Can You Hear Me Now?

So a little over a month ago, you may recall, I came down with the flu.  I’d gotten the flu shot, but by now we’ve all learned that it was, at best, only about 23% effective in protecting folks from the dominant strain going around.  That strain had evolved in the time between the creation of the vaccine in March and the current flu season now on the rampage.

You know, evolution.  The thing that the creationists say is impossible.

But, 23% is better than nothing.  I’m sure I would have been in a lot worse condition if I’d been completely unvaccinated since this flu strain is particularly virulent.  At least there were a few lone antibodies running around trying to do their best to protect me from the ill effects of the majority.  Kind of like what Democrats in Texas try to do.

At my gym, I ran into a friend who expressed concern because she hadn’t seen me for weeks. I told her what had happened and her response was “Yeah, that’s why I never get the flu shot.”

If I’d been drinking coffee I would have done a spit take.


Anyway, for most of that month of being under the influence of influenza, I was rendered essentially deaf from the acute middle ear infections that tagged along as a nice complimentary gift.

Now that my hearing has started to return at a snail’s pace, I’m constantly surprised at the things that I hadn’t been hearing and now could.  The TV was the biggest one and all I can say is:  thank gawd for closed captioning.

But it’s the little everyday sounds we take for granted that bring me up short now.

The clock ticking.  The microwave beeping.  The refrigerator humming.  Water running in the shower.  Cars driving past the house.  Dogs barking.  People talking below a shout.  (You had to get right up in my ear for me to hear you when it was at its worst.)

I have to admit, though, there were times when my enforced deafness was almost peaceful.  I’m a light sleeper and little sounds cause me to snap to attention right away.  Must be a hold-over from motherhood.  But this last month I was the one sleeping like a baby—except when I was coughing.

So now that I can hear these sounds once more, sometimes it almost feels like an affront to my senses.  Do I really want to hear all the annoying noises again?  I have to say that I do, because when all the annoying noises are lost, so are the good ones that connect me to the people around me.

And this interesting experience isn’t quite over yet.  My own voice continues to sound (to me) muffled and alien, like I’m underwater.  But, on the plus side, if someone is telling me something I don’t want to acknowledge, I just have to point to my ears and say (with a sheepish smile), “Sorry. I can’t hear you now.”

I just might ride that pony into the ground.

11 thoughts on “Can You Hear Me Now?

  1. I went to the movies with my wife on Sunday, and three times she leaned over and whispered something to me, some comment about the movie we were watching. My hearing ain’t what it used to be and so I didn’t hear her. I said, “what?” but she just shook her head and went back to watching the movie. Afterwards, she could only recall what she wanted to tell me for one of the three times. The other two had escaped her. And she was pissed at me because I can’t hear that well anymore and not only couldn’t I hear what she whispered to me in the movies, but half the time she says anything to me, I have to say, “what?” I think she sometimes thinks I’m riding that same pony of which you spoke.

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    • I hear ya. We used to say that my dad had “selective hearing” because he’d ignore most of what my mother said to him. Before this latest bout, I already had some hearing loss from tinnitus and my husband has had hearing loss in one ear from when he was in the Coast Guard where he had to fire off the big guns on the ship for practice. And this was in the late 50’s when they didn’t give them any hearing protection. When he complained about it, they told him they’d try to help him—if he re-upped for another stint in the Guard. He told them thanks, but no thanks. So we pretty much do the “What?” thing all the time too.

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  2. I inherited a deafness gene from my Dad’s family. Of course they all lived to be in their 90’s.
    Wonder what I am going to do for the next 20 years or so. — Besides saying what ?

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  3. If science could only give us the perfectly tune-able hearing aid! Eliminate the sounds of fingernails on a blackboard, or bad “American Idol” contestants, while letting us hear birds, waterfalls and the sound of the microwave telling us the popcorn is ready!

    Oh, and “Kind of like what Democrats in Texas try to do.” — that line cracked me up! Brilliant!

    Hope you’re fully recovered soon. That’s a long stretch of being sick…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My sister’s hearing is getting so bad she claims that this year she’s finally going to look into getting a hearing aid. Our dad had very bad hearing complimented by the crummiest hearing aids on the market. He would have probably had better results if he used the type of hearing horn geezers used to sport in Three Stooges shorts. At least that would have served double duty as a fashion statement or a weapon. I hope that you’re had your fill of illness for the remainder of the season, or better yet, for the rest of the year. You sure had what sounded like a butt-kicking flu over Christmas.

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    • I did get one of those personal sound amplifiers just to help me get by for the first week or two. It was not unlike the ear trumpet you mention in the Three Stooge shorts. It amplified everything (excruciatingly) but it did help a little with the TV and for attempted one-on-one conversations with my husband. Yeah, my butt was definitely kicked by this one. Viruses that pass through 5-year-olds who have little to no immunity to them come out as Super Bugs that go on to infect unwitting reading volunteers in a big way. As they say, no good deed goes unpunished. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I wish I had volume control on my ears, so I could turn the down the noise at loud restaurants and parties, and at night when hubby is snoring (instead I sleep with earplugs.) Hope you continue to feel better. Sounds like you got hit hard and nasty with that flu!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Natalie! I wish we could turn down the volume at restaurants too. Or at least have a cone of silence come down over the table like in the old sitcom “Get Smart.” Except, as I remember it, that didn’t work too well. They were always saying “What?” 🙂


    • Yes, my tinnitus was ramped up with the ear infection too. You’d think if I had to lose my hearing, at least there would be some peace and quiet. But, no. It was turbines whining constantly. It’s easier to relegate the tinnitus to the background when there are other sounds to concentrate on, but that wasn’t possible. Now that I can hear more, I can do that. If it’s any consolation, we share the same affliction as William Shatner. At least there’s that… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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