My Dream.

“Dedicated to DC, one of the most intelligent and beautiful young people I have ever had the fortune to meet.” Nyk

What wondrous form, my dreams invade?

A flame thought dying, did only fade?

Its glow, no ember, its form too pure

Illumes the night, of that, be sure!

What wraith be not, did appear to me,

With mystic orbs of azure sea?

Twas not fear I felt, nor tear did shed,

Judgment at peace within my head.

With no call to account, nor lie dispel,

Risen anew, did waif emerge from hell.

Past sleeping eyes, sweet smile did grace.

As slowly it neared, to touch my face.

Upon my lips, velvet touch did come,

Tender voice declare, “I am now someone.

Thank you.”

No Price on Humanity

Recently, I met a young person who is going through a very traumatic period of life that is quite similar to what I endured for a number of years. I do not want to embarrassed or cause any further issues so I will simply call refer to this person as DC.

While growing up, DC was subjected to a pretty rigid life in a controlled religious environs that stifled creativity and individual thinking. When my friend was able to escape the situation, DC was preyed upon by sexual predators and cast off like a used paper towel to end up living in a vehicle, rather than a home with love and caring.

One day, DC met someone who offered a place to stay in return for physical activities, none of which are important to this paper. I only mention them to set the proper tone. Desperately in need, DC agreed to the terms, a mistake soon regretted. However, not to be defeated, DC endured while establishing a community presence and finding work. All the while with the specter of home life demands weighing heavily. Predictably, those demands erupted into a very bad situation placing DC at risk for injury or worse, and once again homeless.

In the short time I have known DC, I’ve discovered a very sensitive and remarkably intelligent human being who has made some bad mistakes, none of which cannot be overcome. The problem now being an overabundance of advice confusing issues!

Yes, I said advice; DC is getting a lot of conflicting advice which is having a dramatically negative effect. It would be horrible for someone not in such a critical situation but is even worse for DC.

Who to trust?

Who to believe?

Who to turn to for help?

To the best of my knowledge, no one in DC’s group of friends has offered more than temporary assistance. It’s tragic, but true of human nature. Can I blame them? No, of course not, they think they are acting in DC’s best interests when in actuality, they are acting in their own by thinking theirs are the only answers to the problems.

This is the current state of many “humanitarian efforts” these days.

I think it great that people sympathize and are willing to help but unless they’ve walked the path, they can never empathize. To push someone such as DC to make life changing decisions at this time is almost an assault on emotions however necessary it may be. That may only be accomplished by one who has walked in DC’s shoes.

As I have done before with others I have promised DC housing, sustenance, help getting into college and whatever other things I can do to make life easier and more successful without unwelcome stipulations. DC alone must make the decision to accept or not. Whatever that decision is, I will not abandon DC as I was once abandoned by my family.

The problems being:

Who can DC trust?

Who can DC believe?

Who can DC turn to?

People who know me say Nyk, you’ve been crapped on before by people you’ve helped, why continue?

My answer is because I’m me.

I believe that if we do not try to help those in desperate need, we not only work against them, we may even be defeating ourselves. Imagine, perhaps DC might go on to create a cure for hunger or cancer; may become a great world leader or even possess the knowledge to end wars. We do not know, nor will we until we step up and believe in people like DC and keep our promises to help.

Hugs to all who need one today.

Papa Nyk

One Note Away

I love music, especially what I consider to be good music.

I can hear you now, “So what’s good music to you? Do you like symphonic, rap, country, folk, dance, jazz, what?”

My answer is always, yes, to which I usually hear: “Say what? or Huh?”

OK, so I’m eclectic (no, not electric, eclectic, look it up) in my musical tastes; there’s a crime in that?

I can remember years ago; many years ago, listening to the Sons of the Pioneers sing “Cool Water” and Mahalia Jackson do “How Great Thou Art”, the only song I got tired of was Kate Smith doing “God Bless America.”

In my teens, it was the Goldbriars, New Christy Minstrels, Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead followed by Joan Baez and others of the “Hair” era. It really was the “Dawning of the Age of Aquarius.” However, it was also the beginning of the one-note symphony for me.

I started working an orderly in the Emergency Room at Minneapolis General Hospital when I was just nineteen. Just before I turned twenty-one, Hennepin County took over the hospital and began an enlargement program. Part of that enlargement was the Ambulance Service. As I was known as a good worker, the Ambulance Service supervisor offered me a position as a driver on the service. Being the handsome young devil I thought, I decided I’d look great in the uniform. OK, I was thrilled to be on the service, and learn.

My symphony began with the first “Code 3” (Lights and siren) run I went on. The siren, the lights, the traffic, and the adrenaline were all flowing; it was a rush. What I didn’t realize was that my feelings of invincibility were masking a vulnerability – my hearing.

Unlike today, the sirens of those years were operated by the driver stepping on a floor button like the old high beam switch. You slowly pressed down on it and the siren gradually built up sound and tempo until you took your foot off. Often on long runs, my foot would get sore.

Now, if you’ve never heard a 1960s siren, know that they weren’t as loud as those of today, but they did affect the hearing. This was due to the fact that the only thing between your ears and the siren was the thin metal roof of the ambulance. Nobody thought to give us hearing protectors or earplugs, ergo, some of us had the beginnings of severe hearing loss.

When the new electronic sirens came out, they were great for traffic but worse than the old ones for hearing. I’m sure most, if not all of my readers have been close to an emergency vehicle with the siren going; loud, aren’t they a joy? Many of the doctors who rode with us complained about the noise, but no one I know of suggested that we, the EMTs at the time, have ear/hearing protection. Understand that we worked in a hospital with doctors, so it is a tad incomprehensible that they would ignore us, but they did,

After about ten years, I started to experience minor spells of dizziness, disorientation, tinnitus and diminished hearing. When I checked in at health services about this, they told me it was either the flu, aging or a simple inner ear infection.

I knew it was something more, but I had to believe in the medical staff I worked with. The only problem was, I was going deaf. I couldn’t hear clearly and words all sounded the same to me.

Eventually, this condition drove me out of EMS, and the teaching I was doing, mainly because I felt like a fool. I couldn’t understand what people were saying to me, especially women and children with high pitch voices.

As the condition had worsened over the years, rather than feeling like I was going insane, I decided to challenge it.

I was tired of saying HUH?, WHAT?, SPEAK UP, and only hearing buzzing, clinking, dinging and other weird sounds from the tinnitus, so I shut down and sought solace in the bottle. Rather than fight the demon, I surrendered – bad choice.

After a series of disasters and losses, I finally decided to face the issue that I was indeed a one-note symphony away from total deafness. I had to face my demon or die alone.

For those of you who have good hearing, and have never had an earache I say, lucky you.

For those of you that have hearing loss, I say, I understand your pain and loneliness. It is very difficult for us to help people understand that hearing loss is a soul-destroying event, especially when there’s is no hope for a cure or an improvement.

“WHAT” is a word I wish I could forget or at the very least, find a good replacement for. How many ways can it be said? How many times do we have to say it before people will accept the fact that hearing loss is a terrible disability?

Do we have to wear neon signs starting: Hearing impaired.?

“Oh, you’re just not paying attention!”

I wish that was all it is.

“If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times.”

My favorite one is the person who shouts thinking his, or her roaring voice will overcome deafness.

One of my biggest problems is what I refer to as Audio Dyslexia; words sound the same to me; example: round, pound, sound, mound, town, etc. Add that to trying to understand people who like drop-off sentences. You know what I mean, the person who starts a sentence in a loud voice and ends in a whisper. I often want to yell, TURN YOUR DAMN VOLUME UP AND SET IT ON MONAURAL.

How about this, let’s throw accents into the mix?

I live in Missouri but still retain a Minnesota accent, or is the word dialect more appropriate? How about idiolect? (you talk funny). Whether we realize it or not, we all speak in different dialects (accents) and idiolects (our individual way of speaking). Our speech patterns are exclusive to ourselves; check out this page, it does a better job saying what I want to say:

Ever wonder how a person going deaf handles that? I drank, because I thought it was my mind going haywire. Well, it was, in a sense, because the hearing receptors in my ears were almost destroyed by loud sounds (think music and sirens fits nicely right here). I needed to be able to hear and, more importantly understand what I needed to know to do my job, and I couldn’t. I could no long talk on the phone, hear the voices nature or understand what women and children were saying. It got worse, no, it is getting worse almost daily. People I’ve known and lived with get irritated at me because they feel I should be able to understand everything they say; I can’t, the words are no longer there for me.

There were many times when I thought a bowlful of double edged razor blades sounded delicious. But, either through cowardice or stubbornness I could not give in. I lost my family, my job and even my self-esteem, however, I refused to give in.

Then one day I decided to defy my mother, and go to college. I seventy years old at the time and she was, and remains deceased but her words to me when I was only 16 still rang in my ears: “You’re not smart enough for college.” She was partially correct, I flunked math, but she was wrong about everything else, I did quite well in writing and Psychology.

It’s tragically ironic that I clearly heard the voice of a deceased person giving me the incentive to overcome by attending college and struggling in every class to hear and understand the professors.

I still struggle to hear but I realize the last note of my symphony will soon be played and I’ll be 100% deaf. I’m no longer afraid of it, nor am I willing to concede before the last possible nano-second.

So why do I feel compelled to write this?

I write because I feel communicating is the key to better understanding for all of us.

Hearing loss is what I call an invisible disability.

“He don’t look hurt or walk funny, but he sure do talk weird.”

FYI, the deaf cannot hear their own voices. THINK ABOUT IT.

Communicate – An Ode to your Death.

Where once was I, a lad so young,

My before had not begun.

I thought my words told true my heart,

My strengths and knowledge, to all impart.

But alas a fire no more does burn,

Loss of love, life’s cruel turn.

Now it’s over, no time for hate,

To love anew please communicate.

Not a great ode, but then I’m no May Angelou. I think it puts my point across about the value of learning how to communicate.

“So what does that mean? I talk, I communicate!”

Umm, no, talking is not necessarily communicating in my book. Talking, as valuable as it is, is not necessarily communicating: relating information.

Get it yet?

We all talk to ourselves, others and even, on occasion complete strangers. guess which is probably the only one we really communicate with.

My guess is we communicate better with strangers than with anyone else. My reason is simple, more often than not, either strangers are seeking information from me or I from them.

“How do I get to the bus terminal?”

“Where’s the best place in town to get a hamburger?”

Long ago, and I can’t remember who taught me, I learned that there are six words that identify my need to communicate: Who, What, Why, When, Where and How.

For me, using any or all of those words is conveying to the person I’m talking to that I need information: I am communicating a need.

How does that work in a relationship? Well, tragically not well in many cases.

“Why did you lie to me?

“Umm, I didn’t lie, I simply fibbed.”

The question being asked is “Why did you lie to me?” The communication is, I know you lied, but I don’t know why you did.

An honest answer might be; “I lied because I didn’t want you to know I was cheating on you.” The communication is, I’m an asshole and not worth your time. OK, a bit extreme, but you get the idea.

To communicate effectively with someone you want in your life, you must learn to communicate your true thoughts, feelings and needs.

“Could you please explain to me why you felt the need to cheat on me then lie about it?”

Confronted with this question from someone you know you love and do not want to lose, how would you communicate your feelings without telling another lie?

Personally, I think the best way is to communicate the truth.

“I was drunk and made a terrible mistake. I regret it and would love to change it but I cannot. I’m sorry.”

At this point, I believe it contingent on the other party to communicate their feelings to you.

“I’m mad at you; angry and betrayed. I don’t know what to do or say right now.”

What would your response be?

Communicate does not mean accuse, lie, name call or physical attacks.

In this instance, it does mean to say, “You hurt me.”

“Can we talk about this later?” You’re communicating a willingness to be open.

“Maybe.” You’re hearing “I am willing to at the right time.”

Don’t push it by saying, “When?” That’s communicating your impatience. not your need to solve the problem.

For me, communicating is using truth, facts and tact to express my thoughts and needs.