Laurie's Book Chapters

These are chapters for my "book" that I hope to write about my cochlear implant journey and experience. Chapters will not be in order but enjoy them as they are written. . .

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Support Deaf Actors

My husband and I are huge fans of Law & Order: Criminal Intent. After much talk and anticipation, NBC has announced an episode featuring not one but many Deaf actors, including:

Deanne Bray
Alexandria Wailes
Garrett Suercher
Darren Frazier
Hillary Baack
Willy Conley
Raymond Luczak

In addition, NBC broke TV history by hiring the most Deaf extras (35 people) for a network TV episode. I think this is wonderful that they are supporting Deaf actors.

This exciting drama is called "The Silencer" and airs on the local NBC stations on April 3rd at 9 p.m. So, mark your calendars and set your TiVo's and DVR's to watch or record it! The more people that watch it (or have their TV's on to NBC), the Nielson ratings will go up, allowing more Deaf actors to be asked back to work!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Swimming Lessons

Regarding water and swimming: I was reading another blog today about a little boy, Tom, with bilateral CI's and he is not crazy about being in the water for several reasons. As I read his father's comments, it brought back memories of my times spent in the water. In my younger years my mother needed a way to channel my active energy. She was one smart lady and had me take swimming lessons for years until I ran out of lessons to take! I became a synchronized swimmer in the 5th grade even though I couldn't hear the music in the water. My teachers were very good and understood that I couldn't hear when I took my "ears" off. I learned by watching others and still do. One summer while I was in high school I took a lifeguard training class because I thought it would be fun to be a lifeguard. I never got my lifeguard certificate because I failed the written portion of the exam. I could not understand anything that was said when the class was not in the water and at the time there was no book for me to follow. I passed the water portion with flying colors and could save someone's life today if needed. One of the things I'd like to do before I die is to pass that lifeguard training class and get my certificate. Every year I say I'm going to sign up for a class but have trouble finding the time. I love to swim and need to get back in the water and just do it.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The House I Grew Up In

This is my childhood home in Columbus, Ohio. My aunt Trudy took me there in July when I went to visit her. The address used to be 999 E.N. Broadway when we lived there but is now called North Broadway. We moved there before I started kindergarten and moved to Dayton in the middle of my fifth grade year. The house has changed quite a bit but it looks good. The color is still the same and there is a new roof on it. There used to be two red maple trees in the front yard and they are gone. There was also a plum tree on the side of the house and that is gone, too. But, the many memories that I have will always be there!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

You Have To Be Deaf To Understand

A friend of mine found a poem that I sent to her in 2000 and gave it to me the other day. Even though I don't sign, I can relate to it. It is beautiful and I thought I would share it:

You Have to be Deaf to Understand

What is it like to "hear" a hand?
You have to be deaf to understand.

What is it like to be a small child,
In a school, in a room void of sound --
With a teacher who talks and talks and talks;
And then when she does come around to you,
She expects you to know what she's said?
You have to be deaf to understand.

Or the teacher thinks that to make you smart,
You must first learn how to talk with your voice;
So mumbo-jumbo with hands on your face
For hours and hours without patience or end,
Until out comes a faint resembling sound?
You have to be deaf to understand.

What is it like to be curious,
To thirst for knowledge you can call your own,
With an inner desire that's set on fire --
And you ask a brother, sister, or friend
Who looks in answer and says, "Never Mind"?
You have to be deaf to understand.

What it is like in a corner to stand,
Though there's nothing you've done really wrong,
Other than try to make use of your hands
To a silent peer to communicate
A thought that comes to your mind all at once?
You have to be deaf to understand.

What is it like to be shouted at
When one thinks that will help you to hear;
Or misunderstand the words of a friend
Who is trying to make a joke clear,
And you don't get the point because he's failed?
You have to be deaf to understand.

What is it like to be laughed in the face
When you try to repeat what is said;
Just to make sure that you've understood,
And you find that the words were misread --
And you want to cry out, "Please help me, friend"?
You have to be deaf to understand.

What is it like to have to depend
Upon one who can hear to phone a friend;
Or place a call to a business firm
And be forced to share what's personal, and,
Then find that your message wasn't made clear?
You have to be deaf to understand.

What is it like to be deaf and alone
In the company of those who can hear --
And you only guess as you go along,
For no one's there with a helping hand,
As you try to keep up with words and song?
You have to be deaf to understand.

What is it like on the road of life
To meet with a stranger who opens his mouth --
And speaks out a line at a rapid pace;
And you can't understand the look in his face
Because it is new and you're lost in the race?
You have to be deaf to understand.

What is it like to comprehend
Some nimble fingers that paint the scene,
And make you smile and feel serene,
With the "spoken word" of the moving hand
That makes you part of the word at large?
You have to be deaf to understand.

What is it like to "hear" a hand?
Yes, you have to be deaf to understand.

(Written at 1971 by Willard J. Madsen, professor of journalism at Gallaudet University. This poem was translated into seven different languages and reprinted in publications, including DEAF HERITAGE, p. 380.)

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Going Bilateral?

I am doing so well with just one CI and keeping thinking how nice it would be if I had a CI on the other side. I have several reasons for wanting another CI. My thinking is that if I can do well with one, two would be better. It is also a safety issue with me. I'd like to have "surround sound" and better sound localization . It would be nice to be able to tell which direction a siren or traffice is coming from. Also, when the batteries in my CI die, I wouldn't have to stop what I'm doing to change the batteries like if I'm driving or something like that. Also when I'm on the phone, I'd like to be able to hear my voice and what is going on around me with the other ear or even be able to block it out, whichever meets my needs at the time.

Another reason would be for improved speech perception. Having two CI's would give me that extra "oomph" that I need and may even sound more like "normal" hearing. I think it would improve my hearing, especially in difficult listening environments.

Also, the right ear is for music and the left ear is for voices. The brain puts these two together

Should my other ear be saved for future developments? At my age, life is too short to wait. My right ear will never get better or improve on its own. I'd like to get rid of the hearing aid and not have to worry about ear molds or feedback anymore. Sounds like a lame excuse but feedback makes me self conscious and annoying. I have to be careful when I smile because the ear changes its shape when my jawbone and facial muscles move and the sound leaks through the ear mold. I've had several embarrassing moments and feedback can be annoying to other people, especially me, now that I can hear it with my CI!

I have realized that life is not going to come to me. I just have to meet the challenges as they come, take a deep breath and step out in to the world, and say, "Here I am, all of me."

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Chris at the Marine Ball in Las Vegas

Sargeant Christopher L. Pullins - November 2005

Monday, October 10, 2005

Mom's Sermon/March 1974

The following is an excerpt from a sermon that my mother gave during Lent as a lay speaker in March of 1974. She gave this soul searching speech at Centerville United Methodist Church in Centerville, Ohio where I grew up. I would have been 16 years old at that time. Mom spoke about what her faith meant to her and how it made a difference in her life. During her college years, she was a William Danforth fellowship delegate and spent some time with other young Christian people at a non-denominational retreat during the summer between her junior and senior year. She talked about meeting and talking with William Danforth at this leadership conference, who was the founder of the American Youth Foundation and how he inspired her and influenced her faith. He spent much of his life challenging young people to make the most of their lives, to give nothing less than their best. She talked about several low points in her faith and how God carried her through those difficult times. I won't copy the whole sermon but read on. . .

"The next few years included many high points--marriage, teaching, the arrival of our first child. Then life again presented a challenge; we learned that this first daughter, so dear to us, was deaf--not totally so, but to such a degree that she would never learn to speak normally or understand spoken language without a great deal of special training.
It isn't easy to face the fact that you have brought into the world a child with a built-in problem, and it isn't much easier when it happens again, six years later, with our youngest child. Our sense of helplessness eleven years ago was tempered, however, by the knowledge that even then this two-year old child had a great amount of determination and was a bright, healthy, outgoing child.

The years since then have far exceeded our expectations--with four children to make life interesting, there seems to be almost no limit to the wonderful and rewarding experiences. And if you know Laurie today, you know that it is almost impossible to think of her as handicapped. She is always coming up with something. For instance, just a few nights ago we went upstairs for a bedtime check and found her sound asleep, her arm dangling over the side of the bed, and a heavy alarm clock tied to her wrist. She doesn't like to be dependent on someone else to wake her up, and had come up with this idea: since she cannot hear the alarm ring, she had the clock fastened on her arm so tightly that when the alarm went off the vibration would wake her up. Incidently, it worked--though we discouraged her from going to bed every night with a clock tied onto her arm! With a child like that leading you, pushing you, and lighting the path, how could you help but realize God knows what he is doing!

There are times when she comes home after a hard day and asks, "Why did God make me like this? Why am I different? Why can't I hear like other people?" But I seldom need to answer, as she invariably comes up with a smile and a hug and says, "I don't really care, because I'm so lucky!"

Although we know she faces some trying times, it is encouraging to know that she accepts herself, and has an awareness of and trust in God. With that kind of support, surely she will have strength to carry her through many difficulties. I think she and William Danforth would have gotten along well, for it seems that all she needs is a good challenge and she is off and running. So many times it has been she giving me courage and inspiration, rather than the other way around.
No parent would wish this kind of stumbling block for their child, and there have been many times when I wished it were not so. But I know that her presence has given our lives an added dimension, and that out of this situation have come moments of joy we might not have known otherwise; for me, perhaps, it has resulted in a greater measure of patience."
Betty Royer/March 1974

Thank you, Mom. I love you and miss you. Laurie 10/10/05