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January 14, 2017 is the day that I will never forget.  Along with November 3, 2009 and October 3, 2016, my family experienced a lost.

But this one was one that will hit me hard.  Harder than I have ever been hit.   In my heart.

My family lost our father, our grandfather, and our great-grandfather.   I lost my mentor.  But I don’t see it as a lost.  I see it as the joy and honor to know the man who taught me so much, and gave so much without expecting anything in return.   You have to earn this man’s trust, and the few times that I felt that I lost that trust, I worked my tail off to gain it back.  Whether it be by making sure I was working hard at my job, keeping a steady job, or being there when he was expecting me to be there for him, whenever I felt that I lost his trust, that was more painful than anything I ever felt in my life.  He would never tell you that he trusts you, you just have to see and feel it for yourself.

I wanted to be like him.  In everything he did.  He gave faithfully to his church.  He gave faithfully to his family.  He gave more faithfully to his wife of 64 years.  Nothing was going to ruin his love for his wife, my grandmother.  Not even the fact that in the end while she was living in a nursing home he did everything he could to be there beside her.    When his oldest son died unexpectedly, I watched him more closely the week of the funeral.  I knew he was hurting, but he never showed it.  He had to be strong for everyone else.   But when he talked about him, in our conversations, you could hear it in his voice.  He missed his son.

The most romantic thing I have ever seen in my life was captured in the final moments with him.   My wife and I had just arrived at the hospital, at the same as my grandmother did.  It was just before 6:00 p.m on January 14.   I pushed my grandmother’s wheelchair right up next to the bed, and she reached for his hands.

Five minutes.

He waited for her.    He wasn’t going without her being there.    It was the symbol of their love.    When it was all said and done,  I wasn’t crying for me, nor for the death of a great man.

I was crying because I just witness what true love was all about.

“Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” 

                                                                        C.R. Shade   

Love you always Grandpap.

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It is the day before.

Am I nervous?  Yes.

Am I scared?   A little.

Am I worried?   Kind of.

It is more of the psychological aspect more than anything.  For those that remember my first one, and if you read this blog from the very beginning, you will find out that I had a nervous breakdown, a panic attack just three days after I was activated.  (Read the blog “Three Days In”).   This time however, I am not living alone as I was then.  I have my wife here for support, so I am going to be okay.   That is why I took an extra day off to really take it all in.

I am going to have, for the first time in maybe 20-25 years, the ability to use both my ears at the same time.  Of course, there are a bunch of cool toys and gadgets that I get with this system, and i am very excited about that.  But I am looking more to having “fully functional” ears.    I have spent the last 8 years with only 180 degrees hearing (half the world) and now……….I am going to have 360 degrees hearing………..the WHOLE world.

The noisy world.

I think I wrote about that in one of my books.   (Bonus if you have the book, and you find that poem!)

Well………….one more day “left.”

The world will be noisy.  And alive.

Am I ready?

 

 

Next Date Up: April 20th

Well, as you can see below, the surgery was successful and I was able to come home on Friday night, instead of having to stay overnight.   So…………now that this is done, what is next?

I have to wait at least one month before the activation of the new devices for both ears.  The reason is that they want to be sure that the surgery site is healed completely and that there is no complication from being able to put on the external device.

http://www.cochlear.com/wps/wcm/connect/us/recipients/nucleus-6/nucleus-6

The above link is my new system that I will be getting.  So many new toys and amazing advancements since I got the first one done back in 2007.   This will be my third upgrade, and perhaps the most advance technology yet.

And guess what?   Its not done being advanced.  As more technology becomes available, there is no limits to what this will bring to my “dead” ears!

More to come after April 20 and 21st.

 

 

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All That is “Left”

All that is left to do for my left ear implantation is to wait until Friday to check in.  It is now March 15th, and I am eagerly waiting for Friday, March 18th.   This journey and the first cochlear implant journey were two completely different journeys.  (Scroll through this blog to the beginning to read about that journey).

You will see almost nothing that happened back then in 2008 that happened here.  That journey was almost a two or three year journey to get the first one done.  This journey had a lot of delays, false starts (Almost had it done in South Dakota, but we moved here before anything happened).  This time, the subject was brought up in a regular conversation with my PCP and next thing you know, I was being scheduled for a consultation, and then a meeting with the surgeon.  It was almost whirlwind.  Mind boggling really.

But I am looking forward to it.  Will it help with possible career movements?  I hope so, but if you read the last post, who knows?

For those wondering, I will have the surgery on March 18th, which is one day after my beloved Uncle Danny’s birthday (RIP, I love you Danny).  On April 20th, we will head back to Danville (PA) for the activation moment.  That will be a two appointment, so we are going to stay in Danville overnight to because it is an almost 2 hour drive.  My wife may video tape it or record it on some device, (we don’t know yet).  I am going to post the first activation video (repost it actually) when I find the files.  You will like the almost 2 hour video!!!

Keep us in your prayers this weekend.  We will need them.

 

It’s A Four Letter Word

Before I go on, please keep in mind, that I am not aiming this at any particular organization or company.  If I wanted to do that, I would have done that.  I am just writing my thoughts and feelings. 

 

I have established myself as a hard-working, experienced and knowledgeable individual who has goals to reach, and dreams to obtain.

But…………

You see one word on my resume and decided it is not worth the trouble you may or may not go through. But I am not removing that word.

It is me.     It is who I am.

Deaf. 

It is a four letter word.

It is in the title of a few of my books.  The ones that I wrote as an adult in my early twenties, before I turned 30.  So it was a pretty big accomplishment for me.  I am not going to remove the books off my resume because I don’t want to give a false sense of who I am, or what I have accomplished.

How many applicants can say that?

You won’t admit but it is there.  I know.  I am not stupid.

I graduated from Penn State University.   A Big Ten School.  In 3 1/2 years.

I am working on my Masters at Penn State University.

And I am deaf……

Sadly, that is all you see.

Have I been told in person that I can’t work somewhere because I am deaf?

Yes, I have.  And should I have done something to fight back?

I didn’t.  I didn’t want to.

It wasn’t worth it.

Did it hurt?

What do you think?

You are basically telling me my experiences, my knowledge, my skills and my abilities are worthless because I am that four letter word.

Your lost.  Karma is real, you know?

I am not trying to be negative or ruin any chances I may have to get gainful employment.  (I am employed, I just want a better job).  For those in my past who did give me a chance, you know and saw first hand what I do and what I am capable of.  And you know because you didn’t see me as that four letter word.

You saw me.

You gave me chances, opportunities, and you allowed me to grow.

You know who you are, and I thank you.

Hire me, and let me show you what I can do and how I can assist your organization.  Don’t use the four letter word when discussing my resume or think of it.  You can’t.  It is illegal to do that, but I know you will.

And it is not just me.

Diversity is something that everyone, every organization preaches, but no one practices.

They are afraid.

Why?

 

 

Something Had to Change

I can remember the day like it was yesterday.   I was a sophomore in high school and the year was 1996.  I was handed my first can, and took a small snuff.   It tasted good, but it gave me the shakes, dizzy spells, and I even threw up.  They said it was part of the first time you ever take a snuff, or chew.  After that, it doesn’t happen anymore.  Throughout my sophomore year I hid it from my parents, and felt like a rebel.   There was a few times I got caught, and my father made me “eat” the snuff, which should have made me quit, but the allure was too much.   I was hooked, and was doing it with my friends from school.  When my parents got divorced, it was sort of like “open season.”   My mom said that if I was going to do something, I don’t need to hide it.  So I did it….freely.

However, I only did it in the comforts of my home, or when I was with certain people.  I never did it at church events (although there was that one trip), and I kept it hidden from those that I did not want to know about me chewing.   This lifestyle continued all the way up to when I moved to South Dakota.  I struggled there with it, and since I was finishing my school, my usage continued on a more heavier basis.   Morning, lunch time, and at least twice before bed.   Even driving long distance made my habit worse.

I know there are some of you who are reading this that may be surprised about it, but for most of you, I am sure you knew….I was always licking my bottom teeth and I was rinsing my mouth out a lot.

But enough is enough.  18 years is a long time to chew…..18 years too long.   I finally mustered up the courage to talk to my doctor about it here in State College, and he prescribed something that is doing a miracle right now.  I have been on this medication  since August 4, and in that time, my use of Skoal has decreased.  Since August 10th….I only had one, and that was the most disgusting thing in my mouth…..for all of 8 minutes.   I threw that chew out as soon as I started getting dizzy…..

So today, August 14th, I am now 4 days chew free.  Is it easy?  No, but the medication and the usage of sunflower seeds really helps me a lot.

There has never been anything or anyone that I wanted to say goodbye to in my life…..but this one….that maroon can of skoal……See ya.  Don’t need ya.   Flush ya down the toilet.

Evolution of The Writer

It is never a good thing (or a healthy thing) to be satisfied with where you are as a writer (or in my case, a poet).   As I write this, I am looking back to about twelve years ago when my third or fourth book came out (not sure of the years but they are listed on my LinkedIn site).  As I re-read the manuscripts, I tried to re-hash the moments that I wrote those poems and thoughts.   The state of mind that I was in during my mid-20s is completely different from the state of mind that I am currently in in my mid-30s.   Back then, I was longing for someone to love, longing to have a career, and pretty much looking to “start living my life.”  I did not have the cochlear implant at that time so my world was a little different then. 

Before I go on, this is not a “Wish I knew then what I know now” kind of post.  It is purely a reflection of my evolution as a writer. 

In my early twenties and until I turned 27 (pre-cochlear implant), I was writing at every moment that I could about everything that I could possibly think of.  Nothing was off limits.  It was just as the old saying goes, “A writer writes always.”   That is probably why I don’t ever remember getting a good night’s sleep during that period of my life.  I was living alone, in Aliquippa, and pretty much daydreaming my life away, living it out in the words that I had written.   My writing took a boost when my good friend, Michael Duncan and I co-wrote a song that ended up being the title track for his band’s debut album (Hope For Tomorrow, The Mike Duncan Project).   At that point, I decided to focus more on trying to get more songs published and performed.  Shawn Meyer, another good friend and great musician, took one of my poems and created a beautiful song, “One Sweet Day.”  (I am still hoping he has it somewhere so I can hear it again). 

Back to the purpose of this post:  I have recently begin looking at some of my older works and looking to recreate them with some people that I have met living here in State College.  The thinking that I had when I first wrote these works and the thinking that I have now (as a grown-up individual……don’t laugh…..) are night and day.  I am looking through the ones that have been published in my four books as well as the ones that I did not publish.  I am hoping to be able to recapture the original inspiration, but at the  same time looking to add my maturity to the overall essence of the piece.   I feel that my life from age 27 to now at age 34 will give me that inspiration to continue, modify or recreate those poems.   By maturity, I am talking about being a married man, with a college degree working on my Masters while maintaining a household with my wife.   

With that being said, in the future posts I am going to try to post both the original and the modified piece to see where I have came from and where I am going.   If you have a favorite piece that I have shared (either from my website, or from my emails or on Facebook or in my books) and would like to know if I can add to it or modify it, let me know and I will see what I can do. 

New Direction?

There has been a lot of changes since I wrote the last post…..I did not go through with the second implant, and my wife and I have since moved from South Dakota to State College.  I am currently working on my Masters Degree in Human Resources at Penn State, and I am also looking for a new job (I am still with the same company, just a different store).    In the meantime, I have decided to see if I should go in another direction as far as this blog is concerned.  I am going to keep the old posts for those who are visiting from my website.  I admit that I do need to update that website, and I probably will in the summer when I have no classes going on.  

Now my main question to ask is “Which direction should I take this blog?”   I could write about sports, which I do love.  Or even about my educational journey, seeing that I am still in school working on my Masters.  But I feel that blogs should be about a variety of topics, about everyday events, and everyday thoughts.   No two entries should be the same although I did write something similiar to this post earlier in the life of the site. 

I want this to be a source of encouragment, funny stories, and ideas that makes you think.  I know there are not many subscribers to this website,  and I hardly think that I am going to be well-known for writing my thoughts.   There are about a gazillion blogs out there, and even though I hardly read a lot of them, there are some that do catch my eye.  Usually its from someone posting it on Facebook or Twitter.  Otherwise, I would have never found out about those blogs. 

On a different note, I went through an Apple Iphone phase.  I wanted to see what it would be like to have one so I went and got the Iphone 6 in November of 2014.  Did I like it?  It was okay, but in the long run, I missed my Galaxy and the Android.  So the first chance I could, I swapped with my wife, and got the Note 4.  Also I sold my ipad, and I am now typing on my Galaxy Pro Tablet.  This is pretty cool.   

Not sure of what else to say, so I am going to end this post with a thought.   “Do unto others as you want them to do unto you.”   Yeah, the golden rule 

Today I had my annual checkup with my cochlear implant at University of South Dakota, and it was a major improvement from the last time I was there.  In one test, I went from 73% to 77% in being able to repeat back words and sentences while sitting in the little soundproof blue room.    It is a major accomplishment for me as I started out scoring in the upper 60% a few year ago with my original cochlear implant. 

Then the visit got interesting.  My audiologist and I were talking about the possiblity of getting the second (left ear) implanted.  I have been privately thinking about doing this for a long time, and I believe in my heart of hearts that its time to pursue this again.  I have tried twice in the past to get it done while living in Pittsburgh, but to no avail. Now that I settled, with a good job, and graduated from Penn State, I think the opportunity is there to do it this time.  I have my own private insurance from work, and I think it is worth a try. 

I was assured that it is a sure thing that it will be successful.  Since I have not had any use of left ear ever since I got the right ear implanted, my audiologist warned that the nerve may be dormant, and my brain may not catch up to it. The device will work, but how I, more specifically, my brain responds is the question that needs to be answered.   Will the nerve that carries the sound be able to catch up and allow me to use them?  Who knows? 

But we will never know until we try.  In the meantime, on June 30th, I am starting the process of a series of tests and doctors appointments to get the ball rolling.   Its all in God’s hands now.  If the insurance says its good to go, then I will pursue the surgery hopefully this summer. 

Its going to be a series that I will call 360 hearing.  right now I am only hearing out of the right ear, and nothing is being done out of the left ear.  I want to experience the fullness of both ears, and allow myself to hear even more.  My wife did bring up some interesting points in that I do suffer from migraines, but in the end, I think the negative outweights the postitive. 

So stay tuned for what could be an interesting summer. 

Before you read this poem, this is what you need to know.  I have been thinking of using the statement “one lost one” in a poem for a long time.  This song is almost like an alternative song, with no real meaning behind it.  This poem does not in any way depict how I am feeling, or what I am going through in my life at this moment.  I just wrote the poem because I wanted to use the statement “one lost one” for the longest time, and this is what came out of that statement.   Hope you enjoy, and as always, send me comments to my email if you know it, or post a comment below!!!

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One Lost One

if the rain just  keeps falling

why haven’t I been washed

if the sun just keeps shining

why haven’t I been dried

It seems like everything has gone against the grain

There’s nothing to be said

There’s nothing to be done

Nothing seems to be clear

On this road and path that I am on

Does it really mean that I am one lost one?

One lost one  —  one found one

One believe one  — one known one

Am I really that one confused one?