Saturday, December 31, 2011

"It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times"

I lost it in the toilet paper aisle at the grocery store this morning. I was minding my own business, looking for a 6 pack of double rolls, and singing along quietly to Annie Lennox' "Why?", which was being played on the store's sound system. I'd just passed a black woman who looked to be about the same age as me, and who was also singing along with the song. Though she appeared to be somewhat dissheveled and probably poor, she held her head up as she sang.

As the song came to an end, I was struck by the closing lines...
"These are the contents of my head
And these are the years that we have spent
And this is what they represent
And this is how I feel
Do you know how I feel ?
'cause i don't think you know how I feel
I don't think you know what I feel
I don't think you know what I feel
You don't know what I feel"
And I began to sob. The words I spoke through my tears were directed at America. I said "Look at what you've done to me America!"
I thought about the direction my country is trying to take with the Occupy Movement. People finally standing up and shouting "Enough is enough!" I thought about the other direction, of Corporate greed, a corrupt Supreme Court, and a government intent on causing suffering for the majority of its' people.

This has been a VERY powerful year for myself, and many others. I don't expect anything less from 2012. It's truly been, and will continue to be, exactly what Charles Dickens and Annie Lennox wrote about.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Hear About Disability

I had the experience of deafness in one of my ears yesterday. Through this, I was able to see the connection to disability that many people have to deal with on a regular basis. I feel the need to write about it, and some thoughts I have.

It started when I finished up my shower. I'd done my customary of allowing some water to go into my ears to rinse out any reaining shampoo or conditioner. Though I go through this same process every day, this time was different. My left ear remained clogged up. No big deal... figured I'd just q-tip my ears when I was done.

That didn't work out too well. As soon as I began on the left ear, it seemed to close up completely! I continued for another minute on it, then gave up, hoping it was temporary. No such luck! After an hour I stood up, and felt disoriented. My balance was messed up!

I went to speak with my wife about the situation. Although she has a mid-range kinda voice, I had to ask her to speak up as I only had 1/2 my hearing. She went to the computer and came up with some ideas. She found "swimmers' ear" which made sense as the whole thing began in the shower.

First she told me to put a little alcohol in my ear. Didn't do anything except burn slightly. Next we tried a heating pad, laying down on my side and putting my ear on it. No good. I was feeling frustrated and cranky, having to ask her to repeat 50% of what she was saying. Next I hopped up and down on my left foot, shaking my head up and down sideways. Nope. Eventually I drove to the pharmacy and bought some drops for swimmers' ear. By the time I got home I was in a REALLY bad mood, having stood in a long, slow, line to buy the drops.

Shortly after getting back home, I found myself picking a fight with Suzanne, like it was her fault! I followed the directions to treating my ear with the medicine, and after an hour... nothing! I decided that since I wasn't experiencing pain, I'd take a break, and get back on the case in the morning.

Today I woke up still unable to hear. Honestly, I was kind of panicky. First I went to my Facebook page, asking for any help people might have. Some of the suggestions were things I'd already tried, so we decided to treat the problem as if it was an ear wax issue. Suzanne dripped some warm olive oil in my ear. It began to tickle my inner ear as it got past/through (?) the ear wax After a while we rinsed the ear with water, which scared me, but it worked!

When I was finally able to hear again, I began thinking of the deaf people I've known over the years, with my nephew Joseph leading my thinking. He's deaf in one ear as well as autistic. And like many of the other folks I've known he tends to get FRUSTRATED, and CRANKY sometimes. In fact, he has a problem in answering questions with a "yeah" whether or not he understands or HEARS what people ask him. Hmmm... once again I've been blessed with a n extremely VALUABLE lesson. Life is good!