Jun 26, 2017

If You Don't Exactly Hear, You May Be Exactly Screwed

So this is what happened two days ago. I went to the market with my aide and (I approved) her two-year-old, adorable, blue-eyed Sophie because Katie, her mother, didn't have a babysitter. We don't go shopping when she rarely brings Sophie, but she is so behaved, a problem was the furthest thing from my mind.

Sophie walked (let me be clear--WALKED) around the gargantuan Giant Eagle supermarket. We got the needed items, hung the bags on the back of the wheelchair with me in it, and Sophie started to rub her eyes, a sure sign that she would take a nap once she returned to the car.

We left the store and arrived at the car, and Katie said, as she always says, "Don't get up from the wheelchair. The bags are heavy and I have to remove them first." And then added, for a first time, "I'm going to put Sophie in her car seat before I take the bags off the wheelchair."

The parking lot was a noisy one, plus an anxious driver with a muffler issue stopped a few feet away to get the spot Katie would soon vacate. Katie opened the trunk, and then went around to the other side of the car to place Sophie in her car seat. (See the problem yet?)

I didn't accurately hear those instructions. I heard Katie speak, but the words were indistinct, just like the adults in a Peanuts movie. (Wah wah wah). The trunk was open and I was texting on my phone, so I figured, albeit erroneously, that the bags were already in the trunk, and I stood up. As I arose, the wheelchair went flying backwards from the heavy bags and I went along with it, landing on my right side and hitting my arm, neck, and head on the blacktop. When I stood up, assisted by a stranger and Katie (the crowd, fifteen strong, had gathered), I saw the blood on my hand and realized I was cut and my finger was out of the joint.

It wasn't Sophie's fault. It wasn't Katie's fault. It was my fault. The hearing aid had diminished slowly over time, and I was trying to stretch out the shelf life to get a new one in Portland. (If you follow the blog, you know that I'm moving there). 

The rest is all a blur. I went to the Emergency Room and the nurse put on that neck brace pictured above, just in case I had injured my spine and head. I was tested via CT scan and the results were negative. But the X-ray showed a fracture in my finger. The doctor said I should follow up with an orthopedic surgeon (I went and a splint was put on my hand, just days away from the Portland trip).

So, all of this is to say, yeah, hearing is an issue and not one of the usual top five reasons that a person gets injured in and around the home. Slips and falls, often-silent choking, adverse effects of medication, hazardous fire, and severe cuts are the ones most "perennially" written about. But hearing is on my list. 

If you can't hear accurately, let's say, the fire alarm or a siren or the alarm clock or, in my case, instructions, then bad things might happen. Very. Bad. Things. Is your hearing ok? If you have doubts, I suggest you get a hearing test from an audiologist and maybe you'll be surprised at the results.