It’s two years since I heard my last sound, last heard my husband’s voice and his laughter, last heard my cats purring as I brushed them. In the two years I have been unable to communicate with the outside world, I have been denied access to an interpreter, have been assaulted by a bus driver before being thrown off the bus into the snow (I didn’t hear my bus ticket beep/not beep), and have been threatened with arrest for speaking too loud.
When I was given so many hearing tests in 2014 (all of which failed to produce any sound), I was assured it would be okay and that my life would be worth something. Yet the moment I chose not to be the recipient/victim of unnecessary Cochlear Implant surgery, that all changed.
Today, I was finally told by the Ombudsman who is investigating the corruption at the hospital and by the government that their reasoning for not providing me with any interpretation for the Deaf is as follows:
While the patient is unable to hear sounds, THE PATIENT IS NOT MEDICALLY DEAF
I am assuming that in Finland, this means “We haven’t got a clue why she can’t hear and she won’t submit to being bullied into surgery, therefore…. *shrug* ….let her suffer. After all, what else could it mean?
I still remember how quickly the audiologist’s demeanor changed, the day that I told her that I would rather use sign language to communicate than let her pull my head apart without them even knowing why I cannot hear. That day, the ever-smiling, super sweet audiologist went from all smiles and light to red-faced angry dragon, who not only kicked both my husband and I out of the hospital and demanded we never come back, but has responded to any referrals from my own doctor for ear problems with:
WE REFUSE TO SEE THAT PARTICULAR PATIENT
Ear infections, massive ear pressure, tinnitis – I have been plagued with all three and yet a public teaching hospital refuses to treat a patient after said patient said no to surgery.
Eight years ago, I sang the praises for Finland for being the most impressive country I had ever seen, but after having been a citizen for the past two years who is unable to hear a single sound, I can say this:
FINLAND: A NICE PLACE TO VISIT, BUT YOU WOULDN’T WANNA LIVE THERE
Any place that accepts that a patient cannot physically hear, but declares the patient “not medically deaf” when they cannot figure out the reason behind it… that place is seriously warped.
As a country, Finland is unsurpassed in beauty. In environmental issues, Finland is a winner hands down. But in treatment of the Deaf and disabled… one day Finland will climb out of the bucket which is labelled as AUDISTIC and SURDOPHOBIC and feel ashamed of its actions.
The Deaf Society, Deaf-Blind Society and other disabled providers which are not government funded have had their funding seriously slashed to the point where they have had to cut services and let staff go, yet they continue to stand up and fight for my rights. May the Finnish government hang its head in shame.
Regardless of their ignorance and blatant disregard for human rights, I will continue to fight for my rights as a Deaf person until my dying breath. And remember:
DEAF does not mean DUMB, just as HEARING does not mean SMART
Regardless of your hearing status, have a wonderful week.
– Rosie xx