I've had a strange thing happen to me this last week. I have temporarily gone deaf. Silence. My life film with no sound track. I have a condition that is not so unusual called Exostosis or "Surfers Ear". Those of you who know me know that I have been affected by this the last couple of years. But as of last week the spirits of the sea have closed the hatches in my ear canals.
As I said, it's a fairly common amongst surfers a condition that is brought on by years of exposure to cold water and cold wind. In an attempt to protect the inner ear the body grows bone matter that closes off the ear canal protecting the eardrum and shutting out the outside world. To remedy this there is a common surgery in which the bone matter is drilled out reopening the ear canal.
From what I understand it will be a couple of weeks before I can have the surgery so I will be in this state of silent bliss or purgatory (depending) for a short while. I've decided I want to write about my experience for the next few weeks but feel like I need to start with several disclaimers.
1) As I stated my situation is fairly common with a very good prognosis so I'm not writing from a distressed emotional state. I have friends and family members who have been vexed with far more serious ailments requiring far more physical and moral strength and I in no way want to equate my situation with theirs.
2) I am fully aware of my extremely privileged position in which this experience is framed by access to expert medical care and medical insurance. I will be taken care of.
3) Mine is a temporary situation that I will not honor by calling it a disability. I consider a disability something far more impacting and again requiring far more moral strength then I will be requiring.
4) This situation has not been brought on by some tragic misfortune or wicked transgression. It has been visited me by the long and glorious privilege of surfing; a sport that has brought me great joy and insight, physical and spiritual gains and a sweet fellowship with my sons, brother, dear friends and extended family of practitioners. So I must say, that if this is what the cost is of all the years of wave riding, so be it. I accept.
5) I am going to say a lot of obvious things over the next few weeks but give me a break; I'm trying to learn from this.
That said, why do I want to blog about it? Because it's such a totalizing thing. From full hearing to no hearing (though I can hear using a cell phone as a hearing aid.) To have one of my primary senses taken away has been a profound experience, particularly in light of a busy studio practice. To wake up day after day (this is the seventh day) and be surprised by the fact I still can't hear. I know I will, but I can't now.
So I will use my blog as a site to document this strange performance I'm in. What the heck, I can't talk to anyone so I might as well write to someone.