Welcome to May in my world. Beautiful flowers, lilacs, and magnolias off the deck. The sun, finally shining. And listen… I’ve even added some beautiful music to my blog – beautiful sounds similar to those I often play right here at home. Now. Imagine it all gone. You can feel the sun, but you can’t see it. You can’t hear the birds, nor you can see them. You can smell those lilacs, but to know what they are like, you’ll have to touch them. And the gorgeous music? Well, just forget about that altogether. The voice of your loved one? Sorry, you can’t hear it.
I met someone this week that made me stop in a dead halt at taking something as simple as our senses, for granted. I met someone who amazed and inspired me. I’ll call her “Cindy”. Cindy is both deaf and blind. She is a friendly, outgoing, smart, and simply astounding woman. Cindy works with us, in a very busy, bustling, big city hospital. Independently.
This week, we learned a bit about how to communicate in ASL (American Sign Language) with her. I’ve been at home all day, practicing what I’ll say first to Cindy. I want to tell her how I appreciate all she does to make my job a little bit easier. And somehow, I want to tell her how she has really touched me. When I first saw her maneuvering her way around our rather large department, going from room to room, memorizing exactly what was in each one, I was astonished! “How can she do that?” I kept asking myself. Then, as I think many of us would do, I began to try to imagine a life without sights, without sounds. The more I thought about it, the more depressed I became. I concluded that if I were faced with such a situation, I would probably sit at home, afraid to venture out anywhere, and least of all, into a big, busy hospital. But Cindy certainly hasn’t stayed cornered in her home – her safe, familiar environment. She holds down a job just like the rest of us. She goes to Starbucks for a latte` break – just like the rest of us. She smiles and communicates and lives a full life, just like the rest of us. I’m not sure if she knows it, but to me, Cindy is a shining star! I’ve got to look that phrase up in ASL!