It was about this time that I started to lose my hearing, but it was a very gradual thing, so I thought that everybody became a little deaf as they grew older, one could not expect to hear like a child all one’s life. My lack of hearing was only noticed by my parents in a rather dramatic incident.
We children still spent a half hour with my parents during their morning tea the only difference was I was now trusted to actually pour the tea for them. The tea-tray was always placed on my father’s bedside table and I would then proceed to pour the tea for them. One morning I was pouring tea when my father asked me a question which I did not hear, he asked it again slightly louder which I also did not hear, thinking that I was ignoring him he suddenly shouted the question which frightened me, and as I turned to face him, still pouring the tea in rather a hurry, I managed to drench his middle with scalding tea.
To say that I was not very popular, or that my shares had crashed would be like saying the atomic bomb was just a large firecracker. After everything eventually calmed down, he called me closer, and started to speak to me in his normal voice, all I heard was a sort of low rumbling buzzing. Finally when he spoke a lot louder, but not shouting I heard him.
I had never struggled to hear in class as teachers tend to project their words and speak a lot louder in class than they do in normal conversation, so the fact that I was going deaf was never detected before this episode. I had also been plagued by earaches on a regular basis from about a year after my tonsils were removed and even though I had visited the local doctor, we were told that earache was a normal childhood problem. As it turned out, in my case it was a little more serious.
When I was a child, in the days before universal medical aids, people were not able to see a specialist without a General Practitioner’s referral. It was also the days when doctors made house calls and were not in medicine for the money, but rather for the desire to genuinely help people.
I was taken to the doctor that afternoon, and the specialist that I was referred to only had an opening a few weeks later, as my condition at the time was not life threatening the appointment was confirmed. Unfortunately the earache became progressively worse over the next few days and by Saturday I was in excruciating pain, as it was a Saturday and the doctor was busy in his surgery for the morning he promised to pop-round in the afternoon to see what he could do to help me.
As a doctor’s visit was rather an important occasion I was bathed, my bed freshly made up and my room cleaned so that it resembled a scrubbed hospital ward and I was put to bed to await the arrival of the doctor. This little charade took place just before every doctor’s visit.
By that time I was in so much pain that I did not care what was happening around me. In actual fact it felt as if my left ear was about to explode, I remember it felt as if something was filling my ear with molten lava, forcing more and more lava into a very confined space. Finally about lunch time the volcano erupted, as I was unable to lie on the side that hurt, I was curled on my right side in a foetal position. The force of the rupture sprayed blood and pus onto the ceiling, finally the pain was gone and I fell into a sweat soaked sleep.
The strange thing was the absolute quiet when I awoke to see the doctor leaning over my bed, I could see his lips moving but no sound penetrated my consciousness; it was like a silent movie in colour.
When I lifted my head off the pillow sound filtered through my right ear, and I was able to hear the good doctor telling my mother that I had to be taken to a hospital, my father was still at work, so my mother made all the arrangements and drove me to the hospital where I was admitted, given some tablets and basically slept until Monday morning.
Lots of Hugs and more,