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Oh, how I’ve missed Gill and her terrible hearing. She always claims it was from the steroids she had to take at one point for her Crohn’s, but I suspect it has more to do with the rock concerts she and her siblings attended as teens. Oh, they TOLD me they used earplugs but I’m somewhat doubtful. I mean, really, what’s the point in going to hear loud rock or grunge bands if they’re muffled? I think they just wanted to prove to me, the worrying Mom, that they were being so responsible in that respect that they were certainly responsible enough to borrow and drive my car with their friends jammed in like sardines. They were — until they weren’t — and Gill landed my almost new car in a heap on top of some very large boulders. At that point, loss of hearing was the least of her problems.

Fast forward to Gill in her 30s. The hearing got progressively worse. She now buys ear drops by the case load. She swims a lot so, if it isn’t swimmer’s ear making her deaf, it’s the infections that follow. And she takes so many different meds for her myriad of diseases, she’s lucky it’s only her hearing that has suffered. Of course, there is the liver test that she refuses to take. I doubt she has much in the way of a functioning liver left. Not that I’m one to talk. My life has been filled with so many migraines meds, hormones, birth control pills, and blood pressure medications that I’m a walking chemistry lab.

When Gill visited last summer, I had to shout to make myself heard. Her hearing range was a few metres then. Now, I have to be in the same room, no doors or walls or vagrant dogs in the way, and yell at the top of my lungs. Even then, it’s a fifty-fifty chance that she’ll make out what I’m saying. I may have to learn sign language but with my lack of co-ordination, that could go horribly wrong.

And of course, she gets frustrated and angry that she can’t hear. “Ma, how many times do I have to tell you? You have to be in the same room and speak loudly and distinctly!”

Miffed, I point out: “I AM right outside your open door! And I’m screaming…I’m surprised the new neighbors beside us haven’t rushed over to see if somebody is being stabbed!”

Add all this deteriorating hearing to the horrid cold she brought all the way from England to share with us. She did have the grace to apologize via FB to all her fellow passengers on AC Flight#— from Heathrow for the cold they now probably have.

But did we, her loving family, receive such an apology? We did not. Although, to her credit, she did point out that she had made the Herculean effort, despite her infirmity, to travel all the way across the pond (the long flight being delayed two hours at Heathrow) with no sleep since 5 a.m. London time and made (somewhat) pleasant conversation at dinner that went well past her normal going-to-bed hour (not even taking into account the five hour time difference).

And she had come up with some brilliant and creative gifts for us…besides the cold. She’s correct. We were glad to have her and we’d still be ecstatic to see her if she had every disease in the book. In fact, she may have….but family is all about unconditional love. We prove it every time she shouts “Eh?”, sprints over the dogs to reach the bathroom before her Crohn’s explodes, or shuffles around the block with her crippled arthritic gait.

And after all, who amongst us (especially this family) doesn’t have health issues? Migraines, bad eyesight, Osteoporosis, anxiety attacks, high blood pressure, heart murmurs, bad backs, painful shoulders, knees…and on and on. We’d all, in a spirit of generosity and wanting to help our fellow man, donate our bodies to science. Sadly, nobody would take us or our spare parts. THAT’S just embarrassing…

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