Monday, 1 September 2008

Total Self Absorption Is This Woman’s Real Disability…

New scientific techniques may restore the hearing of millions of deaf people, but Jessica Fellowes doesn't want it.

The news that deaf people can hope to have their hearing restored thanks to a groundbreaking gene therapy will have up to one in five of us breaking out the champagne. As someone who has worn hearing aids since the age of two, you would think I'd be one of them but strangely,

I'm not. An integral part of me, I can no more contemplate the loss of my deafness than that of my right leg.
Well, that’s her right, of course. Most won’t agree, but no-one’s forcing this decision on her. Which is as it should be.
Hence, various attempts to cure my ears have been tried: grommets, acupuncture and even a long, oily massage in Sri Lanka. But the only thing to make a real difference was five years ago when I at last acquired a pair of digital aids. When I first wore them, I admit, I sobbed as someone reborn. The world simply came alive: the words on the radio, the birds on the trees, even the click-click of the car indicator.

But at the same time as revelling in this new wall of sound was a worry: would I now be a normal person
?
Hmm, odd way to look at it. Is there something wrong with being a ‘normal person’?
You see, I was brought up to feel special for having special needs. Without them I worry I would be just another ordinary person doing ordinary things. I love it when people exclaim that they hadn't realised and they look at me anew - as someone who has overcome great problems and managed to function successfully in the world.
Well, I’ve seen it all now….
Nor do I understand how everyone else copes with noise 24/7. My happiest moments are spent pottering around my flat in total silence, the outside world unable to encroach on my peace. I am able to get completely lost in a book and never have an interrupted night's sleep. But most of all, I am proud of my parents and friends for the way they handle it, never allowing my deafness to let me feel less than entirely good about myself.

It has undoubtedly made me a nicer and more sympathetic person.
Ummm….no further comment!

9 comments:

riddler said...

And even worse are the parents who refuse procedures to improve their children's hearing. It would take away from their identity as part of the deaf community - apparantly.....

DJ said...

I say victimhood has screwed up more lives than crack.

Still, say what you like about her, but she's truly focused on what's really important:

"But most of all, I am proud of my parents and friends for the way they handle it, never allowing my deafness to let me feel less than entirely good about myself."

JuliaM said...

"And even worse are the parents who refuse procedures to improve their children's hearing. "

Indeed. You never hear of social workers swooping on them, do you?

"victimhood has screwed up more lives than crack"

Hard to disagree...

patently said...

You never hear of social workers swooping on them, do you?

Nor do the children, for that matter...


Err, I'll get my coat...

JuliaM said...

Lol!

John M Ward said...

Intriguing! Very strange outlook...

As someone whose good eye failed several years ago, I too could fall into the same trap, I suppose.

As it happens I never have done, and indeed mention it only when it is necessary to explain something -- for example, I can't catch things thrown to me. I get the line right, but cannot triangulate so can't judge distance accurately.

Personally, if there were a way to restore my sight to what it was before the glaucoma hit me, I'd be overjoyed and would welcome it with open arms. I'm not interested in having any kind of "victim status" or of people taking pity on me. I have a life to lead and real-world things to do, and that is far more important.

Am I wrong?

JuliaM said...

Nope, I certainly don't think you're wrong. This waman's attitude to her disability completely baffles me, as does her seeming blindness to the way her article makes her appear.

I wonder if it springs from the philosophy pushed by so many disability rights 'champions' that disabilities are 'part of you' and should be 'celebrated' rather than viewed as impediments? I can understand why they'd say this, but to find people taking it this far is pretty baffling...

ScotsToryB said...

You might like to google 'Deaf Pride'.

There are a lot more out there.

STB.

JuliaM said...

Oh, my...

There is indeed. And I thought the people who wanted limbs cut off were odd!