Yesterday, my grandmother went to have her hearing aids adjusted and her ears checked out generally. For the last three years she's been growing steadily worse and several trips to specialists yielded hearing aids that looked nice under her little bob of hair but really didn't make a difference to her hearing. We grew used to talking very loudly and repeating ourselves and if we happened to be in the room when she put the television on we tried to protect our poor eardrums. However, this latest trip worked wonders. When my father spoke to her, she told him the phone had startled her and the television had scared her to death when she'd put it on earlier. When we went to see her, she listened to the soft comments we were making taking the mickey out of her (entirely usual and light-hearted) and jumped out of her skin when my father coughed. It was almost beautiful to see. Even though she's getting some feedback and they may need a little adjusting, the change is miraculous. I never fail to be astounded by what we can achieve in the modern world when we use our powers for good.
It did make me think though. My grandmother had to go through a few years of muffled voices, feeling she wasn't party to most of what was going on around her. Personally, I always made the effort to talk to her (because I enjoy talking to her) but it's easy to imagine her fading into the background of conversations and her quality of life suffering as a result. That must've been painful for a woman who has been something of a chatterbox as long as I can remember. I think we all have to go through our own versions of this isolation. As a writer I frequently feel as though I'm blindly ambling around. Perhaps I need to in order to appreciate the end of the road. I don't know, I'm just speculating. I only know that my grandmother, despite the noisy feedback, looked so happy yesterday. As if she'd been let in on a secret the rest of the world was keeping from her. I can't even imagine how great that must feel.