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.