Friday, February 26, 2010

The Sound of Science

Last week my son-in-law had surgery to restore his hearing. Four years ago he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. We were fortunate that the tumor was operable and benign. A month before the birth of his first child he underwent brain surgery. In the process the hearing in his right ear was destroyed.

Being deaf in one ear turned out to be a bonus with a newborn in the house. Jason could bury his good ear in the pillow and go to sleep with the squawking baby. The down side was that he no longer had stereo hearing. He had lost the ability to tell the direction from where sounds were coming. It was sometimes difficult for him to hear when his good ear wasn’t facing the conversation. He was well aware of these consequences when he had the surgery. We were all grateful that he survived with minimal consequences.
Last week’s surgery will restore his hearing in his deaf ear. A device was implanted in his head that will use his skull to transmit sound waves and bypass his damaged inner ear.

My understanding is that the actual device will attach to this port that is embedded in his skull.  He has to wait at least six weeks for the port to firmly attach to his skull.  Stay tuned and I will post updates of his progress. 

As a kid I remember watching the 6 Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman. I never thought I would have a bionic man in my family! I continue to be amazed at scientific advances. How lucky we are to live in a country where these advances are available. It really is "Better Living Through Science." I’m grateful for the scientific and medical discoveries that will improve the quality of life for my family.

Life is both good and amazing!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Formal Friday

I was called this morning to substitute at the high school for half a day.  Half a day!  I'm not getting out of bed to be paid for half a day; it's not worth the effort.  I declined the job and went back to sleep for another half an hour.  The phone rang again and I was offered a full day subbing in photography.  What a fun day.  The kids were working in an area that they enjoy and they were all engaged and on task. You hear a lot of criticism about today's teenagers, but the majority of them are caring and hard working.  I enjoy talking with them and I learn something new everytime I sub. 

Tomorrow is Friday and a group of kids at the high school participate in Formal Friday.  I had noticed one student who is always dressed in a suit and tie and carries a briefcase...he stands out in the crowd of jeans, t-shirts, and backpacks!  He started a movement to dress up on Friday's.  Now quite a few kids participate.  I wonder if I'll get called to sub tomorrow?  I'll need to shave my legs so I can wear a dress and high's Formal Friday.  Life is fun!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Just Over The Horizon

I grew up in the late ‘50’s and ‘60’s in Southern California. Our house, on a hillside overlooking the San Fernando Valley, was surrounded by lemon groves until 1958 when developers ripped out the trees and built cookie cutter houses all around us. Almost overnight we had sidewalks and neighbors and one lone tree left standing in our front yard.

On a very clear day we could see the thin band of blue of the Pacific Ocean on the horizon. In the 1950’s pollution alerts were still in the future. The air was clear and warm and kids played outside unsupervised all day long and sometimes late into the evening.

We rarely travelled far from the neighborhood. Family outings were uncommon. Mom, Dad and little brother in the front seat, my brother Leigh and I in the back seat. In those days before seatbelts, my brother and I were welded to the plastic in the back seat by the heat. The only air conditioning was the air blowing in the rolled down windows. With the radio tuned to KHJ we headed through the winding canyon road to the beach. There was a long tunnel cut into the hillside and we begged our father to honk the horn as we drove into the darkness. We emerged again into the bright sunshine and around every turn we quickly scanned the horizon for the first sighting of the ocean. As we came to a rise in the roadway we anticipated the ocean on the other side. My brother and I bickered about who spied the ocean first until my mother would finally turn around and demand that we stop…and we would, for awhile.

I still think of those drives to the beach with my family. Although I live hundreds of miles from the ocean, when I find myself approaching the crest of a hill there’s a little flutter of anticipation and I almost expect to see the ocean on the other side reaching to the horizon. It’s a memory of the pleasure of anticipation. Sometimes it’s the journey not the destination that makes the trip.

I'm enjoying the journey.  Life is good.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Too Much Information?

The danger of this medium is that I become so comfortable sharing my thoughts, opinions, insights and foibles that I cross the line into recklessness. How much is too much information? The gift of retirement is that I am past the point that anyone will be vetting me for appointment to the Supreme Court or even for the position of greeter at Wal-Mart. I continue to be surprised at what other bloggers share on their sites. I don’t think I will ever totally lower my filter…and I wonder if my writing is any less powerful because of this decision? On the other hand, isn’t it awfully self-important of me to think that anyone even cares what I write about?

My brother read my blogs for the first time yesterday and agreed with my perspective that seeking out the positive helps with the path to happiness. He shared with me that his wife has a routine in her daily short drive back and forth to work to think of something that she is grateful for. He is convinced that this gives her the opportunity to think of him twice a day! That was one of my moments of delight for the day. I am grateful to have a brother with a sense of humor. We share an outlook on life that I don’t see in lot of other people. I could bemoan that he lives so far away, or that we rarely see each other, but it is better to celebrate that he is there for me and he gets me and when we get together it is a laugh fest. I think it’s time to make a trip to San Diego.

Shared memories, funny people, family…life is good.
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