Friday, January 23, 2009

Oh those ears

We had taken David to the local Fourth of July fireworks display when he was three years old. With the first boom David was in agony. I could see it immediately. I told Yvette, Lisa, David's older sister, and Sean, David's older brother that I had to get David back to the car. I ran with David back to the car with everyone else running behind me. While I ran, I covered David's ears with my hands. It was clear. Watching fireworks was fun, but not for David.

The next year Yvette and I decided that David could not come with me when I took Lisa and Sean to watch fireworks. David was livid and he called me at work. I was not there, but David kept calling me. Finally one of my coworkers had stopped by the office and decided that if the phone was ringing so long it might be an emergency. He picked up the phone.

"Where's my Dad?" David cried. David had just started talking and the situation seemed to bring out his very best effort.

Tom was calm. He asked, "Is your dad, Ed?"

"Yeah!" David cried out. "He is supposed to take me to fireworks!"

"This is where he works and he is not here." Tom told David. "But I will tell him when I see him"

"Yeah!" David yelled and he hung up.

I was in trouble when I got home and even though it was late, I took David for a walk with me. I am not sure whether it was David or guilt that made me do it, but even though I reminded him of how much he hurt when he saw the fireworks last time, I wound up promising to take him the next time.

And I did. The next year when I took my three children to see fireworks, I proposed to them that we watch the fireworks from a Dairy Queen store. It was far enough away that it did not hurt David and being at Dairy Queen meant that we could have ice cream while watching the fireworks. It was a compromise that we all were happy with.

Later, I took David to the Children's Hospital here in Denver where his hearing was checked. David's hearing was incredible. He was hearing words 20 dB below the level that the average person could hear them. There were tones where he was hearing below -10 dBA. I had never heard of such a thing. Clearly David's hearing was and still is really acute. I remember walking into a restaurant where David said that the television, which was muted, was ringing. I walked up close to the television and two feet away, I could hear it too, barely. My wife could not hear it at all. Oh those ears.

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