Point of View: Blissed and Beggared

   Following a minor medical procedure recently, I had to be slapped awake from what was presumably a slightly overlong stay in Never-Never Land.
    Throughout the flurry of pummeling (during which my left hearing aid may have been broken, though its demise later that day or the next could have been a coincidence), I kept saying, “Blissful . . . blissful.”
    Oblivion wasn’t such a bad thing after all, I thought as I lay stretched out afterward in an adjacent room, wondering what kind of anesthesia I’d been given and making a note to request it should I ever make that one-way trip to Switzerland.
    Later in the week, another health care professional I know said he presumed it was Propofol, “what killed Michael Jackson.”
    “You can’t beat it,” I said.
    Soon after, reality, in the form of my addled hearing aid, began to impinge. I took it for examination to my audiologist, who pronounced it dead on arrival, as I had feared, and, of course, that begged . . . no, not begged . . . raised the question as to whether I should be beggared by the cost of a new one.
    She told me, with a smile, that the new ones, albeit they cost around $3,000, were so good that “people are always bringing them in asking me to tone them down.”
    That was good news, in a way, for I’d given up ever hearing really well. And, despite what I occasionally say, and despite what my interlocutors occasionally think, I would very much like to participate fully in life — except when on those very rare occasions I’m blissed out on Propofol.
    The prospect of anteing up three grand for a hearing aid was anything but blissful, of course, painful in fact. I told Mary I really ought to be able to write it off as a professional expense, rather than have it lumped in with my medical bills, inasmuch as my job depended on it.
    But I could hear (well, see) the I.R.S. countering at my audit that since I habitually misquoted people— even myself! — they were denying the claim. And then they’d probably tack on a fine.
    My audiologist said that my wife, for one, would be happy that I could hear better, presumably inasmuch as I would no longer have recourse to plausible denial.
    She handed me the silenced hearing aid as I got up to leave, saying hopefully, “Maybe it will revive with some C.P.R.”
    What will it be like to hear with clarity? Stay tuned.
    Or will I be like the guy who bragged of his new one and who, when asked by his friend, “What kind is it?” replied, “Three fifteen.”


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