Silence, I Command Thee!

Another post surgery / treatment side effect:

It started post surgery, so I’m assuming it was the cause, and it continued throughout the 6 week treatment phase. This one effected everyone around me, so I’m sorry friends and family.

I became ridiculously hypersensitive to sound and activity. This in my house full of musicians and music lovers – including a child who sings constantly.  No seriously, he rarely stops. We played no music from October 12 to late January. No radio, no CDs, no iPods and worst of all, no instruments. In my house are drums, cajons, didgeridoos, bongos, a cuica, tambourines, flutes, electric and acoustic guitars, a piano, a keyboard and an accordion. You might ask, ‘How can you stand it when you’re NOT hypersensitive?!’ Good question. I think they found any reason for me to leave the house just to be able to play something…anything for even a few minutes.

In the car, the sound of the turn signals was excruciating. The little repetitive noises that my children make were excruciating. The television, at what any other human with normal hearing would call quiet, was loud. The gym where the kids take classes – that was the worst. Multiple sources of noise at once sent me into a desperate attempt to escape.

Aside from the moratorium on music, the hardest part of this new super hearing was living in a house with 2 young kids – who, being young kids, naturally make noise.  They play, they argue, they get mad, they make noise. My husband and my mom (who basically lived with us for a few months) spent a lot of time reminding them to be quiet, asking them to lower their voices.  Essentially, asking them to be less childlike.

Earplugs became my constant companion. I used them inside the house, when I went out, when I went into stores/restaurants, when I saw a movie, pretty much any situation where I couldn’t ask someone to turn the sound off.

Next time you walk into a restaurant – put yourself in the shoes of someone who is sensitive to noise, someone who falls into the autism spectrum for instance. I walked into a ‘restaurant’ with my husband for a quick lunch one day and within seconds, I wanted to leave. I couldn’t hear the questions my burrito builder was asking. The volume of the music was bad techno club level. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t noticed the volume in these ‘restaurants’ before then.

I was worried, of all the things I had to worry about, that this would be my new normal.  My neurosurgeon hadn’t heard of anyone developing this new hypersensitivity before. My neuro-oncologist hadn’t either. I like nothing more than throwing curveballs at my medical professionals.

Eventually it got better. If I’m tired, I still can’t handle multiple sources of noise at once. Music is now being played in the house – live AND recorded.  Which is good for my family’s happiness and harmony.

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