Advocacy is important to everyone with a worthy cause. Why do I say worthy? Some causes seem self-serving, but that’s my opinion. This blog will give you just that, my opinion; my experiences; and hopefully give you courage to advocate for yourself. Do you think it’s selfish to do so? If you take care of yourself and work to improve the quality of your life, those around you also benefit. Besides, when we take care of our basic needs, we become more effective – and let’s face it, we become nicer to be around.
My most complicated self-advocacy came about as I was becoming deaf. I started losing hearing as a girl for no known reason. By 29 I knew I needed hearing aids but put it off. The average person waits seven years, after they know they need a hearing aid, to get one. I waited 10. I jokingly say I knew I was above average – but maybe that’s below average? In any case, by 43, I had two. By 48, I had two of the highest tech digital hearing aids on the market. By 50, they no longer helped. I was deaf in my right ear and heard about eight percent in my left ear. I was a candidate for a cochlear implant.
From 1999-2000, I became a copy desk typist at Suburban News Publications (SNP), the local weekly paper with 23 suburban neighborhoods in and around Columbus, Ohio. I didn’t need to hear to type and I type fast – since I had been a secretary for 28 years, this was a given. But within a few months, the activity in the newsroom began to interest me. Then it pulled me in. I asked the Editor what a stringer was. He explained it is a reporter on assignment, not necessarily to a specific beat. That sounded good and I was hooked. The next day was my first assignment and within a month I had a regular beat.
Since I had been writing a column for SNP since January 1998, I think the editor knew I could write. Later, he would tell me he was disappointed when I didn’t go for the reporter job right away and opted to be a copy desk typist. He wrote the forward to my book in 2008 saying just that. Day by Day, The Chronicles of a Hard of Hearing Reporter was published in June 2008 by Gallaudet University Press. A dream come true for me, to be a published author.
My first implant was done successfully in 2002 and my second one, in my left ear, was in April 2009. I like to keep a sense of humor so my first implant was on 4/22/02 – our wedding anniversary. So my second surgery was also done on 4/22 but in 2009. My husband always jokes our anniversary is on April 21st. So this is a fun way to help “us” remember the anniversary date of our marriage and both my implants.