Today’s PSA

I had a routine medical procedure today, which was educational for everyone involved.

The first form I filled out had a box for special needs, so that’s where I mentioned my deafness and lipreading ability. Despite this, the nurse who came to get me in the waiting room hadn’t looked at the sheet and called my name twice. When Aaron and I got her attention and explained, she looked at him and said, “I’m going to take her back now.”

After that, I noticed a post-it on my folder about my being a deaf lipreader – perfect.

When the anesthesiologist came to talk to me, I had trouble understanding her. I looked at her name and realized she had an accent. Except she was wondering about mine. “How long have you had that nasally twang?” she asked me. I explained it was because of my deafness, but she didn’t seem convinced. She asked about my “COCK-leer implant,” which I left in my locker, while I kept my hearing aid. “You don’t have to say you’re deaf, because you’re wearing the hearing aid and you’re hearing,” she said or something like it. “But I am deaf!” I said.

In the private room for the procedure, one of the nurses introduced herself. Another nurse alerted her to my deafness, so she repeated her words, except she over-enunciated so I actually had trouble understanding her.

When it was all over, I kept asking Aaron the same questions, but that was temporary amnesia due to the twilight anesthesia. As a test, he told me to remember the color “magenta,” and then a few minutes later, asked what color he had picked. I got it right. ‘Course that didn’t stop me from asking a question and then adding, “I asked that already, didn’t I?”

So, to recap, here’s today’s PSA:

Read all notes, particularly the bright yellow one on top.

Address me directly.

If you’re wondering about my accent or why I sound nasal, believe me when I tell you it’s because I’m deaf.

Wearing a CI or HA doesn’t mean I’m now hearing. It just means I’m hearing better.

Cochlear implant is NOT pronounced COCK-leer, but coh-cleer.

Don’t over-enunciate or talk louder. That will only make it harder for me to understand you and make you look foolish.

Thank you!

Inspiring talk

Last night, I was lucky enough to attend Ann Patchett‘s talk as part of the Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures series. I sat at the end of the front row, with CART in front of me. Ann bypassed the podium and spoke standing on a rug in the middle of the stage. She was a wonderful extemporaneous speaker who had the audience enthralled and laughing throughout.

Perhaps more than her books, what Ann is most proud of is opening an independent bookstore in her hometown of Nashville. Parnassus Books filled a void when the big booksellers left. But more than that, it’s brought the community together.

Addressing the theater, Ann said, “You’re here because you’re all readers.” When we read a book we love, we don’t throw it away. We want to share it with others, which may be one of the best things about reading. Ann isn’t shy about telling people she disapproves of the books they’re holding. She doesn’t push books on people to make a buck, but to make sure they’re reading the right books.

Ann says Barnes & Noble is on its way out. Unfortunately, the main independent bookstore in Pittsburgh is over the river and through bridges and tunnels. Needless to say, we could use more independent bookstores. Afterward the talk, my friend and fellow book club member half jokingly said our book club should open one. Our book club’s name would work for the store, if you ask me: Booksburgh. Is that not perfect?!

As another friend and book club member said, “Now we just need a famous author to buy in!”