Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Explaination of DEF

Before I start, I have a confession--this is my third blog. I'll try not to lose interest after three posts this time!

But in my defense, my last two blogs were kind of meaningless. The first one had no focal point and the second one was about being fired, which I am long over. I've moved on!

"DEF" stands for Deaf Equine Fanatic.

Equine Fanatic because--let's put it this way--I'm 27 years old and the horse-bug is biting me harder than ever. Horses are my favorite thing to think, talk, and write about. My horse is pretty much my life and I honestly don't know what I would do without her.

As for the "Deaf" part, well, I have never liked calling myself deaf. I'm okay with hard-of-hearing, or any other mild versions of the word "deaf". I have always seen the label "deaf" as powerful, unfortunate, maybe even embarrassing. I realize I have been subconciously distancing myself from that label.

But more and more, due to the discrimination I am facing during my 3+ month-long job search, I'm realizing that I'm not as distant from that label as I once thought I was. It's time to stop fighting it.

I was born with normal hearing. At the age of three, I stole a fellow tyke's lolliop. Little did I know that yummy lollipop was carrying a bacterial version of spinal meningitis. I have snapshots of memories of my hospital stay but I have absolutely no idea when my hearing officially left me.

After the hospital stay, my mom realized that her normally chatty little girl was stone-quiet. I guess my parents took me to a specialist. I can't imagine how devastated they were when they were told that I can't hear anymore.

I could have died so I suppose losing my hearing is a bargain. That said, there have times in my life that I wish I had died instead.

I wear a digital hearing aid in my left ear. I don't wear anything in my right ear because I can't hear anything--zilch--out of it, even with a hearing aid. The digital hearing aid is a huge help; I can hear the majority of sounds. There are still a lot of sounds that I miss, though. On the other hand, I can sometimes hear things that people with normal hearing can't. For example: what the hell is that ever-persistant buzzing/droning I hear in the kitchen of our new apartment?! It drives me CRAZY! Unfortunately, no one else seems to hear it (I have asked) so I guess me and my cats will have to deal with it ourselves.

I can't use phones. I can maybe make out a few words over the phone if I'm talking to my mom or husband. If I'm ever in a dire emergency situation (like stuck in my rolled-over VW in a rural ditch somewhere, my seatbelt slowly strangling me to death), I will use my Blackberry to call my husband and ask for help.

But otherwise, phones are a no-go. I use a relay service (www.ip-relay.com) instead to make phone calls. I always cringe when I call someone new using that service. You have no idea how many people think I'm a telemarketer.

Thanks to never-ending speech therapy sessions from age 3 to 19, I can speak almost normally (I've had people ask me if I'm from Germany or Europe before, though) and read lips extremely well.

Anyway, that's just an intro, something to bring you to speed.