Friday, January 29, 2010

The Need to Feed - Reposted

Odd, I posted this a few days ago, and it dated it about a month ago, so let's try this again...

So here's the deal ... I married into an Italian family 9 years ago. And, it has been a wonderful and enriching experience. However, one thing still puzzles me and that is the Need to Feed.

Whenever we go to my in-laws (or any other family member. friend or casual acquaintance) we MUST bring food. And, it almost doesn't even matter what the food is, just so long as it is edible. A box of grocery store cookies will qualify. Now, maybe I am an unsophisticated heathen, but in my family and circle of friends, you just show up! (And in my younger and poorer days, I would show up with laundry.) And this whole food-giving thing extends to visits of any duration - even a quick stop for coffee requires some sort of food.

And it works in reverse, too. Whenever my in-laws come over for dinner or a visit, my mother-in-law has to bring something to eat. And, if I tell her that she can just show up, that the real gift is spending time, it causes all sorts of stress and anxiety. It is just unthinkable to show up empty handed!

It complicates the whole visiting thing - you can't just swing by to say hello. First you have to find someplace that sells food so that you can arrive bearing food. And, the food must be served during the visit! Don't even think about saving it for "later!!"

This has all caused me to question my own visiting protocol. Are my friends and I complete losers because we visit without food? Have we been transgressing some unspoken "food rule" all these years? OMG, are other people secretly saying "oh, look at that poor, clueless woman - showing up without food?" Crap.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Schwannoma Shuffle (or Slide)

Some of you may not know that acoustic neuromas are also sometimes called Vestibular Schwannoma. Okay, pretty much only surgeons refer to them as that, and now you can clearly see why we lay-people call them ANs. But I digress.

The use of either vestibular or acoustic all refers to the 8th cranial nerve (stay with me, it gets more interesting) which controls hearing and balance. I am now minus this nerve on the right side which means that I'm deaf on that side (which you already know) and my balance is occasionally challenged. Which leads me to today's post.

Do you know a dance called "electric slide?" Yes, the very one that we forbid to be done at our wedding. It's one of those group things - hop to the right, two steps left, etc. I'm sure some people love it, but I'm not one of them. I really have never needed any help to look like a clumsy idiot. And now I need even less help.

The balance thing usually manifests itself (for me) in a stumble, which in turn sometimes results in a fall, but that's another story for another day. Today's story is really about the stumble. Picture it - you momentarily loose your footing - you know, a little stumble? Most people can recover quickly from this with no one the wiser. Not me - when I stumble, it turns into a full-fledged slide and shuffle. So the other day when I found myself shuffling/sliding quickly across the kitchen floor, I had a vision of doing the electric slide. After all these years of faithfully avoiding doing that damned dance, now I seem to do a version of it spontaneously. Crap, I'm doing the Schwannoma Slide. Isn't that just irritating as hell?

Friday, January 15, 2010

A New Direction

So, the whole board of directors thing didn't work out, for a number of reasons. And, rather than feeling disappointed, I actually feel strangely relieved. Surprising, right? I truly believe, though, that all things happen for a reason. And, this clears the way for me to stop procrastinating about writing a book. I now have NO excuses! So, this week, I started the book outline - gosh, I feel so professional!

I am going to use my own experience in dealing with this life-changing event to write a book that I hope will help other people survive their own life changing medical events. Kind of a survival manual. I want to inject as much humor as possible into it, while providing some practical advice as well. Haven't found the right title just yet, but am working on a list of ideas. If you have any suggestions, please share them!! I'm all ears (okay, in actual fact I am ONE ear, but you get the idea.)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Things I Didn't Hear...

Ah, the joys of being single side deaf! Directionality is, of course, one of the bigger challenges. We all have stories of running all over the place trying to identify the source of a ring or beep. If anyone were watching us do this, they'd be doubled over in laughter. In my case, I am usually muttering to myself while running...

Last night I was watching TV when I heard one of our cell phones ringing. I quickly muted the TV and the damned cell phone quit ringing (before I could locate it of course). About 10 minutes later, the cell phone started ringing again, and again I muted the TV - no ringing. Hm. Yep, it was a cell phone on the TV the whole time. Duh.

This morning I am sitting in my office quietly working while the young lady who cleans for us is making the house sparkly. The cats always get freaked out by the sound of the vacuum, so they are hiding under the bed in the spare bedroom (directly upstairs from my office.) Now, the cats are still in a state of semi-Jihad withe each other, so when I heard a growling noise, I quickly headed upstairs. It wasn't until I was halfway up that I realized it was my stomach that was growling. No kidding. Do you think I could make this stuff up????