hearing

Really can’t recall a time when Joy wasn’t wearing these.

hearing aids 005a
A small collection of Joy’s hearing aids.

I was cleaning out my car today when I realized I’d been carrying these around for TWO years. I had every intention of donating them to the hearing aid store. Called them after Joy passed, and they assured me they could use them to help folks who couldn’t afford aids. I was taking them to the store any day now.

My earliest recollections of my Mom’s hearing aids were of those big aids that attached to the frames of her glasses. Between the hearing aids and the thick earpiece of her eyeglasses, her ears stuck out at uncomfortable angles. She tried to style her hair so no one would notice.

The technology improved somewhat over the years making the aids smaller, but she always had the big unit that went over her ear.

I accompanied her on one of her last visits to the ear, nose and throat doctor. She was determined to discover if there was anything new to help her hearing. I was a speech and hearing major in college and she wanted me in on the discussion.

I observed Mom through the thick glass of the darkened audiologist’s booth struggle with the hearing and speech test. She couldn’t understand speech at all unless she was looking at the speaker. The women literally could not hear a ringing telephone (the old kind, remember?) next to her ear with her hearing aids out. It was one of the poorest hearing tests I’d ever witnessed.

Hearing Test
Hearing Test (Photo credit: Selbe B)

I’ve opened my palms and parted with most of her belongings. I even faced the task of spreading her ashes by our beloved mountain cabin. Joy really didn’t own much when she died.

But these darned hearing aids….why have I been holding on?

My guess is they remind me of how Joy had a knack of turning a negative into a positive. She simply plowed forward and looked on the bright side. I remember how we mercilessly teased her about her poor hearing and she would smile and playfully swat us. Her hearing loss forced us to talk loud and proud to be heard. The grand-kids had to work at being understood. She always laughed and talked a bit uncomfortably loud. As she aged, I remember how she determinedly struggled to replace the impossibly tiny little batteries in these hearing pieces.

hearing aids 008a
Don’t think I could change the small battery in this aid.

When the weather warmed too much, her sweat would ‘short them out’ and she’d take the aids out to allow her ear canals time to dry. She was forever proud of me when I sang, but I KNEW she never heard a note.

By my estimation, she wore these things every day for 50 years. Funny, I  don’t recall any complaining.

For today, the hearing aids are out of the car and tucked away securely at home. Who do I think I’m fooling? I’m not ready to give them away. They remind me of a lesson worth pondering. They’re mine.

Have a blessed weekend.

SORRY TO SHOUT, BUT I LOVE YOU FOR READING THIS.

LOUD ALL-CAPS LOVE TO ALL.

proud ‘person of walmarts’

It was our familiar ritual for six years.

Mom and I trekked to walmarts weekly to fetch supplies. It would have been easier for me to do her shopping for her, but how much fun is that? Picking her up at the home, assisting her to the car, driving to walmarts, and situating her old bod in the zippy electric cart was the stuff of Joy legend.

It irritated Joy that the elderly advanced-aged greeter liked me. She thought his crush was unbecoming and she expressed her displeasure.

What am I supposed to do, Mom? Run from the old guy? My hugs make his day! You’re just jealous!

She would’ve LOST it had she known he stalked me while I was shopping and plied me with free candy. Texan, are you reading this?? 

I offered to help her shop. She replied she didn’t require my assistance. After she laid a tire track up the back of my skinny ankle, I was ecstatic for her independent spirit! More time for me to hang out on the ammo aisle. I was always ready to hear the announcement…..

Attention walmart choppers, because of an unfortunate motorized cart incident, we will no longer have fresh eggs available for sale today. Would the daughter of Joy please report to the security office?
****slinking out of the store****

As her world grew smaller, the forays to walmarts became more important.  It was one place she could have independence. She’d gleefully drive where she damn-well pleased in her motorized cadillac.

Sometimes I’d catch a glimpse of her in the aisles….I swear the woman touched each blessed item in the store! She’d buy everything from nicotine gum to brassieres, sugar-free yogurt to micro-fiber panties. She desired the best deal and she’d study the advertised discounts. Stopped counting the number of times she carefully checked her receipt and we had to go back to customer service for the $.50 or $1.00 they’d stiffed her.

The last time this occurred, I bribed her with $2.00 cash if we could just let it go and go home and put our groceries away. She was unamused and muttered I hadn’t learned the real value of a dollar. 

It usually required Joy about 1 1/2 hours to complete her basic shopping. The time she wanted to purchase a digital camera and a photo printer required a little longer.

What are you wanting a digital camera for, Mom?

I want to take pictures of my friends (at the home). I want to print pictures of them so I can remember what they looked like. (This was after a couple of her bestest girlfriend bridge buddies passed on)

The 83 year-old woman was a picture-snapping demon for weeks on end. She took pictures of all the residents, the office help, the girls in the cafeteria, and the maintenance workers. All photos were taken ‘down-low’…wheelchair perspective only. The photos were odd…always looking up at the subject, but she was proud of them.  On special occasions, she would frame them and give them to the person as a gift.

I went to walmarts by myself this week. Didn’t see my greeter boyfriend…must’ve been his day off. I got my shopping done….quickly….efficiently. Home in a snap. Sigh.

Check out this website and chuckle
http://www.peopleofwalmart.com/

Can you spot Joy and me?

Discount shopping love to all.