finally an update!

Ok, so I know its been a long time since an actual update, but my world has been a little crazy, and turned upside down a bit. I have a few updates… sorry for the book of a post.

1. Location 2. Ears 3. Eyes. So here we go!!!

1. Location, location, location

Weaver's Needle Hike

I have moved. I moved from sometimes snowy Colorado to the almost always hot Arizona Desert. This move has been coming for a while now, and although I was apprehensive about it at first, I’m really enjoying it, despite the heat.

I’ve transferred with my company, at a new location with a co-worker who is great, and knows just as much as I do. We have different areas of strengths, with many overlapping (the core of our work over lapping) so we push each other and educate each other, it’s amazing! My love accepted a position as an Admissions advisor for South University, and is really loving it as well! We both work within 30 minutes of our new place, so we have more time to spend together!

We moved from a 660 sqft 1 bedroom 1 bathroom apartment to a 1048 sqft 2 bedroom 2 bathroom apartment, and our rent didn’t go up very much! Because of electric, we are going to have to rearrange the budget just a little, but we can totally do this! Its really odd having so much space, but its been a huge help. We only had to get one more piece of furniture, and it wasn’t even a necessity, more of a convince and comfort thing. We ended up getting a used couch from goodwill (I know… I know… but just keep reading). It was dirty… but in good condition, I had no idea how to clean it though… until I remembered a blog I saw a while back… this to be exact, by One Good thing by Jullee. This worked wonderfully! The couch doesn’t look brand new, but its no longer dirty, and I’m not scared to sit on it at all.

14 Ft Uhaul with a Tow Trailer

14 Ft Uhaul with a Tow Trailer

The move itself went fairly well also.  I stopped to see some CI friends in my stopover in Albuquerque for the night, with one friend being so very amazing and letting me spend the night at her place, so I didn’t have to pay for a hotel! The journey itself was long and a little lonely, normally when driving I choose not to have my CI’s on, because they distract, but this trip, I decided to give it a go, and boy, having the ability to listen to music while driving… that sure did help keep me awake. While still in Denver I had hired movers to help me load the uhaul, as my extraordinarily heavy bed would not allow me to move it myself. There were only a few casualties of the move, one being our trusty George Foreman grill (but this was 100% my fault…) my Loves parents found us a “new” smaller one at a thrift store though (which will be very much cleaned before use… are you seeing a pattern?)  We had an amazing assortment of friends and family to help us move in, with particular thanks to my Brother-In-Law(in-law?… my loves sisters husband), my father-in-law, and my 2nd Cousin! These three did most of the work on their own… thank goodness for these guys and their strong work ethic, their big muscles and their willingness to help.

We are mostly settled down in the new place, we still have a few rough edges to smooth out, but mostly, we are in a good spot. The day we moved in, I found out we also have a neighbor who is Deaf too!!! Haven’t met them yet, but can’t wait to! I’ve also found a Deaf Community here! They meet much more often than I had expected, I am use to a 1x a month gathering, but this is 1x a week!! I’ve been to the last two (They are on Fridays and we moved in On May 25th) but think I’m going to skip this weeks to hang out with my love.  We have been kayaking (once with my ears on… but that’s another post) and hanging out with my loves family, as well as some much needed time with just the two of us. I was away from my love for 3 weeks prior to my move for many reasons.

2. Ears… the journey continues.

All-Ears

So my ears… I have good days and bad days. Some days are much better than others. I have found a new audiologist, although I haven’t seen her yet, so judgment is yet to be passed. My next MAPping is July 29th, although I may have to move it up sooner… as things are sounding a bit off… I don’t know if it has to do with my IIH, the altitude change, condition change of here vs Colorado or if it has to do with my brain just not wanting to use my CI’s… I think I will need to call and check to see if we can move the appt up some. My new audiology clinic, should I decide to keep it is Arizona Hearing and Balance with the Audiologist I am going to be seeing Ashleigh E. Marley, AuD., CCC-A, who if I am reading their page correctly… knows ASL as well as Deaf Culture. So this will hopefully be a plus and a check mark in the good category.

Speaking of my ears, currently I am using my backup processors, why? Because I can’t determine if I am hearing better with the backups or if I am hearing the same. I noticed the change with my main processors so part of me is scared to use them. In a new place, with a new coworker, and 100% new clients… I need to be able to understand as much as possible… I think I may try the black (main processors) again tomorrow… but keep the handy dandy white ones with me… just in case.

Cochlear also replaced my batteries, because they weren’t really functioning to my liking… with one of the white ones lasting only a couple hours after a full charge, and the black ones deciding that blinking on the charger would be fun… but Cochlear, to their magical powers of awesomeness, they replaced them.

3. Eyes, oh what changes you have made (a side line on IIH as well)

MRI in Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension

So, on the eyes front, it’s getting better. It’s not perfect, but it is getting better. There is no more black (doing a happy dance), but it is still very fuzzy. I’m going to have to see an eye doctor about it again… but I want to wait until it stabilizes, every week or so I see (literally!) some improvement, so once I stop seeing improvement, I’ll go back to the eye doctor. I also left my amazing Neuro-Opthemologist Dr. Kelts behind in Denver, and my insurance doesn’t cover any of them here in Arizona… so I’m looking into finding a good Neurologist, as that may be the key to getting me feeling up to par again.

My vision for the most part is getting better, it’s a slow but steady journey, but at least it looks like on the eye front I’m at least going in the right direction. Now… My eyes are 100% connected to my IIH (Idiopathic Intercranial Hypertension)… and that… well it’s like a Katy Perry song. IIH means I make too much CSF (Cerebral Spinal Fluid), and my body freaks out and thinks I have a brain tumor… and I get all the lovely side effects to it such as migraines, blurred vision (see the connection with the eyes), nausea, appetite and mood changes. (I sometimes also wonder if my occasionally awful memory is a part of this too… my love would tell me not to blame that on my IIH too) While I was moving, my Meds got all messed up… and I’m trying to get them back on schedule… and it is mostly working… but still while on the meds, it’s still a Katy Perry song (This one…) When I have high pressure being up helps, but I’m exhausted… so it isn’t easy to be up. My back is also in a lot of pain with the high pressure too… so again, it doesn’t make being up easy. When I have low pressure (due to meds suddenly working too well, attempting to over compensate my meds, or a blow out) laying down helps… but I can’t just lay down all the time now can I? No… I have to work, I have to go up and down our stairs (oh… we are on the second floor now), I have to drive, I have to listen. Both high and low pressure also come with varying degrees of confusion, light or heavy headedness, and I am constantly light sensitive… which might not be the best idea when it comes to living in the Arizona Desert. I’ve also come to wonder if my IIH plays a role in my ability to comprehend… not hear per say, but the clearness of the words. I’ll have to ask someone if they find this as well, the IIH group on FB maybe (that is based out of the UK… but I’m still allowed) , or maybe its just a CI + IIH thing, in which case, my dear deaf with CI friend at A Picnic with Ants may be able to shed some light on that as well… we shall see.

Anyways… I need to do things, and this post is entirely too long to start with. I will be updating on Kayaking! With and without my CI’s on next.

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how long does it take?

So I moved into a new apartment in August… I love the apartment, I hate the maintenance. I signed papers, and told them the accommodations I would need, such as a flashing smoke detector and a flashing doorbell, they said no problem. Well, a month after we moved in, it was finally complete.

Then we started having issues with our dishwasher… and it took 9 work orders and a strongly worded and very angry me to get them to finally fix it… or rather, replace it. They had been saying it was fine, they would put a few pieces of silverware in it… and say everything was fine…

2013-01-29 16.42.28

Now… our water does this frustrating thing, where it is perfectly normal, then blistering hot, then freezing cold, then blistering hot again… and this happened Sunday, and I accidentally took the shower head off… while trying to protect myself. We called them on Sunday, knowing it wouldn’t get done on Sunday, but thinking, Monday it would be fixed… it takes less than 15 minutes to replace the shower head. Well… what has happened? it is still not fixed. I went in, and politely told them I would like to be able to shower, at 4:50 PM, they told me it would be done within 30 minutes… it is now 5:37… almost an hour later, and its not done… I’m giving it until 6, then I’m calling, and I don’t know if I can be very nice…

how long does it take to get things fixed at your apartment?

Adventures in… driving to work

ok… so I live in Denver, work in Boulder, which is about 40 miles each way… on a good day in the morning, it takes me an hour and a half to get to work. So when we were predicted to have 3-8 inches of snow last night, I knew I was going to have to leave earlier than normal to get there on time… not a big deal, wake up a little earlier, and all is good right? WRONG… this is my tale of adventures this morning… driving to work.

I really was moving at this point

I really was moving at this point

So I left the house early, because I didn’t want to be late. I got up, got dressed, cleaned the snow off the car (at this point there wasn’t really A LOT). Warmed up the car, and started my drive. All was normal until I got onto I25, which is my only way to work… the traffic was crawling… I looked at my speedometer, and it wasn’t even registering I was moving… but I was…

I figured, ok… I can take this… hopefully it won’t last long… that apparently was the wrong thing to think. after an hour and a half of this… I wasn’t even 15 miles from where I had started… and there was no way of getting around it… it was at that point I realized… I should have left at 5 AM to get to work on time.

the adventure really wouldn’t be worthy of the title adventure with just slow driving in snowy conditions now would it? nor would it be worthy of a blog post… so let me continue…

Traffic finally started to pick up a little, I exited onto my next highway, just over 15 miles from my home… a little over 2 hours later… (which is less than an average of 7 miles an hour just an fyi)… and 6 accidents seen later… and i began to think… ok maybe I won’t be late… or at least no more than 5 to 10 minutes late… I can deal with that. Again… this must have been the wrong thing to think… because it started snowing more. I turned on my windshield wipers again, and noticed a huge chunk of the drivers side windshield wasn’t getting clear, the

umm... yes... this will totally work to let me see right?

umm… yes… this will totally work to let me see right?

right side of that blade had turned up. I moved into the right hand lane, knowing I would need to exit soon to fix this so I could see properly. I was about 1/4 mile from the next exit, where there is quite a bit of construction on both sides of the road (forshaddowing… this means… no shoulder to pull over on). Some wet snow hit my windshield blocking my view even more… I could barely see out… at this point… I figured, a little visibility is better than none right? so I turned on my windshield wipers again… and soon learned this was a BAD idea… this is what happened… (see picture to the right)

the wiper almost fell off the car! it was turned upside down… oh great… so now I can barely see at all… thankfully I was able to pull off at the exit, and pull into a parking lot with much more ease than I had expected… fought with the wiper for a good 15 minutes before it would click back into place (this is a reminder that in places where there is snow, you need to have good winter wipers)… so I got back on the road, and all was good… slow… until…

sadly… she is driving better than the lady I saw…

I am almost to work… maybe 3 miles, going slow because I don’t trust other drivers, leaving a good distance between the pickup in front of me and myself… and I am thanking my lucky stars I grew up in snow and know how to drive in it… well… back to my story. I have seen this pickup try to fish tail a few times… so I knew the driver was not to be trusted with even a little bit of leeway… not even enough to try and get around them. The places where they fishtailed weren’t really even very icy… seemed more like driver error to me than anything else. well, I was almost to work, I could see the end was FINALLY in sight… when I see the back of the pickup swing to the right (I start to SLOWLY put my breaks on so I don’t follow in their footsteps), swing to the left, swing to the right and turn ALL the way around, turned the wrong way on the highway… and in both lanes… I get a good look at the driver… while I slow my heart down, and know I am fine… I see she is not only talking on the phone with one hand, but also putting makeup on with the other… and driving in the snow, where she had already tried to fishtail a few times… WITH HER KNEES… This ladies and gentlemen, is why Deaf drivers are better than hearing drivers (at least when in the car alone)… we aren’t distracted by the radio, by having a phone conversation, we pay attention to what we are doing, and what other drivers are doing…

I am able to avoid the lady who will henceforth be known as frustrating, scary and idiotic… and thankfully, the rest of my adventure to work was fine and uneventful… but after 3.5 hours of driving in the slowest traffic ever, with stupid people who should have their licenses revoked (sadly I didn’t think to get the license plate number of Frustrating, scary and idiotic, although thankfully no accident was caused) makes me wonder… how long would the bus take? When will the light rail to Boulder be finished (or even started) because… maybe… just maybe that is a better (or at least less frustrating) rout to take?

A tale worthy of an adventure? I think yes… next (hopefully) big adventure? End of the world due to that Deaf girl’s activation? Only Friday Dec 21, 2012 will tell!

Then where do I fit?

I am on a number of different groups… some Deaf groups, some deaf groups. Some CI groups, some ASL groups… I surround myself with different types of people, and to me I think that is a wonderful thing, seeing different opinions, and different thoughts, nothing then is allowed to be dogma, but I am allowed to see facts for facts.

 

Recently… I’ve been thinking about leaving one of the groups, why? Because it seems their main goal is to end ALL cochlear implant surgeries, they are telling lies about how getting a CI isn’t a choice for anyone, that it is a death sentence, that Deaf people who choose to get a CI will be ostracized from the Deaf Community, that you will no longer be Deaf, or that getting a CI is promoting Audism… none of this I agree with.

 

Let me get a few facts out there (that are already in this blog site, but still) 1. I am Deaf, 2. I use ASL as my main Language, 3. I have a CI 4. I HAVE NOT been ostracized from the Deaf Community, nor has anyone I know who has chosen to get a CI been.

Now… there are a few things I do agree with in the most recent post that has gotten me upset… 1. CI’s should not be done on infants, 2. all deaf children should have sign language (ASL if in the USA, or the countries sign language), 3. Being Deaf should be accepted as a natural state, 4. CI’s are not a “fix”, 5. Before getting a CI, you should talk with MANY people who have CI’s (this was from a comment, not the original post)

 

Responses.

  1. if a child wants a CI, let them choose a CI when they are old enough to understand what it means to get one.
  2. Sign language is the natural language of deaf children, and should be taught first. Speech is not the important thing, language is. If you have a solid base for language, then you will be able to learn other languages easier (including the spoken forms of language).
  3. Deaf is natural, there is nothing wrong with being deaf, it doesn’t matter if it is a deaf human, if it is a deaf cat, or if it is a deaf Dalmatian (more on that to come).  It is a natural state of being, we have multiple senses for a reason, so we are not relying on only one.
  4. A CI will not “fix” hearing. For one thing, there is nothing wrong with being Deaf… see #3… a CI may or may not improve the simulation of hearing, give a sense of hearing. A CI should not be seen as a fix for a deaf person, because we are not broken. It will not give a person normal hearing, even if a sound booth test shows near normal results with a CI, because the world is not a sound booth.
  5. Before anyone chooses to get a CI, they should talk with many people who have had them, be told the good, the bad, as well as the ugly. In some cases, it doesn’t work, in some cases it works beautifully. But before you decide, talk to as many people as possible, with all different brands (no brand is honestly better than any other), with all different stories. Don’t count out the person who was a teen when she was implanted and suffered severe vertigo from it, or the person who was born deaf and can’t understand anything but environmental noise, or the girl who was implanted as a child, but can’t have it turned up to where she gets speech sounds because of facial stim, or the adult who chose a CI after progressive loss, and is doing great. Don’t count a story out, because you NEED to know the truth, things happen, its not always successful, bad things can happen, but so can good things. CI’s, just like life in general, is never black and white….

 

So, after reading these things, it gets me wondering, if, because I have chosen, not only once, but twice, to receive a CI, and if the following is true: “if it does work, you are likely to be ostracized by Deafs (you have expressed that being Deaf is bad, and want to distance from it)” , where does that leave me? Am I back in that middle ground between Deaf and Hearing where I use to be before I found my Deaf Community? Do I fit anywhere? I know the answers to these questions… because no matter what I am still Deaf, I still use ASL, and my Deaf Community has not turned their backs on me, and I know they never will, they are my family, just as much as blood makes a family.

Now I’m on another group, and I see so often pictures of children, babies even, having CI surgeries, and their parents or grandparents talking about how they are now hearing (LIE… GREAT BIG LIE) and how they don’t need ASL, or how they won’t respond to their child if they use ASL… or how they only use ASL at bath times (a sign here or there)… and that… it breaks my heart for so many reasons.

These children will never be hearing, they are deaf, and nothing will change that. ASL is still needed, because it doesn’t require batteries, it will never break, it is always accessible (even to a deaf blind child), noise doesn’t interfere with it… it is the only 100% accessible language to a child. I’m in no way pro infant or child implantation, I believe it is a very personal decision that must be made individually, and a child, especially a baby, has NO way of telling you if it is too loud, if they are feeling funny things (stimulation that can be very uncomfortable, even to the point of pain)… I think the person should make the decision, and it MUST be an informed decision. Before I got my first CI I talked with MANY adults who have CI’s, I read blogs, I have friends who’s CI’s failed, who are candidates, but choose not to get one, who regretted getting their CI, those who wanted explants (removing the CI), and those who were pleased with it. I did my homework, I actually watched a CI surgery (I must find that link), and I think that is something that is VERY important, I knew exactly what was going to be happening when I was under the knife, I knew what to expect (mostly) when I woke up from anesthesia, and I knew there was a very real possibility that it wouldn’t work, and that I would never be able to understand speech. Honestly, if you look back, my audiologist told me I was underestimating myself, by saying I wasn’t expecting to understand speech, I just wanted to be able to hear (not necessarily understand) music again, and know if someone was talking… my CI has exceeded my expectations yes.

ASL also, it isn’t something that is only needed for bath times, in fact, if you use it only at bath time… I think there are issues there… it gives mixed signals to the child, especially if the child’s first language is ASL… they may have a hard time telling when its appropriate and when it isn’t (I have a lengthy explanation of that here)

So… I also wonder… do I fit in this group? I can share my CI joy, and I love that… but do I fit in with the people who feel their deafness is something to be ashamed of, or that if you can’t hear something you are missing out? I don’t know… I am not, and will not be ashamed of being Deaf, and I know you can have a full life without hearing a thing… I’m starting to wonder… where do I fit… there are only a few places I know for sure. In my loves arms, in the Deaf community, and with my family (most of it anyways), and this… this I am ok with. I don’t have to fit with the Radical Deafies, nor with the Oral deafies, and certainty not with the audist deafs… but their stories I also shouldn’t count out…  but I shouldn’t take anything at face value either…

Discrimination and the Law

My friend Yuni got in an accident yesterday, it was in no way her fault, she stopped at a crosswalk to let a pedestrian pass, and she got rear-ended. Now, this could have gone a few ways, the other driver could have gotten very upset at her for no reason, or as what happened, he could be very apologetic. He understood what happened was his fault, he made sure she was ok before they moved their cars out of the road. When he learned she was Deaf, and used ASL, he was more than happy to write for her. Then it was time to call the police, to have a record of what happened, and the Accident investigator was there to determine fault, and insure there was no injury… that is their job… what happened… not the Accident investigators job.

I will let Yuni tell you about it (and don’t worry, if you don’t understand ASL, I will sum it up underneath in my comments).

 

 

so… what happened?

The guy was very nice, understood he was at fault, wrote as soon as he realized she needed him to, called the police, exchanged insurance information. They worked out a communication style that worked for both of them, it wasn’t her lip reading and speaking, it wasn’t him trying to decipher a language he didn’t know… they used a common language, they wrote in English, and it was easy (albeit nerve racking) for both of them.

 

The Accident Investigator showed up… and the whole situation changed. The investigator wasn’t interested in finding out what happened once she learned Yuni is Deaf, she asked her questions like, do you lip-read, do you speak, wanting Yuni to conform to the investigators preferred method of communication style instead of finding one that fits both of them. Then when the investigator actually starts writing down, she is only discussing hearing aids. Asking why Yuni doesn’t wear them, how can she hear the sirens (and I’m sure other things such as, car horns, etc). This is a police officer, one who is suppose to know the law, suppose to know there is NO requirement where we live to wear hearing aids or a CI to drive. After trying to explain quite a few times, 1. She is an adult and can make the choice to use HA’s or not, 2. Hearing Aids have NOTHING to do with the current investigation, the fact that a HEARING man rear-ended her. The Accident investigator told her she MUST wear a hearing aid, and kept writing about something that had no interest in the investigation… Only after explaining that Yuni had had her license for 2 years and this is the first time she has gotten in an accident, and it is NOT her fault, and she has never so much as gotten a TICKET…  does the cop relent, say the man who hit her is getting a ticket and it wasn’t her fault. Then why did the cop spend so much time explaining how she had to use a hearing aid… which can cost up to $6,000 a piece, including ear mold and fitting.

 

So then, Yuni explains what happens when her mom shows up on the scene, and this gets her thinking. Is this purely an audist attitude, or is there some deeper racial profiling going on?

Her mom speaks English, but for her to understand better, it is much better for the speaker to speak slow, which was explained to the accident investigator. Yuni’s mom came to make sure she was ok, to see what happened, and to know why it happened. Did the cop follow the directions she was given? To speak slowly so Yuni’s mom could easier comprehend? NO, she spoke very quickly… then when this was brought up to her again… she started treating Yuni’s mom like a child as well… This is why Yuni began to think… maybe this wasn’t purely an audist thing, although there was blatant audist beliefs being portrayed by a person who is suppose to protect all of our rights… maybe this had more to do with race than previously though. You see, Yuni is Mexican, her mom is Mexican the man who hit her was white, the cop was white… and yet the only people who were treated as someone to be pittied, as someone who was less intelligent… they were Mexican. Is it a language barrier at this point, or could it be something more sinister?

 

I have had experience with audism as well, and from the people who are suppose to protect my rights, my life… the police officers who patrol our streets, answer emergency calls, it hasn’t just been one time… but a few. Let me explain.

 

On my birthday… my car was broken into

My first, recent encounter was almost a year ago, I woke up on my birthday, ready to drive an hour to see my father for lunch, which is something we hadn’t done in MANY years due to a falling out, but I was excited, it was my birthday, why shouldn’t I be excited. I walked out my front door, went to my car, unlocked it, opened the door, and noticed that… something was wrong. I hadn’t remembered there being a hammer on my drivers seat, and I hadn’t remembered leaving my window open that night… but all over my dash, all over my seats, there was this substance, of what my brain initially saw as snow… but it ended up being glass. Once my brain recovered from this shock, I went inside and dialed 911 with my Video Relay. Explained the situation, and informed the operator that I was deaf, so I would need to have the officer write for me or have someone who signed… and I was immediately asked how, if I was deaf, was I able too call 911. When the officer showed up, she wouldn’t write for me, so the burden of communication was left on me. I spoke, I lipread, I was the only one making an effort. She didn’t like having to repeat herself, and she became very frustrated when I couldn’t understand what she said. She didn’t take any fingerprints, and acted as though she didn’t feel my situation was very important. She reluctantly took the hammer that was left on my seat, and said she would try to get finger prints off it, though I never heard back from them. I was left, on my birthday, feeling as though I wasn’t important enough to do a through investigation, as though I was taking away her valuable time with my “situation” with the break in that occurred to my car, with the items that were stolen, with me being distraught… I wasn’t worth her time, and the effort that I was having to put into communicating with HER was just slowing down her day.

My next adventure with the police was a few months later, and after finding out the situation and the reasons for being pulled over, I do agree that I was in fault, but that doesn’t excuse how I was treated.

Let me preface this with saying, normally, I do not speed, I have been called a grandma by friends because I go the speed limit, unfortunately I slipped up, didn’t see the change in speed (from 55 to 35, nothing in between), and got stopped right after the change happened.

I was driving back to work after working on a clients computer at their home, when I saw lights in my rear view mirror, I pulled over, thinking the motorcycle cop would go around me, instead, he pulled up behind me. I had been at work, so my hearing aids were on, to alert me to sound, but I needed to lipread to understand what was being said. I pull out my drivers license, my card that says I’m deaf, and my registration, ready to hand them to the police officer. He walks to my window, with his microphone on his helmet in front of his face, his words were incomprehensible to me… the only sound I heard was “akdfjaldkghlkdghasl”. I hand him my information, with the card stating I am deaf, and need him to write or use ASL with me on top, or at bare minimum, be sure I can see his lips. He looks at the card, and throws it on the ground, continues to speak, at which point I understand he will not do anything to help me… I must, once again, take the burden of communication onto myself… I speak, inform him again that I am Deaf and if I have any hope of understanding the words coming out of his mouth I need to see it, or better yet, I need him to write for me. NONE of this happens, he continues to speak with the microphone covering his mouth, and when he goes back to his motorcycle to put in my drivers license number to be sure that I am not a wanted criminal, he steps on my card that simply states, “I am Deaf and have special communication needs” (they can be found here, and hoh/non signing version here and I am not letting one cop stop me from using them).

front side

The rest of the conversation goes like this… he speaks, I don’t understand, I ask him to write, he shakes his head… it goes on and on around like a merry go round… with me not understanding anything, and the both of us obviously being frustrated. I finally am able to leave with a ticket in my hand… and my since of self, once again crushed by those who were suppose to protect me.

But the unfortunate thing is, the story doesn’t end there. When I go to pay the ticket, I have a conversation with his supervisor… which was no better. They tried to tell me that a Deaf person wasn’t allowed to drive, that we must use Hearing Aids or Cochlear

back side

Implants if we want to drive, because we have to be able to understand spoken English… that it was not required for the cop to write for me, and that it wasn’t important for me to be able to UNDERSTAND why I was being pulled over… in summary, it felt like he was telling me I had no rights because I couldn’t hear.

My situations were different from my friend Yunis, but unfortunately, they both had similar themes… if you can’t understand me speaking to you… you aren’t worth my time, let me tell you how to live your life, so you can be as similar to me as possible… you aren’t worth it.  Yuni’s also had hits of racial issues. What could we have done differently to make the situations go more smoothly? Should Yuni, who’s situation happened yesterday, take any recourse? Should our police officers, who are supposed to be there to protect us from bodily harm, to protect our rights, to be guardians of the people… shouldn’t they understand the laws better? Should they have to have training, what should they do… or does the burden of communication always have to lay on us alone?

Who would take a bike?

Honestly… who would steel a bike? I locked my bike up at work, because I figured that with not having somewhere to lock it up at home, it would be safer at work. As well as I would most likely use it more at work.

It needed some work, I needed new tubes, needed to oil and/or replace the chain, and get my wheels trued… but when I went outside to go to fedex this morning… this is what I saw…

right where my bike was… it is now empty…

who would take a bike? who would take a bike that was kinda broken down? why would anyone but me want my bike? grrr… eventually I might have to get a new bike… but this… this just tells me that the world we live in… its awful, people doing what is right for them, instead of what is right for the rest of everyone else…

Final Day of Jury Duty

Sorry this took so long to get out… I’ve been, busy to say the least.

So the final day of jury duty was an interesting one, and really makes me happy that I did complete my Jury Duty. The final day was deliberations. This is the first and only day I decided to drive, because I was going to head to work right after Jury Duty was over.

We arrived at 8 AM, the first thing I noticed, was I had two new interpreters who I hadn’t seen before. I was expecting the two I had the day before, but after chatting for a minute to bring them up to speed on the name signs I was use to for the different people, as well as just chatting, I understood why they would bring in a new set of interpreters. They wanted to be sure that my interpreters personal opinions on the case didn’t influence my opinion on the case. Although interpreters are suppose to be 100% neutral, and just interpret what is being said, it is very hard not to let personal opinions get in the way, especially with body language.

We started deliberations as soon as everyone was there, we elected a Jury Foreman, or the person who would keep us on track, and also deliver the verdict to the court. We chose a woman named Elizabeth, who was very fair and use to teach, which really did help keep us on track. We discussed witness by witness, what their relations to either the defendant or the victim were, their demeanor on the stand, their language, how words can be changed through an interpreter, their motives for taking the stand, how their stories changed, who’s stories lined up with one another, the important pieces of their testimonies, what could have impacted their memory, what could have impacted their testimonies… we talked for hours. I had to keep interjecting, please, one at a time, please talk one at a time. My interpreters did a great job keeping up (as long as the conversation was one at a time) and I think my inputs were valuable.

We were asked to consider 3 verdicts

  1. Guilty of Second Degree Assault. Meaning he had intent, meaning he caused serious bodily injury
  2. Guilty of Third Degree Assault. Meaning he knowing caused bodily injury
  3. Not guilty. Not necessarily meaning he didn’t commit the crime, only there was insufficient evidence.

 

After hours of deliberation, we were sure of 2 things.

  1. The crime happened in the city and county of Denver on or around Jan 23, 2012 (this was never in dispute)
  2. the victim suffered serious bodily injury. With a broken face, a broken arm, 6 broken ribs and a punctured lung, this also wasn’t in dispute.

 

But… what we were unsure of, what we had no reasonable proof of, was who committed the crime. The only person who placed the defendant in the group of men who attacked him was the victim, who’s memory could have been affected by his head injury, the alcohol present in his system or a number of other things. When people are beating the living daylights out of you, people have a tendency to remember a face of a person they know, especially if the other people around you are unknown faces.

 

And because we were unable to determine who committed the crime, we were unable to determine intent or knowledge of a crime being committed. Because of this, we unanimously, the first time, voted he was not guilty on all charges.