Thursday, April 7, 2011

Breaking Through the Jargon

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve had a few interesting experiences with appointments: among others, visits to the doctor and the dentist. All have emphasized to me how I continue to progress with my CI (even if, again, I don’t feel like I’m progressing).

Now, I’ve always hated going to any sort of appointment by myself. The reason, I think, is fairly obvious. There are too many people to adjust to for lipreading, too much important information to catch (especially with medical terms! oy vey), and too many details that too easily slip beneath my notice. Up until the time I left for college, and even past then, I always took a parent in with me for any kind of appointment, just as a safety net. That isn’t an option anymore. Nor, really, is requesting an agency interpreter to show up for every little thing – I’d consider that in a dire situation, but as someone who sometimes feels like she spends a quarter of her life scheduling interpreters in one way or another, I’d rather cling to my sense of freedom. As well as personal privacy.

Appointments aren’t the highest item on my worry-o-meter, but they’re pretty high. So, in the last month, I found myself pleasantly surprised when I visited the dentist and heard the technician say, “Now, I’m going to floss your teeth,” as well as some other things I don’t remember. When I went to see the doctor, she slipped behind me and (without meaning to, I’m sure) spoke from where I couldn’t see her face. “Take a deep breath,” she said, placing the stethoscope on my back. And I understood! If only she knew how much time, hard work, anxiety, joy, and pride had gone into that one breath I obligingly took. Other things, like “I’ll be right back,” “Just step this way,” and “Very good” also stood out to me, like tiny rays of light against a murky gray surface. Falling like candies into my hand.

I still might not be perfect, but when my CI steps in like this it assures me that I will be okay, that I am capable of figuring out routine hearing-people things like going to the doctor by myself. But still – every time one of those tiny comprehension moments occurs, I am so, so stunned. I never get used to the feeling of how easy understanding is during the moments where things fall into place. (Even as I type this right now, I’m grinning uncontrollably.)

Dear readers, are these tiny moments getting redundant or boring yet? Of course not! For me they never will, because I cannot ever imagine myself taking them for granted.


  1. Anxiety with going to the doctor, or dentist, is a category unto its own. Add to that the extra anxiety associated with communication and it becomes a double whammy! Surely these experiences have to boost confidence and set you up for courage to push yourself for more....whatever the more is that life will toss your way. Empowerment is a wonderful thing. Kudos!

  2. I'm getting ready to start the CI journey. Surgery tuesday morning. Really enjoy your BLOG.