Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Everyone! Erin go bragh!

On this day, in 1944, at St. Vincent’s Hospital, Jacksonville, Florida, guess who was born? Yep. Me. I arrived kicking and screaming, and pretty much kept on in that vein for the next 73 years. Well, I don’t scream as loud as used to, and I hardly ever kick anyone these days, but you get my drift. Today is my birthday, and do you know what I plan to do? Ahem. ANYTHING I DARN WELL PLEASE! All day long! 😀

My daughter gave me a lovely piece of art for Christmas, and the first thing I’m doing tomorrow is taking it in to be framed. Then I’m going to do some fun shopping, hitting the local bookstores (what’s left of ’em, anyway) and some garden centers I love to browse. After that, I’m getting a haircut, so I won’t scare the dogs anymore. In short, I’m going to have fun doing whatever strikes my fancy.

But let me tell you about my real birthday present. My husband and I have both become quite hard of hearing in our old age. (I blame it on too much rock and roll in my misspent youth.) For a very long time, I put off doing anything about it because, frankly, hearing aids are quite pricey, and I didnt’t think I could afford it. Instead, I became pretty darn good at work arounds. I can lip read surprisingly well, and I’ve made sure folks know to face me and speak loud when telling me something. So I was coping. I thought.

Then I started reading some research on what happens to the mind from hearing loss.  I Don’t want to depress you with all the details, but hearing loss is linked to many emotional problems you might expect, and just about as many physical ones, which you probably don’t. I didn’t. For instance, it is definitely linked to memory loss and dementia!  

After some more research, I knew I couldn’t afford to wait any longer, and I consulted an audiologist (referred to me by my family doctor). She was amazed at how well I was functioning, given the severity of my loss, and worked with me to find a solution.

Now hear’s the good news. A few weeks ago, I was fitted for hearing aids, and there are no words to describe how wonderful my life has become because of them. I’m living in the world of sound again, and it’s astounding how much I was missing. The first day I had them on, I walked out onto my back porch, and I heard my beautiful wind chimes for the first time. I cried. My yard is filled with birdsong that had gradually disappeared. Turns out, it didn’t go anywhere. My ears did. 🙂

I’ve learned all sorts of interesting things, too. Like, every door in my house squeaks. Who knew? And light switches actually click when you flip them. Wow. A hundred times a day, I hear something I haven’t been able to hear for years. And a few more things I never knew made sound. (I think it’s been at least ten years since I heard the turn signal in my car!)

We are going to Charleston in a couple of weeks for my grandson’s 4th birthday, and I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to being able to hear his sweet little voice clearly. Apparently, I never have.

Happy Birthday to Me. I can hear again, and it is glorious!

P.S. Those of you who recognize yourself in this story, do yourself a favor and have your hearing checked. Not only are you missing out on some of life’s most beautiful things, but you are risking damage to your brain that can cause severe memory loss and possibly lead to much worse than that. Make an appointment today, then one day, you can take a walk around listening to things you haven’t heard in a long time. You won’t believe how wonderful it is!

 

44 thoughts on “Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

    • Thank you so much, Callum. Hearing loss comes on you slowly, as a rule, and you adjust over time, not realizing how very much you are missing out on. I’m so happy to be able to tune into the world again! Glad my story perked up your day! This year, EARS. Next year, Scotland???????????????? Who knows! Might yet happen!

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  1. Happy Anniversary, Marcia! Lots of health and wealth and inspiration!

    So great that you have your hearing back and you can enjoy the birds’song.
    What a pity my husband doesn’t want to admit he needs a hearing aid. Too proud, I think. So radio, TV are blaring.

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    • Thank you, Carmen. It’s a lovely day to turn 73 on! And I’m very grateful that I’m alive and well to enjoy yet another slice of birthday cake! 🙂 My husband had a hard time admitting it, too, and always said my hearing was far worse than his. Turns out he was wrong, actually, and though we are closely matched in loss, my results were actually better than his in several areas. But he got HIS hearing aids yesterday, and the TV went from a volume setting of 28 (out of 30!!) to 14! Even before I got my new ears, it was too loud for me. Now, it’s blissfully quiet in the living room at night. 😀

      Tell your husband that hearing loss is connected to dementia and other brain related problems. When the part of the brain responsible for interpreting sound isn’t getting used, it atrophies, and it impacts LOTS more than just hearing. It isn’t worth the risk of that kind of brain damage. Maybe if no other reason, he’ll at least get them checked and let a professional tell him one way or the other if he has actual loss. And btw, my hearing aids are all but invisible. They are tiny and fit so far into my ear, they don’t show. So no one knows, unless they are peering directly into my ear. (In which case, they are standing WAAAAY too close!) 😀 😀 : D

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  2. Happy Birthday and Happy Hearing, proof indeed that we can miss more than talking, But it also made me think what a boon the internet and smart phones etc are for people who are profoundly deaf. You can chat/type away to everyone on the planet,or back home put subtitles on TV programmes… deafness is no longer isolating.

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    • Thanks so much! And yes, the internet connections do help, though it isn’t the same as the connection made via sound. A quiet world can be profoundly lonely, as though you can’t quiet reach those you are talking to. I was already experiencing some of that, and had stopped going out of the house as often as I used to. I did my events, and loved them, but would often stay inside for days at a time. Now, I’ve already started rejoining the outside world again. Of course, I still LOVE my internet connections, but it’s great to have both.

      As for closed captioning, I’ve been using it for years, but it is so often WRONG. Sometimes, even with my poor hearing, I knew what it said wasn’t what the speaker on tv was saying, at all. I wish they’d improve it somehow. But it IS a blessing to have many more ways to stay connected than we used to, no doubt about it. I’d have been much worse off by now without them.

      Off to celebrate my day! Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you!

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    • I hope she’ll take steps to bring that joy back into her world again. I’m still walking around like Alice in Wonderland, amazed at the things I’m hearing, that I’d forgotten entirely. You really don’t realize how much you are missing. I can’t wait to put my aids in each morning, before I even head to the kitchen for my cup of tea, which btw, I can now HEAR boiling. I’d forgotten that was a sound most people are aware of.

      Thanks for your well wishes, too. Off to listen to the sounds of traffic as I drive to the store . . . just because I CAN!!! 😀 (I keep hearing bars of Ode to Joy running through my mind, and hey. Guess what? If I play the CD in the car, I’ll be able to hear it in real life, too. ALL of it, and not just the loudest bits!)

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    • Did all that, Linda. Well, except for the four-leaf clovers and the mint juleps. 😀 But I did do some celebratory shopping for some things I wanted, and I had a nice lunch while I was out, too. So far, this day’s going very well. 😀 Thanks for the birthday wishes, too. 🙂

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  3. Happy Birthday, Marcia! What a wonderful gift you received with opting for hearing aids. How beautiful the world must sound now. I loved all your descriptions as you enjoyed those sounds all over again.

    Sending you wishes for a Happy Saint Patrick’s day too! 🙂

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    • Aw, thanks, Mae! I’m still finding myself gasping at some new sound I didn’t even realize had gone missing. I LOVE it! And I can hear people walking beside me, too, without having to stop, face them, and lean in, staring at their mouths like some kind of deranged old lady stalker! 😀 Hmmm. That sounds like I’m deranged and stalking old ladies, doesn’t it? But you know what I mean! 😀

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  4. Happy, Happy Birthday !!! What a fun day to be born on. And congratulations on your new hearing aids !! Hearing loss, just like vision loss, sneaks up on us. It’s so gradual that you get used to it—then it’s fixed and Wow! Enjoy your day and enjoy all the beautiful sounds around you.

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    • Thanks, Liz! I’ve been having fun today, and doing just that. 🙂 And if they could do as good a job with my vision as they’ve now done with my ears, it’d be even more wonderful! 🙂 Alas, that’s not likely to happen. So I’ll just enjoy my wonderful world of sound, instead! 🙂

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  5. Hope you had a fabulous day, Marcia. Not been much online – editing the prequel like mad. Hoping to get it back to the publishers by Monday. Love your post – going to pass it on to hubby who swears he’s not going deaf and says I mumble!! Huh!! Jx

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    • Thanks so much, Judith! I know exactly what you mean about the editing taking over your life. It’s such a mad rush at the end, when you are trying to get everything to come together so you can publish! I’m in the same boat.

      And tell hubby to go get his hearing checked, if for no other reason than so he can look you in the eye and say “I told you so,” if it comes back normal. 😀 (And when it doesn’t, then he’ll have to accept he needs a bit of help. Men are so stubborn about this stuff. Erm . . . it IS just us “girls” here chatting, right????) 😀

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    • Boy, you said it! I’m so lucky that I was able to do this. My audiologist worked very hard to find a way to make it affordable, beyond what our insurance would cover. I wish I’d done this years ago! And thanks for the birthday and St. Patrick’s Day wishes, too. I’m having a great day!

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    • Thanks, Deborah. Still got a couple of weeks before we are going, but I’m really looking forward to it. And it’s so wonderful to be able to hear on the phone again! What a difference! Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you! 🙂

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  6. Oh my gosh, Marcia!! I almost missed wishing you a wonderfully HAPPY BIRTHDAY on your birthday!! But, I’m under the wire by and hour and a half!! Hope today was even better than yesterday, but that tomorrow will be even better – and the whole year thru!! LOVED that you have shared about your hearing loss; I’m going to pass this on to my sister, that it might help her toward getting some help! and so VERY glad that you and hubby, both, have had such great results!! Birthday wishes galore….

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    • Thank you so much, Beth! Lovely to hear from you, and I appreciate your birthday wishes greatly! And you aren’t too late. I’ve been known to stretch out birthday celebrations for at least a week past the actual date! I still have things I’m planning to do/get today. (Especially since I received some very nice gift cards I can spend at my favorite store–Amazon. I shop there for so many things these days, it’s crazy, but I find really good deals, and I don’t have to fight the crowds. 🙂

      My husband and I are very pleased that we finally did this thing, and I don’t know about him–he’s not the kind to rhapsodize much–but as I’ve said, it has been a joy to me from that first day. When you reach your later years, it’s a shame to only be living them halfway. Lots of stuff gets lost that you can change. My back and knees will never be quite right again, for instance. But there are some things you can do something about, and gradual hearing loss is one of them. So why not fix what you can? Especially when it impacts so much more than just your ears. I do NOT want to lose brain function, for instance. It would really put a cramp in my writing, for starters. 🙂 So, there’s every reason to have that hearing exam and see what can be done. Good luck with your sister. 🙂 And I hope you enjoyed your St. Patrick’s Day. 🙂

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  7. Happy happy birthday to you my awesome friend! What a gift you’ve given yourself. I’m so happy for you, and thank you for the tips and the lowdown on hearing loss. I know my husband can’t hear like he used to and I nag him about loud TVs etc. When we get back from vacay, I’m definitely going to take him for a hearing aid! ❤ 🙂

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    • Thanks, Deb! I had a great day. And yes, take your husband in to be checked. There’s a really good chance he can be helped, and that any side effects from the loss can be stopped or prevented. Good luck with that! It’s nice when it’s a problem that can be corrected, isn’t it? Makes living with those that can’t a bit easier.

      Hope you wore some green, and danced an Irish jig or two! 😀

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    • Thanks, Rosie. Enjoying life twice as much, now. 😀 And a happy belated St. Patrick’s Day to you! (My shamrocks, both the green and the purple-leaved ones, are blooming. I love those sweet lavender-pink blossoms!) 🙂

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    • Thanks, Cathy. I’m still celebrating today, so your wishes are just in time! 🙂 Yep, Kaelen chatters all the time, but it will be more fun when I actually know what he’s saying. He’s very amusing (with Erin translating for me). She called yesterday and mentioned that when she told Kaelen it was Granny’s birthday, he said, “Hurry! We have to get to her house for her party!” And it took her a long time to convince him that I wasn’t having a party, and they could wish me happy birthday when I come to his. “But, that one’s MY party. We need to go make one special for her!) 😀

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    • I did, indeed, Kate, and thanks for your birthday wishes. And I’m still enjoying the sound of LIFE again! What a difference these have made. And while I say I should have done it sooner, the truth is, this technology wasn’t available until last year. It’s amazing. Full circle hearing, just like real life. I hear conversations and sounds on every side, just like people with normal hearing do. It’s wonderful! And the iPhone app makes adjusting volume and tracking battery use so easy. There are several other features that can be set via the phone app, too, but I don’t use all of them. Technology. When it works, it’s SO great! (We won’t talk about what it is when it DOESN’T work. 😀 )

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