Monday, November 1, 2010

My Husband -- Before I Could Hear & After

I'll never forget when Randy asked my dad if he could marry me. Dad took him in the backyard and said, "You know, Gina has a little bit of garbled hearing; but, she really can't hear - it's important that you understand. Your children could be born that way." Randy said, "She's not deaf as far as I'm concerned. I love her, and want to marry her. Do I have your blessing?" My dad told him he would be honored to have him as a son.

As long as I've known Randy, he has spoken to me as if I was normal--or so I thought.

Randy would always talk to me throughout the house, no matter if he was upstairs, and I was downstairs, KNOWING there was no way I could hear him. He'd talk to me while taking a shower with the glass steamed up, and there'd be no reply. He'd talk from another room, and enter to where I was, awaiting a reply...and I'd just say, "Did you say something?", and he'd repeat (without any attitude). Always as calm as can be. Day after day, year after year.

I would ask him, "Randy, why do you talk to me when you know I can't hear you?" He'd just smile, shrug his shoulders, and say, "I don't know", and give me a kiss.

That's Randy.

He never waved his arms around to get my attention. Never threw Nerf balls at me. Never flipped light switches on and off unless he knew I was the only one home, and didn't want to scare me if he had just come home from work.

But, when I had cochlear implant (CI) surgery, and could then hear, I noticed something that he would do that I never noticed before. It was weird to me. We would be driving somewhere, and he would start a sentence, and stop in mid-air. It would sound like this...

"Do you want?"...

And I would wait to hear the rest of the question; but, he'd say nothing for a few seconds. Then...

"Do you want?"...

I'd look straight ahead and answer, "Do I want what?"

He'd be in shock, then I'd be surprised by his gestures, and wonder what in the world was going on with this good-looking man I married. 

He'd be kind of hurt by my response, and say, "Well, I just wanted to know if you'd like to see a movie or something." And I'd say, "Well, Randy, why aren't you saying that?" And he'd say, "I don't know."

I didn't understand why he was asking me half of a question, and he didn't realize he was doing it...until a couple of months later. It took me that long to realize what was going on. All these years, before I could hear, it took two or three bits of conversation until I realized he was saying something to me, then I'd look at him, which gave him the 'go ahead' to utter an entire sentence, and we'd finally have a conversation.

I couldn't believe he formed this charade into a life-long habit, and never--I mean NEVER--became irritated with me. He patiently waited until he caught my attention, and would then finish a sentence. Once I started hearing, it caught him by surprise that I heard the first time. This became a new dilemma -- our new little hurdle to overcome as a married couple ;-).

It took an entire year to break the habit, and we found that I have far less patience than he has. I would say, "Randy! Say the entire sentence the first time," and he'd reply, "I can't help it that you can hear so well."

~Married since February 1979.