Wednesday, December 19, 2018


And speaking of Christmas: It's just not my favorite time of year. I like the part where we can see friends and perhaps talk on the phone or Face Time with those who are far away - - - and therein lies the rub.

We are so scattered. To attempt long distance traveling during the Christmas season - well, it's just stupid. At best it's ill advised. Already the weather gods are posting dire predictions. I hope they are wrong.

Home for Christmas! It's almost as American as gerrymandering. I can remember when I was in school loading the kids on a mattress in the back of that old Ford and driving twelve hours to grandma's house. There is little to equal the restorative powers of a mother's embrace. When the distances reached 2000 plus miles the complications multiplied.

I don't think this is my private problem. I think it comes with age in an age where long distances separate the young, who are off where jobs are or spouses or dreams, from the old who tend no to be as mobil. When I was a kid the thirty odd miles to grandma's house was easy for twenty to thirty children, grandchildren and great grandchildren - all of whom lived that near - to gather up and open gifts, eat in shifts and enjoy the embraces and faces of the closest of kin. There were twelve living children in my father's immediate family during those years. The numbers don't lie.

These days it's all just history. One day they are there - the next they are gone. I think of them all throughout the year but during these days those thoughts come in tsunami like waves. I hold my breath until they pass and then go on.

Thing is, I wouldn't trade those memories for anything. Those days were among the richest of my long life. We all have those memories and many of you can still reach out and actually draw them to you in a loving embrace. Do that now. These days don't last.

Be well, dear friends, and stay tuned. MERRY CHRISTMAS

Sunday, December 16, 2018


First of all my disability is not visible.  If I were to walk into a room full of people it would be assumed that no special consideration should be given to me - and there is the problem.  Were I to be in a wheel chair, or on crutches, or tapping the floor with a white cane automatic responses would kick into play at once to accommodate my obvious disability.  

Second, though I know I am disabled I do not usually think like a disabled person.  This problem comes from both directions.  A blind person doesn't take a step without considering his or her disability.   I walk into a situation thinking I'll be able to function like a normal person - and now and then that's exactly what happens, but that's rare.  I believe most people with a hearing disability go through their days hoping for the best, taking their chances and swallowing the truth that they are not getting 100% of what is being said.   

Some time ago at a gathering of good friends I became aware that all I was understanding were the thoughts inside my head.  I saw a friend sitting over on the side of the room and I wandered over and sat down beside him and leaned over and said to him, "I'm not understanding a damned thing".  He said, "Neither am I".

I often think about this when I am in noisy situations.  Who else is here that feels somewhat left out of the current of current events?  Who else is here who needs to have a hearing check-up?  Then I go into my merry go round of thought that ends up with the question, "Why isn't hearing loss considered a medical problem and treated as a part of any medical examination instead of a second tier lifestyle issue which is where uber expensive hearing aids enter the picture - which is why many people do not bother with seeking help?".  Fortunately over the counter hearing instruments are now coming on the market that make help more accessible for mild to moderate hearing loss.

I was seeing audiologists for years and their solution for any issues I was having was a new set of very expensive hearing aids.  I became desperate and asked my primary physician to refer me to an otolaryngologist - an ear nose and throat specialist.  I had never had my hearing evaluated by a medical doctor.  It was determined that my left ear was far beyond qualifying for a cochlear implant (CI).  He told me that such a procedure would vastly improve my hearing and understanding.  He referred me to Tufts Medical Center in Boston and the rest is history.

Not everyone who is hearing disabled needs a CI.  The thing is, if hearing loss is treated earlier enough its progress can be monitored while quality of life is maintained.  A hearing aid may be all that one may need.  Get your hearing tested just as you would have your blood sugar tested, or your prostate specific antigens or your cholesterol.  Make it part of your medical profile.  The sooner the better.