Last night as I was getting ready for bed I noticed my right hearing aid was missing. I have not lost a hearing aid for a very long time. I have developed hearing-aid awareness, that is, I can usually sense when one has become dislodged and might be about to drop. So how did this happen?
I went through the clothes I had just taken off and tossed in the laundry basket. I went through the whole laundry basket, twice, scrutinizing and shaking everything. I checked the chair and its surroundings in the living room, where I’d been watching TV with headphones and had just removed them. I checked the kitchen, where I’d prepared dinner. Vic had cleaned up nicely so I decided to go through the garbage and trash he’d discarded as well. That was messy, but I felt my way through all the coffee grounds and kale stems. Vic was helping search the house, scanning all the floors and corners with a flashlight.
I was rather calm about this. I was pretty sure the hearing aid was in the house somewhere, though we’d gone out in the morning to the church to gather costumes for the scripture drama on Sunday and then to Walmart to look for a paper or plastic crown for “Herod.” I refused to think the hearing aid could have fallen out while we were crown-shopping at Walmart, because looking for it there would have been pretty hopeless. I was sure that it hadn’t been missing that long. It had to be somewhere in the house. (Walmart didn’t have any suitable crowns, just little happy birthday girl tiaras.)
I didn’t panic. Replacing a hearing aid that is way beyond its warranty date would be an expensive proposition but my mind wasn’t going there. Instead, it was doing what it should, focusing calmly on the search and reviewing my activities, starting with the most recent and then going back through the day.
In reviewing my activities of the day my memory snagged on something. I hadn’t slept well the night before and in late morning I was tired and foggy. I lay down on the bed for a 15-minute rest and got up, feeling better. But as I was lying on my right side, my hearing aid kept squealing and so I pulled it out. Had I put it back in? I checked the bed, no aid on the bedspread, but had the bed been made when I lay down for the short nap? Maybe not. I pulled back the blankets and there it was, right where I put it down.
My nap was cut short when Vic announced rather suddenly that he was ready to go out with me on the costume-hunting errand so I’d forgotten about removing the hearing aid. Also, inattentiveness is a result of being tired. But I was surprised how long the aid had been out of my ear and I hadn’t noticed. I guess it was a quiet day.
I thought about this incident as I read a friend’s post this morning about how practicing mindfulness helped him sort through an annoying cluster of problems with electronics. One benefit of all the meditation I’ve done in the past six years is that it helps reduce reactivity in potentially panic- or anger-inducing situations. I hope that it has influenced my human interactions as well as helping me search calmly for a lost hearing aid.