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Thursday, October 25, 2012


Fifty years ago I lost my hearing.  It was such a gradual event that I did not realize I had a problem until one night at the dinner table my dad reached out and wacked the back of my head, “Why won’t you answer me?”

I had no idea he was talking to me.  My hearing was gone in the left ear and none too good in the right.  I went to the doctor the next day.  Between my asking people, “What?” and people telling me to stop shouting for the last couple of weeks I should have known something was wrong.

The doctor took one look in my ears and said, “Wax.”





It turns out cleaning your ears with a cue tip is not always a good idea.  The doctor explained to me that the cue tip was kind of like a plunger compressing wax against the ear drum.  When a little water gets between the wax and the ear drum it is as if you are in a sound-proof room.

The doctor used a turkey baster like syringe and power washed the inside of my ears.  After several blasts, two ear plug like wax molds popped out of my ears (I know disgusting isn’t it.)  Freed from my sound-proof room I marveled at all the sounds I had forgotten existed.

I stepped out of the office and heard birds chirping…oh, I remember them.  I was fascinated that when cars went by on the highway they made a whooshing sound.  I had forgotten how loud water sounded against a shower curtain and it was amazing how loud my own voice was.  It is surprising that when you slowly lose a sense you don’t really miss it, but it is such a delight when you get that sense back.

I recently underwent cataract surgery on both my eyes.  My fogged over lenses were removed and replaced with new flexible adjusting lenses that were not only clean and clear but make wearing glasses an unnecessary requirement of the past.

As my eyes recovered from the surgery, it reminded me of my release from deafness those many years ago.  I had forgotten what white was.  I did not know that colors could be so bright or that shapes and print could be so crisp and sharp.  Did you know the speedometer in most cars shows speed not only in MPH, but inside the MPH, in tiny numbers, also displays the speed in KM?  I Know!

I never really missed bright colors or crisp sharp shapes and numbers, but I sure do appreciate them now.  I enjoy no longer requiring tri-focal glasses to read, watch TV or drive a car. 

I just need to get over the feeling that I am forgetting something whenever I go anywhere.  I have to stop pushing my non-existent glasses up over my nose and I have to quit adjusting the angle of my head to change my view through the non-existent tri-focal lenses.

One of the reasons healthcare is so expensive today is because they can now do really neat stuff like turning old eyes into new.        


  1. Awesome what they can do these days, isn't it?

    This reminds me of my grandmother who was telling my dad how much better she could hear after she got a hearing aid. She said she could hear things she hasn't heard in 30 years.

    He asked, "What kind is it?

    She said, "It's about 8:30."


  2. What a wonderful thing. I'd miss being able to see sparkly things so much.
    Various friends and both Uncles have had this done and it's been interesting thinking that just 50 years ago, they would have been nearly blind today, but now, all still driving and watching their families grow up and in one case, still juggling.
    Total yey for medical science keeping us functional during our now extended lifespans. :-)

  3. Both my husband and my mother have had problems with ear wax buildup. It's so interesting when they get their hearing back and everything seems so loud to them. When my husband first got his hearing back his ears were very sensitive to noise and he kept accusing me of being deaf! I've noticed lately that it may be time for him to have another clean out!

  4. When I was growing up my best friend's dad had to have hardened wax drilled out of his ears every six months or he'd be stone deaf. I guess some people just produce more wax than others. Glad your cataract surgery turned out well and that you're now enjoying the visual world more.

  5. My eye Doc just told me the cataracts on my eyes are too miniscule to worry about. So how come I can't see anything without my coke bottle bottom glasses? He said..'just old age.' Charming eh?

  6. I had the cataract surgery & last month passed the eye test at the DMV to have my license renewed for another 5 years. I just hope I don't expire before it does!!

  7. Funny how we miss a big change when it happens real slow. Like getting fatter, or getting gray hair or losing your memory---I forget what else.

    My eye doc said cataract surgery might be in my future but the good news was if I put it off long enough Medicaid will cover the cost and some of my other vision problems could be corrected. Almost looking forward to that.

  8. Congrats on seeing well again! I've had the ear wax situation a couple of times and I use Q-tips sparingly, if at all.

  9. My mother was so thrilled with her cataract surgery. My doctor says mine are too small yet. Rats! I want to see colors again.

  10. I LOVE my cataract surgery - I was 0.15 off being legally blind but due to the surgery am now 1.5 and able to work without glasses. I still need them for driving / TV but to be able to get up in the night and not scratch around to find glasses before I can move around is fantastic !!
    Enjoy !
    Have the best day !

  11. I know a couple of folks who have had the cataract surgery and have had their life-long poor vision restored. I'm happy for you.. enjoy. :)

  12. I had the same wax issue, only it left me somewhat deaf and dizzy. :-) We'll pause while that sinks in...

    My dad recently got cataract surgery. He was shocked by how much brighter everything was!

    Glad you've got new eyes. :-)