Tag Archives: independence

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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“Sometimes the night was beautiful…”

What a week!! Quick recap of big events:

I bought myself my first pair of sunglasses!!! I think they are pretty cool. 8-D (Yes, they go over my glasses–but they work great!)

I finished a painting. I tried Snapple’s new tea: Bret’s Blend Tea–Trop A Rocka. It has mango, pear, peach and cinnamon flavoring. Delicious! I got to talk to some friends from CO. My little sister comes home from college tonight! 😀 So exciting!!! 😀 We got to see some family friends who are in town and had dinner with them. And the biggest event of the week: yesterday’s hospital trip.

I had my annual 3-month MRI and doctor visits. It was a LONG day! I checked into radiology at 6:30 a.m. for my MRI. I got out around 9:30. Got a nice bruise on my right arm from the IV they used for the contrast. Went up to my regular doctor visits that lasted until 12:45 pm. Ate my sandwich on the run to my 1pm appointment for an ultrasound on my left leg to see how the blood clot is doing. I got out of there at 2:30. Back up for one more appointment and finally got to leave the hospital around 4 pm something. I was so tired by that time that as soon as I got in the car, I fell asleep. Thanks to my dad and mom for being there, because while I was sleeping, they were stuck in rush hour.

The day, although long, went well. It is my own battles of striving to be independent that cause me to build a defense wall when I attend appointments, especially when they are Occupation Therapy concerned. I like to do it on my own, even though my body is changing. And for me, it is harder to except the fact that my body is changing and getting more slow, than it is for me to adapt to changes. For example, when doctors ask me if I have noticed any changes…I say the obvious ones that I might be concerned with or notice getting harder to do. Then they ask my parents and they say things that I really have not noticed, because most often either I am used to it by the appointment so I forget the changes or I just don’t take note…like I can’t see myself walk, so I don’t notice how my right leg and ankle are working or seeming different. I am not mad at my parents for speaking these things, but my first initial reaction is to clarify with justification and try to prove that I am doing just fine. It is a hard day to sit and discuss about all the big to tiny changes noticed. It is not that any big steps are taken towards these changes–it is just discussing them. I think what frustrates me most is having to talk about all the options out there–possibilities–for when the time comes that I do need more assistance in maintaining my independence.

Independence. The word in itself is what I fear most I think. The thought of losing my independence causes me to strive to work harder to maintain what I can do right now in life. Like driving. The weeks following my blood clot, I could not drive and I struggled! When I was ready, driving and taking management of my schedule helped me get back towards feeling independent, even though I had just let go of my apartment. God only knows the future. He knows when I will need help and has surrounded me with an amazing family who helps me in more ways than I probably recognize and a team of doctors who have resources to help me as well. I just hope when it comes to that time, that I will have let go of my pride and recognize that I will need help. And not all help is bad. Not all help classifies me as helpless. Not all help labels me as disabled. The assistance at that point in time will enable me to continue to live independent for as long as I can. I must learn to embrace help, not build a defense against it.

I have not received the results for my brain and neck scans yet, but scans of the spine were stable. And the left leg shows stable as well. This is a praise!!! 🙂 Thank you for your prayers!

Last night before I went to bed, I went out to feed Muffy. The moon was bright, stars were shining, and it was a lovely warm evening!!! I sat on the patio and started humming Rich Mullin’s, “Sometimes by Step”. Of all the day’s worth of emotion, chaos of schedule, and long discussion…it was so nice to sit in silence. Just for a few minutes. No thoughts of the day spent or thoughts of tomorrow. Just a deep breath of wonder realizing how tiny I am in the universe, yet God knows me by name. He loves me and takes care of me. I am so blessed.

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Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Books and Movies, Hospital Trips