Being Thankful

I’m thankful I can see and hear, having experienced a bit of blindness and deafness in the last few months. Skip this if you don’t want to read about some joys and drawbacks of aging.

We went to a Twelfth Night concert on Sunday afternoon at Lake Junaluska, the Methodist conference center near us. Our new church music director invited us, and we enjoyed hearing her sing with the Asheville Symphonic Chorus accompanied by a harp. This was the first time I heard live music while wearing hearing aids. It seems every new situation is an eye-opener, or in this case, ear opener. The sound was very loud to me, though I saw no one else cringe. I’ve always thought a harp was soft, struggling to be heard over the sound of an orchestra, but this harp never sank below the singers. David could empathize. He has extremely sensitive ears, so the music assaulted his ears, too. John asked me the practical question – couldn’t you have turned down the volume of the hearing aids? I never thought of it, wanting to experience the music as it really was.

I never realized people need time to adjust to hearing aids. My deafness was not profound, yet I had to get used to hearing things differently. The “s” sounds in people’s speech sizzled. Running water seemed loud, out of proportion to everything else. I discovered my camera whirred when turned on. Those were things to be thankful for.

I am still learning when to change the wax guards. On the way to meet friends for dinner, I realized I couldn’t hear out of one ear. Back home, I removed the aids and felt oddly unbalanced the rest of the evening. For me, having input from both sides of my head is important. I remember my dad standing before the big wall clock, setting the volume on his aids. He knew if he could hear the clock, he would be able to hear people. My test is touching the hair over each ear. If it doesn’t sound like two pieces of paper rubbing together, I need to check it. I’m grateful for having found this routine.

I continued to struggle with eyesight after fluid leaked into the retina of one eye. The retina specialist immediately began a series of injections, and I’ve just had the evaluation. (Many thanks to neighbor Shawn for driving me to that appointment. John was having a heart scan in Asheville at the same time.) Dr. K seemed a bit disappointed that I hadn’t noticed much improvement. He looked at the computer screen again and found the answer. There was dramatic improvement after the first injection and not much change over the next few months. Good to know! I needed to be told I had something to be thankful for. We will continue injections at six week intervals. After three, he will evaluate the eye again. If all is well, the next set will be two months apart. He said it is safe for me to drive again.

As I walked toward the living room, I could see ornaments on the floor. Either Sadie’s tail knocked them down, or they fell off the wilting branches. I’m thankful I see well enough to avoid objects at unexpected places before stepping on them.

Reading is still difficult. One eye sees things at normal size, and the dominant eye shrinks the image about 25%. They are fighting each other. Evidently, my brain has adjusted to this when viewing things at a distance. John pointed out that prescription reading glasses could correct that. I’m happy there is a question I can ask next time.

79 thoughts on “Being Thankful

  1. Anne, first of all, I am so glad to hear of the improvements in vision and hearing. These are indeed things for which to be thankful. I am learning that aging is never what we think it will be, no matter who we are or what the family history is!

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  2. Having experienced some of the same I say…Yea…you are going to adjust just fine. You know they ,who ever they are, say growing old isn’t for sissies….problem is I don;t feel old and just not sure where all of these new experiences are coming from..

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  3. I try not to think about getting older, but I do realize it when my knee buckles out, which is less frequent since I am much better about keeping my cane with me. My vision isn’t much different, which I appreciate because I really like the glasses I have now. I had cataract surgery thirty odd years ago, and one eye sees far, the other close…only noticeable when reading in bed. The Doc noted that I had nothing medically wrong with me. 😊 hopefully that will continue to be the case for a few years to come. Glad to hear your treatments are successful.

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      1. The doc was referring to my condition at that specific time. I had a whole litany of aches and pains that might have been indicative of something else, my reaction to the booster had concerned me. I didn’t mean to overstate my medical state. 🙂

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          1. Well, the Doc usually sees me only when I take Scott. Keeping my fingers crossed. I think my good old English, German and Scotch ancestors passed on some good bones. 🙂 I hope I can continue to take good care of the legacy. We just got some snow dumped on us, really the first this Winter to speak of. It’s mid-January, so we are almost half-way out of it.

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  4. I do not wear glasses or a hearing aid Anne,so I really do not know how this would affect me or how I would feel but I imagine it would be on a scale from minus 1 to minus 10?
    I thought getting your glasses done to match your eyes would be a good start.
    Your Grandfather had figured it out. He used the sound from the Grandfathers clock as a means of setting his aid.
    Btw,not all hearing aids are the same. Some are better than others. I suggest you research a bit. You may find one more akin to your familiar hearing?

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  5. Anne, I don’t know what kind of hearing aids you have, but my dad had the kind with wax guards…are they Oticon? Anyway, his instructions say to change those very two weeks. It took me a while to get the hang of it, they are so tiny those little white tips! I knew how to change the batteries, wax guards, and domes by the end of it though. Let me know if I can be of assistance, I still have all his instructions and the book that comes with the hearing aids.

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    1. Yes! I have Oticon hearing aids. I’m so glad you wrote that your dad’s instructions say to change wax guards every two weeks. My instructions were not that specific. I plan to change them more frequently than I have before. That will probably solve most of my problems.

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      1. Here’s what the doctor said at the hearing aid place at the VA -even if a tiny piece of wax gets in that wax guard it will mess up your hearing so yes and make sure to brush your domes with the little brush too!

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          1. I have a bag with extra supplies and instructions if you would like them, I’d prefer they go to someone who can use them rather than back to the doctor to resell.

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  6. I don’t wear glasses or a hearing aid. So I really do not know how should effect. I thought getting your glasses done to metch your eyes would be a good start. Glad to hear to your treatme successful. God bless you!🙏🌷

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    1. I’m waiting for my eye to quit changing before getting new glasses. The specialist should be able to tell me the best time to get them. I hope you will have many years before you need hearing aids. God bless you, too.

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  7. I´m glad you have found things to be thankful for. We are fortunate that modern medicine can help us through these difficult things. Glad you saw the ornament before you stepped on it.

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  8. Giving you a bug hug, Anne. I hope these adjustments become smoother for you. It is interesting, how you talked about how loud sounds can be with the hearing aid. I have heard this comment before and actually know someone who preferred not hearing very well than wearing the hearing aid because of this.

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  9. I love how you are so resilient and positive. I am just beginning to have trouble with hearing, and just three weeks ago I experienced a vitreous detachment in my left eye. While it’s common, not everyone experiences it. I have found it to be frustrating, depending on the light or darkness I’m in. Black blobs floating around in the vision of my left eye, and a large webby patch of “fog” makes it very difficult to read or watch television. Working outdoors where my field of vision isn’t as exacting (like reading print is), I don’t notice it as much. Adjusting to blobs and fog hasn’t been easy. It’s a waiting game for the membrane that is detaching to settle down into the eye, but as you stated, there is much to be thankful for regardless. I can still see.

    Aging is not fun. I have a bad foot too and I fall and lose balance. We laugh a lot these days about the aging process – better to find humor than to shrink into negativity… it’s just part of the process. If we think back, all of our lives there are hurdles. We’re always learning and adapting, aren’t we? Thank you for always bringing inspiration to your posts. I really admire your gumption and grit!

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    1. Thanks for sharing your experiences. I’m sorry you have a hard time seeing, hearing, and walking. Failing abilities sometime come in clumps, making it difficult to get through a normal day easily. You have adaptive thinking, and that will take you far.

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  10. It has taken my husband a long time to adjust to hearing aids. He often leaves them out at home since they are a bother still. He turns up the tv volume and I put on my sound canceling headphones. It works for us. As for vision, last year it took me probably four months before my eyes had settled down enough after the cataract surgeries to get the proper glasses. I found it very distressing. I ended up listening to audio books. I hope you can use them with the hearing aids.

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  11. A good informative post. I haven’t gotten hearing aids yet, bit a, sure they are in my future. You write well of the things we take for granted, hearing, seeing, driving, independence, but also of simple ways to know what is working or not working. Am sure from all of I have that you and John are encouraging each other through the ups and downs you face together. Sickness and Health, oh my. Blessings, Michele.

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    1. The doctors are doing some sleuthing, so John will have bone marrow taken out of his hip bones next week. We were blessed to have many years of good health. I laughed when I read Sickness and Health. You certainly don’t know what you are promising when you face each other before the altar. Thankfully, God is with us in everything.

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      1. I have not been on here in awhile, overloaded. How is John and how are things going? E-mail me if you prefer. I haven’t had many weddings since I retired, but I have learned to focus my pre=marital counseling on VOWS. And I always ask the question, “What is the most difficult thing you have experienced together.” But on vows, I ask them to write at least two practical ways they are going to love, honor, cherish, and all that good stuff!

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        1. The vow of “in sickness and in health” seemed to be dealing with momentary or debilitating illness. As I wrote this, I realized HEALTH seems to be of equal importance to SICKNESS!! I never thought about that. In good health, John always walked much faster than I did. Now it’s my turn to wait for him. Seems fair.

          Doctors have determined that proteins in John’s heart keep the muscle from relaxing after pumping. They have ruled out one hereditary disease that comes from the liver and will do a biopsy of bone marrow next week. The marrow type is preferred over liver disease. We are thankful for that and will wait for lab results on the bone marrow.

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  12. Hi Anne,I can certainly sympathize with you regarding your hearing aids. I remember the harshness of the s sounds and how I used to cringe on hearing them. I still have concerns over how loud I may sound when talking either in person or on the phone. I guess it’s not especially good or bad news about your eye treatment. The jury is still out on that. At least it wasn’t completely bad. I hope and pray that it’s good news next time. It  must be terribly annoying and disconcerting trying to read. Nothing new on this end. Life goes on…….XxxoooSent from my Galaxy

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  13. I have to try hearing aids again. My first try, three years ago didn’t end well. I didn’t have the patience and found them annoying in large group settings. It’s a toss up whether I want to hear what everyone is saying and cope with the louder background noise or go commando without them.

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    1. Some hearing aids can be quite selective in what they boost. I don’t know much about it, but you might try again. If you can return them after a trial period, what is there to lose? Other than your sanity?

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  14. Ah, hearing and eyesight, the things we always took for granted, eh?! Even the things that are meant to help us take a lot of getting used to. I did get the hang of moving my volume button up or down, depending on need. Funny, whenever my late ex-father-in-law tried to adjust volume, the batteries in his hearing aids would squeak like crazy! At least mine are silent.

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  15. This was a positive post Anne and I learned from it, though you had given us a few details during the course of the year as to your eyes and ears. You’re brave for enduring the eye rehab and for getting acclimated to changes in your sight and hearing. I hope I am as adaptable should these health crises come up for me.

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    1. We never know what will come our way. I was surprised to learn that there are genetic links to several things. I seem to have inherited my dad’s arthritis, loss of hearing, and loss of eyesight. You might think of the things your mother dealt with and be watchful for them in yourself.

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      1. My father had poor eyesight as a child and I got glasses on my 7th birthday; my mom never needed glasses until her 50s and only for reading. But my mom’s side of the family have heart disease … seven of my grandmother’s siblings died from heart disease and my mom had an irregular heartbeat so that’s why I started walking … I worried about too much sitting after working from home and not being able to kneel was another reason. I could be more limber, but limber is not as important as taking care of your heart.

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          1. For years, I used to wait for the bus on Fort Street and would see people walking along Fort Street. I used to tell them one day I would do that, likely when I retired. It is the best exercise as you know – low impact and good cardio. I am glad you convinced John to start walking with you. I’m hearing horror stories about the weather today – are you still unscathed by snow and ice storms. My friend in Cary, NC said the ice storms are starting tomorrow. I went to the Detroit River – water was frozen in most places. It was a “real feel” of 6. I’ve not really warmed up since as it only got to 15.

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                1. It’s still snowing. We’ve had a glorious snow day. John $ went out to test the roads, and he had no trouble. We think the snow is going to turn to ice after people have driven on it, so we plan to be careful. David is planning to work tomorrow, luckily a middle shift. He had been put on the closing schedule for months, and it’s hard on all of us. Nathaniel said they got ice. Normally he doesn’t work on Sunday, but he was asked to cover for someone who couldn’t get there.

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                  1. You have to take pictures – I’m really behind in Reader so I’ll look for the post. They did say there were lots of accidents in Charlotte. I know Nathaniel works on campus so no worries driving. Thankfully David is off on Sundays. The weather is crazy. They said on my Accuweather station that North Carolina may get ice … not fun.

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                    1. Good thing David learned to drive in New York and is familiar with driving in snow. My friend who lives in Cary, NC used to say that people would panic driving in the bad weather as they weren’t used to it. I’ve lived here all my life and don’t like driving in it. We are now supposed to be getting our share of snow after mid-February according to today’s long-range forecast.

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                    2. They didn’t mention your potential second storm today – they were all over this 40+ degrees this a.m. and single digit windchills tonight. The weather makes no sense, but I’m happy there is no snow in the near future.

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                  1. I think I mentioned my mom/I wanted to go in the mountains the week after the Kentucky Derby and the hotel clerk said there was ice and said to wait until afternoon. P.S. – I was just watching “All Creatures Great & Small” … missed a lot of it from the accents. The main character is a Scotsman.

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                    1. I agree with you Anne. I enjoyed what I’ve read so far. In fact in watching this PBS series, I don’t remember any of the characters or story lines in the individual segments. It was a long time ago – perhaps the 70s when I first read them. I don’t read as much as before, but the newer authors don’t appeal to me. That’s why I cancelled my cable in 2010. There were no shows that I watched anymore – we used to have many shows we consistently watched, or made-for-TV movies, mini-series … all nice television shows that you looked forward to watching.

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  16. We watched American sit-coms for years, and when they got nasty, we switched to Brit coms. Now we don’t watch TV at all. David finds nice programs on nature channels. I’d rather spend time on WordPress now.

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