disclaimer or something

A mummy-hand holding, (former) biker gang affiliating, hippie influenced semi crunchy granola mom's ramblings and reminisings on an off-kilter life

Monday, June 11, 2012

Deaf Blind and Toothless

Deaf Blind and Toothless

My parents are deaf and I think they finance the dentist's lake dock and boat. And then there's blind ol' me Let me explain.

My dad was supposedly born deaf (well, nearly so) because of a "WWII bomb going off next to the hospital in London"; nevermind that WWII ended in 45'. He was born with pneumonia though which probably got to his ears. Anyways, he has a good ear and a bad ear (the good ear being not so good) and I can never recall which is which. You'd think he'd talk REALLY LOUD like many deaf (I mean hard of hearing, but deaf is much quicker to type) but no, he's kind of quiet but he mutters. Add a lifetime of facial hair and some shyness and hence, quite a mutter, which I picked up as a child; I can slip into a mutter at any time. All I know for sure is he was too deaf to be drafted into 'Nam, even though he just kinda hid to not be found or drafted anyways.

I always thought of my mom as fully hearing, just really loud and hyper. She went in for her first hearing test EVER at 60 and asked the doctor, "when is this test starting?" and he said "umm it's over. You didn't hear a single beep. You are quite deaf and need a hearing aide". Seriously, no one ever suspected my mom was deaf; but I have noticed since the test, she is more deaf, as happens with old age. Half the time I'm saying something like "I went to the store today. Store not whore. Store. Where you buy groceries, food. No, the door didn't hit me in the boob. Store. S. T. O .R. E.  No don't grab a pen, learn to spell out loud, S.T.O.R.E."  It used to not be like that. But I do believe she has always been a little deaf.

Both parents refuse hearing aides because those are "for old deaf people" (Umm hello, you're senior citizens who can't hear a thing, remember?) and "they don't work right" they claim, never having tried one, but then they'd probably buy a 1960s model from a yard sale that didn't work right anyways.

Then the teeth, ahh the teeth. There's a stereotype that British have horrible teeth. Believe it. My mom's mouth is all root canals, crowns, and fillings, I think she no longer has any real tooth left. I've had a crown with root canal, and probably a dozen fillings of not more. The dentist looks at my teeth and can honestly tell I take care of my yellowed, enamel-less fragile teeth like no other; he wishes others cared for their teeth like I do; my mother the same. We both floss daily, brush thoroughly, use mouthwash, try and avoid sugar and coca cola and stuff, all to no avail. Then my dad....after some ummmmm wild illicit years, and British teeth, and the fast that while he doesn't neglect his teeth- he treats them "normal", he is toothless. Seriosuly, he has lost all his teeth or nearly so, and refuses veneers, He says they feel funny and don't work and that they're stupid. But after my mom literally had to blend his meals in a blender (steak shake anyone?) she got pissed and made him go get veneers. Thousands of dollars later, I don't think he wears them.

Aaaaaaan, blindness. I was born nearly blind as every baby is, with crappy "newborn vision". Somehow, via "amblyopia" , lazy eye, my muscle in my left eye atrophied and stayed as newborn vision. It is so crappy they can't test it, it is "20/800 or worse" because 20/800 is the big E on the eye chart. I can't see it for the life of me, but I tricked the opthamologist as a child and memorized part of the chart with my good eye. And no, I can't do lasik cause it's an uncurable muscle problem.

 Damned eye doctors, they're sadists I'm quite certain. They get mad at ME for being BLIND like it's my fault. "Really, you can't see the E? How bout now?" as they click the little glasses thingy to a new prescription or what have you. "Nope, still no E, doc."  They sigh and say, "which is clearer, this or this?" Grr. Neither. I'm freaking blind so it is ALL FUZZY. But they won't take no for an answer so we go through the rigamarole of, "I'll try it again, this or this? " about three times before I just mumble in defeat, "I dunno, the first one?"  Then they get the flashlight of nuclear brightness and tell you not to look at it, and not to close your eye. Lucky for me, my lazy eye is not the wandering variety so I can look away but maaaan it is bright so I blink and flinch and whimper, ok? Then the stupid cataracts test or whatever, where they dialate your pupils with drops that burn like liquid fire? I don't have diabetes, I'm not a senior citizen, and in my bad eye, would I even know I had a problem, and would it even matter? The test rendered my good eye burning and blind as my bad eye so I can't walk or eat or drive or read or watch TV. No thank you. I learned as an adult to say, "I pay for this visit so I'm not paying for that torture" or "oops, I forgot to get someone to drive me here, can't do the drops!". Hehehehe. Which just makes the sadists hate me more.  

Then, oh then, it gets better. My good eye, which had nearly perffect vision as a kid, went funky one day. The doctor said "don't wear contacts" to me, as a skinny geeky socially awkward child, and again as a rebellious teen and to survive childhood, I would NOT wear cokebottle glasses, I was teased enough. Well in high school I fell asleep once and forgot to take out a contact in my good eye (it was like 20/40 or something so I had a weak contact prescription.) I woke up SCREAMING, the contact had shattered IN MY EYE and was shattered and pokey BEHIND MY EYE. A visit to the eye doctor and plenty of eye drops later (plus a week of geeky glasses) and I was back to normal. But, then a few years later my vison started to deterioirate in my good eye. I was tested two years ago and my "good" eye is 20/40 no longer, now "umm 20/300 to 20/400". This new eye doctor said, "well for some people in rare cases, contacts can form to their eye and misshape it and permanently damage your vision." WTF!?!?!?! had my doctor said THAT when I was a kid, I'd have gone for social isolation in coke bottle glasses, but no, he didn't say CONTACTS WILL RUIN YOUR GOOD EYE. Then the doctor says that also, some people's vision just "goes bad" in their teens and can last into their thirties and finally stop getting worse; it's rare and can't be explained but it happens and guess what, lucky me.....! See below, this is the "E" for me

But alas it is still getting worse and this Wednesday lucky me I get to visit the sadists and get new glasses cause mine are so scratched up and bent, I can hardly see. I'll report back on how blind I am now; a thought- no a horror- that I can't even "go to" or think about is, what if my good eye keeps getting worse? What if it ends up like my bad eye, where coke bottle glasses make it so that, well, I still can't see the E? I would not be able to read. Or write. Or watch TV. Or drive. Or appreciate any beauty i.e. sunset, meadows, etc, more than three inches away. I just don't go there.

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