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It Feels Good to Feel Normal

Posted Jul 23 2009 11:01pm

Yesterday was eventful with two experiences to remind me how fortunate I am to have hearing with my cochlear implants.

It started out with a trip to the grocery store. I was driving down Main street when I noticed a motorcycle behind me. I “see” motorcycles because I used to have one and I try to be very aware as I was hit by an unaware driver on mine. So, I was keeping an eye on this guy as we left the changed light to move through the next block. Half way up the block I decided to take a right turn at the next light and I needed to change lanes. As I was preparing to signal and move over, I “heard” the motorcycle’s engine rev up and sure enough the impatient driver decided to pass me on the right. It was a stupid and unsafe move on his part that could have ended in an accident if I had not “heard” him because he moved into a blind spot and I would not have seen him. It was also ridiculous on his part as we both ended up waiting at the same light half a block ahead.

After the relief of a near miss, I was quite angered at this motorcycle driver as it is his kind of driving that gives motorcycle enthusiasts a bad rep and leads to accidents. If I would have had the opportunity to tell him so, I would have.

Next on my agenda yesterday was a trip to my audiologist to participate in a study regarding cochlear implant use. That involves a 40 mile drive to another city. I was ready early and thinking about leaving early when I decided to read the newspaper instead. Funny how the timing of things sometimes works out to put us in a certain place  at a certain time.

After reading the newspaper, I headed out. I was barely out of town on a county road heading for the highway when the SUV in front of me crossed into the oncoming lane, came back across both lanes, went into the ditch and rolled completely over. As I was pulling over, I was reaching into my purse for my cell phone and was on the line with 911 in a matter of seconds. I didn’t think, “Will I be able to hear them? Can I do this?” I just did. Another car pulled over and the man asked if I was on the line with 911 and I said, “Yes.” He proceeded ahead of me to the car to check on the driver. She appeared to be fine with only minor injuries. I stayed on the line with 911 to give them directions to where we were. 

Before my CI, I might have hit the motorcycle. Deaf people are very good drivers, but without sound we rely solely on our vision. Also before my CI, I wouldn’t have had a cell phone to call 911 after witnessing the rollover. I still would have stopped to help, but my assistance would have been very restrained by my limited communication.

It was a dramatic day with a roller coaster of emotions: relief, anger, shock, concerned panic, and relief again. As I finally calmed, relaxed and enjoyed the rest of the day, I thought, “It feels good to feel normal.”

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