Saturday, September 1, 2007

I Have No Voice Left

My mom hightailed it out of here early this morning, since the heavy rainfall yesterday delayed her holiday weekend trip to Yarmouth. Her good friend is celebrating his birthday tonight and I hope they're all having a fabulous time. Knowing them, they are!

So I'm on Grandma duty until Monday night. My gram has always been rather hard of hearing. Even when I was a small kid, she always had the TV volume up way too high. She had something happen to her eardrum when she was young, and it's not something a hearing aid will fix. So ever since Brad and I have been living with her, she's always had to put the TV volume down whenever I've been in the room with her. Doesn't help that I have supersonic hearing.

My mom and I have noticed a swift deterioration in Gram's hearing, even worse than usual in the past few months. Gram has a set of earphones that have helped her hear the TV since last Christmas, but now even that doesn't work. She cranks it up almost to the limit when Mom and I are both out of the house (like if we go get groceries together.) We drove into the driveway Thursday night and when we shut the car off, we could hear the TV inside the closed windows of the car.

Anyway, Mom has taken to putting cotton in her ears in order to prevent herself going stark raving mad, because she can't bring herself to deprive Gram of the last drippy drops of hearing that she has left. But for me, just having survived a really bad spell of migraine pain this past week, there was no way I could tolerate the level Mom has become used to. I put it at the level I could stand - which is still WAY too loud! - and soldiered my way through Day 1. By supper time, Gram mentioned that maybe the earphones weren't working because she hadn't had any sound from them all day.

At that point, I took the earphones off her and told her that the volume had been loud all day. I hated to be the one to break it to her, but I said, "Gram, I think we better just leave it. You're just not hearing it." And when I say 'told' her, I mean I put my mouth right up to her good ear and yelled! And sometimes I have to repeat that.

After supper, I sat in the living room with her and decided I'd try to get her to tell me more family stories if she could remember anything. And I had a photo album that sparked lots of anecdotes. But 4 hours later, now that she's in bed and I've come downstairs to our apartment to chill with my husband and my dog, I'm hoarse as if I've been to a loud, crowded bar all night.

No wonder Mom was zipping out of here this morning with a shiny, beaming smile on her face!


Toni in the Midst said...

LOL! Very funny and tender post, Julia. My grandmother was also very hard of hearing (and, I dare say, the volume is steadily rising on my parents' tv as well). Gram was always "hearing" the wrong thing. For example, I once noted that the baby birds in a nest above her front door were awake. I said, "Gram, your birds are awake."
Her response? "What? Rattlesnake,...where?" LOL!
p.s. Kudos for setting the volume at pseudo-tolerable.

Anonymous said...

I'm hoarse as if I've been to a loud, crowded bar all night.

At least you do not smell of cigarettes!

Annie Mac said...

How sad for your grandmother. Have you rechecked with her doctor? Maybe there's something they can do for the one ear that wasn't injured.

I find sometimes you have to push when our loved ones are older to get the health professionals to take action.

Dara Edmondson said...

Aw - poor Gram. And poor you. You're so lucky to have her. Great idea to get her to tell you stories.

julia said...

My mom, the primary caregiver, has definitely checked and double-checked with all the doctors about Gram's hearing. It's not a fixable thing.

Kelly said...

It's hard watching our family members lose their abilities. My Dad is the same way with the hearing and he refuses to get it checked. Drives me crazy because with his I'm sure a hearing aid would help. I've got to the point now I refuse to repeat myself to him until he agrees to get it checked!

Akelamalu said...

Oh I know that feeling. My dear Dad is as deaf as a post but won't admit it so his telly is on CINEMA SURROUND SOUND!

Dewey said...

Wow, that all sounds like a difficult situation for you and your mom AND your grandma. I hope a hearing aid or something will help her undamaged ear.