Some days, I go without my cochlear implant processor, especially on days when I'm staying around the house and there's no real need for me to hear anything. Days like today. It gives my skin a chance to rest from being pulled by the magnet and gives me a semblance of peace and quiet for a little while.
I'd planned on working in the house, cleaning and de-cluttering years of neglect (and a little bit of laziness) after exhausting days of teaching little ones. So the CI remained in the dry and store box this morning.
I thought of retrieving it for a quick run to the store to get more vinegar for the window cleaning solution, but decided it probably wasn't necessary for such a quick errand -- in and out. Get the vinegar and go. You know, just a few minutes in the store. And I had my hearing aid in, so I wasn't completely deaf.
What I failed to take into consideration was that this particular store was a Target. And there is no such thing as a quick run to Target. (You know I'm right!)
The first problem I encountered was being unable to locate the vinegar. Though I'd walked up the condiments aisle a couple of times, my eyes seemed locked at eye-level, and I didn't see the vinegar nestled on the bottom shelf. I had to ask a young man who was stocking shelves.
Now, I 'm only a fair lip reader, and after the second (maybe third), "Where?", the young man proceeded to walk me to the same aisle from whence I'd come and helped me find the vinegar. I politely thanked him for helping and he went back to work.
But I wasn't done yet. I decided to get a new microfiber cloth.
I headed to the automotive aisle and found the cloths among the car washing supplies. But as each cloth has a specific purpose, I had to read several labels to determine which one was a general purpose cloth for my purpose. I must have dallied in the aisle a little too long. I was greeted by not one or two, but THREE salespeople. I've no idea what they said, but I replied with a generic, "Thank you, I'm fine" to each one. I'm pretty certain that stupid "doofus smile" crossed my face at least once.
And since I was in the area, I browsed the towels. I was thinking of getting another hand towel for my powder room. I was greeted by a young lady restocking the aisle and just as another "Thank you" was rolling across my lips, I turned to see she was actually helping another customer. So I picked up my towel and hurried away before she could talk to me, too.
At the checkout, the young lady engaged me in some kind of conversation, smiling and pleasantly talking as she rang my items -- mostly looking away at the register. She may or may not have asked if I wanted to apply for a red card, as they always do. I decided against speaking and just smiled pleasantly back. I think I thanked her several times, too.
Then on my way out, of course, I had to have a Starbucks. I ordered my drink and could hear the cheerful barista talking as she prepared my frappuccino -- blender and all. I busied myself with counting enough quarters to pay for my drink. It seemed she didn't need a response from me, but I thanked her, anyway.
It seemed appropriate.
Today's excursion was a glaring reminder that no matter what I wish, my hearing aid alone is grossly inefficient. I need to have both of my hearing devices to navigate the hearing world successfully. And without embarrassment. One is not as good as both.
I am extremely fortunate to have a cochlear implant and my decision to be implanted was a good one. Together with my hearing aid, the CI helps me to live a relatively "normal" life. And I am reminded today to be grateful, even when I struggle. And that, friends, is worth a thousand "Thanks".