Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tenth Anniversary

It was ten years ago today (Sept. 19) that Gerry and I pulled away from the curb in front of our Virginia townhouse in the pre-dawn hours on our way to an event that would forever change my life. Yes, a whole decade ago I was clad in one of those non-fashionable surgical gowns and was signing all those anxiety-producing hospital forms that released Johns Hopkins from all liability should anything go wrong. With the exception of local anesthesia for some stitches and novocaine for wisdom teeth extraction, I'd had no experience with hospital meds and had never gone "under the knife". Was I really electing to have a foreign object permanently implanted in the side of my head?!

And as the saying goes . . . and the rest is history. Ten years ago I began this blog as an avenue for recording the impact of my cochlear implant(s) on all aspects of my life. Month after month, year after year I've attempted to share my thoughts about my "rebirth" of sound. My metamorphosis has been an incredible adventure - - - from those painful years of struggle with declining hearing, though the gradual transition from hearing primarily with my eyes to hearing with one-sided electronic circuitry, and then finally to the full spectrum of bilateral sound processing. Writing this journal has given me an outlet for expressing my profound gratitude to God for His gift of restored hearing.

As a butterfly enthusiast, I take great delight in following the life cycle of many species that grace my garden. One of my neighbors even stops by on occasion to ask me how my "worms" are doing. I know it's a anthropomorphic leap to attribute human thoughts and emotions to these natural wonders, but I confess to chatting with the caterpillars, talking to the chrysalises, and praising the butterflies as I pull weeds and edge borders. So, you see, I do know what they are thinking.

I feel a great kinship with the lone caterpillar who must face unwanted change and be forced to withdraw from a life of sound and his interaction with the known world. Observing the startling chrysalis transformation, I try to tell him that this new state of isolation will not be forever. But he cannot hear me. Cocooned in silence, he waits and hopes for a better tomorrow.

And then it happens - - - the touch of the Divine!

The change occurs from within, often imperceptible to a watching world. As the new life emerges from the chrysalis, a struggle ensues which I've read is an important part of the toughening process. Any interference from well-meaning observers would cause his demise. He must do the work himself. His heavy, fluid-filled wings must dry in the sun before he can fly. I've been an eye-witness to this miraculous event on more than one occasion and I'm totally awestruck each time. I know what he once was and what he has become.

Do you ever wonder
if the butterfly remembers his former state?

I know that I will never forget mine.

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