Sunday, December 11, 2011

11 December 2011 Eyes, ears, and other body parts

          Tuesday I ditch the final exam in astronomy in order to report to VA at Mountain Home for visual fields studies and follow-up semi-annual intra-ocular pressure checks to determine the status of my diagnosed pigment-dispersal glaucoma.  I will also be treated to pupillary dilation.  Therefore, driving home will be an exercise in withstanding brightness.   Since Tuesday is forecast to be mostly cloudy, the trip may be less painful than anticipated. 
          Saturday is going to be incredibly busy.  At 1200, I am scheduled for an audiometric re-examination to determine the progression of my tinnitus and bilateral hearing deficit.   I believe, as does Gloria, that I have lost additional hearing capability. 
          While I have never been a social standout, I find that communicating with others is now much more difficult.  Simply ordering a meal in a noisy restaurant has become an exercise in frustration and anger management.  If a waiter offers a verbal list of specials or asks questions about my choice of menu items, I find that I miss 90% or so of what is being said. 
          This is also true in other situations.  If we attend local contra dances, I am too often unable to hear the opening instruction for a dance.  That leaves me standing there looking like an incompetent and blowing the dance for everyone else in that line.  If I opt out of dancing and work the admission gate, I have to ask people to repeat their questions and answers, often multiple times.  Again, it is quite unpleasant for me and delays admission for others. 
          The inability to hear clearly is making it more difficult to audit classes.  Classrooms are noisy places at best.  High background means low comprehension. 
          Then, even more worrying is the increased difficulty in reading and cataloging classroom material and textbooks.  What was once a 90+% first pass retention is now a 25% forth pass retention.  I have to wonder how much I’m missing. 
          If we meet on the street, in a classroom or anywhere else, that blank look on my face is just me trying to puzzle out what you said.  

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