Deafness Increases Vulnerability

Some time late last year during Laz’ final exams I got a rude awakening. One that had me out in the dark, barefoot and bra-less with a vacuum machine’s steel pipe in my hand.

While studying, he loved staying at my parents’ house during prep and exam times. Jazzy and I would then vacate the loft and stay downstairs with the rest of my family. On this specific Friday evening my parents went to visit a couple they’ve grown extremely fond of and close with in the passed few months. I put Jazzy to bed and fell asleep with her just after 8pm.

 

As you may or may not know, we own staffordshire bull terriers. Three of these high energy brindle beasts, of which two interrupted my sleep with high pitched barking and them making a scene.

I investigated the matter by opening the curtains and looking through the window. I couldn’t see what they were on about and decided to have a closer look by going to the front door. Just as I opened the door, a police officer jumped out of a semi moving vehicle and shouted at me to lock the door and switch on all the outside lights.

I ran upstairs as fast as I could to switch on the spotlights on the balcony. And there was my dear boyfriend, peacefully studying to become an accountant, not even aware of the razzmatazz happening around him. He grabbed his processor and came after me as I ran passed him.

“WHATS HAPPENING?” He asked. All I remember was saying “intruders” as I looked for a weapon, which was the vacuum machine’s steel pipe. By this time, police were in our neighbour’s yards but wouldn’t dare come into ours because of the dogs. I checked up on Jaz then headed outside to make sure our yard was clear too and that the dogs were safe. Laz took my weapon, we greeted the officers and went inside. He was so confused as to what had happened.

Him not being able to hear and react to possible danger poses a vulnerability and huge security risk.

This had me thinking about the “what-if” situations of having a deaf partner and how having one less sense makes him/us so much more susceptible to danger. What if there is a fire and he doesn’t hear the alarm? What if there is an announcement and he doesn’t take heed? What if he drives in a city with chaotic traffic and his cochlear processor battery dies and he finds himself unable to react to a hooting driver?

Like, what if I’m taking an emergency dump and don’t have my phone on me, and then I run out of toilet paper? Will he hear me when I cry for help in my time of need? And then, should we have kids and they cry …. ?

The scary part is that all of the above what-ifs are events that are very much likely to happen, and the consequences could be dire. I never thought about it before this incident, hence I didn’t know how to react. My impulsive self was out here, brave and what-not, playing cops and robbers expecting him to come to my rescue meanwhile he’s balancing figures.

So I came to the conclusion and was once again reminded that I will have to share more than just my biltong with him. I will have to share my sense of hearing! Be aware for the both of us and inform him! This #DatingTheDeaf isn’t just for anybody.

 

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