So...if you have read our blog before...you know that I don't! Jeff does it...he is the blogger in our family. He is funny, he is great with words, he can make you cry, he can cheer you up, challenge you, and gosh darn it...people like him! Now that we have established that this is a RARE occasion for me, Kara Lee Santos Brown to be blogging...here goes...my first time...
I was born w/ a hearing disability...it was not discovered until I was 4 years old. High Frequency loss amounting to 90 % in my right ear and 10% in my left ear. I was given a hearing aid...undercover word for, make fun of me! I was taken out of class once a week for speech therapy and the best part was they taught me how to read lips. (let me tell you...that has come in handy on numerous occasions!)
The bottom line was that I HATED having a hearing aid, I hated being different, and I hated being told I HAD to do/or wear something. I fought, and I mean fought HARD to get rid of that thing! To the point where I would walk out of the house wearing it to appease my parents and then as SOON as I got to the bus stop I would take it out and put it in my backpack. The bad news - the kids in my class and my teachers did not have a hearing disability and could hear it beeping b/c I would often forget to turn it off in a rush to get it out of my ear and in the backpack as soon as possible. So then I would get busted at home AND at school.
Didn't matter...still fought the hearing aid battle...determination is one of my most endearing qualities. :) just ask my parents! So needless to say I eventually wore them down...6th grade, Jr. High, the mother of all transitions up to that point in my life...they said if my grades did not suffer I did not have to wear my hearing aid to school! Praise the Lord! He does hear and answer prayers! No more speech therapy, no more hearing aid, no more being made fun of, no more being different!
It never affected my grades! It affected other things in my life though...music is hard for me to follow b/c I can't make out the lyrics. That is one of the reasons I love worship music so much, I know the words b/c they are on a screen every week at church. Movies in the theater...fun for most, for me very frustrating b/c if the screen is not showing the person who is talking I can't read their lips and I miss what they are saying. Whisper to me...hahaha Not a chance I can hear that. Missing out on things said...my friends always having to repeat themselves. Never being able to put the phone on my right ear. And the list goes on...
Now lets fast forward, graduated from college, got married to the man of my dreams, we got pregnant with our first baby...I didn't want to miss my little one cry, coo, or say uv u (love you) for the first time! So with some money saved up and a loan from Jeff's parents (Thanks Mom and Dad Brown) we went and purchased a hearing aid for Mama Kara. It was sufficient, enough to help, but nothing to write home about...we had a budget to stick with and a baby on the way, not to mention insurance does not cover them!
And then we had our little bundle of joy, Caleb...and that same bundle of joy (a year and a half later) stepped on my purse, which happened to have the hearing aid in it...yup...he smashed it to smithereens! My bad for taking it out and putting it in my purse...but those things itch after they are in your ear all day long! Needless to say, insurance still doesn't cover them, we have 2 babies and bills to pay...Mama Kara is back to reading lips and "what did you say again?"
In the meantime being blessed w/ friends and family who repeat themselves a million times, watch tv shows and movies w/ captions on, running buddies who always run on my left side so when they are talking and breathing hard I can hear them, tilting the rear view mirror down when I am in the backseat so I can read their lips and not be left out, and so much more!!!
Fast Forward to September 13, 2010...I get a text from my running buddy Erik, and I quote, "what is ur deafness called?" I laughed so hard I had tears running down my face. Turns out he is talking to Dr. Bill Austin, who is at the Extreme Home Makeover site, which happens to be the Oregon School for the Deaf - here in Salem! Erik says, "get over here, they will give you a hearing test"...in my mind I am thinking...Erik, I already know I am deaf! And Jeff and I are supposed to have a date night, and I don't want to go get tested again, we don't have money for another one, blah, blah, blah. Jeff says, lets just go...so we do...pack up the kids and head out. They give me a test...yup...still deaf!
Scott (test/ear mold guy) starts asking me questions about my hearing loss...what is hard? What do you wish you could hear? What is the hardest thing for you about your hearing loss? This is when tears start...I realize how much I truly miss out on...I have just always adapted...but in truth...I miss a lot of what my kids say. I miss out on one of my husbands gifts and passions in music. I miss out on getting sweet little whispers in my ears from my kiddos...b/c I can't hear them...so they don't do it! I miss the cute things they say and sing in the back of the car b/c I can't always tilt the rear view mirror to see their lips.
What I don't realize...until they are making molds for BOTH of my ears (I have only had 1 in my right ear before) is that...they are making molds for in ear hearing aids...this means they think I am getting TWO hearing aids!?! I stopped Scott and let him know, we don't have the money for this, and I have never had 2 before, only 1...he looks at me confused and says, "how did you hear about this?" I fill him in on Erik and the free test. Scott looks at me w/ tears in his eyes and says, "this is a $3,000.00 hearing test Kara. You are getting not 1 but 2 FREE hearing aids today." This is when the ugly cry starts...I can't believe it...and these are not just hearing aids...these are the Best of the Best! (I know...I sound like an old lady...off to a nursing home!) Jeff comes over, I explain, we both burst into tears...Scott is tearing up w/ us...and says to Jeff, "date night will never be the same, you can go to the movies now!"
Wow...I am in awe of how God chose to heal me! I have been praying for my ears to be made new for as long as I can remember! I want to hear what my husband plays...completely! I want to hear my kids...even when I am not looking at their faces! I am sure all my family and friends want me to stop asking, "what did you say again?" Thank you for always repeating yourselves! Thank you Erik for being that friend...like the friends in Mark 2:4! Thank you Dr. Bill Austin for your generosity! Thank you Jeff for pushing me to go for the "free hearing test" when I just wanted a date night w/ you...life will never be the same husband! Thank you Extreme Home Makeover for coming to Salem! Thank You God...for hearing me...healing me...loving me...and saving me!!!