Sunday, May 27, 2012


Every so often I try to make it a point to go out on a one-on-one date with each of my girls. I figure, if I don’t screw them up enough just on our daily interaction, a little quality time alone with me should do the trick to screw them up sufficiently that way as well.

The other night was date night with my 15-year-old, Mollie. I took her to see the stage show: “Addam’s Family—The Musical” at a fancy-schmancy performance hall.

A month ago, Kenny went to the hall to purchase two tickets. After he bought 2 balcony seats (‘cause that’s all us ‘po folk can afford, see), he decided to have a little chat with the guy in charge there. He told them all about his poor, little, old, deaf, wife and how I was gonna be bringing my dear, sweet daughter to the show. He asked if they ever offered any accessibility to their deaf and hard of hearing patrons. Not only do they, but he said that if I brought my tickets to the box office the night of the show, they’d trade them for two orchestra seats in the “interpreter’s section”! I had no idea they would have interpreters that night. In fact, I believe they made special arrangements to provide ‘terps that night just for me because Kenny asked. Cool, eh?

When Mollie and I arrived at the theatre the night of the performance, they were all ready and knowing at the box office. What a relief! She just let them know what was up and whom we needed to speak with. I handed the contact person our original tickets and he had the trade-ins all ready and waiting for us.

When they started seating, she and I walked into the theatre and there stood the two interpreters. I expected one specific woman, because she’s very well known in our area as a ‘terp for live theatre. With her was another ‘terp I know well—one I’ve worked with in the past and who had, in fact, just interpreted for me three weeks ago. We all greeted and hugged, and then Mollie and I went and sat to wait for the show to start.

Right before the show started, we moved over in front of the interpreters, so I didn’t have to keep turning my head to the right to see them and then back up front to see the stage. That’s just awkward and uncomfortable. Ironically, I was the only Deaf person there that night! Two talented ‘terps all for me. It was quite the treat.

But the bigger treat was the performance itself. Oh, the actors/singers/dancers were great and the props/sets were wonderful, but I hardly wanted to look at them at all. My gosh! These two interpreters were INCREDIBLE!!! Animated, fluid, funny, expressive, perfect. There was barely a need to even look at the stage. In fact, if the ‘terps had broken out in the show’s dance routines, I never would have looked at the stage at all.

Another really neat part was that during the curtain call, the character Gomez did the "deaf applause" and then motioned to the interpreters. Then, as the other actors "deaf applauded," he actually signed something (Mollie and I didn't catch what he said though, because we were too busy cheering the 'terps on, too). 

What a night! And I’m sure theatrical interpreting is extremely challenging. I’ve almost always been blessed with very skilled interpreters—and I use them a lot. Oh, I’ve had my fair share of scary ‘terps—‘terps who never should have been given any kind of certification. But the more I use interpreters in this area, the more skilled interps are sent for me. I’ve been very blessed in that sense.

Date night this time around turned out swell for both of us. Mollie had a blast with the show and, especially, the music and costumes. But the fact that I enjoyed the performance every bit as much as the hearing audience members thrills me to no end! That just doesn’t happen much in life. Maybe things are starting to change and look up!

Friday, May 25, 2012


Something many of you probably don’t know about me is that I have, at times, suffered from severe depression. I usually try to deal with it with a sense of humor. (No! Michele thinks something’s funny? Not a chance.) Anyway, sometimes other things don’t do the trick and they’ve had to resort to (GASP!) Electroconvulsive Treatments (ECT) – what most people call “Shock treatments.”) You know, I scare many people a lot because of my deafness, but mention shock and most people run for the hills…or tell me that their long lost son, Bartholomew, is calling and then pretend to answer their cell phone. That might actually work if it wasn’t off when they put it to their ear.

The point is, sometimes ECTs cause memory loss—usually right around the time of the treatment and many times for a week or so around them. I’ve never worried about it. I’ve dealt with it. But within the past couple of months I’ve had  one and I can’t express just how catastrophic the side effects were. I didn’t have “normal” side effects. I had what’s typically seen as “rare” problems. I’ve had several people compare me to someone with Alzheimer's. In fact, it wasn’t until two days ago that I even found out I had a blog. But since finding it and reading it, I feel comfortable telling you guys some of my most recent experiences and hoping you guys don’t judge me—or at least find my senility as hilarious and pathetic as I do. Of course, the best adjective is “frustrating,” but I gotta admit that it’s set me into convulsive fits of laughter from time to time, too, lately.

One of the terrible side effects has been clumsiness. For example, Kenny bought me a tea from Speedway (something I’m addicted to) and I couldn’t get the straw in my mouth. As I sat there, tongue out, moving it around to try to tackle it into my mouth, I lost control of the whole thing and poured it directly and neatly into Kenny’s crotch. It made a perfectly round circle, outlining everything that doesn’t need to be outlined and, needless to say, I lost my drink. Bummer to both of us.

Another terrible side effect is that I can’t fully moderate my impulse control. I’ve always been a sap, but when watching such things as “Family Feud” and “The Newlywed Game” result in tears and heavy, chest heaving sobs of happiness for the players, it can cause some confusion in those around me.

Then there’s confusion.
I’m writing a list of things Kenny needs from the store.
Kenny: “Black Pepper.”
I had no idea whatsoever what that was.
Me to my daughter: “I’ve lost all of my clothing. Do I own a closet?”
She: “Yes”
Me: “Can you draw me direction as to where it is?”
(Sad thing is, I really need them AND I need to keep them on the refrigerator or somewhere I can find them daily, because I’ll forget where they are. Heck, I’ll forget I own a closet. Of course, I’ll probably forget I even have this information on the refrigerator anyway.)

No—I don’t feel stupid.

I got into Kenny’s car (it’s a manual) and couldn’t for the life of me get it started. I texted him in a panic.
Kenny: “Did you remember to press in the clutch at the same time?”


But the biggest side effect has been the memory loss. Short term and long term. Recent and going all the way back to my childhood. No memory whatsoever.

I see people who are so happy to see me and I have no idea how I know them. Or I’ll see them, find out who they are, and then see them two hours later and have no idea who they are again.

I’m having a conversation with a friend. She asked, matter-of-factly, “So, what’s your middle name?” Now, how in the heck do I explain the fact that I have no idea what my middle name is if I don’t want to say “shock treatment” and ”crazy”?

The technician at the ultrasound of my hip I needed on Tuesday asked if I’d had it x-rayed yet.
A couple of minutes later, as she’s typing on the computer, she looks over at me, confused, and says, ‘It says here you had it x-rayed in January.”

The kids say that I ask them the same thing repeatedly.
“Do you have homework?”
Three minutes later….
“Do you have homework?”
After 5 times, my daughter finally writes it on a piece of paper and hands it to me. Did it help? I don’t remember.

Kenny said I do the same thing with texting him questions throughout the day.
“Where do we keep the salt?”
“What’s a washing machine?”
“Who is ___ and why is she coming over to see Natalie?”
Over and over and over.

Oh, there’s so much more I could write about. Fact simply is, I’ve become an imbecile. OK. I know it’s not my fault, but when you can’t openly explain that they drummed bolts of electricity through my head and now I have no idea who the man coming into my house at the end of the day and kissing me hello is, it gets quite humiliating and embarrassing.

Alzheimer's. That has much more dignity to it. Or lobotomy. Yeah, that’s it. I’m not stupid. I just had brain surgery recently and they forgot to put some or all of it back.
I should print that on index cards and hand them out as I venture out in public.