I had 2 Christmas parties to attend this week. One on Thursday night and another on Saturday night. I am very proud of myself that I made it to both of them.
The first party was full of people who know me well and understand my situation. My hearing deficit, my dizziness, my Celiac disease… They are a wonderful bunch of people who tried hard to make me as comfortable as possible. I was suffering from disequilibrium pretty bad, and my hearing was much less than desirable, but I had my amplifier in one ear and it helped a lot. I pretty much sat in one place and if anyone wanted to visit with me, they came to me. When I told them I couldn’t hear them very well, they would make sure to come closer, speak clearly, and be sure to face me. I’m not great at reading lips, but if I can hear part of the conversation I can read lips a little, and then I can piece things together.
These friends were also wonderful about making sure I had gluten-free food to eat. I did make sure and fill my plate before anyone else to avoid cross contamination. (There was a lot of bread and cookies and such on the tables too, and just one crumb is all it takes.) One friend was even kind enough to make gluten-free brownies for me!
The party on Saturday night was a completely different story.
I wasn’t feeling well…a little unsteady. My hearing was horrible. There was so much noise in this house, and unfortunately I didn’t charge my amplifier enough so it was dying very fast. With in the first hour I was almost completely deaf.
I was lucky enough to be sitting by a friend for most of the time and she would interpret what was being said for me so I would know what was going on. We also left the party right after we opened gifts. (I will say I was thrilled with my gifts! I felt like I had Christmas a little early.) I just wish I could have heard all the Christmas wishes from my friends. I also knew to make sure and eat a full meal before going to this party, because there wouldn’t be anything there that I would be able to eat and be assured that is was safe.
I did have one heart warming experience. I was sitting on a little couch after we opened our presents and my friend’s son, Nate, came running up to me and hugged me and said, “I love you!” Nate is a very special little boy. He is often very shy, especially when there are a lot of people around, so this just thrilled my heart. I haven’t been able to spend as much time with him as I would have liked over the past year. He is 2 1/2 years old, and has a huge part of my heart.
How do you handle a party situation? I know many people don’t want to feel different, and avoid these situations because they can’t hear or because they are afraid they may have an attack. I did have to take Valium while I was at the party Saturday night, but I didn’t feel bad enough that I thought I was going to have a full-fledged attack. I also prefer it if people know what is wrong with me. I want people to know how to talk with me so I’m more likely to hear them. I want people to understand that I might grab a hold of them if I get off-balance as I walk by. This made the party on Thursday night much easier than the party on Saturday night.
Does it embarrass you that when you can’t hear someone? (I sure get frustrated some times!)
Do you avoid social situations? (If I’ve recently had an attack, or feel like I might have one, I stay home. But lately, I’m pushing it a little bit more and trying to be more social despite my fears.)
Do you have warning signs before you have an attack?