Deaf People are People Too

I must warn you right off the bat.  I’m angry and this isn’t going to be an upbeat post with humor.  I wanted to write this a couple of weeks ago, but in all honesty, I had to think about it and calm down.  I’m still so angry I could scream, but there’s no one who can change things that would care.  I should also tell you right away that this happened in Ontario, Canada – not in the United States.

 

In the middle of October, I became very ill.  So ill, DH had to take me to the hospital. I knew the hospital we were going to had a terrible reputation – my own doctor in Toronto told me to avoid going there at all costs.  But when you need help urgently, you really haven’t got time to travel almost an hour to a decent hospital.  So off I went to the hospital closest to my home.

 

I’m not going to write about the horrible care I got or the callousness  of the uncaring staff.  I’m not going to write about how brutal my six day stay was.  You don’t need to read all the gruesome details and frankly, I don’t want to relive it.  What I do want to write about is how they ignored the fact that I’m deaf.  How hard they made it for me to communicate with them.  How absolutely uncaring they were that I couldn’t hear them.

 

I told every single person I came into contact with that I’m deaf and read lips.  I asked them to put it on my chart – they did not. I asked them to face me so I could see their lips.  They did not.  When it was dark, I asked them to turn the light on so I could see their faces – they did not.

What they did do was isolate me in my deafness, talk around me, and make it impossible for me to know what they were saying.  I was forced to sleep in my hearing aids, which in itself is a miserable, uncomfortable thing to have to do, so I would at least get some environment sounds.  Like the monitor for my IV which kept sounding an alarm and flashing a red light, which they ignored for up to an hour each time.  I told them I could not hear them and respond if I pushed the call button – but still they persisted in trying to talk to me through the intercom.

 

Not only is this a blatant disregard of any disabilities acts they have passed in Ontario and Canada, it’s a blatant disregard of a human being, a lack of kindness, and a sad statement about a hospital – the place that’s supposed to care and heal us.

Shame on them.

 

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