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Monday, November 28, 2011

Oops! Not Again!!!

1/365: ..oops :o(

I took my hearing aids out Friday night and noticed an ear dome was missing. Uh oh. It had stayed behind in my ear!

An ear dome is the tiny tip that fits inside the ear canal.


Regular readers may recall that this same thing happened to me once before, almost exactly a year ago. That time an ENT doctor removed the stuck ear dome. Because it was evening this time, I had to go to extended care hours at a local clinic and see a regular doctor.

Fortunately, the staff on duty were able to find an instrument they could use to safely extract the tiny piece. It was a two person operation. The nurse held a lighted otoscope, while the doctor used one hand to stretch my earlobe and the other to gently pull the hearing aid part out of my left ear. The doctor was surprised when he saw how small it was. I assured him that he had gotten "all of it" and that I was good to go.

I was so thankful they were able to remove it. They had warned me if they couldn't I would have to go to the emergency room of a nearby hospital. If that was the case, I was going to wait until Monday and see my audiologist. I would have done that in the first place but I remembered being warned last year that not removing something stuck in your ear as soon as possible can lead to an outer ear infection.

Today I visited the audiologist and got a replacement part. I was also given spares and shown how to replace them myself. From now on, I'm to put new ones in once a month. I am also trying out a smaller sized ear dome. I hope this never happens again. Yikes. I'm starting to feel as mishap prone as Jerry Neumann.

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Laid Back Guide to Hosting a Holiday Meal

I've done a traditional Thanksgiving meal before and I have the photos to prove it. But this year I took a different approach. Possibly a saner approach, definitely more laid back.

Since the end of October I've been recovering from a virus and haven't had the stamina or energy to do much more than work, drive my teenager around, and sleep. (You may have noticed my blogging dropped off for a while.) So I asked my husband if we could do things differently this Thanksgiving. He was all for it and the success of our holiday this year is due to him. Thanks Rob, for all your help getting the house cleaned up and entertaining our guests!

Here are our tips for a hassle free holiday meal:
  1. Have your guests come to you. Not having to travel definitely makes the holiday easier from the beginning.

  2. Have your guests bring most of the meal with them. Our guests brought dinner rolls, salad, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and a pumpkin pie. We contributed the meat, beverages, and additional desserts, which were all store bought.

  3. Rotisserie chicken

  4. Substitute rotisserie chicken for turkey. Simply pick up at the store shortly before your guests arrive. This was Rob's idea as he knows I don't like turkey much. He bought three of these chickens.

  5. Use decorative paper products instead of dishes to make your clean up easier. As we don't own a dish washer and have to do it all by hand, we estimate we saved at least two hours of dish washing time.

  6. Kids table

    Adults table

  7. Schedule your meal for supper rather than lunch, so you can spend the morning in your pajamas watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.

I enjoyed this holiday much more than the fancier, labor-intensive feasts I'd hosted previously. This year I sat among my guests instead of at the end of the table and heard more of the conversation. I still didn't get it all but Rob filled me in later on the parts I missed. When our guests were leaving and Rusty got up on the table to snag some pie crusts, I didn't even get upset. Just laughed it off as "oh that dog". Then instead of commencing a massive cleanup effort, Rob and I relaxed on the couch and watched movies.

I know this style of entertaining isn't for everyone and I don't know if we'll do it again this way or not, but it sure was a great change of pace. Hope your holiday was a safe, happy, and delicious one.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I'm Thankful for You, Deafies!

I'm using deafies as a term of endearment and as inclusively as possible. Some of the people listed below are hard of hearing, some are deaf, and others hear just fine. But all touched my life in some way this year and deserve a Thanksgiving shout out.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to

ABC Family for airing Switched at Birth.
Andy and Ben, the CODA brothers, for making me laugh.
Ann for joining ALDA and being a wonderful friend.
Bill L. for never giving up on me.
Carol P. for your willingness to drive any distance necessary.
Cleo for your encouraging emails.
DJ for seeing me through a scary time.
Gary for knowing how to get there.
Gene for loving me. I hope you continue to dance.
Gordon for reminding us that silence is golden.
Guy for showing us how to speak up effectively.
Jedediah for starting me on a reading marathon.
Jennifer G. for fitting me.
Jim the Librarian for your entertaining book reviews.
Joe L. for looking out for me.
John N. for Quiet Signs of Love.
Jonathan for stopping on your way home.
Kim for making ALDAcon in Indy happen. You rock, girl!
Linda for hunting elks with me.
Liz for a friendship that gets better and better.
Louise for your generosity and marvelous e-cards.
Marsha K. for believing in me when I had doubts.
Oticon for LA and my Agil Pros.
Rebecca for being the person I would like to be someday.
Sally S. for teaching me about resiliency.
Sixth grade class of Fernando Centeno G├╝ell for giving me a sign name.
Teri S. for being the best project partner ever!
Tess for helping me improve my signing.
When writing a post like this, it's inevitable that someone deserving is unintentionally omitted. So I want to thank ALL of my blog readers for your support of Speak Up Librarian and all the places my blog has taken me this year.
In conclusion, I want to single out three very special people: Jennifer Alberstadt, Dylan Dunlap, and Don Sims - my fellow Oticon Focus on People Awards winners. They inspired me with their stories and I've been looking forward to sharing them with you. I hope you enjoy the following captioned video produced by Oticon.

Happy Thanksgiving, deafies.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Deaf Writer and His Deaf Character: A Review of Deaf Sentence by David Lodge

Deaf Sentence by David Lodge isn't a new book. It was published in 2008. It was new to me, however, and I have reader Joe from Washington State to thank for bringing it to my attention. Joe wrote to tell me he enjoyed my blog and tell me about this book.

While I was reading the novel, I couldn't believe how similar the narrator's experiences with misunderstanding loved ones and coping with wearing hearing aids were to my own. I wondered how David Lodge got it so right. Well, the answer should have been obvious. David Lodge has a hearing loss himself. The British author discusses his hearing loss journey which began in his late forties and continues on into his seventies in this article from the Daily Mail.

When interviewed by The Book Depository, he was asked directly if Deaf Sentence was based on his own experiences. Here is his reply:
"The portrayal of the central character's deafness is closely based on my own experience, and it is exceedingly unlikely that I would have thought of writing a novel about this condition if I hadn't suffered from it myself. From my late forties I was afflicted with gradually worsening high-frequency deafness, the most common form of hearing impairment, which makes it difficult to distinguish consonants, especially when there is a lot of background noise. The character of Desmond's father is also closely based on my own father who died in 1999. He was also deaf, as a result of old age, but wouldn't wear a hearing aid, so communication between us was often difficult."

Deaf Sentence has lots of funny bits which will make you laugh, particularly if you or a loved one has a hearing loss. Some tender family moments are also included. To add some drama and suspense, there is a subplot about a young female graduate student who is writing a dissertation on suicide notes. For reasons of her own, she puts Desmond, the main character who is a retired linguistics professor, in compromising positions. For reasons of my own, I skipped over some of those parts to allow me to enjoy the book. Do you ever do that?

If you've read the book yourself, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it. As always, keep those book recommendations coming.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Gotcha, Mom

I don't usually think of my son as a CODA (child of deaf adult) , but we had two moments recently that were rather CODAlike if you will. The first one happened at the public library. I went there to pick up my son. He was sitting in a comfy reading area in a far corner with his nose in a book while waiting for me. When we got in the car, he told me that he could hear me as soon as I came in the room. "How?" I demanded. "You were jangling your keys," he replied. Oops.
Another time we were riding in the car and the song "Staying Alive" by the BeeGees came on the radio. My son had never heard it before. Well, at least not sung by them. His only previous exposure was my annoying habit of singing triumphantly, "ah, ah, ah, ah, STAYING ALIVE" when I managed to make it safely past his hotels while broke in a Monopoly game. Listening to the song with him, I realized that "staying alive" were the only two words I knew of the song. Then, I made the mistake of telling him that. He said with a deadpan look, "Really, Mom. Did you know this song is about a guy on the run from the cops?" "No!," I said in surprise thinking back to John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. Hmmm, I didn't remember that from the movie....He interrupted my thoughts with a decisive, "Gotcha, Mom!"
Maybe there should be a new acronym. POHC - Parent of a Hearing Child. I think I may need to start a support group....

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Twitter and a Test to Alert the Deaf Community in Case of Emergency

If you live in the United States, have a Twitter account, and would like to participate in an evaluation of FEMA's emergency alert on November 9th, please see this blog post by Xpressive Hands: Deaf Eye: Do Emergency Warnings Catch Yours.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

ALDAcon 2011 Day Three

Now that Halloween is over, I can get back to blogging about my experiences at ALDAcon. Last night I was too busy at the front door, keeping Rusty in, while handing candy out to costumed children to continue my story.

On Friday, convention goers had an exciting event to attend - Julius Caesar - the first live captioned play to be held in Indiana. History in the making, people! But alas, not for me. What I didn't mention before is that I was coming down with a nasty cold. So, I missed out on the play in order to get some additional, much needed rest. I heard rave reviews of the performance and the captioning from those who attended.

I wasn't the only one at ALDAcon who caught forty winks. I couldn't resist taking this photo of a dog who drifted off to sleep during one of the presentations. Yes, dogs are a common sight at ALDAcon. Service dogs, that is. I saw at least seven different dogs. They really made me miss Rusty more.

At lunch on Friday, the vendors were thanked and each were presented with a medal in keeping with the convention's racing theme. Then Rebecca Herr spoke on the subject of volunteering. I was excited about the chance to hear her speak at lunch and again the next day at a workshop. She has had a wide range of volunteer roles both in the nonprofit community and in business related organizations. Her passion for service is unmistakable and the interpreters and CART providers hands were flying as they kept pace with her words. In addition to sign language translation, for accessibility, each speaker who addressed us either at meals or at workshops, had their speech transcribed onto a large projector screen. This is known as CART which stands for Communication Access Realtime Translation. You can see a sample in the photo below:

After lunch, I attended a class on beginning sign language taught by Tess Crowder. As many of you know, I have already taken a university course in sign language a few years ago. This was a refresher for me. I found it helpful and fun. I've been thinking about taking a class again to learn more vocabulary.

Then I took another rest so I could attend the evening's big event, the I. King Jordan Banquet held at the Indiana Roof Ballroom. As I mentioned before, I came to ALDAcon as a last minute decision. So hopefully that excuses the fact that it never occurred to me that this banquet might be a dressy affair. I had nothing Cinderella worthy in my suitcase. If I'd been feeling better, I probably would have gone out and bought a dress, but I was in no shape for shopping. I went in my jeans and hoped I wouldn't stand out.

The room was lovely and the meal was exquisite. John Waldo was honored with the I. King Jordan Award for his legal work in making movie theater captioning a reality. Within two years time, movie theaters across the country are expected to be showing captioned films due to a class-action suit John participated in on behalf of ALDA, Inc. That's something we all can celebrate. Well done, John.