That Deaf Massage Therapist…

That move to VA wasn’t going to happen unless I found a job. Unfortunately, there was a period of time where people lost their jobs, unemployment rate was going up, no one was hiring….It sucked.

I worked for this agency out of college outside of Philadelphia for a couple of years working with children of all kinds of disabilities. I was hoping to be somewhere along the lines of an occupational therapist or a counselor which both required a masters degree. Applying to grad school at the time was out of the question. With unemployment so high, everyone seemed to be scrambling to go back to college. So I said screw it and looked into a massage school. Kind of silly right? Not to me. I always had this mindset I was going to move to NYC or LA as a dancer and be a massage therapist to offset some of the costs of living and auditioning daily. Haha! SO!

I signed up for it. 7 months program, working 8-4 and was going to massage school 5-11 pm 4-5 days a week. All this was an hr from home. All while working full time. All while maintaining a long distance relationship on the weekends. Even if it meant, driving from NOVA to Philly to get to work 8 am on a Monday and start the week all over again.

Again, perseverance was key. Thank you mom!

I ended up finishing the program, moved, got my VA massage license, and worked in the cutest spa in a small town by DC. Now in the back of my mind, I always knew this isn’t what I really wanted to see myself getting old doing. Growing up, I admired my mom who is a registered nurse pulling long hours to save lives, come home to make sure there’s a roof over our head and food on the table. I looked up to her. She was a single mom. I wanted that real career stability, not because my husband wouldn’t take care of me, but because I wanted to make sure no matter what happens, I’m able to take care of us and the future kids eventually. Now let’s be real here. Anyone could do it. Me? I just didn’t see it in myself as a Massage Therapist in the long run. Yada yada blah blah blah.

I worked in a handful of chiropractor offices, local and corporate spas. Then finally a gym where I really enjoyed it. Long story short, thing is, it truly wasn’t for me.

Rewind then fast forward. After we got married, I applied to Dental Hygiene school which took some serious trying. At first, their application requirement was a bit over the top. At one point, they required “5-7 years experience in dental assisting”….ummm what? Dafuq? I knew how competitive the program was but come on. I ended up getting a part time DA job but I knew there were no guarantees. Rolls eye.

First year, rejected. Second year, rejected. Same year, somehow accepted? And by then, that requirement didn’t matter anymore, slap me in the face will you?

Stay tuned!

Deaf Facts!

  • We are not just born deaf
    • According to WHO, there are 360 million people worldwide that have some sort of hearing loss. It can range from genetics, to illness, to aging.
  • Deaf and hard-of-hearing don’t just use ASL
    • The population is so diverse that not everyone knows sign language. You can grow up in a hearing family and use speech as your primary communication. You can use sign language if that’s what you can do. Some people use both oral and sign. It helps to learn but in reality most hearing people don’t know how to.
    • Intensive speech lessons with a Speech Pathologist will help you go far. (I did it for 9 years)
  • It is a disability
    • We are just human beings without one of the senses.
    • Hearing loss can be bilateral or unilateral.
    • The old term is ‘hearing impaired’. Be careful with that because to some deaf or hard of hearing people, it’s like saying ‘retarded’ when someone has down syndrome or cerebral palsy.
    • Hard-of-hearing or deaf is a better term. Hard-of-hearing is more for someone who has mild to moderate hearing loss while deaf is someone who has severe to profound hearing loss. To some deaf cultures, if you have hearing aids and use oral speech, you may be considered hard-of-hearing.
  • We can do jobs in all walks of life
    • The Board of the Association of Medical Professionals with Hearing Losses is currently working on a statistical registry to find out how many deaf or hard of hearing healthcare professionals are out there. I suggest if you are like me, a Deaf Registered Dental Hygienist, go put your name in! Statisical Registry
    • There is a safe-n-clear FDA approved mask out there for all you deaf or hard of hearing aspiring medical professionals.
    •  Same with stethoscopes!
  • We can have children who won’t be deaf
    • That’s what doctors are for. Talk with your doctor, not everyone passes it down.
    • In today’s world, you can find out the baby’s disability before and after birth.
  • Not everyone wears hearing aids or cochlear implants
    • There are deaf and hard of hearing people out there that just don’t wear either of them
    • Not everyone qualifies for cochlear implants.  You are referred to an implant clinic for evaluations and undergo a series of tests that includes ear, hearing, physical and x-ray (MRI or CT) evaluation which can take weeks and months, depending on doctors and locations.
    • While the surgery is outpatient, there are several weeks before you can fully hear again. It’s irreversible. Mostly for people who have severe to profound hearing loss.
    • It is not cheap. It can cost up to $100,000+ but luckily most insurances will cover it.
    • There are all kinds of hearing aid options on the market. I’ve seen so much improvement, especially the kinds you can surf in or have blue tooth technology.
    • Be kind sharing videos that circulates around the internet showing children hearing for the first time (with hearing aids or cochlear implants). While it’s a wonderful thing to hear, not everyone has that opportunity or support.

 

Mountain Weekend Recap

VRBO.com rental: $640 a night

Ski Lift and Rentals for two: $154

Food and booze: +$150 (honestly no clue)

Good times, good people: Priceless

All this warm weather lately is making me miss the snow from this weekend. Poconos is a good time. Great scenery and tons of ski resorts for all of you snow bunnies!

Friday:

The weather in VA was 51 degrees when we left. The drive is about 3.5 hrs. I made sure to check the weather and pack accordingly. Of course. I over pack. I text some of the girls double checking it’s casual. I mean, we have the whole house rented out to ourselves that included a shuffle board, darts, a pool table, a bar, etc, etc…

I had to work. It was such a weird Friday because we’re usually super busy! My schedule didn’t fill so I was like “peace out”! Justin and I dropped the pups off and was on the road earlier than scheduled. Half way through the drive, I was getting pretty antsy. I sit at work all day long and my right leg was aching. Justin was nice enough to switch with me. We get there around 8 which is like our bedtime. Hashtag snore. It’s about 23 degrees. 6 inches of snow on the ground. Huge house! The party was already popping, friends playing shuffleboard and pool, dinner was smoked assortments of meat. Knowing the bride and groom, they love jokes and pranks. They challenged us to win the master bedroom….by beating the next arriving guests in a game of beer pong. Time out….I can’t remember the last time I played beer pong. Was this in college? And honestly, we didn’t really care what room we got. We’re pretty competitive so we were up for the challenge. The bride, who is also named Amanda, knows me so well.

We go waaaaaaaay back. High School days were like jokes to us. We were so terrible in numbers that involved adding and subtracting that we were sharing math classes with the underclassmens. We were so terrible together they had to separate us. I’m sure there was a term for us when there were discussions over our behavior. It was not even funny. I don’t think we learned anything. Yet, nothing has changed to this day.

Justin and I get ready for this beer pong tournament. The groom, JR, (that’s JAY ARE, not junior) gave us instructions I didn’t even know was part of this “beer pong rule” thing. I usually just throw the ball and hope it goes into the cup, not aiming at peoples crotches. It definitely got heated. Fast. I mean, superman flying-catch-the-ball-on-the-floor crazy. We win, and it was a good game. Then, of course, a different couple wants to try. Time to focus again.

I’m already gagging beer at this point. Some how, we’re winning little by little. My husband’s got jokes. We win again. We get our room and settle down.

We keep eating food, catching up with old friends and got to know a few other couples. It was time to play this dice game called “Left, Right, Center”. We all bet $3 and roll the dice. If it was one two or three dots, you keep your money. If you had an L, C, or R, you’re giving your money to the person on your left, your right and the center. It keeps going until someone is the last one standing with hopefully more than $1 and a C dice, wins the pile of dollars. Justin was not happy. But hey we got the master? Fun night. We were up 4 am for work and headed to bed around midnight. The rest of shenanigans were up later til 2:30 am. Oy.

Saturday:

Man, I have a headache. I can’t even believe we both slept til 9 am. No dogs waking us up at ass crack of dawn. Even my body’s biological clock let me sleep in that late. Holy moley.

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It was Ski Day. Some of the other couples are slowly moving as we are. Trying to feed ourselves was almost a chore. There was never enough coffee to wake us up. JR was making a snowman out of a pet he dreamed of the other night. We decided to head out to Big Boulder and have everyone meet us there. Did I mention we have not skied in probably over 15 years. Getting those ski boots on was like shoving your alcohol induced swollen feet into those robot shoe that doesn’t move. Walking in them was even effing awkward. I also forgot how to lock those boots into those darn skis. Man, we were in for a nightmare waiting to happen. A snowboarder ran into us on the ski lift. Thankfully he was ok. But I remember thinking, “I’m doomed.” We were supposed to be on a easy hill. Baby steps. Keep those knees bent and make a “pizza” ski. Don’t kill yourself on the way down. I probably gasped more times than I can count. No wonder I had hiccups all weekend. 😉

I keep missing Amanda every time. We’d text and it seems like they are on top of a hill and we’re down the hill. Finally, we catch up to them and head over to the big hills that’s supposed to be like one step above easy. Oh em gee. I was in for a wild ride.

The rest of the group were meeting us for snow tubing after lunch. We went for a couple runs, returned our rentals, got in the car to drive over, all the sudden, exhaustion began to set in. I looked at my husband and was like we need a nap! I kindly texted her and we were out like a lamp as soon as we headed back.

About an hour and then some into our nap, I had a feeling the party was coming back soon. I put my hearing aids on and laid back down for a bit. Not even 3 mins later, I could hear JR yelling “WE’RE HOME!”. Justin didn’t realized I had put my hearing aids on and let me know they were home. It’s cute right?

After dinner, the girls and I catch up again. Do you guys ever have friends that you haven’t seen in forever but always seem to pick up where you left off? Keep those friends. We were laughing and peeing our pants over memories. Emily “EMac” found a picture from 7 years ago and we decided to recreate it. Now, there was literally 100 retakes later. But I saved the best one. I’ll tell you why in a sec.

First picture you see. Our best looking selves on a birthday outing that went a little over the top. We basically took over Atlantic City by storm.

Emily ‘EMac’, Amanda, Amanda (me), Healther (Circa 2011)
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7 years later

Second picture. First, Heather to the left of me thinks she looks like a boy. “Oh, can we take another one? I look like Justin Bieber. I mean, I really look like a boy.” “Okay. Hair in the front ladies!”. Second, we didn’t realized “Smokey” was behind us. He used to be a real pig. This went on for probably 13 more pictures later, in another location, like the basement next to Romeo, our pin the penises on the stripper poster.  Who we never got to play with.

After so many “Do you remember when we used tos…”, I was lights out by 10:30.

Sunday:

Somehow, I didn’t wake up with a headache. One of the couples were a lifesaver and made all of us breakfast sandwiches to go. After many breakfast sandwiches later and a gazillion coffee sans water, my hangover headache was slowly creeping back. Can we talk about how much food we had left over from this weekend?

We say our goodbyes, stop at Wawa for gas, waters, and more coffee for moi. I really missed Wawa! It was playoff day so everyone was decked out in Eagles gear including myself. The closest Wawa at home is legit 35 mins, by our old Crossfit gym. Where no one would be decked in Eagles gear. Mmm no.

I must say I took the wrong exit and almost missed another one. Only to have my husband giving me the stare. That kind of stare I always get. This stare was like “are you really going to drive or not?” Thing is, I’m now hungover at this point in some way. Sorry hub but not sorry. Now go back to sleep will you? Just close your eyes.

Amanda and JR. Wishing you both a lifetime of laughter, pranks, happiness and joy. 🙂

Go grab your friends and take a winter weekend trip.  If those are the ones that can make a joke but can’t finish it because they’re laughing at their own jokes, keep those friends. The kind of people that just love life and roll things off their back are good people. Laugh at the tiniest things and be grateful. Cheers.

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