“How do you feel about getting the cochlear implant?”
A question they ask me, and my mother, every year, since I was 5.
A question I always brush off.
A question to which I bluntly reply to the audiologists, teachers even concerned family members, a flat out “no”.
My mother wanted me to make that decision myself, when I’m ready. She wanted me to be older, wiser and aware of the complications regarding the cochlear implant; rather than I get the cochlear as a kid and I grow up hating it and resenting her.
I have so much respect for her leaving that decision up to me.
But why should I do it?
Why should I have an operation that won’t necessarily “fix” the problem.
It too me a long time to accept that I have a hearing loss and gain the confidence to tell others that I’m hearing impaired.
I wear hearing aids and I always have to sit at the front of any lecture or gathering; and have to go up to the lecturer/ person speaking, introduce myself and ask them to wear a personal fm system that helps me hear better.
All this and I’m fine with it.
Yes it’s embarrassing sometimes, but I’m proud of who I am.
But with the cochlear implant, all my life, I thought that if I were to get an operation done, to place a hearing device inside my ear, it would be like admitting I have a “problem” that needs to be “fixed”.
But that thought has recently changed.
A few years ago my friend booked her mum an appointment with a Nose, Ear and Throat specialist.
“I booked you an appointment too” I remember her telling me. ” I don’t care what you say he’s the best and you’re going”.
I dislike specialists, doctors and clinics with a passion. The amount of appointments and different people my mum has dragged me to as a kid, not just for my hearing loss, has left negative impact. As I grew older, I tried to avoid doctors and unnecessary appointments as much as I can.
I remember we planned to make a day out of it and her mother picked us up to take us to the specialist somewhere in the city.
I still remember sitting nervously with my friend in the waiting room.
My heart was beating so fast as I absentmindedly tried to read a magazine.
“Ayah?” My friend nudged me and I looked up to see the specialist call my name. With a deep breath, we stood up and followed him as he opened the door to his office.
With my friend pushing me, I sheepishly walked into the tiny room as the specialist closed the door behind us.
Unaware that everything was about to change.