Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Which sense is more important to you: vision or hearing?

While sitting here contemplating this topic I can hear the traffic outside my window, particularly the garbage truck picking up this week's offering. I can see the cat next to me stretching, then standing up to see what the noise is outside of her window. I can hear my husband moving things around in the backyard as he fixes things up for Canaltown Days. (more on that later) I can see the laundry that needs to be folded. Earlier though, I did not hear my daughter's bus pull up. If I hadn't seen it, I would not have realized it was about ten minutes early.
I like hearing things. I like overhearing things too! There have been many conversations overheard at restaurants, airports, and workplaces that are too funny to be made up and therefore may end up in a book someday. However, I like seeing things even more. I've mentioned before that I like to speak to people face to face, and part of this is to gage reactions. This is the major reason I like my sight. I also love colors. I love having beautiful colors all around me. It lifts my mood and spurs my creativity. In that same vein, I like pretty things. Pretty flowers, nice furniture, fine art, and elegant clothing all bring me a certain pleasure. I'm not trying to sound shallow, because I could live without any of it if needed, but it does have its appeal.
If given a choice between loosing my sight or loosing my hearing I don't think I would be able to choose. Suppose the doctor is standing there before a major life saving operation and asking this question. What do I choose? I'm afraid this question would be agonizing! Luckily, that type of thing is unlikely to happen.
What does happen all too often is the gradual loss of one or the other (or both!) with age. For me, my sight has been poor most of my life. I started wearing glasses in third grade and had to move to contacts by fifth grade because my sight was so bad. This was back in the day of only hard contacts, and I was far too young to be responsible for something that expensive. I lost far too many for a child of a family on a strict budget.
But, I digress. And, I shall again, but this time it will be for a purpose. My daughter was born early and subsequently developed a bleed on her brain. She also was in an incubator on oxygen for quite a while. The consequences of these events are cerebral palsy and blindness in one eye. The eye problems extend to the other eye in that she needs glasses or a contact. She got her first pair of glasses at about 15 months and promptly stopped crawling backwards and began moving forward. The CP means several things physically, but the most noticeable is her inability to speak. Because of this our family has learned sign language. We don't claim to be nearly as proficient as those families with actual deaf members, but helping us all understand what Sarah wants to say is invaluable.
I promised a point to that tangent, so this is it. I know sign language! I have a distinct advantage when it comes to hearing loss. I have had temporary hearing problems in the past, and while they were very frustrating, I wasn't completely lost. The frustration was mostly because I was used to hearing things from the other room and not having to get up just to talk to someone in another part of the house. It was hard, and luckily temporary, and for that I am glad.
Recently, I had an episode of Bell's Palsy. One of the side effects was the inability to blink my left eye properly. I ended up with an eye patch that was awkward and ugly. Not pirate-like at all! I did not do well with that trial. I did not keep my suffering to myself and I knew it was temporary. I don't want to think how poorly I would react to a permanent loss.
So, I have had problems with both sight and hearing. I can imagine how life would be if either were permanent. If I had to choose which sense is most valuable, sight or hearing, I would choose sight. I don't want to bumble around my house any more than I already do, I want to be able to see words that I type or read in books, and most importantly, I need to see my family.
I need to see my husband's love. I need to see my daughter's smile and words. I need to see my son's graduation from law school and more. I need to see my grandchildren grow. I need my sight.


Kathy said...

I love how you pose a case for both. I agree with you. I would be lost without my sight. If I had to choose, I would choose the same.


from maggie's farm said...

This one always has be stymied, but after a vision-loss scare, recently, I've determined I'd miss sight more, though what a terrible choice to have to make.
Thank you for your thoughtful discussion.