There are times when we become our parents. Like if the house is too chilly and you end up putting on a sweater instead of messing with the thermostat? Right, stuff like that. When my mother became a woman of a certain age and her hearing aids started squeaking whenever I hugged her, I pretty much decided that hearing aids were not for me—EVER!
But God has a sense of humor, and He pays attention when people say stupid stuff.
Time passed, years passed. Shortly before my parents moved into assisted living, her hearing aids went missing, twice. Once they were found hiding in the vegetable bin of the fridge and the second time they turned up in a frying pan. When my mother was cutting up Jimmy Dean sausage links to put in the freezer for handy breakfast making later, she evidently put her hearing aids down on the kitchen counter and dropped them into the baggie right along with the sausage slices. The problem is, several weeks elapsed between the time the hearing aids went missing and the time they reappeared. I remember asking my mother why she didn’t get a replacement. Guess what? At the time I had NO idea how expensive hearing aids were—$3500 a pop—which must have been a staggering expense to people living on somewhat limited means. Fortunately her hearing aids came out of the frying pan prior to being cooked, and they worked just fine for as long as she needed them.
And then more time passed. I noticed that the dialogue on television shows was becoming more and more incomprehensible. Why did all those people mumble so much? Why did BILL mumble so much? Why was I always saying WHAT? And when he had the temerity to suggest that perhaps, maybe, it might be a good idea to have my hearing tested … That went over like a pregnant pole-vaulter!
And then came a fateful dinner in Tucson, Arizona where we were joined by our daughter and son-in-law and his parents. It was a noisy Mexican restaurant with lots of hard surfaces and lots of noise. At some point I heard Jon’s father say something about “camels in Virginia.” Taken aback, I said, “They have camels in Virginia?” He looked at me as though I had recently arrived from another planet and said, very plainly, “I LEFT MY CAMERA IN VIRGINIA!” I started wearing hearing aids shortly thereafter, squeak and all.
I keep my hearing aids on the side table next to my chair in the family room. Shortly after Jojo, our long-haired dachshund, came to us as a puppy, I went into the bathroom to shower. When I came out a few minutes later, one of my hearing aids—the $3500 kind—was in pieces on the floor. When we went to the hearing aid place, they told us it was still covered under the loss waiver so the replacement cost $700 instead of the full meal deal. We counted ourselves lucky, and I began storing my hearing aids in a glasses case still on the same old side table.
And that worked just fine, up until Saturday morning of this past week. That day, when I opened the glasses case there was only one hearing aid—the left one. The right one had gone AWOL. I suspect that the stabilizing wire got caught on the sleeve of my sweater and landed outside the box. We searched diligently: removed all the cushions from my chair; moved all furniture; searched up and down the hallway; looked everywhere I had walked. Nothing. No sign of it.
Naturally this was Saturday morning before Labor Day and three days before the start of a book tour. I had just read an ad in my Guideposts about a $200 hearing aid that can be recharged with a USB port. Knowing I couldn’t get into my regular hearing aid place before Tuesday, I called and ordered one. It arrived by mail last night—Wednesday. It’s a little clunky—larger than the high-priced model, but it works.
I ordered the replacement on Saturday morning. On Sunday afternoon, the missing hearing aid magically reappeared in the family room, next to Jojo’s food dish. We had searched every inch of that room, so she must have hidden it away somewhere in the meantime. It was slightly crunched—make that thoroughly crunched—but miracle of miracles it still works, more or less. It’s a little glitchy at times, making me glad to have a pair and a spare.
I only wish there had been a two-hundred dollar replacement option for my mother back when she could have used one.