Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Just Thinkin'

In the past four months since our last Tuscan Pediatric Course on Audiology where we invited regional representatives to participate in the hope that they would take what they'd learned to their regions and create a course to train pediatricians in Audiology, two regions have already begun and concluded training courses from Screening to Diagnosis and Habilitation..
I have been invited to speak on the parental perpective in two other regions, while yet another region has prepared a course for May.

So, Tuscany, Marche, Lecce, Salerno, Calabria, Sardegna and Abruzzo are on their way to assisting so many families.

And I have found that the pediatricians involved in this Audiology Network are passionate about creating the courses and providing the resources necessary to help the families.

Sometimes, although I've explained the bumpy road in so many blogposts, it seems surreal. And I have this strange sensation of calmness, no idea where it came from, but I think I'll hold onto it.

I mean you fight the battle, and while you're in the middle of it, you don't even imagine what getting closer to the finish line might mean.
And then you get a call from yet another mom whose child resulted refer for the Newborn Hearing Screening, she is distraught, in shock and does not realize how she will cope with the news of a potential diagnosis.

She has one thing we did not.

Time and resources to make the best decisions possible for her child.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I have this horrifying sensation of gloom and doom, so I decided to share to alleviate my agony.
Japan is heavy on my mind.
As are arthquakes, oil spills, tsunamis, nuclear disaster looming, cancer, starvation, Libya, high radiation levels in the water...

When I was a teenager I went about my business- sports, parties, freedom and independence.

Now as an adult, do I Forrest Gump it all away?

Or do I pop some more popcorn?
Spend an extra five minutes stealing morning hugs as I wake up my kids?
Offer help to another person in difficulty?

As E.E. Cummings wrote:
"It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are."
I concur and that growth process requires communication, determination and an uncanny ability to swallow pride in order to overcome ego and focus on the love.

It also takes courage to live in Japan...they are the epitome of dignity.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Driving While Deaf

I am completely in the -I have no idea- when it comes to Deafness and Driving.
A blog article was just posted in Italy discussing the fact that an 82 year old Deaf man had a car accident, and they proposed adding an Audiometric Exam to the Driving Test.
Personally, I am not convinced the accident occurred due to deafness. And they could just as well prohibit radio use in cars considering how many hearing drivers blast their radios while driving.

Just out of curiosity, how does it work? Jordan would go to the DMV, take his theory and practical and snap his picture-done deal? Or do you need to write something on the license.

FYI, in Italy, Deaf individuals can buy a car at 4% state tax instead of 20% in Italy, anything like that in the USA?

Thank you for any and all replies...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Stolen Identity

He's fourteen years old and deaf.
He wears a cochlear implant.
He's from Tuscany but speaks Italian with a Roman accent and speaks English to my family.
He's really tall and lanky with long, curly brown hair and mischievous brown eyes.
When I ask him about girls, he's shy and says he can't seem to speak when he finds a good-looking one standing before him. I encourage him to ask a girl to the movies just as a friend. He smiles and says, "No."

Last week something tragic happened. A hacker hacked into his X-Box Live profile and stole it. This dramatic event occurred while I was in Baltimore and he could barely speak to me from the trauma.

Yesterday, he smiled.
He explained to me that out of the frustration, he called to speak to an X-Box representative from his Dad's house while his Dad was out and this is what happened...
-First, he got one of those menus..."Welcome to X-Box live, if you're calling for blah, blah, blah press 1, ecc.
-He pressed a number and was connected to a woman. Apparently after he explained the problem, she told him that she was transferring him to the correct department.
-He was then connected to a man. He spoke to the man for 25 minutes and answered all of his questions. The man informed him that they would perform an investigation and get back to him within a week.
-They asked for Luca's email address to contact him. Luca arrived at that moment and finished the conversation.

Jordan took matters into his own hands by telephone.
He's deaf.
He handled his stolen identity crisis by himself by phone.
Thank you cochlear implant.

I think that my son knows who he is, senses certain limitations like with girls, but is willing to take risks when motivated by the loss of his X-Box.


Friday, March 25, 2011

Happy (?)

My mom and I decided to grab something to eat at the Diner. I was debating over whether or not to go for the chocolate shake with whipped cream-they give you the silver cup thing with it so you get extra milkshake...when the waitress arrived at the table.
She bounced to the table.
She bounced and smiled.
She bounced and smiled and said, "HOWDY LADIES, HOW Y'ALL DOIN'?"
Like happy like.
I looked at my mom and she looked at me.
We smiled, extra-big smiles at the waitress and said, "Um, fine and you?"
Barbara (I asked her her name) replied, "Just great and so happy to have a job! Here are the menus and I'll be right back to take your order! Now you ladies just take your time!"
I think she may have done a combination wink-smile-skip as she left the table.

I looked at my mom.
She looked at me.


So, that's what happiness looks like. I don't think I can remember the last time I actually saw an energized, bouncy person who ....smiled. Certainly an impossible find in Italy.

I didn't order the shake, I had coffee instead.
And by the end of the meal, Barbara had thoroughly exhausted me.
She remained happy the entire duration of our dining experience.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


I dislike just going through the motions.
I like emotions.

Sitting on the bus that transported a load of people from Terminal F to Terminal A, a 20 year old mother stepped aboard. All seats were filled. Three people immediately stood to let her sit.
In the corner of the bus, three teenage girls on their way to who knows where discussed sex with foul mouths.
Waiting for the plane, another woman started cussing on the telephone. As in everyday language.
For the first time, I realized how not elegant foul language appears to the common listener.
One thing about the USA...everyone's busy. People always have something to do, somewhere to go and something to eat.
I needed a dose of the USA.

My gram recognized me for the first time in a year. Last summer with Jordan and Sofia, we spoke about Jodi in third person. Nice change. She held hands with her friend Jake and it reminded me of my Pop, my grandparents never held hands, they just were the idea of hand-holding.
To me.

My mom and I lasted a week without fighting, well we almost fought about Target, but we got over it quickly. I had a week of Mother-Daughter time. We did yoga, ate all the time and went to get manicures and pedicures where we found another mother-daughter team doing the same. They probably do it twice a month- we do it twice a year. I smiled at them... a lot.

I hung out with my girlfriend Julie, Stepfather, my brother, his wife and their adorable baby Olivia. So funny to see him as a Dad, an amazing dad.
Then, my sister and I walked to SOHO but never made it because we stopped in a Starbucks to talk and talk. We do that twice a year.

Yes, I miss my family. No, it is not easy being here alone.
But, I am blessed, and I rarely go through the motions.
And now, it is time to get back to work.

Monday, March 14, 2011


They each took me aside at different moments, when they each were sure the other one was not around.
Jordan: Mom, leave Sofia with Grandma and take me with you to Baltimore.
Sofia: Mom, leave Jordan in front of the XBox and take me with you to Baltimore.

Mom: Jordan, how would you feel if I just took Sofia with me and left you home?
Mom: Sofia, how would you feel if I just took Jordan and left you home?

Mamma is going home alone:-) My grandma is doing better, so it's gonna be a different kind of visit than that which I had anticipated:-)

And as I sit and look forward to going home, my thoughts and prayers go out to Japan- honor and love to their dignified way of dealing with this truly devastating moment in history. Much love and heart.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The White Picket Fence

I never flipped through magazines looking and yearning for that beautiful white wedding dress.
I never held babies and dreamed of having my very own.
And home for me was seeing my Pop in a white t-shirt and Hanes boxers eating a tub of Cookies and Cream ice-cream with a spoon as my Grammy cooked her very own crab soup with leftover crabclaws from the dozen eaten the night before. The house steamed Old Bay.
I believed that babies were born hearing.
I believed that husbands were supposed to mow the lawn on Sunday mornings.
I believed that wives knew how to cook and clean.

I loved the part of Tom Sawyer where he tricked the kids into painting that fence.
I thought he was so intelligent as he sat there smugly watching the others do his work for him.
I admired him.

I now know that the most satisfying thing a woman can do...
is to pick up a paintbrush
start from the ground
and work her way up each and every single panel
until that fence shines white.

Only then can she truly savor the apple as she sits under the shaded tree all by herself.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

-14 Days

So I had the stomach flu on Sunday and slept it off on Monday. I slept for about 20 hours. And I believe I'm a different person. As I begin to write this blog, I feel that I am not the same person who wrote the last post. Bizarre.

They say that the flu makes you grow. My kids usually grow a few centimeters after an illness. Really.

I didn't feel sorry for myself that I was sick and alone.
But I did reflect upon this fact.
I didn't feel like I was missing anything.
I just snuggled up in my leopard comforter.
I felt actually fine even though I was puking my lungs out.
Well, how bout that.


I told my grandmother who's been in the hospital to hold on and be strong.
I told her to hold on for just another 14 days...I'm coming.