Friday, February 22, 2008

One year ago today is when I lost my hearing...

My weary eyes began to flutter as the anesthesia began to evaporate. Seconds felt like hours as my mind tried to orchestrate a sense of normality. My eyes dreaded the fulgent pattern of fluorescent lights but soon began to focus. A monotonous wailing crept in my head. My body laid limp and impotent. Time lingered to a standstill until a nurse with a set of smiling eyes broke my gaze.

I tilted my heavy head towards the nurse as she wrapped me in blue cotton sheets. The cool fabric sent shivers down my arm but then a hazy face appeared along side of my bed, it was the face of my anesthesiologist. He held a small plastic container in the air, I wrestled my arms free from the cotton cocoon as I mouth thank you. I began to fumble with the lid. Once open, I gingerly picked up my hearing aid and placed it in my ear.

I sat there anticipating the sounds of the monitors beeping, the phone ringing, and people speaking. Alas, the only sound I heard was vexatious wailing. I adjusted the volume as the anesthesiologist starts to enunciate his words but it was pointless, I couldn’t hear him. I couldn’t hear anything. I promptly checked my switch to see if was on T-Coil.

Nothing. I switched to my second program.

Nada. I removed my hearing aid and watched a nurse quickly turn towards the squealing aid which ruled out a dead battery. I placed the hearing aid back into my ear and applied enough pressure to feel a faint click of battery compartment closed.

Zilch! A string of sweat formed behind my ears.

I sat there waiting for the hospital ruckus to fill my ear instead all I was hearing was a crescendo of screams. Something wasn’t right..

“Um, I can’t hear anything,” I said hoarsely as I realized how raw my throat felt. The smiling eyes turned looked down at me. Do you see me smiling here?

“You can’t hear?” the anesthesiologist said. I could not help but notice that his lips moved with such simplicity as he enunciated each word, his eyes filled with perplexity while mine filled with despair.

“No, I can’t hear anything!” I couldn’t even hear myself. The rest of the conversation was pointless. Was it possible they thought I was deluded? I whiled away the second contemplating why I heard nothing around me but I could hear meaninglessness noise in my head.

In the distance, I saw my surgeon walk towards me and with every footstep he took, I scrutinized him for all he was worth. He stood along side of the bed and began to flap his gums recapping my so-called successful operation. I cut him off, “I can’t hear anything!” He cocked his head to one side, bewildered. That isn’t what I wanted to see, I tell him I cannot hear and he looks at me like a dog looks when their leash is wrapped around a pole.

“You can’t hear anything?” he repeated after me. Did he lose his hearing too Doc? I studied his face for any sort of reassurance that this is common side effect, that this sort of thing happens all the time. Sadly, his face did not change and I was becoming so desperate to see him say that this happens all the time. I wanted him to give me a magic potion and all would have been right as rain. Nothing was right since.

Then he said, “This has never happened before.” I started sobbing uncontrollably on the inside. Why me I thought, why now? The hearing stealing surgeon left me to grieve. I was left alone in a world that was not my own.

A single blood drop dripped from my nose.

The gurney started to move down a stark white hallway, my mind searching for the answers to my demise. Anesthesia? Swelling? Allergic reaction? What the hell happened to me? With each rotation of the wheels, it became increasingly harder to for a coherent thought for the wailing has reminded me of screams, screams of a banshee. It was only later that I discovered how true that was.

I had a headache and I wanted to go home, back to my bed that I just woke from this morning, hearing the sounds that I was use to hearing. I was tired of being asked how I was feeling, my only answer was, “I can’t hear anything.” They rolled me out of the hospital and into my friends truck. I noticed the tell tale raindrops on the windshield.

I grabbed my cell phone and adjusted the volume on high. I called into my voicemail, switched my hearing aid to T-Coil and made a wish for the tiniest iota of sound. My wish was not granted. How could I have just used this a few hours ago to tell my mom I love her?

I began to reply to my text messages. I tapped my fingers while I waited anxiously for the trumpet-like alert that I always heard. I never heard it that day. I noticed that the windshield wipers were wiping, the tires were turning, and the radio was playing. All I felt engine vibration through my feet. Everything I looked at I associated with a sound but that night all I heard were screaming banshees. I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that a few hours ago in that very spot, I was struggling to hold a conversation with my hearing aid working happily in my ear.

Fifteen minutes later, we pull into my driveway. My mom opened the door and greeted me with nothing but concern in her eyes. It was the kind of eyes that only a mother can give if they could switch places, they would do so in a heartbeat. Truth be told, I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. I wobbled to my last hope, my back up hearing aid. I sat on the edge of my bed. My teeth chattered as I placed a fresh battery to avoid any surprises. I placed it in my ear and prayed. Tears fell into my hand when my prayer wasn't granted.

It was then that the realization came to me that I was truly alone in my world of silence.


David said...

I am in a "Que" to recieve a CI in the late spring or early summer. Can you explain why your first CI did not work?
I have had profound hearing loss since September of this year.
Started a blog last month. Enjoy yours.

Abbie said...

This is an account of the day that I lost the rest of my hearing. It was seven months later on August 27 that I received a CI and it works unbelievably well! You can go back to August of last year in my blog and read all about my experience with surgery and even watch my activation video. I'm going to go check out your blog now! Welcome to the blogosphere David!

Ruminator said...

"Unbelievably well" is a pretty darn strong vote of confidence for CIs. Exactly the kind of reassurance I welcome when I see it, now that I'm just a week to my own surgery.

Bravo to your vividly expressed memoirs. You know, some of us CI bloggers ought to consider collaborating on a book of hearing-loss/CI memoirs.

mishkazena said...

How horrible. Did you ever find out why you lost all the residual hearing that day?

Valerie said...

thank you for describing what happen. As you know last night was we were talking about this posting, I felt the emotions from you. You and I talked about how my losing my hearing over the years as so different. I want you to know how I admire your courage and strengths. I don't know if I could have handled what you did and turn it around to something powerful - not giving up.

You really are a strong, powerful, deaf woman! I am proud to call you my friend.

Anonymous said...

How awful to lose your hearing just liket that. Did they ever find out why it went?

23 days to go until Reimplantation
(But who's counting?)

David said...

Thanks for sharing. I am in a new world now, and excited about hearing again. Your blog is amazing, and I am so enjoying it. Thank you for sharing Abbie

Abbie said...


I've been following your livejournal and you write so good! I don't have an account with LJ so I could never a leave a comment but I'm so glad you decided to leave a comment :) How are your nerves doing with the upcoming surgery?

Abbie said...

Misha and Robyn,

Sad to say, no one had ANY clue why my ears just bombed from surgery. I went in to fix a deviated septum and woke up like that. That day sucked and I was SOOOO glad that I had this pretty potent cocktail, because if I was sober I think I would have been off my rocker.

Anonymous said...

Abbie, sign up and try it! It's quick 'n easy, and so is leaving comments:

It also lets you set it so your browswer always remembers you, so you don't have to log in each visit.

Anonymous said...

Oh boy, reading this brought back some memories. I know how you feel. I grew up oral with a hearing aid and my hearing slowly dropped over the years, just a bit here and there, so I only needed to adjust my aids twice a year and I was fine. Then one day I woke up and my hearing, with and without my aid, was extremely muffled. The next day it was worse. The day after that even worse. I lost it all over 3 days. No one knows why. Pretty traumatizing. Once the doctor determined it was gone for good, I signed up for a CI and got it two months later. It's a wonderful little invention, isn't it?

Sam said...

Absolutely sentimental...except I don't remember the day I lost mine. The reality of it all is we gained a second chance which probably wound up being better than ever!

Abbie said...

I'm grinning from ear to ear here about what you said! Those words are so empowering and they mean so much more to me since they came from you! Thanks you for having such a kind heart because you are such a wonderful person and great friend!


Anonymous said...

*weeps with profound emotion*


Great article! It is good to see you take a scary, dramatic and traumatic moment in your life and make it into a positive, empowering and poignant statement about you as a person - "Abbie."

*resumes weeping with dramatic flair*


Did you get Ms. Bank's autograph??



Cyborg Queen said...

beautiful. *sniff*

Anonymous said...

holy cow.

I've been astonished by how vivid and poignantly you highlight the little moments of every day, whether you are wryly noting how very un-service-oriented a customer service desk can be or delightfully describing those little snap crackle pop moments when you suddenly hear the sounds of cooking.

But damn! When it comes to the big moments, those points where the winds start changing and your life swings around and takes a new direction: your writing really packs a powerful wallop. You really do have a book or 3 in you ...

Anonymous said...

That what happen to me at the age of 28 when i was married to my exhusband and it happened at work. Went dead out of the blue i thought it was my hearing aids battery gone flat nope tried it 3 times is aid UH OHH im in trouble so quickly went to have hearing test even i bump the cue with all the oldies giving me the nasty look and was told im profoundly deaf NADDA ZIP ZERO sounds. I was so upset and still am today so CI is my last resort which is 4 years wait so im looking forward to it.
Great blog darling hugs!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

my god...
reading that was just heart breaking. My heart goes out to you.

Anonymous said...

Wow, That was a very heartfelt blog what you remember a year ago.

Yana said...

I know that story. After many years of just being hard of hearing one day I just stopped hearing, just like that, as I was walking home.

But we got CIs now and life is great!

Unknown said...

Come on over because you have been named as "Rated for EXCELLENT Blogger".

Anonymous said...

Hi Abbie!

Aw, I'm sorry and I am surprised that it happened a year ago? I was gonna ask if you find out how did it happen but you already answered in above comments. I'm so happy I get to meet you via internet and look forward to meet in person!!

You are a wonderful person that inspires other people including me!!


Drew's Mom said...

Wow! I can't believe that is how you lost your hearing. Thank you for sharing - you are an excellent writer.

Alex said...

Hey Abbie--

Truly a heartbreaking story but very inspiring. While I don't remember exactly losing my hearing, I can share the same thought of, not being able to hear and living in a world of silence.

You described it very well with the wipers going, and rain hitting windshield. Very very touching.


VBnBama said...

Abbie, I hate this happened but I just love to read your posts. I was right in the middle of a novel! I really would have chosen to kept reading your story over the Dean R Koontz book I have here beside me. You write beautifully, it would be a shame if I couldn't purchase the full book someday!

Abbie said...

Evilfirepixie8, Sam, Yana

It is definitely a blessing!

Abbie said...

Pay-Ot-Tee! I know something has to be good when I make a grown man weep :)

I did not get Ms. Tyra Banks autograph unfortunately, I still have upload the video!! Stay tune for that :)

Abbie said...

Li-li's mom, That was one of the nicest comments I ever received, thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Abbie said...


Is the wait time so long because of the government health care? Like its first come, first serve? Frustrated must not even begin to describe how you are feeling.

I never entertained the possibility of losing my hearing in my right ear, ever! I was really hard on myself, I felt so stupid for not even entertaining that idea... I wasn't the nicest person in the world because I was so frustrated but your attitude and personality is really quite a few notches above mine :)

Abbie said...

Cyborg-Queen, Roberto, Fairlady, Alex and Drew's Mom..

Thank you all for reading, I love all your comments!


Abbie said...

SeekGeo, that was such a nice thing to say :) I find you an inspiration too! You practiacally beam at the britches with positivity! :) Happy Birthday! :)

Unknown said...

Holy shit, Abbie. Chills, you really wrote that well, every single word of it, I can't even believe that experience.Really, really powerful. Just think how your life has changed since that horrifying moment, you have been through the tunnel and now there is light. No one deserves that more than you, because you have a way of sharing your experience with your beautiful words that remains with your readers...incredibly powerful post. love, jodi

Anonymous said...

Wow, I'm in awe of you and your writing.

Mom to Toes said...

What a beautiful post!

It is almost sad that it is "buried" in the blogosphere. It should be published somewhere.

I loved the description of your mother's face.

Thank you for sharing what must have been the most terrifying day of your life.