By: JANA GREENE
There has been a little saga going on in which I develop dual raging ear infections as of late. I hadn’t had an ear infection in eons prior to this year, mostly I get sinus infections. But this year – for so MANY, MANY reasons, was different.
By the way – toddlers are universally correct about this one – ear infections SUCK. They hurt like hell and make you dizzy and prone to bad moods. So suffice to say, I went to the doctor, who confirmed the double infections, and was put on strong antibiotics. That was last week.
So THIS week, I go the the ENT to make sure the infections had cleared. I am happy to report, they have. So that could be the end of the story, if the ENT hadn’t decided to do an auditory test, since it had been probably 10 years since I had my hearing tested.
No problem. Cool. Let’s do it.
After the test, the doctor parked me in an examining room and came in to give me the results.
“About your hearing test,” he starts with.
I do an audible guffaw, if guffawing was a noise. “Well, I guess I went to too many hair band concerts in the 80’s hahahaha,” say I.
He does not laugh.
“Mrs. Greene,” he starts. “You have moderate hearing loss.”
“Huh,” I state. “Well at least I don’t need hearing aids yet!” Says my inner internal optimist, who should really just shut the hell up most of the time. She’s usually wrong. This is why I usually just avoid the middle man and assume the worst.
“Well, about that….” says he.
“But I’m 52 years old!” I tell him, which hastens him to flip through my chart.
“WHAT??” I say, prophetically I suppose.
Yall, I cannot tell you how depressing this news is. Aside from a janky faith, quirky family, dearly beloved animals, and sick sense of humor, it’s MUSIC that sees me through. Music gets me physically high. It changes the landscape of my mind, which – if you mapped it out – is naturally full of cragginess, hidden sinkholes, and all manner of detour signs.
“WHAT???” is a frequent sentiment these days.
Remember that stupid, morbid game we all played as kids, ‘Would you rather be deaf or blind’? I always go with blind. Not that I’d like to be blind – I love the ability to see – but I cannot fathom life without music. I was the kid in Kindergarten who had to wear an eye patch for lazy eye. My glasses are thicc, honey child. But even with my eyes closed, I can “see” music.
Music has auras. I can “smell” music, at times. It’s called synesthesia, and its one more thing that makes me a weirdo, but happily so. Most of the other things that make me a weirdo are just plain weird, not at all endearing. So I love my sense of sound.
Am I being dramatic? Probably. But this is the year that has aged me 10 years in a multitude of ways. This year alone, I have learned my kidneys are crapping out. I’ve gone from a few gray hairs to becoming pretty white-headed. I’ve lost stamina and muscle tone, and lost an unhealthy amount of weight in a short amount of time from worsening gastroperesis, and had to be hospitalized once because of a gastric bleed.
Yadda yadda blah blah blah, yes it sounds like a pity party, but it also sounds like the woes of a person much (or at least a little) aged than me, chronic illness or not.
The icing on the cake that is 2021 is depression. It’s a depression sadder and more resigned than angry and hostile. It’s a defeatist strain of the thing. On the heels of 2020, which I think we all can agree felt like being punked by the Universe, this year of “But wait….there’s MORE!” has got me really struggling.
I don’t even have the energy to be passionate about this round of depression. Usually, I work my depression out by getting pissed at it, emotionally stomping around a bit, depending on the help of others, getting extra therapy, etc. But I don’t have it in me this time. You know the “shrug” emoji?
LIFE: “There are NEW strains of Covid…”
LIFE: “You cannot eat gluten. Or much sugar. Or have caffeine, so say goodbye to your beloved real coffee…”
LIFE: “Your kidneys are actively failing.”
LIFE: “You will have some level of pain every moment of your existence….”
LIFE: “Some is the pain is unbearable.”
LIFE: “You will lose your mobility…”
LIFE: “You’ll stop writing and painting, and not even really care….”
LIFE: “ANNNNND, you will need hearing aids in the not-so-distant future…”
ME: Okay, enough. WTF??? I’M 52!”
So here I am – finally doing a little writing. Not because it will slow down any of the above or even help any of it. But maybe it will help me deal with this shitty low-grade depression of resignation.
What is the difference between acceptance and resignation? That’s a question for my therapist to help me explore. Because I can’t figure it out myself.
In the meantime….
The nice ENT is ready to help me get into some hearing aids “whenever I feel ready.”
I continue to eat food that is neither tasty, nor satisfying to the soul. Like real bread.
I try very hard to remind myself that so many have it so much worse, but honestly…the more shit that goes wrong with my body, the less prominently into my toolbox of positive thinking. I have to grieve my limitations.
I do All The Things I’m supposed to with dull, necessary regularity.
But deep inside I am neither dull nor resigned. I’m wild and free, listening to the BEST music at the LOUDEST volume. I’m full of off-color humor and love for the divine, and laughter, even when of the ‘gallows’ variety.
So I cry. And complain. And try to accept. And…
And to the Universe, a question: “WHAT???”
Come shrug along with me, and we will figure out acceptance together.
One minor crisis at a time.