Temporary Clog

I’ve been clogged.  Well, more specifically, my ears have been clogged for several days.  Particularly the left ear.  It’s wax, so I’m using over the counter meds to decrease it and it is slowly working, but that’s not the point of this.


On Friday I went to work, early because of a meeting, and as I sat there listening to participants asking questions back and forth I became dizzy.  The kind of dizzy that feels like you’ve been drinking and clubbing for 5 hours and really need to pass out.  The kind of dizzy that when I closed my eyes…it got worse.  The room was tilting and swaying and I felt off kilter.  So, I went home.  To rest.  To make it better.  To unclog my ears.

And that was fine.  The right ear cleared up fairly quickly and the dizziness receded. The left ear…not so much. I couldn’t hear any specific or precise noises whatsoever —  only the muffled vibrations and beats of sound passing by.  And while there are quite a few things I’d love to turn the volume down for– my youngest’s angry tirades, my oldest’s sarcastic comebacks, my husband asking me what’s for dinner–I had never realized how much I truly miss when I can’t hear out of even one ear.

I don’t mean to sound flip, or stupid or unfeeling of the deaf.  That is not my intent at all.  Being truly hearing impaired permanently is a completely different situation..I get that.  With my recent issue I always had confidence that I would be back to “normal” relatively soon.  I knew that this was temporary.  That is a huge difference between my temporary cloggatude and those truly deaf.  But, and here’s part of my point, I knew what I was missing.  And that was AWFUL.  You don’t miss what you never had.

I was missing answers to questions I voiced.  I would have to turn my head to my “good” ear and ask statements to be repeated.  The more I did it, the more frustrated everyone else became with my ear issue, so there was terseness in responses.

I was missing small and large questions asked of me.  My lack of response leading to more terseness.  Again the need to repeat breeds frustration.

I was missing the small quiet comments made by my daughters “on the sly”.  You know, the funny side bits that make you chuckle or laugh out loud.  Where after you make eye contact with your baby girl and know there is a connection.  The terseness here is my inner monologue to myself and my ear to hurry up and clean up!

As I said, slowly my left ear is becoming less clogged and more normal.  I’m hearing more now of what is said.  I’m saying “repeat that” less.  The dizzyness is gone.  But it has definitely been an experience.  Heh, even the small experiences can “learn” ya somethin’.

At one point I thought I might make this a metaphor for life, re: when situations or people “clog” you up.  There was also the obvious “wait until I’m really old and it’s NOT temporary but progressively worse” idea.  But really it was just about me…my ear….and what I was missing now.  Hopefully I’ll be more appreciative in the future.

Actual Update: Right now as I write this, my oldest is in her bedroom singing.  Not loudly, just quietly to herself, for herself.  I can hear her.  It is lovely.

Not a Golf Story

golf-hole-e1341495561381I had a breakdown the other day.  Not a “throwing stuff at the wall, cursing all around me” breakdown.  A “tears started streaming down my face with seemingly no connection to what was going on around me” breakdown.  So I decided to figure out why that happened.

I get that at 50 we’re supposed to be all about the mid-life self examination and reflection and that’s why so many 50 year old men buy sports cars and the women get chin lifts and cheek implants.  Got it.   But, I didn’t do that.  Didn’t even WANT to do that.  At 50 I was fine.  It was just a number.  I was proud that I had made it to 50.  I enjoyed the perks of being an AARP member (free donuts at Dunkin!).  51 was fine too.  Surreal just because at 16 you can’t really even conceptualize being 51.   But 52…ah…52.

Let me first say that this time of year is difficult for me anyway.  My dad was diagnosed with a brain tumor 2 days before my birthday in April  of 1994 and died that same year on Father’s Day in June.  Rough spring…rough year, and so spring always gets me a little grumpy.  But this year…whew.

So, I broke it down and realized my “crisis” had been delayed.  I was having it at 52.  Then, because that’s how my mind works, I asked myself, “Why?  Why  a mental meltdown?  Why now?”   The answer came to me rather simply.  And when I looked back in time, logically.  It’s happened before.  Major emotional epiphanies don’t happen as scheduled.  They happen when you least expect it because they need to.

When I turned 50 and even last year, I was kinda prepared for a bout of depression to hit.  I had been in conversations with friends questioning their life choices, but I had just shrugged.  Don’t get me wrong–I’ve made some bad choices, but I felt I’d come to terms with them.  Understanding that while with wisdom I perhaps would have made different decisions, the decisions I did make made me who I am and colored the reason my life is like it is.  A “that’s life” attitude, if you will.  That’s what I had.  But the other day…

I was sitting in my hotel room during a break from a conference I was attending.  I was staring out the window at the beautiful golf course and fountains surrounding me, watching as 4 golfers played a hole all the way to the green.  Each taking a putting shot at the hole.  No one making it and then each grabbing their ball off the ground and walking back to the golf  cart–done with that hole.  I was confused.  No one had putted their ball in the hole.  Not a man.

Wasn’t the point to get the ball in the hole?  Didn’t you keep hitting it until it finally fell into the hole?   That’s one reason I didn’t play golf.  I knew I had no skill at getting the tiny white orb into the far away hole.  I even suck at putt-putt.  You can’t fail if you don’t try.

I looked at the hole and back at the golfers sauntering away from it.  None of  them looked back at the hole.  They were clearly finished with it.  And so I cried.

Now, I’m not really trying to make some great analogy between golf and my life.  That would be too contrived.  But that little incident made me think.  Here I was at a conference I wasn’t really interested in, in a hotel on a course of a game I never played, tearing up because this was where I was at 52.  So, I need to change something.

I’ve made that vow before.  But I want to stop crying.  I am 52…it’s not a bad age…it’s not even that old (especially if you’re over 60).  Sure, every spring is gonna be harder than the rest of the year—but maybe if I just start small.  A small change every…what…month?  Yeah.  Month.  That’s 12 changes or adjustments each year.  Ok.  First change–more blogging.  Writing may not be my passion…but it is a lifeline for my brain.  I need to do it more.  Maybe it will keep the breakdowns at bay.

Maybe I don’t need to get every ball in every hole.  Maybe sometimes I can just pick up my ball and drive away from the hole.  How’s that for a lesson?

See, told you.  This wasn’t about golf.