there are always new moments being made).

Yet, with all of these stories, I never once imagined that I'd forget any of the technical details about Hadley's hearing loss: the nuts and bolts of her audiogram, her hearing history, her hearing aid specifications. These are the absolutes of her life that are basically tattooed onto my brain. I use these facts constantly with educators, professionals and other parents. It just can't be possible for me to ever forget, right?

Last week, while searching for an old hearing aid to temporarily replace her current one that was in need of repair, I found myself trying to remember which were her last hearing aids. Were they the brown Trianos? The purple Centras? How could I possibly not recall this? And if I'm forgetting these details after just nine years, what will I forget in the next nine?

Hadley's fantastic AV therapist sent me a puzzling message on May 5, asking me if I had snapped many pictures on Cinco de Mayo. Why would I do that? Hours later, I recalled that for five years, I took pictures of Hadley all through the day to create a day-in-the-life-of-Hadley experience book. These books took hours to create and were read and reread constantly (and are now tucked away on a bookshelf in our office). I talked to other parents about how fun it was to make these books and how useful they were as a therapy tool. How could I have forgotten?

Meanwhile, Hadley's back up hearing aid has been in my wallet for two weeks. I keep meaning to put it safely away in its container until the next hearing aid malfunction, but other things (broken washing machine, rescheduled dentist appointments, a gazillion kids activities) get in the way. I'm compulsive about cashing even the smallest checks right away, to avoid having them fall out of my wallet, but I've been walking around with 3K worth of tiny technology in there. I used to always have at least a one month's supply of batteries on hand for her hearing aids, plus spare packs in my bag, the car, and her backpack...we have a single lone battery, total, right now. What is going on with me?!

A friend further down this path (her hard-of-hearing kids are in high school and college) reminded me that this is all okay. We're living a typical busy family life, one that happens to include extra details related to hearing loss. Some days these details are very, very important. Other days, not so much. Luckily, right now our focus is on the final weeks of the school year (June 22!), spring sports (softball and golf), and making plans with family and friends. As weird as it is to say this, hearing loss is taking a back seat right now...and that's okay with all of us.

I know, nearly two months without a post. What happened? Well, the kids swapped viruses for most of March and April and finally shared them with me, giving me the gift of pneumonia. We've been making up the lost weeks of school work and building up our energy so we can enjoy the spring and summer...if it ever arrives here in the Northeast!

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