About 45 years ago I had lost about half my hearing…
Of course the weird thing about your hearing or sight getting worse is that you hardly notice it happening. I remember when they put glasses on my head in seventh grade and I could not believe how clear everything looked. ‘You mean this is how the world looks to most people?’ I don’t have any memory of losing or recovering my hearing.
But as we’ve gone through the process with Méabh of getting tubes (grommets) and I’ve remembered bits and pieces of the day I got ‘tubes in my ears.’ Not much, but enough to realize how much more brave than me Méabh is.
I was scared about the procedure…and had a hard time sleeping the night before…which isn’t a big deal because fear was a pretty regular feature of my life then. (Not that I generally had reason to fear…but I was expert at imagining the worst.)
Méabh was actually looking forward to her surgery. When I took her to the theatre (when did they stop calling them operating rooms?), she skipped the whole way down the hall.
You could see her become a bit apprehensive when we entered the theatre and several people were there with masks on, and large machines were everywhere. But still, I was impressed .
Not only did I enter with her, I held the mask on her while she fell asleep. They do this because it’s better for the child to see a parent as they go out. However, they should warn the parent about what your kid’s body does as they go out. A little freaky.
I don’t remember if either of my parents went with me into the operating room at Buffalo Children’s Hospital. Although I think I remember my dad being there. But the night before my surgery, in an attempt to calm me down, my dad demonstrated what it would be like to be put to sleep the next day. He took off his sock and held it over my face…so yeah, that’s a memory that definitely stuck with me.
There is one area where Liz and I were much more considerate towards Méabh than my parents were to me. Méabh will miss the next week of school. My surgery was scheduled in the summer, so I missed no school…just my summer vacation time. (But I’m not bitter.)
One other difference between our experiences. Liz was immediately taken in to see Méabh. When I was out of surgery, I was taken to parents who said, ‘he shrunk.’ Turns out some kid who looked like me was there for a procedure too and someone at Children’s Hospital didn’t check all that closely. So I don’t mind when 6 people in a row ask me Méabh’s name, date of birth and address.
So, while returning kid to correct parents is probably minimum level of required care, Méabh was well taken care of today. And she can hear! Thanks to everyone who played for her.
Also published on Medium.