Hearing Hands.

Once upon a time, Muharrem, who has a degree of hearing loss went about his daily routine as usual. Except, he was then pleasantly surprised to see strangers all around him using sign language, which made his day pass by easier.

When he finds out why and how, his reaction is priceless and most likely this heart-warming stunt will make you shed a tear or two, also.

All because a world without barriers is everyone’s dream.

This ad was made by Samsung, Turkey in order to promote their video call centre – for people with hearing problems.

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The Day The Door Handle Met My Hand.

What seems to be quite a famous incident that is still talked about also left such a vivid and shared memory by all those who were present on a particular fateful day in 1990, at a particular boarding school for the deaf. On this day, which seemed to start out like any other school day, we went about our usual routines unaware of what would happen next.

Having just attended assembly, we all started to make our way back to our designated form rooms. My form room happened to be the one beside the Home Economics room, which was directly across from the assembly hall so there was no urgency or hike back to gather our books for that morning’s timetable. Momentarily, a couple of us paused in the communal area outside the assembly room for a quick “Hello”.

A classmate of mine had said something to me there and then and in annoyance I ran after him. He proceeded into our form room intending to close the door behind him but as I ran after him, I stopped the door from being closed onto me and tried to continue running after him. However, I could not, and I was being held back. I did not sense anyone holding me back so I could not understand what or who was holding me back. My arm seemed to be held into place – glancing down at my arm and then my hand. It immediately made sense – I could see the door handle protruding from inside my hand. “So this is what was stopping me!” I thought…. I could not contain my anger so screamed, shouted and kicked at the blooming door – for hurting me like that. Mind you, I was only thirteen years old at the time.

A couple of sixth formers came to my rescue, shielding me, controlling and deflecting the building crowd of onlookers who were startled by my screams. The headmaster, Dr Tucker suddenly appeared alongside the school nurse and Mrs Fenney, the cookery teacher. There was this brick of a mobile phone too. I do not think I had ever seen one before then except in the films – Dr Tucker was calling the emergency services who very quickly appeared on scene.

A mask was offered to me, “Breathe hard until it clicks” I had no idea what I was going to breathe in or what I would experience! There was a click and I soon drifted off to “sleep”.

As I was being sat down by supporting hands, the groovy effects from the gas and air wearing off – I was “waking up” again, looking around me to pinpoint where I was. I was somewhat disappointed to find I was still in the very same spot and turned towards the school nurse saying, “I thought it was all a bad dream”. She responded albeit with tears in her eyes “So did I”. Dr Tucker started to look overcome with relief.

I then found my right hand resting on a pillow, which had been placed on my lap – the door handle had been unscrewed away from the door. It was decided that the handle should be left inside my hand in case of any serious blood loss or nerve damage. The door handle had gone through my skin between the middle and ring finger and still protruded outwards, where the handle bends. It felt quite uncomfortable but not painful, at all.

Being wheeled outside of the school, I spotted an ambulance – I had never been inside one so I anticipated a great ride! So I thought. It inched ever so slowly down the country lane heading towards the motorway. Much to my dismay because ambulances to my knowledge were always whizzing around and here I was, having what felt like a race with a snail. It had to be so. Because the aforementioned door handle impaled my hand and they did not want any further damage to be inflicted. Bless them.

I learned afterwards, that my classmates were watching the ambulance carting me away, from their Physics lesson in the science block, in what one described as a “rather sombre mood” – I had got out of doing physics – go me! In all seriousness, one person was feeling extremely upset and overcome with guilt.

Two hospitals later (because the first was only very small with no hand specialist), armed with my x-rays, it was finally deemed safe to remove the door handle, from my hand. I watched as a nurse treated my hand like a pincushion turning the area numb and ready to be handled (pardon the pun!) – holding my hand upright, the handle was slowly being edged out. It came out cleanly with such care and ease. Was blood going to spurt out? Was it going to be like in the films? Blood spurting everywhere… Alas no, except a cavity was left behind, tissue had been pushed down upon meeting the handle. A huge syringe filled with sterile water washed out the cavity, of which was kept above my line of view so I could not peer inside. This massive curved needle suddenly made an appearance and was guided through each edge of the open wound, gradually closing it together. I had a new addition to my collection of scars – sporting six stiches!

As my hand was being bandaged up and arm then put into a sling – there was a message for me.

“In future, never run after the boys – let them run after you!” said the ambulance staff that had looked after me earlier that day. This witty remark somehow made my day.

My writing hand thankfully, was not seriously damaged. With physio and time – it would heal. To this day, whenever it aches, this lets me know it is going to rain heavily within the next 24 hours. My very own barometer.

Mrs Fenney who had stayed with me throughout, I will never forget her for her kindness and patience. My mother joined us and we decided to buy a box of chocolates – not for us but for one particular person. Arriving back at school, everything became a haze. People wanted to know what happened, how I was…. Then much to my surprise, the person whom we had given the box of chocolates came to see me, they had saved the very last chocolate – just for me. He was being such a gentleman. I will always remember the apologetic look on his face yet he had nothing to be sorry for because it was purely an accident and besides, he got a box of chocolates whereas I got a door handle!

The one and only.

The one and only.

The door handle was presented to me, with masking tape on it indicating the depth of the meeting that took place. To this day, I still have it and I write this for posterity.

Now you will understand why, all the doors at the Mary Hare School were replaced into much safer (push open) ones that especially had no door handles!

A heartfelt “Thank you” to all those of you who supported me on that very day x

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

 

What’s That Noise?! By Paul Leonard

Sara, whilst sitting at the dentists, hears this unknown noise and so asks her kids, “What’s that noise?!” Her daughter responded hesitatingly, “Drilling!”.  She then realised just how thankful she was not being able to hear that and relatively came the question, “What other noises can we be thankful for not hearing?”

This prompted these answers as below, from fellow Tree House dwellers.

– Snoring.

– People chewing.

– Knuckles cracking.

– My dog licking next to me.

– People weeing in the public cubicles and heavy breathing.

– My son enjoys not being woken by the rubbish / recycling lorry … or rather I do!

– In Austria right next to my parents house, tractor with snow plough!  That scares the life out of me!

– Cats fighting, car alarms, sirens sometimes, children screaming … Blissful at times, very worrying at others.

– Squelching noises when prepping food.

– One that gets me every time is when people scrape their forks with their teeth- and grinding their teeth.. irritating!

– The wife! (You brave, brave man!)

– Sara confessed to just having a Cadbury eclair and was conscious of the noise it made there and then despite never noticing before!  Suck, squelch … Hmmm nice chocolate … Squelch!

– Forks scraping on plates, cotton wool on teeth at the dentist, other people snoring when you’re camping and bicycle brakes squealing.

– I’m glad I can’t hear the traffic or other sounds when I’m sleeping.

– Excellent not to hear drunken party revellers in the next hotel room! I was talking to one of the wedding guests using the same hotel as me..she could not sleep a wink due to the loud music and talk in the next room. Deafies sleep pretty well throughout.

– Paul told a story: Hearing aids that whistle at 3am! (There’s a story coming!) It was my mate’s stag do. We had all had copious amounts of the “falling down water” and we all went back to the youth hostel to retire for the night. There was a strange noise coming from one of my friend’s bags. Although the room was pitch black and it took me and another hearing guy over an hour to discover where it was coming from. When we found it, liberating the battery from the aid, me and him both slept reasonably well (apart from being surrounded by 4 deaf heavy snorers) until they woke up around 8am and so me and him had about 4 hours sleep before driving back to Birmingham. Oh its great being hearing trust me(!)

Noise

Thank You.

The seed which planted the Tree House ten months ago having been nourished over time by its valued and respected members, will be celebrating its first birthday in February. It has truly been a wonderful experience with lots of challenges. The Tree House has covered a wide variety of things ranging from supporting the Love Subtitles campaign, fundraising for Sound Seekers down to the simple goodnights reaching out to people when tinnitus gets too much in the small dark hours.

As now is a very seasonal month, a lot of you will be busy with your own lives, families and friends which mean the admins of the Tree House will be able to get a well-deserved rest, while the Tree House appears to be quiet. But never fret, we hope to bring you a lot more articles and exciting projects in the New Year so please watch this space!

I would like to express my appreciation to each and every one of you for helping to build the strong foundation on which the tree house is built. A huge thank you to the admins and the contributing authors team for voluntarily giving up their precious time to support the Tree House and what they believe in – moderating a platform where people can discuss issues in a civilised manner. It is a result today of what people have made it, above all it is a place where people feel safe to “speak up” without fear of being judged.

Thank you ever so, all of you – for being you and for being part of the journey that has made the Tree House what it is today.

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”

– Marcel Proust

blossom

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

In Dedication by Anon.

How many friends do you have?  I am not talking about Facebook “friends” now.  I am not talking about the people you kinda know, your acquaintances.  I am talking about actual friends.  If you were going through a difficult time, who could you turn to?  Who could you tell your story to without fear of being judged?  Who would let you cry on their shoulder?  Who could you text or call at say 3am and have a listening ear?  That is just the very question I asked myself at work the other day – and the answer for me personally, the very high figure of four!

 friends

Four people in my life that I could consider a friend.  One of my friends goes back nearly 20 years.  20 years!  I sound old.  (Perhaps I am?)  Two of my other friends go back around 18 years.  We used to work together.  Of one of these friends, my spouse thinks we have an “odd” relationship, and yet we have been there for each other time and time again.  The other guy, we don’t see each other as much as we used to due to him moving out of town but when we see each other, it’s like we haven’t been apart.  It’s is never long before him and me are putting the world to right about various issues!  And my other and last friend, a very odd one this, this person I met by “accident” and not all that long ago.  I wasn’t looking for a friend.  It just … happened.  Organically you might say.  It is odd though because this person knows so much about me in such a short space of time.  We instantly “clicked”.  (Well, from my point of view we did!)   A person although I have known a very short space of time, compared to the others, has always been there for me, time after time, through thick and thin, good times and bad.

This post is just to simply say, “Thank you”.  Thank you to the four.  Life sometimes has been hard, really hard.  In the last year or so, particularly hard and challenging.  There have been times where the brown stuff has one and truly hit the fan, yet these four, at different times, have been alongside me to help me through it.  Times when I really didn’t know what to do or say.  When I didn’t know which way to turn, these guys have been there for me.   Thank you, thank you!  Although I have told my friends this face to face, I want to say it again, publically for all to see, “Thank you”.

I would urge you, if you don’t have someone you can call a friend, find one.  It’s an old saying that gets said time and time again, “A problem shared is a problem halved”, but it is oh so true.  These guys have been there for me, through thick and thin and if I can be of the same nature to any of the people who would consider me a friend, it would be my pleasure!

 

Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart is true you’re a pal and a confidant. 

(Lyrics to the “Golden Girls” theme TV show)

Giving & Gratitude

When it comes to kindness, there is absolutely no need to discriminate against any identifiable means because it is about humanity in general and acts of giving without any expectations of receiving in return.

For so long there has been a frustration of sorts building within me seeing the simplest things in life being taken for granted. Be it the roof over your heads, certain (branded) clothes being worn, the hot meals and comfy mattresses you lay upon, the NHS and free medicine being provided for us – the list is endless. The extremely close shave I experienced a couple of years ago taught me to take nothing for granted, now cherishing every little thing and being all around me.

“Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle” – Plato

For this reason, I am now trying my very best to spare a moment to remember those who may have been left outdoors, especially during those cold winter nights. Recently I, via the Tree House, have been able to appease that frustration of helplessness. In true spirit of the Tree House, this has meant this is now starting to catch on with other dwellers through their acts of kindness. So far, we have saved numerous left over meals and received donations of various kinds of cakes with which we approached homeless people and gave.

“Thank you” they gratefully say. And if they have a pet with them, they are more than happy to share with their “best friend” – Without a question.

Nigel and his best friend who enjoyed the leftovers from our Chinese meal.

There are those who had everything and lost it all and there are those who dedicate every minute of their remaining lives to make sure the homeless has a hot drink at least. They are among the unsung heroes of today’s societies. They are trying their very best in being the change they wish to see in the world.

So let us organise café meet ups with CAKE(!) donating to a charity of your choice, perhaps asking cafés to participate in “Suspended Coffee” schemes too. When you have a meal, please save your leftovers and seek out the homeless in order to make their day. Maybe even nominate/challenge your friends to pay it forwards too. Please?

One can only hope this act of compassion and kindness will help to keep them going, to keep the faith and to have hope. That not everyone has a stone cold heart, that they are not oblivious to everyday people. They are still someone’s child who were brought into this world for a reason.

A drop of kindness goes a very long way, much more than you realise.

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” ― Leo Buscaglia

 Carpe Diem – every day by being true to yourselves. x

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

A Show of Gratitude.

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift; that’s why they call it the present.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt.

gift

On this exceptionally memorable date, I would like to extend my annual show of gratitude to the doctors and nurses of Charing Cross Hospital who several years ago gave me the best birthday present one could ever ask for. 

A second chance to cherish life and being able to watch my beautiful children grow up of which I intend to make the most of.

I never ask for much but I would very much appreciate it if you too could show your gratitude to our NHS services, especially the Doctors and Nurses who devote and dedicate so much of their time and passion to ensure we get the best care around the clock – please could you join forces against any NHS closures and get involved?

For if Charing Cross Hospital had closed down then, I would not be around today.

And last but not least, to our beloved Tree House and its dwellers for creating such a unique place without any barriers.

It is what we all make it.

Please accept this dedicated post as a token of my gratitude for being true to yourselves.

Thank YOU, to each and every single one of you, my family and my friends – for putting up with me 😉

Carpe Diem – Everyday x

~ SJ (Sara Jae)