On Friday we went back to the NHS audiologist, which was not a satisfactory expedition. I get travel-sick just going to the next village, and here we were going to the next town. My stomach was lurching unhappily by the time we got there. If you want to be alert for your appointment you have to lay off the travel pills. It seems mad to have to leave the local town when all you’re doing is having hearing aids reviewed.
My sister has finished with the reviews now, but I have to go back next week as the computer went phut! More travel sickness and agoraphobic lurchings through the hospital. What a delightful plan.
No such thing as perfection
I’m realizing these hearing aids will never be crystal clear. They were worse instead of better when the audiologist adjusted them last time, and that’s what I was trying to get them to change away from today. It’s strangely hard to get it right. You’re sitting in a small booth with someone you’re not used to, who says “does that sound better? Can you hear what I’m saying?”
The answer that comes to mind is a jumble of: “yes, I hear you, but we’re two people sitting in a small booth, you’re speaking distinctly and I’m looking at your face – chances are I would hear (or guess) what you said anyway. And it has no bearing on whether I’ll hear certain sounds or tones better.”
Instead, you say rather weakly, “I hear your voice but I don’t know if it’s better.”
You really don’t. You won’t know till you get home and realize you hear something you’ve never heard before, or no longer hear something that used to be clear (like a beep).
When you’re at the optician’s, you can make a direct comparison between one lens and another. “Is this better… or this? Is this better… or this?”
At the audiologist’s, it’s not like that. It’s simply “does this sound better now – can you hear my voice?”
Well yes – but your voice sounded much the same last time. I simply can’t tell.
You feel worried (having already experienced a bad decision) that one setting is better than the other and you will plump for the wrong one. You hesitate and the audiologist shuffles impatiently. She has other patients and is running late. But you face another queasy trip to the hospital if you get it wrong.
Before I even got there, I decided to have the aids set back to the way they were originally; I was hearing worse at home after she changed them. Unfortunately that didn’t get done, and I have to go back next week because of her wretched computer breaking down.
Summer time, and the living is easy…
As it’s summer and there are lots of people swarming all over, my agoraphobia has taken a slight hold again. The holidays ironically mean that I have extra pet minding to do. I’ve been looking after up to three pet households every day for the past three weeks. I have one more day to go (a dog walk) and then I’ll get two days off.
At the hospital it was one of those days with the same people stuck in the same waiting room chairs every time you glanced round. Wearisome. I was happy to escape, and as I buckled myself into the passenger seat of my sister’s car, I thought “now it’s straight sailing – she’ll drop me off at home and I can have lunch and a rest, surrounded by lacy pink curtains, loving cats and soft bears. Thus comforted and refreshed, I’ll head out to walk dog and feed guinea pigs, taking my wheelie bag with me for company. It will be a doddle.”
When I feel jittery about going out, I pull the wheelie thing around – it makes me feel better. Don’t laugh! It’s funny but also a dratted nuisance. I left it behind when we went to the hospital, as I had no intention of sitting in the corridor watching people falling over it.
Unfortunately, E stopped at Mum’s saying she had something to pick up. She would have taken me home after that, as it was still on her way, but I was now very close to both the dog and the guinea pigs. I knew I should stay and sort them out first – much more energy-efficient. No rest, lunch or bears for Diddums yet.
Stranded without my wheels
E waved goodbye and drove off. I walked and fed the animals and by that time Mum had come home. We had tea and lemon cake and watched shows about presenters making people auction family heirlooms from their attics that they didn’t want to auction just so they could blow the cash on holidays to mega cities in America. It made me cringe.
To my relief, Mum offered to drive me back. “You have some stuff to take home,” she said.
“Yes, please,” I said. “E stranded me here without my wheelie thing.”
Mum gave me a beady-eyed look but I just chuckled.
Again I buckled myself into a passenger seat, sighing with relief and thinking, “now it’s straight sailing. Home for a very late lunch, TV, purring cats and snuggly bears. I can’t wait!”
Backing the car out, Mum said “I’m going to Morrisons supermarket on the way. Anything you need?”
My shoulders drooped, and I groaned internally. Supermarkets are the bane of any self-respecting agoraphobic’s existence – especially on Friday afternoons in the summer.
“Yes,” I admitted reluctantly, “I need a few things.”
So we trotted around the heaving supermarket (myself firmly attached to a nice big wheelie trolley). There was one awkward moment when I had to take the empty trolley away and leave it in a trolley park, then cross the road back to the car.
Having arrived safely home, I put everything away, fed the cats, got my late lunch, and snuggled down with a huge pink bear to watch TV. After a while we had supper and continued to watch the TV. Normally I’m reading blogs and checking my emails every chance I get, but I felt I’d had enough of the rest of the world in any shape or form, and fell asleep.
When I woke up again it was 9pm and there was a cat sleeping on top of me, paws trailing. Big Brother was just starting. I haven’t been watching it but they mentioned evictions, so I stayed and watched. Maybe I wanted to see someone else squirming instead of me… just for a change. I didn’t know any of them from Adam, but looked the candidates over and said “I predict the two being evicted today are Mikey first and Susie second, in that order.” I was right.
But then I got cross over the Big Brother attitude that Susie should have joined the others in horsing around and getting drunk. They evicted her because she didn’t. I say, more power to her! She’s well out of it. Last but not least, one of the guys in the Diary Room said a very odd thing. “I feel cocooned in here – safe. I don’t really want to go home to the world out there.”
Wow. But I think so many of us must feel that way. Having just watched Grumpy Old Holidays where they agreed that the worst thing about holidays is other people, I just know we are not remotely alone…
Edit Feb 2008: Comments to this post when it was on Blogigo:
kateblogs wrote at Aug 6, 2006 at 14:27:
Yuk, Big Brother. The contestants really are a bunch of twits, and they are encouraged to demonstrate this at every opportunity. I suppose it boosts the viewing figures, but it would be nice to see a programme that applauded mature behaviour.
Those series that get people to sell their stuff, I wonder if the participants feel any regret when they get back from the holiday. Some of the things they sell obviously have sentimental value, I don’t think I could flog something like that for such a trivial reason.
Oh, and you have my sympathies. I suffer from travel sickness too. Some days I can get into the nearest town without feeling ill, but others, well, suffice it to say I’m feeling pretty green around the gills by the time I arrive LOL
Diddums wrote at Aug 7, 2006 at 01:27 o\clock:
I know I would regret the sale of family heirlooms and such – I would want at least to think hard about what I was doing, and reinvest the capital or something… I know I say some rude things about banks, but I do sound like my father’s daughter sometimes!
Ah ha, another bad traveller – it’s funny how it comes in waves. I wonder if you also find that if you feel ill on the outward journey, you’ll probably feel as right as rain when you return, even if there is a lapse of a couple of weeks? I’m not sure if there are lingering effects from the travel pills, or if it has nothing to do with that.