Acclimation

I talked to my mother on the phone yesterday and she and Dad had a big project in which to look forward to for today. They have a beautiful lanai in the back which includes a very nice fish pond and miniature waterfall. In spite of a pump and filters, the pond does need cleaned once in awhile. Evidently, the time had arrived. The Koi have to be erm… “fished out” and placed in big 5-gallon buckets. Then the pond is drained. Next, the rocks and pond are scrubbed and washed with a high-pressure hose. It takes time, and I imagine it’s a messy job. I also imagine one gets a little wet – at least I would.

I called Mom again around 3 PM today. She was pretty bummed. It seems that when putting the fish back into the now clean pond, they didn’t provide enough time for them to acclimate to the temperature change. At the time I talked to her only 4 were still alive, and she lost some of her “big ones”.

Use to the Scum

I suppose my parents could have chosen not to clean their pond. But it evidently gets bad enough you can’t see the bottom. They have a proliferation of live plants and lily pads, but all of these natural AND man-made filters can’t undo the fact that the pond does not have a constant source of fresh water being piped in like mother nature provides. The Koi do not seem to care that the water gets to where they cannot even be seen swimming around. They grow accustomed to all the scum.

Aren’t we that way sometimes? I remember when I first got married, my husband and I did not go to a movie if there was harsh language, sex and nudity, or “adult themes”. We now use a service from “Screen It” . Before going to a movie, we literally screen it. Screen It tells you how many cuss words are in a movie and what they are. It tells you if the movie has any nudity in it, or adult themes. As a matter of fact, it will actually give the entire movie away if you read the whole review – grin! But we have used it a great deal because I just have trouble sitting through movies that are one curse word after another. I don’t care who plays in it or how highly acclaimed it is. But you know something? We make a choice that our movies have to have “less than 10 curse words” in them, and certain curse words are “worse than others” in our thinking. But are they? Aren’t curse words, curse words? And who decides how many is too many? It’s a slippery slope, let me tell you! It takes a lot of dedication and determination to stay true to what we’ve determined we’ll pay money to see for entertainment. I can’t help but feel as if we are agreeing that “a little scum” is OK though.

I heard a young lady recently say that someone they work with let them borrow a book to read. The owner of the book said, “There are no curse words, and it’s clean… you’ll like it!” This young lady was astonished at not only the language in the books, but there were sex scenes. She wondered out loud how that could be? I hypothesized that perhaps the other woman had grown accustomed to the language and written scenes where they didn’t have an impact on her anymore. She didn’t recognize the “scum”.

The SHOCK Killed Them

I’m a bit of a homebody. (I cringe knowing how my family would groan about that). OK, OK… I’m a HOMEBODY. However, my personality is pretty outgoing. I do like talking to people and interacting with them. However, after I lost my hearing and developed a balance disorder, I pretty much began staying at home. Even though I hear voices very well now (in most environments), I still haven’t reverted back to my (literal) outgoing self.

I’m going to a lady’s home this Wednesday for lunch. She leads a Bible study for women in my church. I use to lead Bible studies; in fact, I was one of the main leaders and went from one study to another ten years ago. I use to go shopping and hang out with friends quite a bit too. Now… not so much.

Don’t get me wrong… I’m HAPPY. But I didn’t start out this way. The more silent my world became, the more silent I became as well. I quit everything that required I interact with people. I intentionally isolated myself. It took some time. It was a slow process – I didn’t wake up one morning having become a hermit. So now that I am hearing again with my cochlear implant, and have some of my independence back thanks to Chloe, it has taken some time to make a gradual adjustment to “getting out there” again.

My parents should have kept their Koi in a 5-gallon bucket a while longer. They may have still died… Koi can be very sensitive to change. People can be too – especially people with acquired disabilities I think. Making adjustments in our lives can take time. For one thing… learning to trust can be hard. Learning to believe in yourself again can be even harder.

I have a friend with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. She is a self-isolated individual. It happened very slowly over time. It became harder and harder to explain her disease to other people. She had more “bad days” than “good days”. Constantly having to cancel plans eventually led her to not make any plans. When you look at her she LOOKS FINE. Try explaining that you are NOT. I feel for her. I know what it is like to have an invisible disability. (Still another reason I sport CI “bling” and decided to be partnered with a canine. Nothing says, “something is DIFFERENT” than going everywhere with a working dog!) She is now trying to reach out again, but she is taking it very slowly. After all, it can be “two steps forward and three steps back” many times. I think taking it slowly is a good idea. Acclimation TAKES time, after all.

Do you know someone with an invisible disability? Do you know someone who has a disease that exhibits “silent symptoms”? Perhaps they have isolated themselves and are convinced they are a homebody by CHOICE. They may seem happy. I’m not saying go BUG the heck out of someone who has opted to avoid being in public as much as they can. But I think it is also OK to reach out. Maybe bring lunch to THEM. Working in your garden? Pick some tomatoes or flowers and take them to this person. Email them occasionally. Offer to take them shoe shopping. Who says no to that? (GRIN) Just be aware it may take them some time to re-acclimate themselves to being out more, or having a friend over.

One reason I love the Internet and love to blog? I have “met” an awful lot of people just like me. Some I call “friend” too… for we’ve gotten to know one another and have learned to share our life’s story. We’ve connected. Things like Facebook can do that too, or joining online support groups. I’ve heard some people say, “yeah but those aren’t REAL people”. Excuse me? Behind that keyboard is the mom of a child with hearing loss – and she homeschools too just like I did! Behind another keyboard is a lady who lives with invisible disabilities who is training her own service dog in a big lovable Great Dane. The person who clicks that mouse has MS and has a wonderful service dog who gives her some independence. Numerous “point and click” folks out there have cochlear implants and love to talk about them too! These are real people; our connection is real.

If you know of someone who seems isolated (whether self-imposed or not), encourage them to get a good computer with reliable Internet service. You’d be surprised at the amount of support they can find out there… the connections… the friendships!

Denise Portis

© 2010 Personal Hearing Loss Journal

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4 thoughts on “Acclimation

  1. I’m going to have to check out Screen It — I too cringe on movies and video games. I know they put ratings on them, but I really wish they’d put filters on them for people who don’t want to hear that trash!

    And I completely understand the silent disease thing. I was just wondering today how many people around me have silent diseases and are afraid to tell others about them for fear of being judged… and pitied. Which is why I started this 30 day program… to reach out to those around me 🙂

    Thanks for sharing… your posts always give me the “warm fuzzies” 🙂

  2. Denise,

    Sorry to hear that your parent’s KOI-well that some of them
    didn’t make it….that is too bad…other than that,
    this is another one of your best blogs ever!

    Jane Harford

  3. Good thoughts, Denise. I’ve also been thinking about how we get desensitized… *sigh*.

    Also, I’m glad to count you as one of my internet friends 😀

    Julie

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