Sunday, June 27, 2004

Gardening for the Deaf; or, What I Did While Finding Out If I Will Hear Again

At 2:45 Saturday morning, I woke up; not an uncommon occurrance, as insomnia dogs me constantly now. But when I stumbled to the bathroom, I realized that the thing I'd feared most had happened: the vestigal hearing in my right hear was now gone. No amount of shouting into it can now penetrate it. I almost wish I could say that since then I've been in a profound silence; instead I hear a constant sound like rushing water or the wind in trees; punctuated by an indescribable sound, the closest thing to which I can describe as a dog barking, very very far away. The latter is most annoying.

I am not really ready right now to talk about what it feels like, because it doesn't feel very good at all. If I permit myself one comment, I'll note that profound deafness is not for the claustrophobic - literally.

Maybe I'll never have to describe it, but as detail in a tale with a different ending. Let's wait and see, shall we?

We did usual and unusual things on Saturday and Sunday; went to a Cultural Festival which I'd helped organize, went to the bookstore (having finished both The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring, I picked up The Two Towers and The Return of the King; I expect I'll be finding a lot more time for reading in the coming weeks), went to the building supply store, on Sunday took the kitties for a walk in their, and our, beloved Odell Park; bought gardening supplies. I have been spending a lot of time in the garden in the last few days; it is very theraputic and something I can do very competently and peacefully in silence. I am growing snow peas, which are just going great guns, and scallions, which are not, in a tiny garden about one by two metres in a corner of the postage-stamp-sized yard; but my heart's delight is my flowers.

In my shady yard (in the heart of the old downtown core - which I would give up for nothing) - I don't have the pick of the blooming crop. I have a formal "Shade Garden" proper under the elm tree - its first residents were a birthday gift from my husband who saw my frustration with the large area under the tree where it seemed nothing thrived, researched shade gardens, and delivered a tray of appropriate and still-thriving plants. I add to it year by year, and love it best of all of all corners of my home. There I have abundant and overflowing perennials (which grow back on their own year after year): bleeding hearts; somewhat tentative foxglove (planted them just this year - they are growing but I do not think they'll bloom this year); astilbe; lily-of-the-valley and forget-me-not. In containers about the garden in areas that get more sun I have annuals; inexpensive "bedding plants" that live one year only; and these will do so shouting with joyful colour and much-appreciated in their containers in my yard: impatiens (several containers of pink and white and a couple of containers of "Voodoo Mix" which promise to grow in a loopy and hysterical mix of pinks, purples and oranges); geraniums (red and white); and red and white begonias. All these varieties I've found practically kill-proof in our Zone 4 (cold) garden which gets much shade and has clay-like soil.

As I continue to plan the perennial garden - planting things which I hope to be permanent in their place - I think I have found the proper spot for a Columbine; yellow, maybe (very few yellow flowers, it seems to me in my searching, are shade-tolerant, and I'd like more yellow in my garden). Hell, I think I'll get a couple, in different colours. Next to the gate to the backyard is my rosebush; a Hunter Rose, a birthday gift from my in-laws some years ago; like the other plants, tough as a son of a bitch, blooming from July to August with fat red blossoms and shooting out fierce new branches every year as it reaches for the sun. Toughest little bugger I ever saw; I am looking about for another to put on the other side of the walkway, at the other side of the gate. Anything that tough and lovely deserves a second go.

I am trying very hard to walk the line between staying optimistic and living my life in this silence and not appearing to be flippant or blithe. What I am NOT most of all, is resigned.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Ronnie: With reference to "good advice/bad advice, a lot of things have changed in our understanding of the nervous system. The old dogma held that we are born with a fixed number of neurons and these cells proceed to die off from the moment we are born. We now know that several regions in the brain continue to generate *new* nerve cells throughout adult life, eg, in the hippocampus. This came as a complete shock to the scientific community just a few years ago.
Acupuncture has been shown to modify the activity of the immune system in autoimmune disorders and also to reduce inflammation and promote regeneration of damaged tissues, including peripheral nerves.
3) The nerve endings may not actually be dead. They may simply be in a refractory state from which they could potentially recover under the right circumstances.
4) If all else fails, you might want to consider a cochlear implant. These devices have become very sophisticated and have enabled the profoundly deaf to recognize speech and music again.
Best wishes.

1:05 p.m.  
Blogger ronnie said...

Thank you, a.j.! Very promising information. Please continue to post anything you think may be helpful.


8:37 p.m.  

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