Monday, August 08, 2005

I'm all ears

I'm now deaf only in my left ear now; the right one cleared out after a weekend of ear drops & a morning in the clinic. But the right one is still plugged, despite the best efforts of the nurse. I was amazed as how different her touch was than the one who tried to help on Thursday afternoon. Thursday nurse was nice, but kind of rough and smelled of cigarette smoke & lavender water. Monday's nurse was kind and gentle and so confident in her touch. She asked me who helped me on Thursday, So-and-so or So-and-So. I said I didn't remember her name, but that I thought she smoked. "Oh, that was So-and-So" she said. "Yes, it's funny how smoke does that to you."

Anyway, after being very apologetic about not being able to clear the right ear, she asked the doctor to look at me. He is one of the teachers of the residents who staff the clinic. He first looked and said he couldn't dig out the was because it was right up against the ear drum & pulling it out might tear the membrane. So we'll leave it alone, he said very confidently, "It'll come out. As long as you can hear out of one ear, just continue to soften it up with drops & mineral oil and it'll come clean." It was reassuring, and I was so glad to be able to hear something that I counted the day a success.

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It was very strange to not be able to hear anything at the wedding I attended on Saturday. It wasn't supposed to be so. The couple had arranged to have microphones & speakers but the plans went to naught when when no one could figure out how to connect what to what. (I put in my shift and couldn't solve the puzzle.) A Friend on the arrangements committee told me later that the lesson learned was to not let the groom bring the extension cords a half-hour before the meeting was supposed to begin.

Other than not hearing anything, it was a nice enough wedding, a hybrid UCC & Friends service. I was OK with the hymns, the reading, even the homily (which was easy to like since I couldn't hear any of it). But the "communion" of bread dipped in blueberry juice following a paraphrased reading of the Last Supper (Jesus was at a "party") required a little more ecumenism than I was mature enough to accept, despite the sincere invitation to "break the rules like Jesus did." I felt sorry I couldn't share 100%, but felt that faking it would have been worse. I'm pretty confident of the couple's understanding & forgiveness (and, though I wasn't counting heads, am pretty sure I wasn't the only Friend they will have the opportunity to forgive.) None of it diminished my love the couple and I was happy for them. It was a beautiful day, warm but breezy & clear and there was a sizable community of people from many intersecting circles to share the day.

On Sunday afternoon, I attended the memorial service for my friend Lou Ann. Here, the amplified sound worked and I could hear what was said. This time, the combined secular-Jewish-Quaker elements seemed just right and in perfect balance. I was especially touched by Elizabeth's story of how, in her last day or so, she asked Lou Ann to tell her anything she really wanted her to know, and Lou Ann said, "You know, you have so many nice clothes in your closet you never wear. . . ." How Lou Ann to say it, how EB it was to tell it.

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Tomorrow, I will drive up north of Ely to pick up Eldest Son from the Y camp where he's returning to after a 15-day Boundary Waters canoe trip.

It has been quite strange without him here, though living with the three generatioins of Holly women (grandmother, wife, daughter) for two weeks is really quite nice. It amazes me to see the traits cross the generations right before my eyes. Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing him at the welcome-home banquet tomorrow night, and then a long drive home Wednesday.

1 comment:

Michael L. Moore said...

Poor Paul! At least it's a while until the September convention. I know what you're feeling--have had the same experience occasionally, but perhaps not so radically.