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Wednesday, June 8, 2011


I lost my singing voice after the neck surgery I mentioned a few posts back (My neck is held up with 2 clamps and 12 pins). I was a soprano who sang in the high range. After the surgery I was a very, very deep bass.

A number of years ago I visited a friend of mine and her husband. He likes shooting guns. I am very pro-gun control. John (pseudonym) insisted "How can you be against guns when you have never shot one?" I refused but, after his dogged persistence, I took the gun. I pulled the trigger, at the sound of the Bang! my right ear immediately started ringing. It continued for about half an hour. I lost most of the hearing in it. It was only when I realized I had become one of those people who smiled and said "That's wonderful." only to find out the person with whom I was speaking had told me their dog had died.

I went to an ENT doctor (ear, nose and throat). I told him my story: I shot a gun and I could no longer sing a solo in the church choir.

I read his chart note a few years later. "She no longer accepts singing engagements. ... She lost her hearing in a gun shooting incident." Who is that person? A woman who sings professionally and was involved in some sort of gunplay? Instead of a woman who sings in church and once shot a gun I sounded like a woman of romance, intrigue and mystery. I wish that was me.

My left eye usually has a lot of lubricant underneath it. It dries out because of the paralysis and inability to close well. I use artificial tears sometimes up to 10 - 15 times a day.

"Do you want a tissue, your eye is tearing?" "Please don't cry." "I had Pink Eye. Have you tried (this drug?)." One woman took my arm and helped me off the train, deciding, for some reason, I was blind. I did not know what to do so I let her and then thanked her, very much.

When the pain gets worse for some reason the eye opens wider. Sometimes the eye looks good and feels good but usually the more open the greater the pain.

"You're eye is really open today. I am so glad you're feeling better." "Your eye must be doing really well it looks so good and open."

Everything is interpretation. Do I take the time to explain? Do I make them feel bad by saying "I'm not blind." "I'm not crying." "No. You're wrong, I am really having pain. This is a very bad eye day for me."?

Do I bite my tongue and let them have their joy at feeling I am better?

Bottom line, do I become a lady of mystery, and lie? And if I lie, am I helping them, hurting myself, or both? (And, in the end, does it matter?)


  1. That's always the question huh? I stopped using my cane as much, so people say, "you must be feeling better!" when it's because my arm hurts to much & the paresthesia makes drop it.

    I just tell people. Chronic pain is mysterious enough on it's own.

  2. What a great answer.
    And whose business is it anyway that your arm is the problem at the moment more than your leg. Then you may also have to define your terms, what is paraesthesia?
    I kind of grows and grows.

  3. Jackie says:

    I know I've been the "guilty party" in this, although I would couch it as a question, "Are you feeling better today?" Please have some pity on my (and our) ham-handedness. For myself, it's not that I'm dismissing your pain, it's that I have HOPE that you're having some respite, however short.

    I am so in awe of all of you who live in constant/chronic pain. You are all so strong -- Keep on speaking up, so that the powers-that-be will put more money into pain research.

  4. Jackie, My father was dying of ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) A friend of mine, a veterinarian came to visit. As she left she said "I hope you feel better soon." I was appalled but then I realized it was her way of wanting hope for him. It is the kindness in us that has the hope.
    Thanks Jackie. The more who know the more the info gets out.