Elizabeth Willis Barrett………………November 2017
I have to keep remembering that I want to post an essay on this blog every Monday and Thursday. That doesn’t seem too hard but I keep letting other things get in the way. Like, for instance, the removal of my four wisdom teeth and the endurance of a root canal at the same time. That whole experience put me down for a while. I might write about it sometime if I could only remember that I really want to be a writer and if I would put in a few hours a day at making that wish a reality. But before I write about my teeth dilemma, I need to write down my reason for going to Costco when I was so forgetful of everything that any sane person should have remembered. I wrote about that in my last essay.
My distraction is getting the best of me again. I should never look at Facebook or emails when I’m trying to write. A Quora email just asked what the most clever license plate anyone had seen was. Then someone answered with one they had seen which has to be viewed in a rearview mirror to be understood. Since I am sitting in a fluffy comfortable chair and don’t want to get up, knowing that the distractions will never cease if I once get out of this chair and start wandering the house for a mirror, I got out my phone and tried to use the camera reverse setting to make a mirror so I could read the cleverness of the license plate. I couldn’t make it work so am none the wiser about the awesome license plate someone in Ohio saw. See? Total distraction!
Back to this essay!
For several months or maybe years, Brad and my children have remarked on the slippage of my hearing ability. I’ve noticed it, too, of course. When someone wants to whisper something to me it is like they are just moving their mouths with no sound at all. I think they are tricking me and that they think it’s funny that I can’t hear even one word of their divulgence. I have to drag them into a closed room so they can tell me their secrets with a voice louder than what they would call a whisper.
I really don’t want to go through life with poor hearing. It definitely makes you miss out on a lot of important stuff. And it seems that those who can’t hear well start feeling isolated. I would hate that. So I followed the advice of many and with enormous reluctance, walked into Costco for a free hearing test. Thankfully, that test occurs in a less traveled part of the store. It’s back by the women’s sanitary products which just helps to remind the older women who are going to the hearing center how very old they have become since those products are no longer needed by them.
I thought I would receive the hearing test on the spot but I had to make an appointment and come back in two weeks—their first available opening. Hmmmphf!
Two weeks later I was back at the hearing center. They tested my ears which definitely came back lacking. I needed the aids. Really, hearing aids are wonderful. Like eye glasses, they make life much more livable. But I just wasn’t ready to wear them. My parents never had to wear hearing aids. Actually, I wish it had been their ears that had lost power instead of their minds. We all have something, right? Hearing aids have been a boon to many of all ages, but to me, hearing aids meant that I had finally crossed the line from oldish to old. As soon as I put those in my ears, I figured, I would be officially elderly.
But I did it. I ordered them and applied for the Citi Bank Credit Card that would let me make payments instead of plopping down the whole $2900. Thus the need for Brad’s and my forgotten Social Security Numbers. Bad ears and bad mind!
The Costco Hearing Aid Center people are very kind and helpful. They were patient and took lots of time with me. When my aids came in they taught me how to put them in right and they helped me get them adjusted. They also helped me work the blue tooth device that hung around my neck. That was the best part of the whole deal, because I could pair my phone to the apparatus and listen to my audio books through the hearing aids. Wow! That is progress. I wondered how I was going to whip out the hearing aids and put in a headset every time I wanted to listen to a book, which truthfully is about ten hours a day. The bluetooth solved the problem.
I wore those hearing aids quite faithfully. I tried to be very open-minded as well as open-eared. I gave them a chance. I found that I could nonchalantly turn them up if I couldn’t quite catch what someone was saying. They really are a marvel.
However, one day I was giving a class on photography to a group of young people and if no one had been looking at me, I would have ripped them out of my ears on the spot. They annoyed me. They picked up other noises and made them too loud, like the florescent lights, for instance. And I continually felt like there was something in my ears—as, of course, there was—that needed to be removed.
So, I took them back. Costco was wonderful about the return. I’m really glad I tried them. Sometimes I miss what is being said and I am continually asking Brad to repeat himself. He’s pretty good about doing it. Part of why I can’t hear Brad is that just when I started losing my hearing, he started gaining a very gravely low voice that is hard to understand. I have an applicable quote in my kitchen, “Old age is coming at a really bad time.” Also, I always have my headset in my ears listening to a book. That tends to make hearing Brad a little more difficult.
I’m sure when I took the hearing aids back to the Costco Hearing Center, that the wonderful women who work there gave each other a “she’ll be back” look. They’re probably right. When I’m a little more humble and missing out on a little too much, I’ll be back.
Just not yet.