My personal wellness class has been… A struggle. Not just the content, but, personally. People, especially teachers, make a lot of assumptions when they meet me. I can’t hear, rarely speak, never raise my hand, and don’t ever take notes. That usually changes as soon as I take a test or write a paper. But, in this situation, there wasn’t time, I had to figure out if I needed to drop the class. So from the very first day, she knew, not only did she have a deaf student. She had a deaf student, with some physical limitations AND anorexia!
I felt judged. The steno’s commentary about being stupid and not skinny enough to have a problem added to that feeling.
So, I did something VERY out of character for me… I offered to talk to the class.
I stood up and said “I’m deaf, but I wasn’t always.”
I told them about balancing state championships and the 7th grade science fair. And finishing my French homework while training in Mexico.
About the trip to Abilene, where I hit my head, followed by weeks and months of training through increasing pain, culminating with the devastating diagnosis of MS. I told them the day my mom played back the tapes from Texas and figured out what really happened, and the elation I felt NOT having MS.
I talked about blackout pain, refusing to take narcotics, and my decision to not only ignore, but completely defy the medical advise to fuse my spine and never backbend.
I literally had to start from scratch.
But I did it. I’m doing it.
When I finished speaking… My teacher was crying. The stenographer was crying. My classmates were crying. When the steno’s boss sent me the transcripts from class she said reading it made her cry.
I think maybe it had an impact.