Many of my “regular” readers may remember that I am “Hard of hearing”. Hearing people usually use the term “hearing impaired”. We prefer to be called “Hard of hearing”. Mostly because we don’t feel that we are broken or “impaired”. Technically it means that Im not totally deaf. I can hear various pitches, frequencies and sounds. With my hearing aids in, I can hear a bit more of the letters and words in normal conversation. But add in background noise and people who mumble or talk very fast. Next, add the situation of trying to “listen” to several people at once, in a crowded room or restaurant? Lastly, there are those with facial hair all around their mouth and lips. They are the group for me, who have the most frustrating lips to read! Then again, it’s not really like “reading”. Because it’s more like piecing together bits and pieces then trying to “fill in the missing pieces”.
In case you’re not familiar with my hearing loss journey; I’ll recap just a little bit for you. When I was a child, I had recurring ear infections. During those times, I could often be found literally rocking my body back & forth, while curled up in the fetal position. My memories start as young as age 4 or 5. It was always pure hell while I was living with horrible ear infections. When I complained to my parents about the excruciating 😖 throbbing Pain in my ear (or ears), my mother would always say same thing. She’d tell me “Once your eardrum ruptures, the pressure will go away and you will feel better!” Well, I did feel better, but each time that happened it caused scar tissue to form in my ear drums. It also caused mild hearing loss as I was growing up. I remember asking the teachers if I could sit closer to the board to try and hear them better. Therefore my audiologist (in 2002) & ENT Dr. felt that I’ve had mild hearing loss since I was a child. I had tubes put in my ears when I was about 9 years old. They were surgically placed multiple times and for several years.
Later in 2002, I was a passenger in a car driven by my husband. We were just driving along through a green light when we were hit by a car running through a red light. It was considered a “catastrophic accident”. I acquired a TBI (traumatic brain injury) and had multiple injuries and 9 surgeries. I went to brain injury rehab for 3 years & had 9 years of PT/OT, balance therapy and speech therapy. I acquired a pacemaker, glasses with prisms (for lowered vision), 2 screws in my left shoulder and 2 hearing aids. I also got a wheelchair, a seated wheeled walker, a motorized scooter, loft strand crutches, a cane and several other helping aides for activities of daily living.
I won’t bore you with all of the chronic pain illnesses that came out of that accident. That’s not what this post is all about. But I also acquired a bi-lateral sensory neural moderate/severe hearing loss in both of my ears L>R. Along with the many medical issues, I also acquired lower vision. I saw a Neuro-Othamoligist, who put prisms in my glasses to try and correct some of it. The prisms really bothered me. Today I just have a very strong prescription for eye glasses. Everything has a bit of a halo effect.
It’s ironic and very awesome that prior to that MVA (motor vehicle accident), I had been an ASL Interpreter. I worked at a Deaf preschool and then I interpreted for a school district. In the end, I was a medical Interpreter at a University hospital. I even did volunteer work doing medical interpreting for Deaf/Blind at free medical screening events. I had gone through a 4 year SLS/Interpreting program and finished with a 3.8 gpa.
Back in the 1980’s when I went to college, I practically lived at the dorms with my 16 Deaf friends. We watched CC “General Hospital” daily at 3:00 pm. We even tried to schedule our classes around it! It was a social hour. I’d been learning ASL since age 11 & even “tested out” of the first fingerspelling class.
The Deaf community accepted me and they were kind to me. At that time I went to Deaf bowling every Thursday with DAD club. I had a Deaf boyfriend whose sister was a cheerleader at MSD & we went to all of the football games and even the homecoming dance! Me and my group of college friends, who happened to be Deaf, used to go out dancing on Friday nights. One time my friends & I were on our way to a dance club and we got pulled over for a slight bit of speeding. We were all packed in the back of a mini van signing with each other. One of my friends told me to “talk to the officer”. I was terrified and I told him “No way! I’m afraid! Since I’m with you guys, I don’t want to talk to him either!” We all laughed as the officer just let us go with a handwritten warning on a piece of paper. That was a fun and I felt included.
Just to back track a little, I started learning ASL at age 11. My best friend & I babysat for a Deaf family who lived next door to her. The parents and 6 children were Deaf. The children went to the Lutheran School for Deaf at that time! They included me in many Deaf social activities and I learned the language & received my sign name from them. First we played games and I learned colors, numbers, family signs, days of week and more!
I’ve always felt accepted by the Deaf community. I always respected the language, ASL. How ironic then, that I lost a moderate-severe percentage of my hearing & was already prepared with the tools I needed!
I’ve lost touch with some of my old friends from DAD (Deaf Association of Detroit). But I still have a some close friends from the past, who are Deaf. I still feel a part of the community. I’d like to become even more involved again! But living with several high pain chronic illnesses makes it difficult to get out due to persistent pain.
I’ve found my own ways to reconnect and to feel not so “in-between” two worlds. I get to teach ASL vocabulary with the Deaf Socials on their Instagram and Facebook pages. I love & look forward to each new vocabulary list they give to me for teaching! I truly enjoy doing that and doing song covers to ASL on my Youtube channel: My YouTube channel at: ASLSuzyQ . I also post to my Instagram A link to my ASL Instagram and Twitter A link to my ASL Twitter with the same name. I do this for fun and as a volunteer and advocate for Deaf Awareness.
Lastly, I used to love being a part of two ASL performance groups during the 80’s, when I lived in Arizona & worked at a Deaf preschool. One group was called “Silent Impressions productions”. We performed in choreography and ASL to broadway show tunes and in costumes! We put in shows at ASU and it was so much fun! The other group to which I belonged, was called “Silent Praise”. We performed Christian songs while others did lyrical dances. We did that at the ASU Neumann center. It was such a fun time in my life. My friends and I also interpreted for our church community at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church in Scottsdale, AZ.
After reminiscing in this post, I feel so grateful that I had already been involved with the Deaf community & had many years of experience with ASL, before I became Hard of Hearing. As ironic as it seems, it’s not all that crazy. I had a mild hearing loss and then it worsened due to the TBI.
I mostly seem to write about chronic pain illnesses. I’ve been writing about the rights of chronic pain patients to have access to much needed opioid pain medications. We need these medications because without them, people like me wouldn’t even be able to do the small amount of activities that we try to do. I was forcibly tapered from my long acting pain meds after doing pretty well on them for almost 14 years! Now I sit in my recliner for approximately16 hours daily. I try to get up, put I make up and do some online activities every few days. But my life is not the same with so much less help for the pain.
Although I still want to continue advocating in that area, I’m doing more & more advocating for Deaf awareness, inclusion and preservation of ASL. I thought I’d put my hearing loss story and ASL history here in my blog too. I’ve written a few posts about Deafness and trying to live in “two worlds”. But I’ve never explained the details of how I became who I am today. I’m a survivor of long time childhood abuse, domestic violence and then a catastrophic car accident. I’m not a “victim” but I am a “fighter and a survivor”! Don’t ever give up!!
This is a quote from a dear friend of mine who is profoundly Deaf and he is a Professor of ASL at a University in Utah….with that being said….
This is a great blog post by someone on Tumblr, to whom I Subscribe. This is about what it’s like to live with hearing loss (*like I do and many others)..but still try to be functioning in both the Deaf/Hard of Hearing & Hearing worlds. Please feel free to visit & Subscribe to me on: Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok, Twitter & most of all YouTube At: ASLSuzyQ (the SC that I use most is: jewelrymkr)
So the things I’ve written lately, have been pretty “deep”; to say the least! I thought because you know that my Language is American Sign Language, and since things have been a bit “heavy”; I’d take it down a notch! I hope you enjoy this beautiful song about the crazy state of the world these days. Where the right and left are fighting and the chronic pain patients are losing life saving/giving pain medications. This song is called “Bleed the same” by Mandisa & with Toby Mac & Kirk Franklin. This is me signing in ASL to this beautiful song! I hope it lifts your spirits as it has mine!
Do you know that I suffered a TBI in a car accident in 2002? Did you know that I also had a CVA/Stroke in 2006? Because of these injuries, I have vision problems and hearing loss. I . had to wear prisms in my glasses for years and I have to use drops in my eyes daily or else I will go blind. The top layers of my eyes are a mess and this makes it difficult to see clearly at all, even with contacts and/or glasses. I also have 2 hearing aids to try and help with the hearing loss, which is moderate in my right ear and severe in my left ear. I am so lucky that I already knew and know ASL before the accident happened. I used to be an Interpreter for the Deaf at a University hospital and I worked at a school district as an Interpreter too. My hearing is getting a bit worse as the years go by and I will be getting new hearing aids in the Fall of 2018. I’m not sad because I have been a part of a rich culture, the Deaf community, since age 11. That is when I babysat for 6 Deaf children. Then I went to college, a 4 year Interpreting program. ASL has always been a treasured part of my life. But how ironic that as an adult, a car accident has made it an even more important and treasured part of my life.
I truly want to get the non-profits that help people with pain, to become more accessible to the Hard of Hearing and Deaf community. I hope that I can make a difference because there must be many more persons like me, who live with daily chronic pain and who have vision and/or hearing loss. If you are reading this and you are part of a non-profit or an organization that helps people living with chronic pain, please think about it? Let me start a program for you? Let me help do something to make these pain organizations become more accessible. Thank you so much for reading my blog and for taking the time to look at the songs that I’ve done in ASL.
So, I just finished doing one of my favorite songs of all time, in ASL *(American Sign Language). The lyrics in this song makes me think about my one and only, soul-mate; my husband Craig. He is the only person who has ever truly shown me love and respect unconditionally. I love him with my whole heart and soul. I hope you enjoy this song and the others, performed in ASL. Please, if you enjoy it, click “like” and then “Subscribe” to my Youtube channel at ASLSuzyQ- My YouTube channel for ASL
Instead of just posting one ASL song here for you, I thought I would give you a few other newer song covers that I’ve recently done in ASL. I have posted the links for “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri, “Fireworks” by Katy Perry, “Pulse” (its the song made for tribute to the Florida nightclub shooting in 2016 where many were killed and most were LGBTQ commmunity.), “Hello My Name Is” by Matthew West and “Where Is The Love?” By the Blackeyed Peas. Thank you for watching…
I hope today is a low pain day for you and/or your loved one(s) living with chronic pain.
I am Hard of hearing now since the TBI & I had been an Interpreter for the Deaf; prior to the car accident that caused all of this pain & these chronic illnesses.
I thought that you might enjoy seeing this this song performed in ASL, or “American Sign Language” & sung by Shawn Mendes. It’s called “It Isn’t In My Blood.” I feel like this song is exactly how I live my life, especially now. Then I thought about it more and realized that this is how many of us live our lives. We are People living with tremendous amounts of Chronic Pain day after day. This song is about not giving up. it’s also about how we reach out and ask for help but sometimes it feels like nobody’s listening. This is especially true right now, during these difficult times for chronic pain patients who need opioids to help give them some semblance of a life.
This song talks about how it just isn’t in me to give up or just lie down and do nothing. We all need to reach out and ask for help sometimes. We are fighters and we are survivors.
I just thought that this was an appropriate song for Chronic Pain survivors. I really like the lyrics to this song & I hope you enjoy it.
Thank you for following me and my blog “Tears of Truth”! If you’d like to follow my YouTube channel that has a large variety of full songs done in American Sign Language; the Link is here: Suzanne’s You Tube channel “ASLSuzyQ” Please support me, if you do enjoy it; by subscribing to my ASL channel. As I mentioned before, there’s a large variety of songs, from Country to Pop, and from Christian contemporary to Broadway musicals. Thank you so much again. Have a low pain day!
Below is a copy of a letter that I’m sending to my Senator and possibly to a few other legislators. Of course, I will change it up a bit for the others.
Please give me any constructive feedback or ideas to add to the letter that I’ve written. Be kind and let me know what you think? Thank you so much! I appreciate it.
I have the letter that I got back from the Senator, in response to my first letter to her almost a year ago! So here’s my letter to her, straight out of my email draft! Thank you again.
Dear Senator Stabinaw,
Thank you for your response to my 1st letter. Although I think it must have been a response to someone else’s letter to you? My letter was addressing the 26 million intractable chronic pain patients who now find themselves cut off from any kind of opioid pain relief therapy. There is a place for opioids, when many other methods of pain relief have been tried and failed for one reason or another. The opioid “crisis” has truly zero to 1% to do with chronic pain patients and has much more to do with the illegal fentanyl and Cara-fentanyl brought over to the US from China etc.
I was asking you to help the chronic intractable pain patients in our state and in the USA. They are being forgotten in all of this. The government needs to stay out of the Dr. /patient relationships & exam rooms. That’s a wonderful thing to stop drug abuse and substance abuse disorder. But not at the expense, loss and inhumane treatment of the chronic intractable pain patients lives.
The chronic pain community is seeing a rise in suicides with the gross reduction in opioid prescribing. We had another fatality just this week (April 2018), I will include a link to that story with this letter. A young mother who loved her 11 year old boy and her husband, was ill before & during every pain Dr. visit (due to anxiety/fear of upcoming appointment), most recently especially.
Patients are experiencing PTSD symptoms as they await the cut off and/or tapering of their safe and effective, long term opioid pain medications. These persons are not afraid of losing the opioid pain meds. They’re afraid of living with the excruciating & horrible intractable pain on a daily basis for the resting their lives.
Please help these patients by also alleviating the fear of career loss or even jail time; for the Drs who prescribe these medications. The pain specialist goes to school for sometimes 15 years, to learn how to treat these patients. But now, legislators are taking over this “specialist” role. If you’d like to sit down with me, hear my story etc; I’d be more than happy to come. I’d love the opportunity to speak with you and anyone else who can help the chronic intractable pain patients in Michigan & the USA.
Thank you for your time. I’ve enclosed the links to a couple of stories on YouTube , the Pain News Network & the National Pain Report.
U.S. Pain Fdn. Ambassador/Advocate/Board Member, Recipient of Pain Ambassador of the Year Award‘16, Mentor for CRPS patients RSDSA, Staff Columnist/Ntl. Pain Report, Blog-“Tears Of Truth” @tearsoftruth.com, Patient leader WEGO Health, HoH/ASL
DISCLAIMER: The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We do not recommend the self-management of health problems. We can not and do not give you medical advice. The information in this e mail should not be considered complete. Information obtained in this e mail is not exhaustive and does not cover all diseases, ailments, physical conditions or their treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this e mail. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. US Pain Foundation inc. does not represent to be an authority but is just helping pass information from other organizations, advocates and or websites.
Thank you for contacting me about the treatment and prevention of drug addiction. I share your support for strengthening programs that help individuals overcome addiction and lead healthy and productive lives.
That is why I cosponsored the Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act (CARA), which was signed into law on July 22, 2016. CARA expands and strengthens substance abuse prevention, education, treatment, and monitoring programs around the country.
Substance abuse and addiction have devastating physical and mental consequences for millions of Americans. Drug abuse has increased dramatically nationwide, and in Michigan, the drug overdose death rate is above the national average. That is why I fought for passage of a demonstration project based on my bipartisan bill, the Excellence in Mental Health Act, which will expand access to mental health and substance abuse services in the community and ensure that more people can get the quality care that they need. I have also fought to strengthen substance abuse prevention and treatment through the efforts of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Thank you again for contacting me. Please continue to keep me informed about issues of concern to you and your family.