When I had my accident I was deafened by my fall. I had no hearing whatsoever in my left ear and two percent hearing left in my right. I was, to put it bluntly, deaf! I had a lot wrong with me after my fall – my spasticity, my 40 percent eyesight, my speech was affected and my loss of memory. But it was the loss of my hearing that affected me the most. Communication is such an important part of life, isn’t it? Without communication one is living in a lost world. Not being able to speak was the most dreadful and frustrating thing. But I went twice a week to Speech Therapy and gradually was able to form words and finally sentences again.
But with my deafness, that was it. Finish en klaar! I used to lie in bed and pray: Lord, let me hear again? Please, Lord, put an end to me being deaf! It was as if someone had locked me in a dark room and thrown away the key. Not being able to communicate, I was lost in a world that try as I might, made little sense.
I had to discover other ways to live my life. Because I couldn’t hear what people were saying, I used to watch them. I picked up so much. Small things that normally I wouldn’t have noticed, told me a lot about a person. It made me wish that I had “looked” at people more beforehand. It would have made me more perceptive and would have given me greater insight. I found that I was open to other people’s vulnerabilities because I knew that place.
Before my accident I was a people person. I loved chatting, laughing, joking. I was a great party person! I was also a singer and many a happy evening was spent with me on my guitar and friends of the family sitting, drinks in hand, singing along. All of that changed after my accident. As a result of my deafness singing was a no no! I found it difficult communicating. This “people person” became a recluse.
And it got worse. It was discovered that I was losing what little hearing I had. Jenny Perold, my audiologist said that within a few months I would be totally deaf. With reservation she suggested a Cochlear Implant. I say – with reservation – because nobody knew what my brain was like. So, very hesitantly, we went ahead and the CI was performed.
I am now able to hear birds, childrens voices, the TV, music, films! I am able to sit at a dinner party and understand what people are saying! I thanked God over and over. And over yet again.
Because I had never heard a thing in my left ear, we never ever considered an implant. But Jenny and Dr Wagenveld had different ideas! An operation that should have taken two hours took three but Dr Derek (as I call him!) and Jenny walked out of the operating theatre with smiles on their faces. “We got a response on each of the twenty-two electrodes we put in! Gaynor will hear in that ear. We don’t know how much, but she will hear on that side again.”
And indeed I am! I am not hearing nearly as well as my right ear hears but that is to be expected. But my left ear can hear! And it will continue to improve.
I am so incredibly blessed. I think back to that girl praying to God to help her hear again. And He has. But in His own time. Maybe I had to grow more as a person.
God has enabled me to hear. But He hasn’t cured my deafness. Each time I lie down to go to sleep, I take my CI hearing appliances off. And I am reminded again of how great God is; how He enabled man to technologically create such a wonderful thing as a Cochlear Implant!