Sunday, February 1, 2009


Both of my kids were born 5 weeks early. My son Dylan spent his first week in an incubator with special lights to treat jaundice. They also gave him antibiotics.

Months later the hospital had us bring him back to test for hearing loss that the antibiotic sometimes caused. They told me there wasn’t really much reason for him to have taken them but they were given as a precaution.

I was furious. Hearing has always been the most cherished sense in my family. Life without music would be a totally different experience. 

For deaf people to understand my perception I can only offer this. I had a dream once that I’d lost my hearing. It was like not being able to breath. I fell to the ground gasping for sound.

My ex gets angry with my lack of respect for doctors. “They know a lot more than you do,” she's always telling me. I actually have a great respect for doctors and their knowledge. I also know they’re human and are sometimes wrong.

A lot of doctors cave to patients that insist on antibiotics for viral conditions. These doctors know full well they only work for bacterial problems and can weaken the patients’ immune system. We had a winter several years ago where old people were dying and a link was drawn to weakened immune systems caused by antibiotics.

Last night an old friend of my girlfriend Valerie came to visit. His name is Don. After an hour or so I noticed a plastic device on the end of his glasses. Don was totally deaf and I hadn’t noticed until he looked at me and said, “I just got a new cochlear implant and I haven’t gotten used to it yet, could you repeat that?”

He said he perceived sounds differently than we did. It sounded robotic. He said he hadn’t heard music in 15 years. He also related a conversation he’d had with 2 friends who also had implants.

It was a sunny day and Don said to the others, “Man it sure is windy.” “Wednesday, I thought it was Thursday.” said another. The third replied, “Me too let’s go for a drink.” I had the feeling this was an old classic joke between deaf people.

The deaf community is only now coming around to the idea of implants. The position has been deafness isn’t unhealthy.

Harlan Lane, a psychologist and linguist at Northeastern University, puts it this way. “If you believe, as I do, that a healthy, deaf child is a healthy child like a healthy, short child, it’s just plain wrong to operate on that child.”

I would put this in my political blog but no one reads it. This is from personal experience so here it is.


Anonymous said...

You failed to mention that your Dad's paternal grandparents were both deaf - one from birth, the other from infancy or very young childhood. I don't know the cause anymore. Your father may have told me. If so, I don't remember.

I always thought your Dad's dad's voice was a little odd. but I never associated it with his parents being deaf. Your Grandma used to tell and laugh that when your Dad was very small he used to flail his hands around when he talked with his grandparents, thinking he was signing.

Your Mom

Anonymous said...

One more comment from me = life without music would be a hell with no sustenance to make a traverse through this vale of tears worth the effort. I'm so glad both you and Patrick have ALWAYS loved music and your children have, as well.

Your Mom

dominic schaeffer said...

My favorite quote from Robert Fripp:

Music is The Cup that holds
The Wine Of Silence;
Sound is that cup- but empty;
Noise is that cup- but broken.

Doggie said...

I guess only people who can hear can really appreciate silence.

Anonymous said...

Not to sound morbid, but in all honesty, if I had lost my hearing and the ability to listen to music, I would have ended it all long ago.