When our kids were younger, we used to watch nighttime TV all huddled together in our bed. We did this because my sister-in-law, her husband and their 6 children, lived upstairs and our living room was below the kid’s bedroom. Kids, being kids, are naturally loud and even more so when there are 6 of them sharing one room. So, we migrated to our bedroom and made cozy memories as a family.
One of our favorite shows was “Boy Meets World”. One of my favorite episodes was when they portrayed the four teenage characters as senior citizens. In that episode they were all having lunch in a diner, dressed like they were in their 80’s and talking like they couldn’t hear and had no teeth. Their conversation went something like this…
“So. How’s the fish?”
“They want you to take the rolls!”
Some of us in my original family, the one minus my husband, kids, and grandkids, have hearing problems, namely, my Dad, and myself; though my sister in NJ said she doesn’t hear well either. Dad’s hearing loss was due to many years of working around very loud, heavy machinery. Dad was a mechanic. So, his is not hereditary. Mine and, most likely my sister’s, was a gift from our Grandma Moon. Nothing to do with the outside world. When I went for my first real hearing test to see if I actually had hearing loss, the doctor assumed that I’d gone to a lot of loud, heavy metal concerts in my teens. I told her I’d only been to two concerts in my life and I was pretty sure that the Osmond Brothers and Johnny Cash didn’t exactly qualify for the “heavy metal” category. She agreed and asked about older close relatives with hearing loss. That’s when I first realized it was my Grandma. Grandma Moon lived with us and our daily afternoon tea times consisted of all of us girls, Mom, my sisters and I, shouting so Gram could hear us even with her hearing aid.
I first realized I was probably losing my hearing when our first grandchild, our only granddaughter, started speaking in her adorable, little, high-pitched voice and I couldn’t hear her. Around that same time, I began teaching middle and high school classes and realized I couldn’t hear most of the boys either. And so, I bought and began wearing hearing aids, every single day. I love them. My Dad, who will be 86 this March, has a pair of hearing aids that he got from the VA. He doesn’t wear them every single day. He doesn’t wear them at all. He hates them.
Erma Bombeck once said, “If you can’t make it better, you can laugh at it!” A wonderful truth. Case in point…
The other day Mom came up with a brilliant idea to communicate better with Dad.
“What about this, Rox? What if Dad and I learn sign language?”
Mom is 80. Dad will be 86 in March. I was going to laugh until I realized Mom was serious. All I could picture is Mom trying to sign to Dad and Dad thinking Mom was having some kind of an arthritic seizure. And so I told Mom I didn’t think it was a good idea.
“What if I get a small chalkboard and write things out to him?”
“No, Mom, I don’t think that will work either.”
We decided she should just move closer to Dad when she talks. Problem solved…at least for now.
One of the perks of hearing loss is that, since I don’t hear very well, I sleep very soundly. Rain, thunderstorms, hurricanes, sonic booms (remember I live in Florida)…no problem. My husband, on the other hand, is a very light sleeper. The hum of a fan can keep him awake. Personally, I consider his excellent hearing to be somewhat of a curse at night. He may not agree, especially when he’s trying to talk to me from across the room and I am already hearing aid free. I always try to guess what he’s saying. I never get it right. Our conversations usually end up sounding something like this.
“Do you find your key?”
“Yeah, I have to pee.”
“I’m feeling much better.”
“I know, I brought my sweater.”
“Do you think you can cut my hair soon?”
“What happened to the chair in the room?”
You get the idea. Further proof that getting old is not for the faint of heart. But it sure can be fun because, depending on how you look at it, it’s really not that big a deal!