I want to continue on from my 10 Pillars post of last week with a personal story about the second pillar which is “You are not alone”.
As I have mentioned before I want deaf in 1988 at the age of forty-two, but I had been hearing impaired for years before that. I lost hearing in one ear during my early college years in the 1960s. Since I had no insurance and I couldn’t afford to pay doctor bills and college tuition at the same time, it would be a few years later when I discovered the cause of my impending deafness.
After I graduated from college and had a job including full benefits I was told that I had cochlear otosclerosis and it would eventually cause total deafness. As the hearing loss progressed I got more and more powerful hearing aids for my remaining ear.
1988 was a year of struggle for me. When I got out of bed in the morning I didn’t know if I would be able to hear or not. Finally, my doctor admitted that there was nothing else he could do for me so “goodbye”. There was no counseling, no references to others that might be able to help me cope, just “goodbye”. I felt like I was just set adrift in an endless ocean by myself.
Now, remember 1988 was before Google and such. There was a public Internet connection via AOL but it was very crude and almost worthless. In spite of that, I spent hours looking for someone to help me. Finally, I ran across an organization called ALDA (Association of Late-Deafened Adults) where I finally discovered that I was not alone in going deaf in mid-life. There were others like me out there.
Now with Google and a very robust Internet, it is quite easy, if you look, to find help and convince yourself you are not alone. But you would be surprised at the number of people who will continue to live a pity-party for the rest of their lives after their traumatic event.
I would love to hear your stories about feeling alone in the world…