Thursday, May 14, 2009

Walk In Silence

I am complicated and I will be the first to admit it.
I share my day with you as it started with rain (much needed and much appreciated due to the grass seed planted a few weeks ago that requires constant water), but the day   leapt quietly into sunshine and warm summer like breeze.

My complications are internal as I sat in the glory of the backyard, an took in the solitude and wonder of nature. The tree's, grass, shrubs and plants that grace my daily view. 
As I sit at keyboard and type these words, i am reminded of the simplicity of life's concerto. The offerings that at one time I took granted.

No longer in a place where I felt "sad and sorry" for myself, I look at life in a whole new perspective. I see the birds different. I take in nature in a different light.
I type words in a place that I have not been too in ages! 
I like where I am. 
I have been dealt some blows and curve balls that sent me reeling for cover. There were times when I wanted to pull the sheets over my head and wait out the storm.
I pulled the sheets off.
I went into discovery mode.
I met, I saw, and I opened my mind to a world that I have never known before, I like this place.

I like it because in past life I believe I was in survival mode.  A spot that saw me going through motions to take care of people. A place where I was at best second or third fiddle to the universe before me. David was not important! The world before took precedent to my feelings, my concerto!

So on this Thursday before a long weekend to honour a Queen's birthday, I am happy, content, and serene. Most importantly I am at peace with myself.
 I like me!

That my friends is a long time coming!

My deafness seems almost non existent in an odd sort of way. I am indeed aware of my limitations in the world of cochlear implants and the digital 2.1 sound that miraculously graces my auditory nerves.
I am aware that I walk funny due to having no inner balance.

But the amazing thing is this: I don't really give a rodents rectum to how the world sees me at this point. I have come miles, and will go miles more and enjoy the journey, the road, the concerto that whatever life serves up has to offer.

Funny how it took 9 months of utter and profound deafness to get to this point. 
Odd that it took the loss of a 20 year soul mate to make me realize that my selflessness should of been tempered a tad!

The odd straggle of readers have walked through my journey of silence to sound. A few have shared in my loss of love one's. The point is simple to me, and I hope to you dear reader:
I journeyed an incredible journey to get to a point/place in my life where I had to deal and accept with the changes that life served up!

The concerto changed key signature without my say so. The view changed so many times, that I questioned a God of my understanding. I became disillusioned along with many of you, and looked up to the clouds and mussed "OK I have had enough! What else ya got?"

The sun is out and it will rise tomorrow, either behind a mask of clouds or in it's naked magnificent glory.  The blue Jay is back the squirrels are romping in the garden.

I am in awe of it all!!

And I have found a serenity that I looked for all my life.

Part of me wishes that the world could go deaf for a short period of time, in order to take in the visual wonders of the universe. I would want many of you to come to  an understand  through the world of silence of how simple life can be, and how complicated we make it. I want many to see how the eyes compensate for us. The visual wonder lings that are offered up for us to SEE, and not to miss as we Twitter, text. type, and talk away our live. 

Step out of your hearing world and look around! Watch and observe the new growth, the changes, the weeds, shrubs. plants, trees and growth that abounds us. Shut off the phones and ipods and walk where the world changes without our aid. 

It is an amazing place!

I hope 



Monday, May 11, 2009


Word are powerful. Written and spoken alike. Through a media like movies or music, words can make, move and improve us. They can also shred, bruise and batter us.
A word can be read in a manner that transforms and shifts the paradigm from one end of emotion spectrum to the other.

The written word is powerful to be sure. But when spoken, a weak word can become powerful. A harmless word can cut like a knife. A nice or kind word can be transformed into a bouquet of love , just by the way it is used.

I toss this thought out after a weekend enjoying live theater in the form of "Glengarry Glen Ross", the David Mamet Pulitzer prize and Tony winning play, that was made into a motion picture back in the early 90's.
Dialogue that makes our stomachs churn and turn as we listen to cutting words and heart/gut wrenching colloquies, that invoke all our emotions.

I listened as best I could in my cochlear world, and took in much, filled in the rest when the analog sound did not seem to have a digital counterpart for my processor to fire at me. As I took in the play, it occurred to me that the power of live words, versus the written word, can be as stark in contrast as darkness and light.
I was reminded of my 9 months in a cone of silence, where I lived by the written word only.
I missed the inflictions in voice, the feelings and emotions behind the word, that make it a world for the hearing in so many ways.

As visual as I became, and as "Zen and Buddhist" my world was converted to by default in my new world of enhanced observation, I still missed the sound of voices.

I also gave thought to the power of voice and, more importantly, the words one chooses, in a contemplation and Mother's Day mussing.
I was thinking about how wonderful Mothers use the power of words to communicate encouragingly to their children.
I have heard many mothers, over the years, use the power of words to achieve a result, that only that particular choice of words would work. I compared my mental notes to how I hear the "same question" but worded differently, used in the nasty world of business.

Compare if you will, real life examples that I have been witness to, or a part of in my life. The mother may have been mine, a friend who is also a mother, or the mother of my son at one time in her life.
The question is, or was, the result of an action by a child that caused a not so great reaction by a mother; and a business action viewed latter by a superior who is not so happy with the result as well:

Boss: "What were you thinking? How could you make such a mess of this? There were a hundred ways of doing this project without getting the result you did, and pick the one that Fu**s it up!"

Mother: "My, my. that is an interesting way of doing that. It is creative, and I am so glad you found a way that you like to do it. Maybe there is another way that we can do it next time, so we don't make such a big mess".

Boss: "What's wrong with you!!!!"

Mother: "What's troubling you? "

Wow! How you would rather be asked the reason behind your concerned look? "WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU!"....or Whats troubling you?

You get the picture and know the dialogue well I am sure.
I think a pre-requisite for the job of CEO of any company should be "Mother" at one time. Amazing multi-takers, best negotiators, and bar none, the tops at communication. They use words with thought behind them. They accomplish more with the way they say the words, and their choice of words.

As we make our way in this journey, it only seems right that we enjoy it. Our concerto should be one that we embrace as we make it. We only have one.

The changes that come every second in our lives need to be celebrated. We have to embrace and be be passionate about what we do. We need to have fun with the changes. We need to celebrate the wins, and shrug off the losses. Loss is part of life, one of the changes that happen every second.

How can we thirst for more and dream our dreams if we hear words that discourage? How can one enjoy their concerto if all they see are road blocks at every fork that only give us one path?

If we want to chart our course for growth, no matter if we are six or sixty, we need a map that lets us be intellectually curious. A guide that lets us ask questions. A mentor that allows for mistakes and uses words to encourage the journey, rather than discourage.
We need to hear words that have passion, love, and encourage curiosity and exploration.

Words can enact change!
When we read some awe inspiring piece, we feel the change in our bellies. we want to test the new theory right away. We embrace a change that needs to happen, no, a change that must happen in order for us to grow.

I try to be aware constantly of words I choose, and words I use when to speak to ANYONE.
I believe of course in being as respectful as I can. I like to have and show integrity in my speech and words. Of course being honest and living in truth with my words is huge.

I try to use only a few words if I can. I put myself on a word budget.

I hate to spend words, but love to buy them from everyone I meet and greet.
I spend a fortune listening to people.

I also strive to be humble. I am far from perfect, and have more imperfections than the average bear.
I, like you and the rest of the world, have 83 problems.
Every day.
Every day they may or not be the same.

Words are tools, and no matter if we conference, chat, discuss, type, twitter or text, we need to be mindful that tools can be used as hammers to beat down; hacksaws to cut with, loppers to shear with, or pick axes to cleave, dice and hash with.
Or words can be tools that create, hand devices that initiate the start of wonderful life changing projects.
Tools that help lead, and spark the creative fire that lies in all of us.
An implement that strives to make us better.
All of us!

So in a rather interesting way, I went to a play where words invoked some raw emotions, which led to a thought of how a Mother would never use the words that David Mamet wrote for the characters in his play, to how I missed the spoken word in my cone of silence, to how we all need to use words better to leave a legacy of good thought with everyone we touch.
That led to a posting on a little thing called words.

Little things mean a lot?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Searching The Engines For Acceptance.

"Sitemeter" amuses me.
You know of the widget of which I speak, yes?
The green widget icon thingy on some if not most blogs, that allows us to see track our visitors.

As much as I like the data it provides on towns, counties and countries of my now over 14,000 visitors that grace my silly space here, I like drilling down a bit further to see how they found me, or what link in cyberspace sent them to read my chords or discords.

More often than not the simple detective work reviles that a reader comes via a Google search on some scientific project, or silly quest or question. They end up on "Five string guitar".

Before Speeder met his untimely demise, his antics would grace this blog on a regular basis. Speeder was given his name after a six year old "Guitar Boy in training" informed me that the new puppy in the house was indeed the "worlds fastest dog, so I'm naming him Speeder"
This was about an hour after arrival from Puppy's R' Us or wherever it is little dogs come from.

So when little Billy gets a project in school to find out what the world's fastest dog is, Speeder ends up getting google hit galore.
I can usually tell when a class is given the "find the worlds fastest dog assignment" and I can tell by the number or Google hits and all of them coming from the same community. I had 17 hits and blog visits in one afternoon all from a town in Idaho. All using the same search parameter "What is the worlds fastest dog"
Poor Greyhounds and whippets!
Speeder's picture no doubt graced the halls of a rural school in Idaho that day, and perhaps even upped the requests from kids to "Mom, can we get a Schnoodle?"

Everybody wants the worlds fastest dog.

This space gets a lot of frustrated musicians stumbling here after a search for "how to play a five string guitar".
I wonder if it's a result of a broken string on their Yamaha or Gibson one day; and they can't be bothered replacing it, or can't afford it, or just too lazy to go out and get one.
So might as well get by on 5 out of six strings.
Learn to live with less perhaps?

Hey, that would be my philosophy!

I broke a lot of strings in my life. I lost a "string or two" in my life as well. But I had to learn how to make music without one or two of them at any given moment in my "spit in the ocean" life.

Lost balance and hearing among 81 other things, so just Google how to live a live without them. Life goes on, forward and travels at the speed of life. Might as well figure out how to drive with a flat tire if the race is not going to allow for pit stops.

Loss is part of life. Part of the changes that we embrace and accept.

Figure it out silly! get back in the game. Play on with five of six strings.
Make the music that you want.
Not what others want to hear.
Make your concerto, and become independent of the good opinion of others.

Always with kindness and compassion!

I lived by search engines in my deafness; damned and determined to get hearing back somehow, some way. Silly, as I think back on how I searched sites in desperate attempt to find a magic traditional Chinese herb to restore sound to my world; a root or raw vegetable gruel to give me balance and make me walk straight. The proper needle placement for an acupuncturist to restore my cochlea to it's per-firestorm days.

You can always find the "miracle cure web site"

When sound returned to my auditory nerves via a cochlear implant, I would search the engines of technology in hopes of fine tuning it; getting it better; fixing the mix if you will. I had 5 strings, now I wanted to get them to sound like six! I had to learn to accept the wonderful technology, and what it had restored.
I went from my cone of silence to digital "bracks, and beeps", and I wanted better!

Then I got grateful for what I had.
Then,and only then did I accept my new world of amazing technology, and learn to embrace it in a new light.
A grateful light.

I grew a mile.

The world of blogs and on-line forums, connected me with a wealth of wonderful people who, like me, have broken the odd string along the way. Many of these people taught me patience when I grew impatient, and perseverance when I wanted to rip the magnet off my head and crawl back into my cone of silence.

Acceptance and serenity came with time.
Time I had, and time I got.

So, as you see my friends, I have sound back in my life.

It just is a little different than what it was.



Monday, May 4, 2009

The Dream

Back in September of 2007 I almost made the Irish Sport Pages (obituaries) after a series of medical firestorms raged in my cage and took me down.

Emergency medical staff, unsure of what was going on, opted to put me in on "pause" and went with "option C": a drug induced coma, to slow or stop the respiratory arrest that my body was giving me. I was slipping away and the life support they had in place was failing rapidly. So I was "parked".

For the next 10 days I slept, or whatever one does in a coma. Not sure because I have no memory, no recollection and no first hand idea of what happened between September 9th 2007 and October 28th of the same year.

I have memory of the 28th of October, because it was the first day that a semi-fog lifted, and I wrote in a journal.

I wrote about "the dream" that I had that seemed so real, yet so surreal. "The dream" is still one of the most vivid memories I have. Crystal clear, even 18 months latter, it was a movie in extraordinary 3D that not only did I star in, but featured many of the people in my life.

Now the fact that the dream was about me, and the cast of characters were people from and in my life is not so extraordinary, considering it was a dream. What is exceptional and at times bizarre is the fact that every single one of the details in this dream are so clear, and so full of detail, even to this day; that I believed for a time that it was not a dream at all.

In my "coming out fog", I told some people what I had been "up to", or doing, and none of it was true. What I told them existed only in my dream! But I believed for a short period that it actually happened.
I believed I took this trip!
For real!

Not sure if the drugs they used to put me in a coma were the cause of the "David Dream". Probably paid a part no doubt. I know this, my medical condition was part of the dream, and some of the medical staff were in my dream. It is interesting how these people got in my dream if I was in a coma and did not see their faces until I regained consciousness 10 days latter.
Maybe I had the dream after the coma.
Not sure?

All I have is about 200 and some odd pages of medical reports, MRI reports, CT scan documents, and a journal of "My Dream".

In "The Dream" there was a "boat" or "ship" of some sort that I was boarding at the start of the dream. There was a concern from the staff that looked at my boarding pass, that my medical condition was not good enough to board this boat or ship.
They had a medical officer at the point of entry who drew blood from me for analysis. This medical officer on the boat appeared latter in my life as a nurse in the hospital where I spent the next 100 days.

The boat was interesting indeed. I did manage to get on board, but only because the boat had left dock before they could analyze and appraise my medical condition. Once the journey began pandemonium ensued, as my medical issues became known and the other passengers (all people from my life and some unknowns) panicked. For the rest of the dream the "medical officer" watched me like a hawk and wanted to keep me in a cage. (Interesting because for the first 30 days or so of my stay "in house" I had to be "restrained" because I had no balance and was constantly trying to get up. To this day I think I did a bit of cranium and sacrum damage from some serious falls)

The boat or ship or cruiser or space ship or...? traveled from Toronto to Vancouver. I knew this was odd, even in my dream (those who know Canada, will understand of course, my questioning of this method from A to B, even in a dream) and questioned the captain ( a lady who had a beard!!!) who took me upstairs to the bridge and showed me a very detailed GPS LCD screen that showed our progress in both animation and real video. When water was not an option for travel, the craft became a large terrain highway vehicle. I can describe in detail to this day of how the traffic appeared on the screen as we drove down the highway, just outside of Vancouver.

I can also recall in vivid detail all of the pictures on the GPSdetailin g the weather and the waves we encountered on the journey; all of the seating on the boat or craft; and I can tell you what I purchased from the vending machines on the boat, and what it cost.
Faces are/were so extraordinarily vivid, that I saw scars, pimples, dimples, crevices in lips, and pock marks on faces that stay with me today.

Every detail of the dream, that I swear lasted 30 days in duration, is still with me.
Time was non sensible,and so hard to get a read on if my dream was one minute of lighting fast action or 30 days in real time. But if I recount the script with the words and action and all that took place; it takes days just to go through the highlights.
The dream lasted for what seemed like two or three weeks!

I actually drew the boat interior in a diagram in my hospital journal, which I came across the other day. I had notations of seating (even to the extent of where the medical officer sat and watched me in scorn and disgust as I was not to be on board you see!) diagrams of table settings, notes on what the steering looked like, and where the food was kept. I have a diary of what I purchased for consumption out of the vending machines, and notes in great detail about the discussions and dialogue with the other passengers about anything and everything.

The boat shape was irregular as far as boats go, and unlike any other I have been on. It was round in the interior and one could travel the 360 degrees in a walkabout (which I did many times in my dream) and end up back at the point of origin.

I suspect I was overly thirsty at one point in my medical nightmare of that year, as a common theme in the dream is drinking gallons of Root beer, Red Bull, and eating copious amounts of canned Mandarins.

I know (or was told latter) that I was fed (in my real life) through a trach while I was in the coma, yet in my dream I ate bags and bags of "Miss Vickie's" Sea Salt and vinegar chips.

When I "woke up" sometime in October ( I was in a coma for only 10 days, but have no recollection of coming out of that coma, nor do I recall the discovery that I had lost hearing. My first memory, or what I call "waking up" was the last week in October when I was sitting in the OT room in the hospital and I asked the therapist if I was in Vancouver) I believed that the dream did in fact take place. I even told a hospital visitor that I lost my hearing somehow when I was on a boat trip the past month.

Not sure why this is all coming out again at this point. Perhaps my thoughts this morning on how I never seem to remember my dreams for more than a nano second in the morning. I wake up and recount the nights cinema then it is gone forever.

Not the big one.

"The Dream", it seems, is always ready for reply on my DVR .

David's video review.

If, no when, I write my book about my journey from sound to silence and then to digital sound,; it will begin on the boat.

An interesting turning point in my life.

The metaphor is wonderful, is it not?



Saturday, May 2, 2009

Bring On Change

May brings change, as do all months, weeks and days. May offers more hope as the trees and vegitation of these semi northern climes, spring to life. Pun intended of course.

Today was a day of mixed bagged, licorice allsort variety. Domestic chores, followed by brief breaks in the mix of wonderful sunshine and spits of rain.
The late afternoon offered up yet another first in my cochlear challanged world. : A wedding!
My friend Mary and I sort of crashed a wedding. I use the term crashed loosely as she was the mother of the daughter that was part of the wedding party. We went uninvited to shoot some pictures of her daughter and beautiful granddaughter that was also part and parcel of the wedding party.

I struggled at first as I was informed that it was a Catholic ceromony. It has been a while since I darkened the doorstep of the Catholic church. Perhaps over 35 years!

But the mass was shorter than those that I remembered from my past. Different in fact.
No latin, nice words, no waffer and red water offered, and a priest that did not conjure up memories of the old men with leering looks from my past church days.

I misssed a great deal of the service, as in typical cochlear implant fashion, I got every 6th word from the second to last pew in the church,
Mattered not, I enjoyed being in a spiritual building with a young couple full of steam and hope in their eyes, sealing a deal that one hopes beats the odds.
No cynicism on my part today, which made me happy with myself.

Fourty five minutes after entering the holy confines, the deal was done, and the couple were announced as an official couple.
Change is wonderful, even with pomp and ceremony!

My friend Mary took me quickly after to meet some wonderful friends of hers, where I was greeted with warmth and acceptance. I love being part of the world again, and revel in the little things that make life so spectacular.
A discussion on the auto industry moved quickly into a discussion on goods produced in China.
I stay out of a lot of economic discussions these days. Not because of lack of passion, but the simple fact that economics requires good comprehension.
Tricky stuff.
No wrong answers in my book, but one needs to listen to the tone, words, and figures, closely.
Us CI folks can miss a rule or fact at the drop of a ling sound. So we try to stay general if we can.
Weather, sports, and taxes are good to stay with when one is handicapped in the hearing department.

None the less, I rose to the proverbial jousting challenge and offered up my simple view of protectionism, and the state of Chinese factories, Dollar stores and cheap goods from Wal Mart swirled in the conversation that I was part of, and in fact leading with some of the time.

Good God man, what a difference a year makes, and a good friend makes! Just to be brought into these places and discussions. The chance to meet, greet, object, swirl, toss, and listen to these wonderful people, has turned me into a social butterfly again!

This from a boy who hid in the cozy confines of home court, and would never go out to take on the world of other people, places, things!

Ahh what pleasures May brings. What changes the earth offers up. What challenges can be made minced meat out of when the attitude of gratitude prevails!

FaceBoook and Twitter be damned! The blogs will always be a place where one can update our community in as many characters as it takes. The universe needs us to write for us! It needs our words to soothe the souls, mend the tears, and break the molds. We write for us, yes, but we write the blogs to make the world better if we can.

May is in in it's infancy yet promises so much hope.
And for that reason, I am grateful for the month.

It has been a long time since I smiled a smile that only a late spring snow could wipe off my face. I am excited about the future for the first time in years!

Bring on more change!

We can take it baby!