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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/books/entry_id/741568-Help-or-just-another-sign-of-aging
Rated: 18+ · Book · Opinion · #1241026
Thoughts on things from the news, TV, radio, and daily life that hit home with me.
#741568 added December 11, 2011 at 6:13pm
Restrictions: None
Help, or just another sign of aging?
         That's a decision each of us has to make for ourselves at those times, and I seem to be at odds with my dad on this, though he seems to be slowly accepting, though maybe not agreeing with me on my viewpoint.
         Dad is 91, and fell about a year ago, breaking his left hip. He had been living independently in a local retirement community. The surgery was routine, and therapy has given him back full mobility with the leg. But, he can't balance well enough now to walk without the help of a walker. He hasn't gotten his balance back, and that means he's in a wheelchair most of his waking time. It took him a while to accept that, but he finally has, though a bit grudgingly.
         A while back when I was still trying to get him to use the walker, he only looked at it as a sign that he was beginning to lose his freedom. That's where we differ on the subject.
         For about 2 weeks early last year, after I had somehow irritated my right sacroiliac joint, I had to use a cane to get around, to keep the weight off my right leg as I walked. If I put too much weight on it that joint would tell me that in no uncertain terms. As a result, my steps were very short, but I was still able to go to work and get my job done. And that's what was important to me. I had to leave my desk a few minutes before others did in order to walk to a meeting I had in another part of our building complex, because it took me longer to get there with those short steps I had to take. But, I did it on my own. And that beat the heck out of taking time off because I couldn't walk very well. I looked at the cane as a way to KEEP my independence, not as something that was a sign of LOSING it. I have not needed the cane since that inflammation healed, and I'm thankful for that. But I would use it again in a heartbeat before I would give in to any similar problems.
         Recently, I've had to make use of another type of help, this time a form of modern technology. I got a pair of hearing aids this past Friday. Again, they are something that will help me KEEP my independence and allow me to stay in touch with things around me.
         Thankfully I only need them for the very top edge of the audible range of normal hearing. The range where, for example, many female voices are. And that's a very small part of our total audible range of sound. I also had problems such as which voice I would hear if I were sitting at a table with a group of people. I didn't always hear the person next to me. I would often hear the person 2 or 3 seats away from me because their voice was more PENETRATING than those seated near me. Or, it would sometimes sound as if a person a few feet away from me was mumbling. These are supposed to help me with those situations as well. Over the next three weeks, between now and my first "checkup", I'll be able to tell if they do. I happen to be on vacation this week, so I don't have the chance to check them out in my office environment yet, where most of the problems were first noticed. I'm going to pick a day or two this coming week and drop by the office for lunch, and see what sounds different around my coworkers and in the company cafeteria. That will help satisfy my curiosity about how much they help till I go back to work the following week. And I'm keeping a journal of things I notice, and questions I have for the audiologist, to take with me for answers during that checkup. That way she will be able to refine the tuning of the hearing aids, and the multiple programs she set up in them for my situations, so they help as much as possible. The important thing is that I noticed an overall improvement from the time I put them in that first day in her office last Friday. I'm hearing many sounds that I didn't even realize I hadn't been hearing for a while. Making the decision to let modern technology help me continue to maintain the life I'm familiar with was a no brainer, and should be for anyone.
         . Yes, I have a slight problem getting the one into my left ear because of my very slight case of cerebral palsy on my left side. It only shows when I need detailed manual dexterity in my left hand. I don't have that. I end up using both hands to get that one in place.
         But still, all things considered, I'd rather be fighting that for a few extra minutes each morning than to have to deal with the alternative of not being able to easily understand some people around me, or fully appreciate all the wonderful sounds around me that I didn't realize I hadn't been hearing until I got them back.
         Think about it when your time comes to need a little outside help. None of us, myself included, should ever let pride or denial get in the way of being able to continue the lifestyle we've always enjoyed. I never have. And we should do all we can to see that those we care about don't short change themselves when it comes to these decisions either. . .

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