Dreaming deafness

Woke up early today from a vivid dream…Behind Closed Eyelids

I was at a banquet or an award show or like, and the hostess and host of the show somehow pointed me out among a lot of people and started making their way towards me.
That would normally be the last thing I would wish for, as I have had a lifelong fear of appearing stupid in case I answered wrong. (you know, if I didn’t hear the question properly, I would answer something else, thus making it funny for everyone…)
With microphones jammed up in my face and spotlight zooming in on me along all the attention from everyone present, they started asking me easy questions I was able to answer ok, you know, to warm me up… 
Then the guy came “to the point” and halfway into his question I lost him completely. That would be where I normally wanted to sink into the ground and die of shame or embarrassment. In this dream I just said: “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you.” Being very calm inside, laid back and not stressed, I waited for their next move. Somehow the social pressure on me was gone, because they had a show to pull off, and by picking me the “joke” was on them. I could see the guy lost his nerves and didn’t know what to do. At such instances I feel terribly sorry for the person, and want to help, but in this situation they were interviewing me, and I could not help by taking charge of the conversation as I normally would.
The woman stepped in for a try and she failed too…. then I woke up, wide awake…

This was a weird good dream for me. Can’t remember last time I had a dream about being out there publicly. And the thing that hits me about this dream is that I’m just being me and honest about it (that I can’t hear everything), unlike before in my life, where I’d have a number of strategies for “handling” such a situation, thus “saving face”. Doesn’t matter what kind of situation I’m in, I’m who I am… Near deaf and all 🙂

I think this dream was some kind of milestone for me.

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Battling tinnitus, headaches and fatigue

While living my life, with the absence of the working life strains, I still have to deal with stuff that is quite heavy.

First out is the tinnitus. Coming on strong in the evening and especially before sleep, I can feel the phase-shift as I have taken out my BTE HA (behind-the-ear hearing-aid) and the sound-world has disappeared.
After only a few minutes the concert starts with mid-level frequency sounds (where I have never ever had a sound chart reading above 110 Db) trying to find the right tune, just like violinist warming up before a show. The level of sound varies a little, and I have different sounds in the right ear from left ear. In short: a cacophony just as a whole orchestra is warming up before a concert…
Sometimes I get a spike of sound. A sound very distinct almost like the ping sound a submarine uses in it’s sonar just lasting a little longer. And that sound startles me every time, since it’s very loud. And it pops up in both left and right ear totally randomly.

Then there’s headaches. I get headaches almost daily for what feels like very different reasons. Sometimes it’s the overload of sounds either in loudness or in durability. Other times it’s strain headaches from stress from various situations, or just plain stiff neck. And the wintertime low sunshine on clear days can also induce headaches. Seems like I have a low tolerance for headaches. Just checked my brain with MR and x-rays and all results came back negative, which is good news. One less thing to worry about.
I have taken some actions to fight the headaches, and I think I’m on the right path. I have started doing exercises for my neck. And I’m doing it very slow and careful now in the beginning, as I get headaches from doing these simple exercises.
Most HOH and near-deaf people have one thing in common: we move our head forward as to signal to anyone that we need to hear better. I think it is also an instinct in order to make the distance between us and the source of sound as short as possible.
My neck is  very agile going forward, but back and to the sides, it’s as stiff as a stick…. So these exercises, bending my head back and forth, from side to side, and rolling my head slowly around are having an impact… I can feel the cracking of neck-bones and the headaches come bad right away, which I think is the rush of blood extending the blood vessels in my head. And my head isn’t used to those extending blood vessels, thus giving me headaches… I hope it’s temporarily, because if it is, I know I’m on track of doing something that will improve my day to day shape.

Then we’re on to the fatigue… Tinnitus and headaches clearly attributes to the fatigue, no doubt. I have also recently heard about a phenomenon called “recruitment” that could explain the sensations I get from my ears and the following feeling of fatigue and exhaustion. Will read more about that later, and research it too. See link to the article I found under the heading: “Special Subjects”.
Depression is also a common factor resulting in fatigue… Am I depressed??? I really am not sure… Sometimes, yes I would say I’m depressed, other times I’m as happy as a lark in the sky singing away… So, you tell me…

Fatigue epiphany

epiphany

Just back from a session with my psychologist, where I dealt with the matter of fatigue. I learned something new about myself, and I guess this knowledge could be useful to many who are hard of hearing or near-deaf.

The state of fatigue is the subject that I want to raise here. Of course fatigue can have many reasons, both external, internal, material and spiritual. I want to discuss the mental aspect of it that became very clear to me today: When I get the notion in myself, that I’m tired, it starts a whole range of other reactions:

Emotions:

  • anxiety (am I sick, is something wrong with me?)
  • stress (what did I do to become so tired??? why is this happening?)
  • sadness (the feeling of fatigue sort of disables me from being energetic, joyful and contributing to my surroundings)
  • hopelessness (damn, is this how my life has become? Is this how I’m supposed to live my life???)
  • and many more… (it is a little chaos of mixed emotions)

The emotions manifests into:

  • Stomach feels like a brick, hard and heavy
  • Neck becomes stiff
  • Sensations of pain are more prone (backache, headache, muscle and tendons)
  • A constant state of emergency (to put it short)

Last week, when I spoke with my incredifaboulofantastic girlfriend about this subject, we agreed that when I have the notion of being tired, I should simply say; “I need a break”.

This was the genius of it: instead of saying that:

“Oh, I am tired, I need to go by myself and be more tired” (thus pushing myself even further into the mental state of fatigue),

I can say, “Oh, my senses had a handful, they need a little rest, and then I’ll be fine again”.

By digging into the notion of fatigue, and really FEELING the weight of the emotions, I have also become more aware of what is happening to me in terms of thoughts, reactions and the results of those… This way; I can make a difference in myself by avoiding chains of thoughts that give me negative emotions and drain me even further of the precious energy I need to cope with the present situation of being near-deaf…

I hope this means something to someone, because it was an epiphany to me!

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Invisible – visible

Words unheardinvisible-mother-child
All blurred
I don’t get it
What did you say?

Loneliness is the worst
Being outside
Apart from the others
What do they say?

I feel invisible
Want to fade
Don’t want to feel rejected
Do they hear me?

I want to be a part
Heard and seen
Break the wall
I’m here!

Learn to climb
Get overview and perspective
Use equipment and learn to secure
Dare the unknown

Feel alive
Defeat the obstacle
Be self responsible
And be in control.

I want.

“Usynlig – synlig” by Inger Anita Herheim, freely translated from Norwegian by Ulf Nagel

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Midlife – on new paths

flowers growing_bl_wA pilgrim walking alone
Memory of a time lost
Seeking purpose, connection
From here on

A lot said and done
Not all undone
Lack of time lack of sight
Thinking; time heals all

In breath and movement it still sits
Unleashed, untouched made to ice
Inner frost, loneliness and grief
Pushing for release

New sounds, and paths
Demands new compass and maps
A lone pilgrim still walking
Towards greater insight of body and mind

“Midtlivs – på nye stiar” by Inger Anita Herheim, freely translated from Norwegian by Ulf Nagel

Status update

Tinnitus is still there, disturbing concentration and sleep. The left ear seems to want to join the debate as to wether the hair-cells in my cochlears are about to wither and die or not… For the time being, the tinnitus is bearable because it’s inaudible during the time I wear my hearing aids (HA). But I have noticed times when the tinnitus breaks through even when I wear my HA. So the signs is that the tinnitus will not subside or fade, on the contrary…

Fatigue is still severe and limiting my activities on a daily basis. However, I have now organized my life in order to have less activities, and it feels good. I get more ability to initiate things I want or need to do. I still have to do a job regarding my own mentality towards the fatigue (how I cope with the feeling of being “empty”), but having said that, I have now eliminated most possible external causes for the fatigue.

Bilateral CI-operations are still my number one priority in the long term. In short term it is my son, girlfriend, family and myself. As for the CI, I do research, talk to people, evaulate back and forth. I have also checked out the status of stem-cells research of regenerating hair-cells in the inner ear, and the conlusion is that it is indeed exciting and promising, but not plausible to expect within the next 10 – 15 years. That rules out stem-cell therapy on my part. If I by getting bilateral CI-implants ruin the possibility of stem-cell regeneration of my cochlear hair-cells, so be it. I live now, today! That will be for the next generation of deaf and near-deaf.

Deaf I mentioned music in a posting yesterday; The music’s over – for now… Since I started this blog, the time spent listening to music has declined automatically and quite evenly as I started reducing the strain on my ears as an experiment. It requires too much concentration of me to listen to music anymore. Before I could get a kick out of music even when relaxing. Today I need to really focus and also have the lyrics in order to “get” something from the song I’m listening to… After a very short time it starts to feel like my head has been through the washing machine…

(Reminds me of “It’s all gone – Pete Tong” – a movie about a DJ who looses hearing)

Symptoms from too much sounds:

  • Pounding and pulsating sensation in head (brain?)
  • dizzy (I’m even getting troubles with balance if I overdo listening),
  • my counscious level is reduced (like I’m sleepy but I’m not),
  • concentration has diminished (harder to follow what people say to me, I concentrate harder),
  • cognitive skills reduced drastically (I know this thanks to my un-scientifically measurement method using Su-Doku)

and…  I suspect I’m getting mild migraine from time to time, even though that could be related to the fact that I quit nicotine permanently 18 months ago. My brain is perhaps still adjusting to the fact that my blood-vessels are getting sound and healthy again. The migraine-tendency could be caused by dilated blood-vessels in my brain, and if this is the case, those pains will subdue soon… Prone to light-sensitivity, I also turn down the intensity of lights.

On a personal level, my life is good, I enjoy being a father, and have a wonderful girlfriend with whom I can spend time. My family is close to me, and somewhat engaged in my condition. Friends still keep in touch with me. I’m feeling active and engaged, working on several “projects”, including this blog and fixing up my apartment and helping my mother and stepfather with their recently aquired small-farm. I keep in touch with former employers, and have moral support from them, have several contacts in the near-deaf-community and so on.

The Doors – When the music’s over

Recently I have stopped listening to music on a regular basis. This saddens me deeply, and I feel it will be fitting to take a moment to mark the transition to real deafness with a piece of music made of a band I truly enjoyed listening to: The Doors. Even more befitting is the song I selected… Hope you enjoy it more than I am able to!

(Mind you, I will be able to hear music again if the CI-operations go well!!!)

Lyrics:

Yeah!

When the music’s over
When the music’s over, yeah
When the music’s over
Turn out the lights
Turn out the lights
Turn out the lights

When the music’s over
When the music’s over
When the music’s over
Turn out the lights
Turn out the lights
Turn out the lights

For the music is your special friend
Dance on fire as it intends
Music is your only friend
Until the end
Until the end
Until the end

Cancel my subscription to the Resurrection
Send my credentials to the house of detention
I got some friends inside

The face in the mirror won’t stop
The girl in the window won’t drop
A feast of friends
“Alive”, she cried
Waiting for me
Outside

Before I sink into the big sleep
I want to hear, I want to hear
The scream of the butterfly

Come back, baby
Back into my arms

We’re gettin’ tired of hangin’ around
Waitin’ around, with our heads to the ground
I hear a very gentle sound

Very near, yet very far
Very soft, yeah, very clear
Come today, come today

What have they done to the Earth?
What have they done to our fair sister?
Ravaged and plundered and ripped her and bit her
Stuck her with knives in the side of the dawn
And tied her with fences
And dragged her down

I hear a very gentle sound
With your ear down to the ground
We want the world and we want it…
Now
Now?
NOW!

Persian night, babe
See the light, babe
Save us!
Jesus!
Save us!

So when the music’s over
When the music’s over, yeah
When the music’s over
Turn out the lights
Turn out the lights
Turn out the lights

Well, the music is your special friend
Dance on fire as it intends
Music is your only friend
Until the end
Until the end,
Until the end