Monday, May 14, 2012

Microtia and Me

     I was born with unilateral Type III microtia. Which in words I can understand means I do not have an ear. In my case, I do not have a left ear.  According to the Texas Department of Health the definition of Type III microtia is: The external is a rudimentary soft tissue structure with no cartilage; the auricle does not have a normal appearance.  For me, all I have is the lobe on the side of my head. 
     Although I lack an ear, I do not lack intelligence. My IQ is not in the single digits because I cannot hear on my left side.  I speak, sing (off key), wish stuck to my guns to be the dancer/choreographer  I dreampt of being, plus kept up with the piano lessons---I had a thing for Beethoven (Oh wait--he couldn't hear either! :)   
     My bit of a tirade comes from the training of my new job. Not all the PC's work, so we are huddled two and three at a PC.  My PC has all its systems, hence I have two ladies at my desk. The first day we huddled set the tone.  I explained to them, if they sit on my left, I will  not be able to hear well. So if it seems I am ignoring them, please tap my arm, get my attention someway--I don't want to miss out. 
     Well none of that happened. I found myself asking them to repeat again and again, or I missed their words. For a few days after, the ladies, spoke to me as if I were a toddler. Asking me repeatedly-"Do you understand this?" Which was a moot question, because after the trainer explained/reviewed our work, I was correct for the majority of it.  My co-workers had decided to not listen to me, hence our work was wrong.   
     So today, it was my turn again.  I explained I needed someone to  be on my right so I could hear for sure what was being said. Our office is loud, I asked to be met half way. One co-worker did get on my right. We made it through most of the work. I am not so sure either was happy.
     I have explained more about not having an ear these last few weeks.  I explain to folks, I am hard of hearing on my left side. Please tap my shoulder or arm to get my attention. If they ask why, I tell them. I do want to give information you are not asking for or could care less about. However, there are times, which I am learning with my two co-workers, a bit more education is needed.  We have a communication disconnect. We don't need to be best buds, yet we need to be able to work together. Stay tuned on all that. 
     I was born with just one hear. However, sometimes I hear better than you want me to. 

1 comment:

Old Kitty said...

Oh Thomasina!! How awful for you! I think you are meeting your co-workers half way by explaining to them your needs in a professional work place. They should then meet you half way too! This is the 21st century and ignorance about disabilities in the work place should not exist any more! Good grief! :-( This is very close to my heart as my sister had to battle all her life to get her work place to provide for her disability as required by law for her to do her job competently and efficiently and for her to be able to compete with her able bodied colleagues on an equal level. All she wanted to do was to give her best and then some at her work place but it was the prevalent attitude of many of her co-workers that proved the biggest hurdle for her to overcome.

I hope you managed to crack that ceiling of ignorance! Take care

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