Friday, February 11, 2011


Communication is something I take for granted.  Even with my hearing impairment, I am oral.  In other words, I speak and usually understand spoken language (often through lip reading). I have trouble in large groups, places with lots of background noise, and telephones or any place really where I can't see the lips of the speaker.
I'm used to being able to get my point across using my voice.  I'm used to being able to tell doctors what is wrong and how I feel.
Today, I got to experience what it was like to not be able to communicate.  I woke up with a wicked sore throat (I'd been working on it for a day or two already) and completely unable to communicate with my voice.   This was slightly problematic because I needed to go to the doctor.  I feared strep or bronchitis or both (there have been some real nasties going around campus the last few weeks).  Thanks to texting and facebook I was able to find a ride to the doctor.  This was more of a challenge than usual, because I needed someone who could speak "Joy" - a very special language that involves some ASL and some random hand gestures and lots of eye movements.  It was a language developed at Central when I was having so many seizures and wasn't verbal immediately afterwards. Only a small handful of people here at WTS know how to speak "Joy".  Since I was completely non-verbal today I had to find one of those small handful of people to come with me.  I did. :)
A wonderful friend accompanied me to Urgent care and "interpreted" for me.  It was so useful to have her along.  I'm not quite sure what I would have done if I had no one who knew "Joy" who could come with me.  Probably try and write everything out, which would also have been an adventure, since my handwriting leaves a lot to be desired.
After I got home with my medication, which was another adventure altogether (apparently I have a newborn who is sick...if my child gets sicker I have to bring her back to urgent care...that's what my discharge papers say), I took my baby's medication (because I knew it was really for me, not my baby, because I don't have a baby.   It had never crossed my mind that liquid medication, especially medication designed for small children, would be flavored.  I drew the syringe out.  It looked suspiciously yellow. I signed to my roommate that I wondered if it contained banana.  Only one way to find out...I squirted it in my mouth.  It tasted vaguely of banana.  My first instinct was to panic.  The last time I had come in contact with banana, it had been on someone's hands who had touched me.  I had needed 75mg of Benadryl to pull out of it.  I couldn't determine if the hint of banana was artificial or real.  My tongue was starting to feel funny, almost like a pre-reaction. I wasn't sure it was a reaction or the "funny feeling" the doctor had warned me about. There was only one thing to do call.  Call the pharmacy.  Except I had no voice.  Thankfully I have an awesome roommate who was willing to make the call for me.  The pharmacist assured her that all flavoring was artificial.  I hoped and prayed he was right, because if he was wrong, we were wasting precious seconds.  Now, a number of hours later, I'm fairly certain he was right.  Otherwise, I'd be hanging out in the emergency room on a million and five monitors.
It was weird to have to depend on someone else to get my message across.  I had to trust my friends to communicate on my behalf. It reminded me of a Bible verse from Romans 8:26 "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express."
When we don't know how to pray, G-d listens to the Spirit who communicates on our behalf.  When I couldn't communicate for myself, the doctors and nurses and pharmacists, listened to my friends who communicated on my behalf.  Just like I had to trust my friends to get my message across, I have to trust the Spirit to communicate with G-d on my behalf.  My friends are trustworthy.  The Spirit is a bajillion times more trustworthy.  That is a great comfort.

No comments: