I went to my new doctor today. As he was drawing blood and talking about whether or not I was going to have another baby (no), I mentioned I was a little worried about my hearing. Pa is sporting hearing aids these days, but we've known he can't hear for a while. Blondie can't hear over the ear whooshing in her head, so I'm accustomed to being surrounded by people who SPEAK LOUDLY AND ENUNCIATE.
Still, I've noticed I'm suffering in a cube farm at work. For some reason the ambient noise blowers have shut off in the past two weeks -- could the recession have killed ambient noise machines? -- and so now the din of cubicle life has crescendoed to previously unheard levels. At about the same time that I'm trying to edit a whole bunch of stuff in a very short period of time. And maybe listen in on a bunch of conference calls with 15 people from four countries all talking at the same time. Normally I'm accustomed to the various accents and don't have too much trouble, but lately they all blur together unless I'm at home with the volume sort of jacked up. It's not that I can't hear them; I just can't always tell what what the hell they are saying. It all sounds like "rutabega, rutabega, cucumber, what the fuck."
So, I mentioned it to my new doctor. He had the nurse bring in an audiometer that had last been calibrated in 1979, according to the sticker on the machine. She gave me a hearing test. I came in enough under normal the doc said I should probably go get tested with a full-blown hearing thingamajiggie. I called Blondie, and she said they'd test me and tell me I couldn't hear as well as I used to and then charge me $1,000.
And then some other annoying stuff happened at work, and then as I was hurrying home and stuck in traffic I remembered OH, YEAH, MY CAT DIED and we have to take the little angel in to have a 3.5-year-old tube yanked from her eardrum with no anesthesia in two weeks, so soon after she had her five-year shots in both arms and both legs and I had to hold her while she screamed, "No, Mommy, don't let her hurt me!" and then my head exploded and I called my parents.
I haven't called my parents to vent about nonspecific stuff in a while. Usually I unleash that on Beloved. But I cried on Beloved the other day, and last night I couldn't sleep and basically kicked him in the head all night (totally unintentionally) and apparently stole all his pillows, and all I can remember is that I was having a dream in which people were forcing me to eat hard-boiled eggs with the shells on and wash them down with saline solution, and the combination was making me so totally ill I could die. I didn't truly fall asleep until the alarm went off at 6 a.m. because I thought I was going to get up and work out this morning, but the alarm had the effect of narcotics on my exhausted system, and I passed out like a ten-day drunk for the last hour of my night's sleep.
"But Rita," said Pa on the phone. "I thought this was the woman who saw the glass half-full."
Editor's Note: Sometimes I really hate having my blog quoted back to me.
"I KNOW," I wailed, while at a complete dead stop on I-70, a highway with a speed limit of 65. "But that was before EVERYTHING HAPPENED AT ONCE."
And he sort of understood. It has been one intense week.
So then I snurkled a while longer. Ma got on the phone, in from making her hamburgers, and poor kittied me a while, even though I know it was dinner time, and you do not call your parents during dinner -- Good Lord, everyone knows that.
So it turns out I need some sort of hearing test that I probably shouldn't spend the money on, considering I can pretty much hear just fine. Pa recommended a noise-blocking phone headset (I am waiting for Seismic Pirate to mention Bose here) to get me through "the next few decades, before it gets really bad."
And I think maybe another thing I'm really upset about is my former eating disorder. This new doctor: He's very kind. He spent an hour with me. I know, crazy. And I was very honest about my medical history. When I told him I needed the Rx refill because I have anxiety that had once blown up into an eating disorder, he looked genuinely distraught. "I'm so sorry," he said.
About 15 more minutes into the conversation, he looked at my weight on the chart. (A number that was a wee bit high for my taste.) And he asked if that was a steady number. And I said something about it fluctuating five pounds or so, depending on the time of the month. He looked at me with big basset-hound eyes and said, "You know, only one in five patients fully recovers from an eating disorder. You're very lucky."
And I forgave him for his pro-life signs tacked all over the waiting room, especially today after the whole fucking Kansas/George Tiller killing. I forgave him for making me wait thirty minutes when I was totally late and overwhelmed at work and pissed at my insurance company for making me go through a new doctor thing. I forgave him for his 30-year-old audiometer. I wanted to hug him for understanding how big a deal it was for me to get over that, how important it is to me to stay mentally sound so I don't model bad behavior for the little angel, how scared I am she'll inherit whatever marker makes humans hate themselves so much they starve themselves half to death.
As I drove to work, late, stressed, I thought it might actually be nice not to be able to hear the caucophony of the world. How much I prefer the written word in terms of communication. I'm not in danger of going deaf anytime soon -- at least I sincerely doubt it -- but I guess the one half-full thing I thought today was that at least if I went deaf I could still write, whereas if I went blind I would have to learn Braille, and boy, that would be a bit inconvenient.
And so goes my internal monologue on this Monday.