I Can’t Hear You!

I’ve neglected my WordPress friends the last week or so. Mother had a bad cold with extreme head congestion, so severe, she lost her hearing for a few days. I have a new respect now for people with disabilities. Mother is doing much better as the fluid in her ears resorbs, and expects to totally regain her hearing over the next few weeks, thank goodness.

I was really busy taking her to several doctors visits.  When visiting an unfamiliar doctor for hearing issues, I could tell that due to her age and deafness, they could have easily  have inferred her biggest issue was cognitive, not hearing.

She stayed with us several nights. She had to put medication in her ears several times a day and insert cotton to give it time to absorb. Mother is obsessive. Since her doctor said “a few minutes” she decided continuous cotton plugs might be better. Naturally, this didn’t improve her hearing a bit. Mother is garrulous, to say the least. When she couldn’t hear conversation, she’d shout, “I can’t hear you. I’ve got cotton in my ears.”

I urged her, “Take the cotton out. You’ll hear better,”

Her shouted reply was, “I can’t hear you. I’ve got cotton in my ears!”

When we picked up her medications, including an antibiotic, she bought yogurt to avoid antibiotic-related problems. She has meticulously eaten yogurt when to avoid antibiotic problems as long as I can remember. In fact, she is a great champion for yogurt with antibiotics, reminding the general public, even in the line at the pharmacy. She’s had way more experience with this than I have, even though I am a nurse.  Since she’d been away from home several days and was feeling better except for deafness, she decided she’d rather go to her own house.  I was a little worried how she’d manage, but took her home, knowing I could easily go back and get her if she had trouble.

At any rate, not ten minutes after she got home with the antibiotic and yogurt, I got a call.  “Does it matter what kind of yogurt I eat?  I got the vanilla yogurt in the carton, not the frozen kind.”

I knew she could barely hear, so I spoke succinctly and clearly.  “That’s fine.”  I know she had just put cotton back in her ears, since she could hear a little in the doctor’s office.

“What?  I can’t hear you.  I’ve got cotton in my ears!”

“Take the cotton out!”  Like I’d never met her, I waited.  By the time she came back on the phone, I’d kicked my phone volume to max.   “That yogurt is fine! It’s fine!”

Her response, “I can’t hear you with this cotton in my ears.  Did you say this vanilla yogurt is right or wrong?”

I don’t know what she was doing while I was holding for her to get the cotton out of her ears.  “It’s right!  It’s right.  Vanilla is right!”  The neighbors probably heard me.

She patiently tried again to clarify, making it more hopeless.  “I can’t hear you.  Did you say it is right that vanilla yogurt is wrong or that not getting the frozen kind is right?”

I knew now the conversation was so convoluted, there was no way we’d ever straighten this out.  I would have tried to text her, but Mother is hostile to texting.  That would have gotten me a furious phone call. I cut my losses and headed back to her house.

While on the way over, I got a call from my sister who is also a nurse.  “Mother is asking about yogurt, but she can’t hear me answer.  Do I need to go see about her?”

Just so you know, she is getting better every day.