Monday, February 12, 2007


Back when my thyroid was removed in December 2005, my taste buds stopped working. It was an awful experience, really. A friend of mine started to joke that it was funny, but then he realized mid-laugh that it wasn't. It didn't matter if I ate a candy bar, a piece of fruit so rich that juice would dribble down my chin, or a meal I had stoked with seasonings, I might as well have been dining in England for all the sabor my food had. It all tasted blank.
The last three weeks, owing to a head cold I contracted at the end of a visit to Arizona, I've been losing my hearing. I've waited for my head to clear itself out, and sometimes it almost does -- during a hot shower, when I have a jaw-cracking yawn, or during other unpredictable moments -- but my ears always fill back up, and I'm left to cupping my hands over my ears to pick out sounds, to asking people what they said, and to deciphering speech from context. The only sounds I hear easily are the pulsing in my ear the cotton makes when it shifts, and the noise of the breath in my throat.
What an awful way to live. I can't even imagine what it would be like to be like this for the rest of my life: never to hear my daughters say they love me, never to hear my wife say my name, never to hear the sizzle of rain on the street, or the delicate crunch of snow on the lawn.
I saw the doctor today; he prescribed a hefty decongestant and a plan of action that should clear my ears out. After feeling the silence closing in, especially the last two days, this will be a welcome return to Paradise.

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