From being called racist to being given medical treatment he explicitly refused, the author recounts some of his frustrations of being deaf.
In a series of anecdotes, which I imagine the author could fill volumes with, Blackwell recounts his experiences of other’s reactions to him being deaf that range from ignorance to discrimination to the downright weird.
Blackwell writes in a friendly, informal style that makes you feel like you’ve sat down with him for a chat. He comes across as a kind man with a good sense of humor, which is just as well because he needs it in order to deal with people he meets on a daily basis.
He details incidents of medical incompetence where his ability to make an informed decision is questioned by hospital workers. I’m not surprised by this, unfortunately, as my experience has been similar with both myself and my parents when they were ill.
He describes encounters with rude, self centered people who treat him like trash and get insulted when he asks them to stop, which I’m sure most people can relate to.
What I found shocking was the level of ignorance around lip reading, and some of the reactions he got from people are so truly bizarre that all you can do is wonder how they managed to attain adulthood.
The only negative is that it took me a couple of chapters before I got into the book. The author jumps straight into the swing of things with a story about a trip to hospital after seriously cutting his finger. Unfortunately, I was at a loss about when and where we were, and who exactly the author was. There’s no introduction to his life, but these details become clear as you read more of the stories, building a picture of the author.
The volume could have done with another round of proof reading as well, but this is a minor quibble and didn’t impact my enjoyment of the book.
It is disheartening to read about how many people refuse to make a minor change to communicate with someone. Whether it’s acknowledging the need for a visual rather than verbal cue, or realizing that you’re not being ignored, it’s a simple matter to deal with yet so many don’t want to accommodate another in any way.
Then there were the people who knew more about being deaf than the author, who wanted to introduce him to their disabled relative so he could be his ears, or who thought deafness was a choice!
Probably the most striking point to me was how large companies have become so discriminatory by destroying the autonomy of small branches and relying on call centers for customer service. With email and text, it’s hard to believe that any company relies on phone calls, but unfortunately they do, as the author has found out.
Written in a timely fashion, the author also points out the difficulties for someone who lip reads in our current mask bound climate.
A fascinating, if somewhat stressful read. I award The Frustrations of being Deaf…
The Frustrations of being Deaf is available for $2.57 ebook and $5.86 print book on Amazon.