Do you appreciate what you hear? I adopted the motto, “Your life is a movie, so sell the movie rights girl!” in my fifties. I wake up each morning and ponder my script for the day. I intend each day to be movie-worthy in a spunky way but I seldom pay much attention to the soundtrack.
At first, I assumed naively that by taking the positive approach to everything that happens in a day, I was on the right path. I felt I could control my response, and will positivity into my life. My sixties are proving me wrong.
Let me tell you how.
The script has me waking up at 5:30 raring to go. I quietly traipse downstairs, grab a piping hot coffee, open the blinds to greet the morning light, sit in my favorite chair with my computer and spend a couple of hours writing. Cue the happy dance music.
I hear the timer twinkling away, look up to close my computer and in a millisecond, I feel dead air in my left ear. Like, I can’t hear. My brain takes a moment to comprehend what is happening. My brain cells think oh, my ear didn’t pop, as if I just got off a flight from some exotic locale. But then my consciousness tells me I am sitting in my living room.
I stand up, somewhat discombobulated. What is going on?
The next scene opens with me in an emergency room, lying on a bed after a restless night of tossing and turning. I have been through a battery of tests, x-rays, CT scans, and an MRI. I am in a semi-dark room arranged by a sympathetic night nurse once they learned the specialist would not be in until 8 am. A kindly doctor enters with a contingent of articling medical students. He is a matter of fact. “I can tell you what it is not however, I can’t tell you what it is.” The good news is there is no brain tumor, a small aneurysm that I have had for years has not grown, my heart and everything else is checking out fine.
They have seen this before, and I am to start a treatment program immediately. If I do this treatment, it increases the odds of my hearing coming back within two years to 50%. So how hard can treatment be?
Well, let’s peek into the third scene. We follow the camera into the gray bowels of the hospital building, down a long dingy hallway, through a doorway where four or five technicians are watching a battery of dials. They are banked outside a huge cast iron drum 10 feet high and what appears to be the width of an airplane body on its side.
Locked inside, behind a huge metal wheel, sits eight people wearing hospital blues, slippered feet, with their heads inside what looks like a clear plastic beach ball held tightly in place with a neckpiece of black rubber. The machine is a hyperbaric chamber where pure oxygen is delivered at 1.5 to 3 times normal pressure. The therapy is touted by some as good for your skin, but the purpose is to fill your blood with oxygen to repair and restore body function.
We see a heavy-set woman with tears streaming down her face who has just been told she cannot take the helmet off and she cannot get out. There is no recourse but to wait. The attendant starts to chat, asking random questions willing the woman to think of something else other than the need to tear off the helmet and start screaming, longing for a space full of fresh air and sunshine.
And this scene repeats for two and a half hours every day for twenty days. The only saving grace is the lull of anxiety meds which reduce the woman’s life to sleeping full time except for those dreaded hours every day.
The fourth and final scene has me sitting again in the specialist office, after getting three weekly shots directly into my eardrum and tubes in my ears. Hyperbaric therapy is two-thirds done. I am sitting listening to the doctor tell me I have also now lost thirty percent of my hearing in the other ear. The hidden blessing is no one has ever totally lost hearing in both ears with this “unnamed” disease or virus. Oh, and by the way, this might be my reality, so he recommends it is better to embrace it and learn how to live “hard of hearing”. I can be grateful that I have kept some of my hearing.
There is learning behind this script. We control nothing, nada, zip, zero. The homily you can’t control circumstances you can only control your response? No, sorry, sometimes you can’t even do that.
What I learn is very cliché. A movie is the sum of a timeline, not one scene or one dramatic storyline. Bad things happen. This too shall pass, which means simply that something else is waiting in the wings. Don’t take anything for granted. Live like there is no tomorrow.
I definitely am paying even more attention to living now. I intentionally appreciate hearing the sound of my children talking, my favorite jazz tunes, laughter. Each morning I encourage myself to live bigger, dream bolder, dive deeper. I am writing caring about tomorrow out of the script as it will come soon enough. In fact, I may not want what it has, so I am embracing the absolute power of what is now. And I am always scouting for new inspiration.
Are YOU selling front-row tickets? What’s showing?
When you are facing something unexpected, it is an opportune time to get back in touch with you.
During my therapy, I created a legacy to make positive use of all that free time. This twenty-one-day challenge Reconnecting With The Fabulous You is for you when you are not sure what you should do next or faced with accepting something you didn’t want.
Are you interested in the hyperbaric therapy?