I know, we go to the bar on Saturday. Don’t worry, or if you’re Kate, don’t get excited, this isn’t a normal at-the-bar kind of post. See, I wrote ‘kind of’ not ‘kinda’ – that’s how you can tell I’m going to be serious. On the other hand, the activation energy for this post came from Saturday’s visit at the bar and from yesterday’s wonderful post by Pam.
I have been meaning to write a somewhat serious post about the hearing problem I am gradually putting into my rearview mirror. But, I wasn’t sure where to start, what to include or where to go with that. Beginning, middle, end – those things are all important for a successful blog post, and I had none. What I did have was a somewhat lengthy list of things I didn’t want to do:
I didn’t want to bore you.
I didn’t want to whine.
I didn’t want to offend people that have much more serious and much less temporary hearing issues.
I didn’t want sympathy.
I didn’t want to brag about an epiphany that many of you have already had.
I wanted to offer a few bits of advice, recently secured while battling the seven-headed beast that is health insurance in America. Let’s file those under ‘lessons learned’ and not ‘spoils of war’ because I didn’t win those battles.
I didn’t want to brag about that epiphany, but I did want to share it. I was on the fence with that one, until Saturday.
For those of you that don’t know it, my Saturday sessions at the bar are fictionalized accounts of conversations that happen, here, there and at the bar. Cheryl is real, but Cheryl only moonlights at the bar to protect the innocent. Wait, I don’t want to imply that Cheryl is guilty of anything. She’s not. She’s a good sport, a good friend, and a wonderful writer/poet/photographer. She always wanted to be a bartender and she’s willing to answer questions so I don’t take her out of character.
The other character at the bar is an amalgam of several friends, including my best friends John, and David. The others are people from the bar. Yes, that part is true; I do visit a bar, I do drink Yuengling, I do love BBQ flavored wings with Parmesan Peppercorn dressing instead of Blue Cheese, and most of my friends don’t drink beer – except for David, although he drinks less these days than when he and I were visiting bars.
What does this all have to do with hearing loss?
On Saturday, I caught up with a friend who I hadn’t seen in over a month. We filled each other in on our mutually miserable months of May. His wife had been ill, and had been in a nursing home. You’re all aware of the things that kept me away from the bar. In bringing each other up-to-date, I mentioned my hearing problem. To my surprise, he has suffered, and to a degree, continues to suffer from the same problem. We shared symptoms and we shared a feeling of validation when we heard each other describe symptoms we have had trouble explaining to doctors and coworkers.
This was part of the epiphany I wanted to share, that unless someone is wrapped in a bloody bandage, we don’t always realize they are in pain or are dealing with a medical situation that might be impairing their ability to see, hear, move, understand and communicate the way we expect them to. I now have a little bit of empathy for these people. I hope I can hold onto that. I hope I can be slower to judge and maybe afford people a little more slack as I deal with them – just in case.
My friend pointed out something else. In large part, people who are dealing with these issues don’t bring them up unless they have to. He and I both talked about how we would carefully choose our seats in a crowded room and how we might ask people to sit on one side or the other. We had to do that, because our brains are/were incapable of filtering out the “background” noise. I mention that because it’s one of the symptoms my primary care physician didn’t seem to understand/believe. The ENT understood perfectly and explained that it was my brain’s fault.
That was the “advice” I wanted to share about dealing with healthcare. Many of you know this from your own experience, but you have to be your own advocate when dealing with healthcare/health insurance. You have to make sure you get the care you need.
Some of my dealings with my health insurer were comical. I’ll save those for a real visit to the bar, since my buddy and I talked about those. Today’s gallery has some photos from my visit to Daytona Beach and St. Augustine, FL