My weary eyes began to flutter as the anesthesia began to evaporate. Seconds felt like hours as my mind tried to orchestrate a sense of normality. My eyes dreaded the fulgent pattern of fluorescent lights but soon began to focus. A monotonous wailing crept in my head. My body laid limp and impotent. Time lingered to a standstill until a nurse with a set of smiling eyes broke my gaze.
I tilted my heavy head towards the nurse as she wrapped me in blue cotton sheets. The cool fabric sent shivers down my arm but then a hazy face appeared along side of my bed, it was the face of my anesthesiologist. He held a small plastic container in the air, I wrestled my arms free from the cotton cocoon as I mouth thank you. I began to fumble with the lid. Once open, I gingerly picked up my hearing aid and placed it in my ear.
I sat there anticipating the sounds of the monitors beeping, the phone ringing, and people speaking. Alas, the only sound I heard was vexatious wailing. I adjusted the volume as the anesthesiologist starts to enunciate his words but it was pointless, I couldn’t hear him. I couldn’t hear anything. I promptly checked my switch to see if was on T-Coil.
Nothing. I switched to my second program.
Nada. I removed my hearing aid and watched a nurse quickly turn towards the squealing aid which ruled out a dead battery. I placed the hearing aid back into my ear and applied enough pressure to feel a faint click of battery compartment closed.
Zilch! A string of sweat formed behind my ears.
I sat there waiting for the hospital ruckus to fill my ear instead all I was hearing was a crescendo of screams. Something wasn’t right..
“Um, I can’t hear anything,” I said hoarsely as I realized how raw my throat felt. The smiling eyes turned looked down at me. Do you see me smiling here?
“You can’t hear?” the anesthesiologist said. I could not help but notice that his lips moved with such simplicity as he enunciated each word, his eyes filled with perplexity while mine filled with despair.
“No, I can’t hear anything!” I couldn’t even hear myself. The rest of the conversation was pointless. Was it possible they thought I was deluded? I whiled away the second contemplating why I heard nothing around me but I could hear meaninglessness noise in my head.
In the distance, I saw my surgeon walk towards me and with every footstep he took, I scrutinized him for all he was worth. He stood along side of the bed and began to flap his gums recapping my so-called successful operation. I cut him off, “I can’t hear anything!” He cocked his head to one side, bewildered. That isn’t what I wanted to see, I tell him I cannot hear and he looks at me like a dog looks when their leash is wrapped around a pole.
“You can’t hear anything?” he repeated after me. Did he lose his hearing too Doc? I studied his face for any sort of reassurance that this is common side effect, that this sort of thing happens all the time. Sadly, his face did not change and I was becoming so desperate to see him say that this happens all the time. I wanted him to give me a magic potion and all would have been right as rain. Nothing was right since.
Then he said, “This has never happened before.” I started sobbing uncontrollably on the inside. Why me I thought, why now? The hearing stealing surgeon left me to grieve. I was left alone in a world that was not my own.
A single blood drop dripped from my nose.
The gurney started to move down a stark white hallway, my mind searching for the answers to my demise. Anesthesia? Swelling? Allergic reaction? What the hell happened to me? With each rotation of the wheels, it became increasingly harder to for a coherent thought for the wailing has reminded me of screams, screams of a banshee. It was only later that I discovered how true that was.
I had a headache and I wanted to go home, back to my bed that I just woke from this morning, hearing the sounds that I was use to hearing. I was tired of being asked how I was feeling, my only answer was, “I can’t hear anything.” They rolled me out of the hospital and into my friends truck. I noticed the tell tale raindrops on the windshield.
I grabbed my cell phone and adjusted the volume on high. I called into my voicemail, switched my hearing aid to T-Coil and made a wish for the tiniest iota of sound. My wish was not granted. How could I have just used this a few hours ago to tell my mom I love her?
I began to reply to my text messages. I tapped my fingers while I waited anxiously for the trumpet-like alert that I always heard. I never heard it that day. I noticed that the windshield wipers were wiping, the tires were turning, and the radio was playing. All I felt engine vibration through my feet. Everything I looked at I associated with a sound but that night all I heard were screaming banshees. I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that a few hours ago in that very spot, I was struggling to hold a conversation with my hearing aid working happily in my ear.
Fifteen minutes later, we pull into my driveway. My mom opened the door and greeted me with nothing but concern in her eyes. It was the kind of eyes that only a mother can give if they could switch places, they would do so in a heartbeat. Truth be told, I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. I wobbled to my last hope, my back up hearing aid. I sat on the edge of my bed. My teeth chattered as I placed a fresh battery to avoid any surprises. I placed it in my ear and prayed. Tears fell into my hand when my prayer wasn't granted.
It was then that the realization came to me that I was truly alone in my world of silence.