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Day by Day

The Chronicles of a Hard of Hearing Reporter

Elizabeth Thompson

Publication Year: 2008

Elizabeth Thompson’s hearing loss was detected when she was in elementary school, and her hearing continued to deteriorate until she became completely deaf. Like many other hard of hearing and late-deafened individuals, her hearing loss complicated the general challenges of life. She struggled through school, worked as a secretary, married, had a daughter, and then found herself living as a single mother. She remarried, and soon after learned that she had contracted Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Despite these hurdles, Thompson always expressed her determination to enjoy the best life had to offer. Her astonishing exuberance might have gone unnoticed if she hadn’t accepted a new position as a reporter/columnist in 1998 for the Suburban News Publications (SNP). Day by Day: The Chronicles of a Hard of Hearing Reporter presents a marvelous blend of her experiences and best SNP columns that illustrate how she created her remarkable outlook. In her columns, Thompson presented how she handled her hearing loss as a personal guide for readers. She used every stratagem available to function full-throttle – hearing aids, FM systems, lights for alarms, TTYs, even training her dog Snert. She also gently counseled readers on how to treat deaf and hard of hearing people with practical consideration and respect. Her pursuit of a fully realized life enabled her to do what she loved most, to meet and write about inspiring persons, many of whom are profiled in her memoir. Thompson eventually underwent cochlear implantation that restored 95% of her hearing, an exalting moment for her. Yet, Day by Day celebrates the entire arc of her life, a wonderful testament to her joyous resilience.

Published by: Gallaudet University Press


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-ix

I remember one of my first encounters with Liz Thompson. It disappointed me. You see, I was trying to hire Liz to be a reporter for Suburban News Publications (SNP), a group of 21 weekly newspapers in the Columbus (Ohio) metropolitan area. I was the editor and always on the lookout for talent, especially mature professionals with a ...

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pp. xi-xii

All my thanks goes to God who has guided me and sustained me. There is no doubt that God sent every person and circumstance into my life to grant me the strength to persevere. ...

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pp. xiii-xiv

The long of it—I learned how to cope. This learning process began when I was a child. Was it easy? No. Interesting? Yes. That is the gist of my book. I want to share what I have learned from within myself, from my experiences, and from others. All of these experiences led to my writing a newspaper column, starting in 1998. I have built my ...

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Acknowledging Differences

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pp. 1-11

As I walked up the steep front steps and opened the massive doors, a familiar aroma filled my senses. The fragrance was a mixture of paste, crayons, ink from mimeographed work papers, wood desks, apples, peanut butter, and the lilacs and daffodils on teachers’ desks. Even today if I get a whiff of this concoction, I am ...

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I Can’t Hear You When I Yawn

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pp. 12-26

In 1998, I took a chance on sending an essay called “I Can’t Hear You When I Yawn” to Suburban News Publications (SNP), a local newspaper in Columbus, Ohio. I’m still not sure to this day what moved me to do this. At the time, however, I knew my life was closing in and becoming smaller as I continued losing my hearing. ...

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You Are One of Millions

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pp. 27-39

The more I wrote columns related to hearing loss, the more letters I received. People wanted information, answers, and, most of all, people wanted out of their lonely, muffled world. Receiving these letters humbled me and gave a voice to readers. This also showed me I was doing what I was meant to do—write about what I ...

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Handling Insensitive Questions and Changing One’s Attitude

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pp. 40-48

As a deaf or hard of hearing person, have other people ever asked such an insolent question that it totally amazes you as to the amount of ignorance and misunderstanding it conveys? Our first reaction might be to think that it is possible that we have misunderstood the question or misread its meaning. It is easy for us as ...

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What’s Your Shoe Size?

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pp. 49-53

I have small feet and maybe that explains why few people have tried to walk in my shoes. But this chapter really isn’t about shoe size. Instead it is about trying to see someone else’s life through his or her eyes. An old Indian proverb I have heard goes something ...

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Stories of Growing up Deaf in a Hearing Family

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pp. 54-86

It was 2005, Bob and I had moved to Monroe, Washington, from Phoenix. Lush green contrasted with the desert we left behind. We rented a Cape Cod–style home in the country with several acres surrounded by vast, wild blackberry bushes and pine trees so tall the tops seemed to touch the clouds. Our time here was ...

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Marriage Vows Become a Reality

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pp. 87-96

In 1976, we became a family of two, plus a Siamese cat, when my daughter, Mary, was two. Her father and I were married almost six years. I was young and had grown up in a small town while he had been raised in Washington, D.C., and had completed a tour of duty in the U.S. Navy which included Vietnam. ...

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File It Away

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pp. 97-107

Having been a secretary for more than 25 years, one thing I never enjoyed was filing. It’s important for you to know this little fact to understand the following poem I wrote in January 1997. Coping with hearing loss is not easy. It is a mourning process similar to losing a loved one. I treasured sounds—music, laughter, conversation, nature ...

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Listening and Hearing

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pp. 108-110

I talk to my dog, Snert, and our Golden Retriever, Jack, all the time. I know they listen—but when they are in the hot pursuit of a rabbit, they only hear me but don’t heed what I say. They seem to like the sound of our voices and are comforted when we talk to them. It is therapeutic for Bob and me. More than once, we will hear ...

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Enjoy the Ride

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pp. 111-113

If you have ever been to San Francisco, you will understand this column completely. Driving in San Francisco is a real adventure. To use the streets of San Francisco in an analogy, I could say—no matter how corny it sounds—that the streets in this hilly city are similar to the ups and downs in life. ...

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Employee/Employer Blues

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pp. 114-124

From my first typical, college-bound job waitressing at eighteen, then selling shoes, being a receiving clerk, working my way to executive secretary, later as a reporter, and finally as a teacher’s aide at fifty-two, lessons were learned that, at the time, seemed pointless, especially in the early years. But income was necessary to pay for ...

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Twisted Fingers

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pp. 125-129

As gregarious as I am, it was surprising to me that American Sign Language made me shy. Hindsight tells me it might have been because of my desire to sign well and clearly—you know the old tapes of failure that can run again in our heads—but once I threw that old tape away, signing took on new meaning to me. Then it began to happen more naturally. ...

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Mouth Wide Open

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pp. 130-136

My parents told me I was born with my mouth wide open and crying, like most babies. But over the years, after I learned to talk, my mouth stayed open talking away. I loved meeting new people, visiting neighbors, singing, laughing and this remains a part of me today. ...

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When Batteries Die

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pp. 137-140

As recently as 2002, I would tell people I was deaf without my hearing aids. Now, with my cochlear implant, I say, “With my device on, I hear and understand about 95 percent of everything spoken and know what most sounds are. But when the batteries die, or I take the device off, I am still deaf.” ...

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Worship “Normally”

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pp. 141-147

My next step seemed obvious but difficult. I knew I would be deaf within a few years and cochlear implants seemed foreign to me. My next step was to knock on the door of Holy Cross Lutheran Church for the Deaf. You heard me, knock. I felt like a fool. I saw people standing in the pastor’s office on this Saturday and ...

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Mickey Mouse Voices

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pp. 148-166

April 22, 2002 is a date that is etched in my brain— literally. This is the day Dr. Darryl Willett with OhioENTSurgeons performed a miracle in my head. He put a cochlear implant in my right cochlea and under my scalp at Grant-Riverside Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. ...

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Looking Both Ways

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pp. 167-177

During our lives we need to find time to travel on brief journeys into our past. I believe in living in the present, yet occasionally opening that old photo album showing where we have been can be therapeutic. ...

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pp. 178-183

I first heard this bird’s song in Monroe, Washington, in 2005. Mornings, in particular, were quiet and wet with heavy dew making the grass slippery and shiny. Slug trails shimmered in the early morning light and spider webs were more visible with droplets of water decorating the delicate and lacey patterns. The air ...

Appendix: Technical Description of Cochlear Implant Mapping

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pp. 184-187

E-ISBN-13: 9781563684258
E-ISBN-10: 156368425X
Print-ISBN-13: 9781563683701
Print-ISBN-10: 1563683709

Page Count: 204
Publication Year: 2008