The Right Perspective Part 2
At the Hearing Aid Office
The next day I checked my phone and found a missed call from the hearing aid lady. I quickly called back but had to leave a message. Within half an hour, Melinda returned the call. She enunciated her words slowly and clearly. Also, since I had the cell phone in my hear, I could hear her. “What’s the problem?”
“The red light doesn’t turn on. And the one hearing aid that controls the other is the one broken,” I explained. “So neither of them work.”
She said they could be dirty, which would cause them to stop working.
Yes, it was likely dirty. I never changed the rubber tips. They were too small for me to see, and who knew where the extras were stashed away. “Can I come in?”
We made an appointment for a few hours later. Glory to God they could fit me in at such short notice.
My brother dropped me off in the parking lot. I gave him a five-dollar bill and sent him to get some lunch. Squaring my shoulders, I entered the building and swept my white cane over the tiled floor until I located the receptionist’s desk.
“The technician, Michael, will see you shortly.”
I took a seat. The only patient in the large waiting room, I sat with my back to one of the many windows behind me.
Ten minutes later, a tall slender man walked into the room. I watched him as he checked in with the receptionist. He nodded at me and I stood up. I slid my cane across the floor as I walked toward him.
“I remember you. I’ve had you before,” he said, motioning me to follow.
I didn’t remember him at all.”Probably it was my mom.”
“No, it was you,” he corrected, staring at my long white cane. We passed an office. “Sit down right there.” Michael said, then disappeared.
I sat down as requested.
Michael reappeared. “Not there. Here.”
He took hold of my wrist, led me around the corner and sat me down in a chair. “Here. In this office.”
“You’re making me nervous,” he said. “Don’t move.”
I smiled. So many people didn’t know how to respond to my cane. They didn’t know how much I could see. I’m sure if I said, “Boo!” and moved, he would jump. I handed him my hearing aid case. I hoped they weren’t too dirty. I grimaced as he opened the case and took one out to examine it. I flinched, imagining his scrutiny of my waxy hearing aid.
“Is this the battery that goes with it?” he asked suddenly.
I caught one word. Battery. “Um, uh. size 13.”
He left the room, holding my left hearing aid in the palm of his hand. Before long, he returned. “Aaaaah, the problem isn’t that your hearing aid is dirty,” he said, looking very serious. “The good news is that it’s an easy fix. You have the wrong size battery in it. You had a size 312 in it.”
I recognized two beautiful words from the many words that streamed from his mouth: wrong battery. “No way!”
Michael showed me two hearing aids side by side. He explained one was round and fat with a ridge around it. The other was slender and round without a ridge. He covered his mouth as if he just remembered my vision impairment. He awkwardly put the two hearing aids in the palm of my hand and curled my fingers around them. “Can you feel the difference?” he asked, raising his voice.
“YES! Wrong battery! Is that all it was? Are you kidding?” Laughter bubbled out.
I reached for my hearing aids. As I placed one in each ear, the sweet sounds came. A phone ringing. A chair scraping. The sound of poor Michael clearing his throat. I could even hear the hum of the air conditioner. All beautiful music to my ears.
“If you are having difficulty telling the difference between the two batteries, we can send them to you,” he offered, handing me a package of four. The right size. I have to hand it to Michael. He was trying to relate.
His voice sounded clear. Sharp.
“Oh no, I’m fine!” I knew what happened. Ah yes! When I changed my batteries, I must have found an unopened packet that went with my first pair of hearing aids and tossed one in. I hadn’t even looked to examine them. It never occurred to me.
The air felt lighter. Was it just because my fears had lifted…for the moment?
I wanted to twirl in a circle and hear everything! I breathed deeply. God, thank you! I can hear again!
It didn’t even bother me when Michael guided me back to the exact same seat in the waiting room, as if it were the magical seat that bore my name among all of the empty chairs there.
He stood, his hands hanging down at his sides. “Do, uh, you need, need me to call, uh, someone to get you?”
His voice sounded clear. Nervous, but clear.
“Nope, my brother will be right here.” I smiled, marveling at the confident sound of my own sweet voice, once more in control.
I leaned back in my seat against the window pane.
Rays of sunshine beamed their way through the glass. The sun warmed the back of my neck and my shoulders. I touched each tiny hearing aid and the wire that connected me to the speaking world. My lips curved into a smile. Sometimes I felt tired of having something in my ear. But not today.
I would have plenty of time to practice the ‘I-can’t-hear-yous’ but now, today, I felt I could hear perfectly. In comparison. A simple matter of perspective.
Footsteps. My hearing aids picked up the heavy sound of footsteps leading toward me. I unfolded my white cane and stood up. My brother had arrived.
Taking the first sweep of my cane, I thought, Yes, it’s all a matter of perspective.
Have you ever had a serious problem with seemingly no solution? Could you ever find a solution or did you have to simply adjust to the situation? Share in the Comments below.
You have just read “A Matter of Perspective” by Amy L. Bovaird Copyright. Originally posted on September 15, 2014. Here is the link to my previous post: A Matter of Perspective Part 1. Please take a moment to share your thoughts in the comments below.