Accommodations For Normal Living

I did something yesterday that I have not done in a while years! I ordered to go…DRIVE THRU!! A big deal considering every time I want to grab and go–I have to park, walk in, order, wait, then go. When I am with family, things are pretty normal (minus a missed ordered fries or no sauce); or if I am driving and my sister is in the passenger seat, she yells past me and then I just pay and pick up at the window. But me alone…ordering drive thru most often is like talking on the telephone (even with my internet captel)–lots of communication problems. I think most people would say ordering drive thru is hard for anyone, but it makes it even harder with profound hearing loss. Thankfully, most now have big screens so you can see your order.

The most common misconception I have about my hearing loss is that I cannot hear anything. True…when I have no hearing aids in. My new hearing aids give me a lot more power and range to pick up on sound, but even still I think my hearing is slightly decreasing. I have a hearing test next week with my MRI/doctor appointments to see how things are going.  People at work ask me if I hear voices. I do, but if I am not reading lips, then I have no idea what you are saying. SO, I have to give credit…it was like a “cheat sheet” drive thru. I got off work around noon, aka, lunch hour. I was exhausted but had a coupon for a free Chic-fil-A hand spun milkshake. They seemed to have a really busy noon hour and since I could not find a parking spot, I ventured in the drive-thru lane. They had long lines so they had set different workers at certain points to take your order and punch it in, so by the time you got to the window, you had already paid and just got your order. Brilliant! 🙂 But I still count it as official drive thru…because I never left my car!

Friday, I had an appointment to discuss different options for my phone upgrade. I am not interested in an iPhone or anything big with touch screens, because it is hard for me to hold and text. In discussing my needs, we are focusing on phones for seniors. Most common are flip phones with big T9 text keys. There are also ones that have ICE buttons on the top of the key pads, which for safety factor might not be a bad idea. We still have a bit of research to do with different things, but I think that type of phone is what I will possibly get. With my fingers getting so numb and loosing function…I am not looking for anything fancy but that covers my need. We also talked about getting a captel landline phone. That was a big factor for me in my apartment. My phone service was not always the best, and if I had an emergency, I just can’t call people. I have to turn on my computer, start my internet, load the address, log on, set my phone numbers, then hope the website runs smoothly and does not cut off my conversations (which seems to happen on my most important calls). It takes a lot of time. With the landline, I just have to pick up the phone and dial out. I think that might be an important investment–especially when I want to call grandparents. 🙂

We also discussed a lot of different options for helping me maintain my independence. It is my hopes to get into an apartment of my own again soon. It was a big shift going from living with roommates at all times to living on my own. I saw concerns that could have been problematic. Thankfully, my apartment accommodated for a lot of them, such as a strobe light on the fire alarm. But I think there are more concerns than just my hearing. I also fall a lot. I fell out of the shower a few times in college and in the apartments in Denver. Not that it will happen again, but I also think of when the blood clot hit. I was also in the shower. That event was actually very scary for me. It leaves me with doubts of being able to safely live on my own again. And that is why the appointment Friday was such a huge encouragement for me to understand that there are resources, accommodations and technologies that help make independent living (for as long as I am able) a safer experience. I am so thankful for that.

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