Posts Tagged ‘Ear’

Pretending to Hear You

You know, this karma thing really does work.  I’m going deaf because I played Helen Keller when I was little. So, Karma is a bitch. I’m sure that is the reason.

You are probably wondering how one plays Helen Keller. Well, first you have to have an Annie Sullivan. That was my bff, Ramaine. And then you had to close your eyes and make your way around the ping pong table in the rec room of your basement, moaning and groaning, because, well, you’re Helen Keller. Annie, er I mean, Ramaine, would sign language spell words like w-a-t-e-r  in my hand and I would nod my head, just like Melissa Gilbert did when she portrayed her in the movie.  I really don’t think we were making fun of Helen Keller. I think we were playing actresses, But, Karma still bites you in the ass. And that’s why now, years later, I’m going deaf.

I don’t know if it was an exact occasion, but one day out of the blue, I was struck down with debilitating vertigo. It was intense, and evil. Evil. See my previous post, Vertigo and Meniere’s Disease. Horrid disorder.

Well, I was told that I would lose some or all of my hearing.  I’m sorry, what did you say? Ok, not kidding. Part of Meniere’s Disease is progressive hearing loss. Have you ever had an experience where you lose hearing in your ear for a few seconds, and it is replaced with a high pitched tone, until it diminishes? Well, I was told that each time I have one of those, it takes a little bit of my hearing away with it. Well, how fun will this be?

That was in 2000. I haven’t been back to my ENT. He wanted me to come back the next time I was in the middle of a vertigo attack. Um, how the hell would that be possible? My world rotates around and around and around for like hours. You are lucky you can crawl, let alone make it to the car. My toilet became my closest friend.  Tammy. Some days it was Tommy, depending on the how much my husband was helping me out while I was sitting by the toilet all day. I have also purposely not had my hearing tested since then either. And I will tell you why.

When my ex would get a bad cold, he would come downstairs in his robe and slippers and would quit shaving. He was pathetic. He would shuffle as he walked…..”I’m sick.” His temperature would be a fiery 98.7, which is high, he informed me, because his temperature normally ran around 97. Ok, you know, whatever. But, I’m sort of like him in a way.  If I would get my hearing tested, I would then be able to use that when I talk to my kids on the phone.

“I’m sorry, Alex. What did you just say.”

“I said, I was goinb blah blah blah blah and you know blah blah blah. What do you think?”

“Really. Something is mess up with this phone. I didn’t hear you. Say it one more time.”

“I was blah and you know how blah blah. And then blah blah blah …..So, what do you think.”

pause…. pause…. lie. “Well, what do you want to do?”

“….Nevermind, Mom.”

Well, shit, I didn’t know what the hell she said.  I have gotten to the point where I just pretend I hear people. And trust me, this is not good. Not good at all. I usually ask people to repeat what they say, and then if I still only hear bits and pieces of it, I will just stand there, looking at them. I’m sure I look stupid, especially if they are waiting for an answer. I think that is why my lunch bunch teacher friend who sits next to me, hits me in the arm all of the time. I usually answer with something that sounds retarded. I just can’t freaking hear and make up something. Sometimes she just looks at me, waiting for an answer and then hits me just because.

If I got my hearing tested, I would be able to insert my “You know I can’t hear” statement right into every conversation.

“Alex, you know I have 80.95% hearing loss in my left ear and 75.42% hearing loss in my right ear…I can not hear you.”

But, I don’t want to do that, because I would be doing it all of the time. I know myself. And that’s where the mocking would come in. Sure, friends and family always mock the ones they love.

In pure mocking Vickie tone: “You know I have 900% hearing loss in all three ears!” Yeah, they would so mock me.

To me, ignorance is bliss. I just love that line. “Ignorance is bliss.” This should be my life motto. I mean, if you don’t know, you can’t react. I will tell you one thing I will react to. I will react to the doctor who finally tells me I may need a hearing aid. I hope that day never comes. But, when I sleep on my right side, I can’t hear anything out of my left ear. I moved a faux grandfather’s clock by my bed last week, and the damn ticking was driving me crazy….until I rolled over onto my right side. Couldn’t hear a thing. I guess deafness does have an advantage….when you want it to.

But, I will never ever wear a hearing aid. Never ever.

So, I have decided that if and when the time comes, I’m not using a hearing aid. Not going to happen. Why try to hide the device? I mean, if I can’t hear, why not let everyone know about it. That’s why I’m going big. You know the saying, “Go big or go home.”


Perhaps a  bit much?

Yeah, that’s right. I’m going for the horn. Why hear everything when you can have selective hearing? Look at all of these hard of hearing people. You don’t see them wearing hidden hearing devices. No, they are proud of their limited hearing capacity and want noticed. I will so be getting a horn. They are called an ear trumpet and they have been around for a very long time.



Or, I could purchase a ear ring horn. Or a ring ear horn. Same thing. I could wear it on my finger, and if I want to hear your babble, I can just put it to my ear, smooth-like.

Hallo? Hallo?

For when I want to call long distance

The earliest description of an ear trumpet or horn was way back in the 1600′s.  While it is fact that people do lose a bit of their hearing as they age, they didn’t have hearing aids back then. So, they came up with the next best thing: an ear trumpet.

Beethoven, who was going deaf, had several ear trumpets made for him. Some of them are in the photo below.


I’m going to wear mine around my neck. An earneck horn.

Yeah, I’m for sure going to use an ear trumpet.

I can just see it now.

 Hey Grandma Vickie. What the hell is wrong with you?

In the end, we all lose some of our hearing. Mine may just be lost earlier. Maybe. Maybe not. But, I will be prepared.

Shut the hell up! You know I can only hear 12% out of this ear and 3% out of this ear trumpet.

Vertigo and Meniere’s Disease

Phantom's Revenge at Kennywood.

Image via Wikipedia

In 1999, our family went to Kennywood Park in Pittsburgh and rode on a stupid roller coaster called the Steel Phantom.  I was so damn mad at that ride when we got off. I was crying because my neck hurt so badly. I swear we all had whiplash. I found out that the Kennywood people re-vamped it after many complaints. It wasn’t too long after that “Ride of Misery”, that I started having problems with my ear.

One day out of the blue, my right ear started feeling like swimmer’s ear. It felt full. Well, I had been swimming in our pool that afternoon. That night when I rolled over, it felt as if water was leaking out of my ear. I was sure my pillow was soaked. Nothing. It was such a weird feeling. This went on for a few days. It felt like someone jammed cotton in my ear.

I woke up one day and everything was spinning. I mean, around and around and around. It ended up being for 36 hours straight. I had to crawl to the bathroom. I had to crawl down the stairs when everyone was in school or at work. I threw up non-stop. I crawled back to bed. I crawled. The one thing I did realize is that my vaccum cleaner wasn’t doing a very good job. I was up close and personal with my carpet. And the toilet. I think vomiting is just so….sickening. I was about to name my toilet, we became such good friends. It was there for me. Tammy Toilet,

I really never thought I was going to get better. I was just going to be a spinning, vomiting, crawling cry-baby for the rest of my life. The carnival ride of death. I took Dramamine and threw it up. I was a mess. Finally, after 36 long, tortuous hours, I felt a bit better and called  and made an appointment with an ENT in Morgantown. I explained the tortuous event, which he named Vertigo.  Vickie Vertigo. I remembered the Jimmy Stewart movie, Vertigo.  He suffered from acrophobia, a fear of heights. Vertigo can be triggered by looking up or down. My vertigo was triggered because I looked.

Actually, according to, Vertigo is described “as a sudden loss of normal balance or equilibrium. The room may suddenly begin to spin and rotate at high speed. Focusing is difficult, and if the vertigo continues, nausea and vomiting may occur. Vertigo is commonnly caused by acute labyrinthitis (a viral inflammation of the inner ear), benign positional vertigo (a condition due to abnormally floating crystals in the inner ear that stimulate the nerve endings of the inner ear), delayed symptom of head injury, or result of cervical spine problems.”  In a nutshell, I am screwed.

So, back to my visit to the ENT. They put me through some weird tests. They put a balloon in my ears and put water in them, and then blew them up or something. Seriously? Can you imagine the first person they did this to. “Sir, what we are going to do is put this balloon in your ear, and blow it up and then put some water in it.”  They tried to make me dizzy. Thanks alot. I had hearing tests and another where they shut the light and watched my eyes. I don’t know. I guess I should do a google and write the procedures here for you guys to understand, but I’m not feeling it this morning. Anywho, they said my eyes move too much (nystagmus) and that I had Meniere’s Disease.

What makes you think I am nervous?

I had a disease? Hell, a disease sounds contagious. He told me to come back the next time I was having an episode. Sure, I will just have my husband peel me away from the toilet and let him drive me to Morgantown right in the middle of  spinning like a top. This was rotational spinning that would not stop. The ENT told me that Meniere’s Disease is marked by four main symptoms: progressive hearing loss, tinnitus, ear fullness and vertigo. All wrapped up  with a bow on top and given to me. Nice….Oh, and he added, “Stay away from caffeine, salt, and stress. And don’t climb any ladders.”  Funny guy.

So, I went home and did some research. It said that Meniere’s Disease was rare. I joined a forum and found out that it wasn’t rare at all. I made some good friends from Nova Scotia and Saskatoon, Canada and Upper Michigan. People all over the damn place suffered from symptoms of Meniere’s Disease. I started an online group on Yahoo, The Meniere’s Disease Club, which now has over 2,000 members world-wide since 2000. So, no, it isn’t rare. Dizzy is dizzy.

Each person with Meniere’s Disease may have different symptoms. Some lose their hearing over the course of a few months. Some lose it gradually. Some don’t lose much at all. Some people have vertigo attacks daily and can no longer work. It can be a debilitating disorder. I have only had 2 full blown vertigo attacks. I do, however, also have BPPV,  which is short for Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. It sometimes starts at night, when I lie down to go to bed. If I roll over, I get dizzy. Basically, BPPV is vertigo induced by head movements. Well, hell, just put me in a whiplash collar and send me on my merry way. Great. It was bearable when I was a stay-at-home mom, but when I have bouts now, I can’t really look down at the kid’s desks, or turn my head. And I veer while walking down the hall.

I noticed that in the grocery stores, my buggy veered to the left. When I drove my car into the garage, I veered to the left. Don’t know why. I veer. I can’t walk a straight line if my life depended on it. I hope I never get pulled over and asked to walk a straight line, because they would be hauling my butt off to jail for DUI. It would have to be DWM, for Driving With Menieres. It is such a stupid disorder.

Another symptom of Meniere’s Disease is tinnitus. William Shatner has tinnitus. “No! JIM!”  Tinnitus is noise in your ear. Mine sounds like a high pitched whine. According to Wikipedia, Tinnitus is usually described “as a ringing noise, but can take the form of a high pitched whining, electric, buzzing, hissing, screaming, humming, tinging or whistling sound, or as ticking, clicking, roaring, “crickets” or “tree frogs” or “locusts “, tunes, songs, beeping, or even a pure steady tone like heard in a hearing test. It has also been described as a “wooshing” sound, as of wind or waves.” I guess mine would be described as the “pure steady tone like heard in a hearing test.” Fun stuff I have.

The only good thing about having Meniere’s is that I can sleep on my right side and not hear a dog barking. Or someone breaking into my apartment.  I also am affected by the change in barometric pressure. My right ear begins to  hurt before it rains. Sometimes my ear hurts so badly, like a pencil is being shoved in my ear slowly. I also feel the sensation of a bug crawling deep  in my ear. I just want to jam a Q-tip in there, and kill it. And you know how your ears pop when you travel into a higher altitude? Well, my right ear won’t pop. It just starts hurting. I think my head will explode when I travel by plane to visit my daughter in France next spring. Again, fun stuff.

So, this is my life. Thank goodness my Meniere’s symptoms are very mild. I make fun of myself, so that helps when I have flare-ups. I haven’t crawled to visit my friend, Tammy the toilet in years.

If you have any of these symptoms, hold on. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.  Damn roller coaster. At least when someone calls me a “dizzy blonde,” it really will be the truth.

Update: March 2014….just wanted you to know that I haven’t had a full blown vertigo attack in years, but have a lot of postitional vertigo. I have found that my salt intake is a big part of whether it gets worse or not…also, I have come to the conclusion that diet plays a big part of mine…I can’t eat a turkey breast sandwich from Subway anymore….I think it may be the salt…Weather and change of seasons or a quick change of barometric pressure seems to give me ear pain…everyone with menieres has different little triggers, you have to experiment to find yours….but I believe diet is the culprit….for me.


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