Serious stuff

Meniere’s Disease and Me: Be kind when I ask you to repeat yourself

I’ve had issues with hearing for years. Because of horrible ear infections when I was a kid, I have a build-up of scar tissue around the bones in my right ear which makes it difficult for me to hear. If I cover my good ear to listen with my bad one people sound like they are talking in tin cans, and I can only make out that they are saying something, not what they are saying.  You can’t whisper in my right ear and expect me to respond.  Except for feeling someone breathing on my neck, I won’t hear anything.Meneire's Disease, hearing loss, deaf, deafness

In the last few months I’ve learned that I have something called Meniere’s Disease, which only adds to my hearing issues.  (Find out more about the particulars of Meniere’s Disease here.) Now, instead of one bad ear, I have two– the hearing in my left ear is in decline, also. Basically, something is wrong with the fluid in my ears and I am slowly going deaf. Not something you want to hear when you’re 41.

While my husband and children have learned over the years that a person with hearing issues requires a little more thought when speaking to them (like not turning away mid speech, not trying to speak without moving your lips, not speaking to me when my back is turned, not expecting me to hear them and the person I’m talking on the phone with…), the thought that I may be completely deaf some day is unsettling for them.  I am terrified.

I keep thinking about all that I will miss out on when my hearing finally goes kaput.  I’ll not be able to hear my husband and children say they love me anymore.  Will I be able to hear my grandchildren’s voices? Will I have to wear hearing aids and still be hard of hearing? Will I talk funny? Will I need to learn sign language?  Even though I’m a writer, I don’t relish the idea of writing down every word I want to say.  Will I feel isolated, even more so than I do now?  Will people give up communicating with me because it’s just too damn hard? I already have a hard time deciphering what characters in shows are saying sometimes, but will the day come that I need closed captioning to understand anything I watch?

I see people who live with others with hearing loss issues. They get angry when whoever they are speaking to doesn’t hear them or asks them to repeat themselves a few times. I hear their families chastise them about getting hearing aids and how their hearing loss is frustrating their family members. It breaks my heart, and it seems incredibly insensitive, but I can see why it would be difficult to live with someone who can’t hear.

I think of all the things I love to hear:  birds singing, my children laughing, spoken word poetry by Shane Koyczan, and my favorite authors speak. And I wonder how they will change for me when my world goes silent.

So, I stand on a precipice of sorts when it comes to my hearing. For now, I will be thankful for what hearing I have. I’ll try to focus on the fact that I’m not deaf yet.  I have no idea when my hearing is going to be gone.  There’s always a chance that I will just be hard of hearing and not completely deaf.  Declining hearing sucks no matter how you dice it.  I’m still missing out on sounds that others hear, little clues in daily life that completely pass me by.

One thing is for sure: the list of what I can’t hear is only growing. And it’s breaking my heart.

Do you have an experience to share about Meneire’s Disease?  Have you or a loved one been faced with a sudden disability? Share your experiences in the comments below.

If you’d like to read more of my writing, please check out Lemonade and Holy Stuff, available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.



Blog Hop: What drives this writer?

Author-friend Julie Frayn invited me to a blog hop.  Among her books are It Isn’t Cheating If He’s Dead, Suicide City and the recently released Mazie Baby.  She’s a hard-working accountant by day and an author by night.  Did I mention she’s won awards for her work?  Yeah.  She’s tearing up the writing world as an indie author.  Keep an eye on her.  You’ll want to say you knew her when….julie

So, the rules.  There are questions to answer and a “torch” to pass on.

1.  What are you working on?

Currently, I’m working on raising two boys, one of which is a teen, so, you know, that should be enough.  But it’s not.  I spend what little free time I have writing essays about the above mentioned boys, my husband, my dog, and pretty much any other innocent person who should cross my path and get my attention.  Back in November I suffered from a pretty heinous case of writer’s block because of a butt load of issues.  My writer’s group suggested that I try my hand at writing something outside my comfort zone.  By January I followed their advice.  In addition to two blogs (this one and my weight loss journey at Plus Size Mama), I write essays (some of which you can read in my book Lemonade and Holy Stuff) and am trying my hand at fiction, penning a paranormal mystery.

2.  How does my work differ from others in its genre?

When it comes to my essays, honesty is key.  The essay is, by nature, a piece of non-fiction.  However, mine aren’t just run-of-the-mill.  I’m not afraid to explore the stuff that really hurts, the stuff many moms, wives, and daughters think but never lend a voice to.  I don’t shy away from admitting that mothering isn’t this wonderful, lazy walk through a flower filled field.  It sucks.  A lot.  And the field has a few cow pies along the way.  However, there are still flowers and we should do more than notice them.  We should treasure them.

My paranormal mystery deals with murder, so you’d think it is a pretty weighty subject.  There’s a lot of humor infused in it, also.  I haven’t read many murder mysteries that were funny, but mine is.  Go figure.

3.  Why do I write what I do?

Why do you breathe?  Same answer.  Because my brain says I have to.  I’ve written since I was young and it’s not something I can turn on and off at will.  An idea gets stuck in my brain and it won’t leave me be until I process it through writing.  It’s that simple.

4.  How does my writing process work?

There’s supposed to be a process?  News to me.  What I need to say comes when it comes. Not until recent years have I taken my writing seriously.  I used to just scribble things into a journal and that was it.  I’ve always thought of stories but never written them down.  I guess now that’s my process.  Actually writing them down.


Now for the fun part.  Passing the torch.

sarahThe lucky hopper is Sarah Cottrell. She’s a blogger for The Bangor Daily News.  You can check out her humorous posts at Housewife Plus.  She is a member of the Stay-At-Home-Mom Club and proud herder of two loud boys. She earned her MFA in 2012 and then accidentally washed it in a load of laundry. Sarah’s work can be found on popular websites like Mamalode, BlogHer, and Scary Mommy. Her work will appear in two new parenting anthologies in 2015.  You can find her at: