Still more on the 2004 convention

Loss of Hearing, Loss of Self: Finding Your Way Back to Home and Family
2:15-3:45 p.m., Friday, 6-11-04

Dr. Deborah Gough

Dr. Gough earned her Master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling and a Doctorate in counseling. Dr. Gough provides training on disability as an issue of loss, grieving, and personal growth to rehabilitation professionals and consumers/family members on both state and national levels. Dr. Gough spent a great deal of time explaining how people deal with loss. She discussed grief, denial, anger, etc., but not at all from the usual viewpoint. We have probably all seen articles on the stages of grief, but she spoke from the idea that all of the seseemingly negative feelings are actually very beneficial. Each of these feelings, help us to evaluate our loss and ourselves. In many ways, they enable us to “grow”. I really enjoyed her lecture, but I would have liked to have seen a clearer link to hearing loss.

Reading Lips and Sharing Tips: Speechreading in the Community
4:00-5:30 p.m., Friday 6-11-04

Gael Hannan

Well after having seen her video, “Unheard Voices”, Gael Hannan was already one of my favorite people! This one-woman play about hearing loss clearly and passionately educates the hearing people in our lives about what we live as HoH people. I will continue to stand on my soapbox and preach it’s influence. Every HoH person should have a copy. I couldn’t wait for her workshop to start! In 2002, Gael, who has a severe-to-profound hearing loss, created a national awareness campaign on infant hearing screening for the Hearing Foundation of Canada. Her writing includes articles for Hearing Health, Vibes, and Abilities magazines, and two employment manuals for people with hearing loss. Gael began the workshop with a silent roll call. Before the workshop began, she walked around and introduced herself to several attendees and wrote their names down. She then had a silent roll call and we were to raise our hands if we saw our name on her lips. I “nailed”mine, as my teens would say, but my name is very easy to see on the lips. Gael shared with us why she believes that HoH people should be the teachers of Speechreading classes. After listening to her, I agree! I’m ready to start one myself! Ye-haw, but she has a contagious enthusiasm for the subject! I’d like to look into one for my own local chapter and community. I plan to contact her soon to find out more. Another “fun” exercise she shared with us was a literal lip-reading activity. She had us break up into groups of 4, and she handed us cards with questions and answers typed out on them. All the questions had to do with Omaha! Wow! I learned a great deal about Omaha! We were to read the question out loud, and were to let the members of our group see the question. We were then to “lip” the answer (sorry Gael! Is that a word?) and our group were to try and understand what the answer was to the question by reading our lips. I had a lady from Chile, who could read lips in two languages! Was I ever impressed or what?

Did you know that Omaha has a population of400,000?

Did you know the Reuben sandwich originated in Omaha?

Did you know the honeybee is the official insect?

Gael gave us a few tips to practice speech reading at home. She suggested reading the headlines of a newspaper, and then having a family member read the headlines back to us without voice, to see if we could pick up which ones were being said. She also suggested reading short articles from the paper, and then having a family member read the article back to us so that we could see how the article appeared on the lips of someone else. As we will have just read the article, we should easily be able to see the words more clearly on the family member’s mouth. Gael also suggested watching the news on T.V., with no sound and no closed captioning. Sounds intimidating to me, but I’m going to give it a try! Super workshop…I think everyone left with a greater understanding of Speechreading.

Saturday, 6-12-04
I was in the exhibit hall talking to Becky Compton from CSD Texas –San Antonio, when someone touched my arm to let me know my cell phone was ringing. I have a CHAAMP, but I cannot hear it ring even on it’s loudest setting. I can only hear it ring when I’m staring at as it “goes off” GRIN. In other words, the lights alert me! Any—whoooooooo…I digress! I excused myself and saw that it was my daughter calling me from her new cell phone. She shares my minutes since I rarely use mine each month because I’m scared of my CHAAMP. (Folks, that’s another long-winded story in and of itself, so let me get on with this one for the time being…)

I was getting ready to “fuss” as I figured she called to say, “hey Mom”. However, she asked me if I had looked outside lately. I took 3 giant steps to the right from where I was standing, to where I could see out the door of the exhibit hall to the windows of the hotel beyond. All was darkand well…It was dangerous looking! I almost dropped my phone! My daughter sounded scared, and I picked up a word or two. One word I intercepted was TORNADO.

I immediately dropped my bag and pocketbook, and stood frozen as I said into my phone, “What do you meanTORNADO?”

She said that there was a tornado watch and that the hotel people were telling everyone to stay away from the windows, etc., andhad cornered a lot of the SHHH staff to let them know the procedure should everyone have to go to a “safe place”. I felt an actuals hudder of apprehension shake me to my toes! And yes! If you had been standing next to me, you’d have felt it! I kept trying to make sense of how we would let hundreds upon hundreds of HoH people know there was a tornado! Well only a “watch” was in effect, but I don’t believe I have ever felt so frightened on behalf of HoH people I love in a long time! Well, really EVER! I quickly made a “let’s intercept each other” date with my kids, and I ran to meet them on the 1st floor. It was only 2:30 and yet was almost dark outside. Within 30 minutes, everything seemed almost back to normal. We had showers and thunderstorms the remainder of the day. My husband later joked at the beginning of the banquet, that “now that everyone had spent the afternoon in their tubs, we could enjoy the banquet”. It was a frightening experience. Wish I’d gone to Friday’s workshop, “Disaster Preparedness Tips for Hard of Hearing People”!

7:00-10:00 p.m., Saturday, 6-12-04

The nicest part about the banquet, was the company with me! My family, of course, is very special and I enjoy getting all dressed up. My daughter conned this “Mom” into buying her a new dress, and she looked like she was 17 or 18, instead of 14. Perhaps, I made a mistake in going shopping with her? My son, wearing a shirt and tie looked like his Dad. (Of course, Terry looks like a million bucks in a suit, and wears them almost everyday, but Chris looked like he was headed for his own execution!) To my right was a bhNews and BeyondHearing friend, Barbara Hunter and her husband Bob. I have never “met” Barbara before the convention, but have traded emails with her on and off for over a year. Barbara calls San Antonio, Texas, “home” and is a very special friend. She has been involved with SHHH for a very long time, and has been a big encouragement to me. She has been my “listening ear” many a time, and also helped me to purchase some hospital kits for my local chapter to give out during our “Hearing Awareness Month” outreach in May. Barbara has also worked very closely with her local CSD in Texas, and I hope t obe as influential on the consumer advisory committee in Maryland. Faith and Bob Arrington were on the other side of the Hunter’s. They are the co-leaders with me of my own little Frederick County SHHH chapter. Talk about cheerleaders! They even come with pom-pom’s…well ok! That’s an exaggeration, and I’d not like to see Bob with pom-poms in his hand! But they are faithful in their attendance, and quick with praise, wise with suggestions, and all-in-all wonderful SHHH’ers! I don’t know what I’d do without them! I hope every local chapter has a “Faith and Bob Arrington” in their midst! On the other side of the Arrington’s were Harry and Marian Reyburn, from the Omaha SHHH local organizing committee. And guess what we had for dessert? Raspberry Cheesecake! Oh my goodness! Will my clothes fit when I get home? Advanced Bionics sponsored the banquet, and Michael Onuscheck welcomed us. Ahme Stone, wife of founder Rocky Stone, gave the invocation. We enjoyed dinner, and then Ann Liming, President of theBoard of Trustees of SHHH, recognized the local organizing committee and volunteers. Recognition was given to Dr. David Conway and Susan Lantz, “Adult Activities” coordinators. (GRIN, I’m still bitin’ my tongue!) Leisha Eiten, from Boys Town Research Hospital, Becky Hohnbaum, Verla Hamilton, (Hospitality & Children’s Programs), Dr. Paul Lundell, (Treasurer), Chris Olsen, (Omaha World Herald), Mary Reyburn, (Volunteer Management), Warren Reynolds, II, (Shopping Raffle), Karen Rossi, (Children’s Program), and Eugene and Dolores Tjarks. My hubby, gave out the Outstanding Employer Award to Dominion Exploration Production, Inc., in Oklahoma. Rocky Stone, then gave out “his” award, that is, the “Howard E. “Rocky” Stone Humanitarian Award” to Jerry Hohnbaum, from North Platte, NE. Jerry and his wife certainly deserved this award as we learned of all the ways he has served HoH people throughout his state of Nebraska.

Denise Portis
Frederick County SHHH
Frederick, MD
©2006 Hearing Loss Diary

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