Sunday, March 14, 2010


I don't think vulnerable would describe loss of smell or loss of taste. I'm experiencing a bit of the latter, and while it certainly makes for some very bland eating, it does not in fact make me feel vulnerable. I can imagine missing all the wonderful smells I enjoy - rain on the dirt in springtime, fresh roses, vanilla, cinnamon, baking bread, new babies. Of course, there are a few I wouldn't miss - driving by the paper mill, the road kill skunk or the flatulence that tends to build up in a house full of boys. But other than the occasional burning dinner or whiff of something somebody stepped in, it would seem to be more of a bereft feeling, rather than feeling exposed or defenseless.

Taste - definitely miss it! In fact, I'm down almost 15 pounds because I have no desire to eat. Everything tastes like cardboard. Life would be truly less enjoyable (but dieting would be a heck of a lot easier) without the succulent taste of chocolate or cheesecake. After experiencing this for the past couple of weeks, I definitely have greater empathy for my brother who lost his sense of taste due to a head injury last year.

But the other senses? Hearing, feeling, seeing - their loss seems to have a much greater impact. And I feel vulnerable. Unguarded and somewhat unprotected. You never realize how much you depend on all the little verbal and auditory clues every day...until they are gone.

I can't hear my children. I can't hear Mason calling during the day when no one else is home. I can't hear their chatter at the dinner table, can't eavesdrop on their bedtime conversations. I can't even hear when they walk in the door.

I can't hear the phone ring, though I can just barely make out what someone is saying if I press it tightly to my right ear. I can't hear the doorbell or a car on the gravel driveway. I definitely depended on those sounds to know when I had a visitor, or the mail lady had a package or UPS was bringing something fun.

Michael came home for lunch the other day, something he doesn't often do. He was home for almost 10 minutes, sitting on the other side of the room from me before I even noticed. Vulnerable -absolutely! Speaking of Michael, he is a super sound sleeper. He never hears the kids, never has. Even when they were babies, he slept right through all the middle of the night adventures. I worry now, because I can't hear anything. I was the one with the supersonic mom hearing, attuned to even the slightest moves of my children in their upstairs bedrooms. So far, Micah had the stomach flu (all over his carpet - UGH!) and Max had a wet bed twice - and no supersonic mom to help them out. Micah said he told Michael - he didn't even remember it the next morning when I discovered what had happened.

Can't hear the washer/dryer when they're done. Can't hear the beeping of the fridge if I don't quite get it closed. Can't hear the oven timer, water dripping, a car not sounding quite right. I wonder sometimes if I would hear the fire alarms if they went off.....

Mostly though, I miss conversation. Everybody, except for Max, has pretty much given up trying to talk to me. Mason get thoroughly frustrated with my inability to hear him and tends to scream...and then walks away. The older kids just don't bother. It is hard to be the mom, that all-knowing, all-powerful dispenser of wisdom and chocolate chip cookies, when one of the means to maintaining your super powers is suddenly stripped away. Vulnerable, definitely.


Ashley Mullen said...

:( Michelle, my heart is breaking for you. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Let me know if there is ANYTHING I can do!!!! PLEASE!!!

Ryan Reeder said...

Hey Michelle,

I'm sorry to hear you haven't been feeling well and your senses aren't what they used to be. I hope things clear up soon. Thanks for the updates and for letting people know what's going on. I'll be praying for you as well.

(your cousin) Ryan

Voila! said...

Sounds like it's been a rough winter! I sure hope spring brings some relief and recovery.

I've tried a couple of time to email you, but everything has been rejected. Can you email me please? I have some news to tell you.

Take Care!

Amy and Brad said...

I found your blog...hope that doesn't make me a creeper/stalker!

Just had to comment on this post. It made me cry! First off - you are such a writer - you express yourself beautifully. And secondly, as a mom, I just so feel your pain. I certainly can't (and won't) say "I've been there", but I definitely feel so much compassion for you and for your situation. I think of you all the time and you have been in my prayers for weeks.

Please know what an amazing woman and incredible mother you are - despite how vulnerable you are currently feeling! You continue to keep your household running smoothly, continue to care for your husband and family, continue to serve faithfully in your MANY church callings...all while going through very stressful and serious health struggles. You truly are a SUPERwoman and I admire you greatly.


Brittany said...

Wow Michelle! What a difficult thing to be going through. I hope you get some relief and healing soon. Another good reminder for me to be grateful for each day's blessings.