Thursday, July 05, 2001

The Whole Story: Part 5, The Destination

The Destination

Adjusting to CI sound is an amazing journey that has no pre-determined destination. With each small victory on the telephone or each independent trip to the store or doctor’s office, I feel like I’m reclaiming the lost ground that was so reluctantly and painfully surrendered over the years. It’s as if the person of Sheila Adams is re-emerging after years of dormancy and despair. Those who knew me then and who know me now speak of the subtle changes in my speech and my demeanor. That blank expression that was often pasted on my face does re-surface from time to time, but the stress from not hearing and the fear of appearing rude or foolish are no longer my constant companion. The future is no longer bleak and limited, but now filled with promise and potential. That sense of being lonely-in-a-crowd is slowly fading as the confidence in my ability to hear is gaining strength. Some of my professional skills are also returning, such as being able to write down what one of my learning disabled students is dictating to me without having to stare intently at his face and then to frantically scribe as much as my short-term memory would retrieve. Maybe one day I will be able to follow one of the many pockets of conversations that go on in the teacher’s workroom at lunchtime. Perhaps soon I will operate the copy machine, collate pages, label files, and talk to a colleague at the same time. Perhaps not.

It always shocks me when my battery dies and the world becomes so suddenly and starkly silent, but with a quick change of the battery, the wonderful sounds of life come flooding back. This routine experience is not without purpose, because it is a healthy reminder that I am still deaf and that I dare not take my hearing for granted. The gift of a cochlear implant “keeps on giving” and in the process, keeps on affecting all aspects of my life in monumental ways. And tomorrow…who knows what CI moment is awaiting me around the next corner! Thanks be to God!