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My Decision to Be Happy

About two years ago, I got my hearing tested. I had been wearing hearing aids since 2001, but had noticed that the ones I was wearing seemed to have stopped working. After having them checked out and finding they were functioning properly, the audiologist suggested that I have my hearing tested again. Her brows furrowed as she looked at my test results. "Have you been taking any drugs that might damage your hearing?" she asked. I thought for a moment. "No, I can't think of anything. Why?" She told me that my hearing was much worse than it had been at my last exam, showing me the variance on a graph. It was unusual, she said, for it to change so drastically in such a short time. As a child, my hearing had been excellent. As the saying goes, I could hear the drop of a pin. But over the years, it began to diminish little by little, although I was in denial about it. I made excuses or blamed others..."If only people wouldn't mumble." I ignored the fact that my mother, father, brother, and my grandmother all wore hearing aids. But after I entered ministerial school and started a chaplaincy training program at a hospital, I could no longer deny that I had a problem. People who are sick do not always speak loudly and if I wanted to be able to serve them I had to be able to hear. I was fitted with hearing aids and it made an enormous difference in my life. I could hear birds singing again! With the additional hearing loss diagnosed, the only solution was to purchase new and stronger hearing aids. My audiologist suggested that I may also be a candidate for cochlear implants. When she said this, the reality of my hearing loss really sunk in and the tears started. I had trouble sleeping that night thinking about what I had just learned. At 4:00 a.m. a memory surfaced. I had been prescribed some ear drops by my doctor several months previous to that. I quickly got out of bed and retreived the bottle from a drawer. On the computer, I typed in the name of the drug--an antibiotic. What I saw stunned me. The drug had a warning of possible hearing loss. It was even on the product insert--in very small print. I became angry. I spoke to my doctor and told him how upset I was. I blamed him for my hearing loss. If he had only warned me about the possible side affects. He said that he was sorry to hear about my problem, but not much else--probably afraid of a lawsuit. I spoke to an attorney about suing, but because of the fact that I already wore hearing aids, he didn't think I would have much of a chance at winning. Finally, the day came when I had to make a decision. Was I going to continue being angry at the doctor and the drug company for my hearing loss? My anger wasn't hurting them. It was hurting me. I had been living with the feeling of being a victim for a couple of months and I didn't like the person that I had become. I had wallowed in self-pity long enough. That day I decided to forgive. I accepted what had happened to my hearing and instead of looking back to the way things were, I began to look forward. Rather than focusing on what I couldn't hear, I focused on what I could hear. There were many blessings in my life and I chose to focus on them. I made a decision to be happy, and it made all the difference in the world. (by Carla G.)
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