Thanks Air Canada

March 8, 2017


As a seasoned solo traveller, particularly one with a profound hearing loss, I've learned a few tricks to help cope with the anxiety and stress that comes with it. I've had several near misses at airports where I didn't hear the announcements for gate changes and found myself sprinting to the other side via a confusing maze of busy hallways. I always get a cold sweat whenever I approach the lounge area, wondering if I'm in the right boarding area. 

Over the years, along with frequent trips in and out of the country, I've found a system that seems to work for me (for now). It may not be perfect but at least it makes it more bearable, especially after numerous headache-inducing and WTF moments. 

I often plan my trips in advance, making sure that every mode of transportation fits like a completed puzzle. Past experience taught me a hard lesson by requesting to be pre-boarded on the train and plane. A common mistake is that people tend to think that you have to be in business class to do this. Not true, if you have a legitimate disability and it's marked clearly on your ticket, you have the right to go on early. Once boarded, I typically inform a staff member that I can't hear announcements and ask for assistance which they are usually happy to do. Occasionally they will forget, particularly if it's a busy day.

Prior to going on a trip recently, I was fully prepared to launch into a lengthy dialogue about the severity of my hearing loss to the airline staff. As I stepped into the airport lounge area, I approached the desk and asked the staff if this was the correct gate. They nodded, and I proceeded to let them know that I would like to pre-boarded. They showed me where to wait, near the priority line up, where I gratefully stood, feeling relieved that it was going well.

What was different this time around was that I was exhausted and filled with grief due to the recent death of my mother. I wasn't thinking too clearly and worried about the trip more than usual. I was approaching this trip with a very different perspective and feeling more alone than ever before. Imagine my surprise, when an enthusiastic crew member waved me over to the pre-boarding area and guided me towards the airplane. The moment I stepped on the plane, I quickly explained to the flight attendant that I was hard of hearing. Imagine my surprise when they started to sign to me! This was the first time, ever, that someone knew sign language on an airplane. I was blown away. He eagerly connected with me, asking me questions about the correct signs for a couple of words, then showed me where my seat was. 

As soon as I sat down, another attendant approached me and asked if I wished to see her do the safety procedures ahead of time, one on one. I was literally speechless. I politely said thank you since I was familiar with flying and read the safety manual that was in the seat in front of me. Then she asked if there was anything else they could do for me. I quickly inquired about one of their snacks that was listed on the airline menu since I wasn't sure if I could have it so early in the morning. She cheerfully said that she would be more than pleased to check it out and went to the galley at the back. Minutes later, she briskly came back, nodded her head and gave me a thumbs up. 

I was still trying to wrap my head around the sudden change in accommodating people with disabilities. I've never been treated with this much kindness on any of my trips, so it was a pleasant surprise, especially during a difficult time in my life. 

Midway through the flight, I looked up to see an attendant taking orders for food and drinks. By the time she reached my seat, she gave me a big smile. Before I could request my order, she promptly handed over the snack, along with a handwritten note on the napkin that asked if I wanted anything else. I was speechless yet again! 



This was the first time in many years of travelling that I've ever come across such an enthusiastic crew towards me who were deeply aware and respectful of my hearing loss. It was one of the best experiences I've had on a flight. 

I would like to express a heartfelt "Thank You" to Air Canada Rouge for being so accommodating and gracious to me. It meant the world to me. 

I have a feeling that Mom was there with me, guiding me on this trip.

 

What do you mean?

January 9, 2017


To borrow the phrase from Justin Bieber's popular song "What do you mean?", I wanted to know the true meaning of the word "stigma". I reached for the heavy Dictionary and Thesaurus, flipped through the thick pages and found the description: a mark of disgrace or infamy associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person. To go even further, according to the medical description it states: a mental or physical mark that is characteristic of a defect or disease.

So what does that mean ...

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Bling up my hearing aids please!

December 2, 2016



Everyone knows that hearing aids tend to look rather dull, after all, they are medical devices. While some companies provide a variety of colours, particularly for the kids, the majority offer a limited range, namely hair and skin tones. That’s fine for people who want to be discreet about their hearing loss. But what about the rest of us who have been wearing them for more than 20 or 30 years? We get bored, really quickly. Like myself, I discovered that it’s much more pr...


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Holiday fun

November 14, 2016


Now that Christmas is just around the corner and people are starting to put up their holiday lights, there have been a series of delightful commercials that are simply adorable. Some of they feature incredibly realistic CGI of animals and the overall story is as sweet as candy canes - definitely worth watching and sharing! They will melt your heart...go on and take a peek.

This brand new video is being featured on the JohnLewis website featuring Buster the Boxer who loves to jump.

http://www.j...
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Wisdom at forty-something

August 22, 2016


You would think that turning forty meant gaining more wisdom, and as someone who’s forty-something, I’m wondering where the heck it went. Sure, I have gained a lot more insight, compassion (sort-of), and I’m currently somewhat more business-savvy than I was in my twenties but it doesn’t necessarily make me a smarter person.

In some ways, I’m more of a klutz now, making critical mistakes that cause me to cringe in horror as I think about the future consequences of my actions. Ironica...
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Verbatim

August 15, 2016


My mother recently read an article and suggested that I take a look at it. She normally doesn't do this unless it was something that had a really strong opinion or featured a topic that would be interesting to me. Truthfully, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect but I suspected that it had something to do with hearing loss. Growing up with a severe to profound hearing impairment has, in many ways, blunted my compassion and viewpoint about other people's experiences. Why? Because they usually...
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Self-care: learning to forgive

July 27, 2016


I recently discovered an intriguing book by Doreen Virtue on how to heal ourselves and break free of negativity. Even though Doreen is famous for her spiritual topics, this is more geared towards the physiological and psychological aspects of detoxing our minds and bodies. The goal is to find ways of healing ourselves from the inside out and make a positive change in our lives.

What caught my eye about this book was the title “Don’t Let Anything Dull Your Sparkle” - it made me wonder ho...
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Tools for life

July 12, 2016

I was recently informed about several nifty gadgets for people with disabilities and knew that I had to share it. Since there is still a sense of stigma surrounding physical disabilities, there are companies out there that are acutely aware of this and coming up with great products that allow us to be more at ease with using mobility aids. They are making great strides in producing innovative products that enable people with any type of disability to live their life as comfortably as possible...
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Awareness

July 6, 2016


There has been an noticeable shift in the awareness of mental health in recent years and it's a sign that it can affect anyone at any age or social class. I was reading an article about Prince Harry and was rather surprised by his admission that he has been struggling with several issues in his life.

He has always said he's straight forward and honest about himself, saying that "What you see is what you get with me," and that is amazing considering how well known he is to the public. Prince H...
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Inspiration

June 24, 2016


I was recently asked a very good question: who or what inspires you in your life?

I would have to say that a lot of people influence me in many different ways. My mother's love for art, particularly painting inspires me to do it too. My father's love for photography taught me to also enjoy taking pictures of nature which in turn has won me many awards. Watching children be creative with games or crafts encourages me to come up with new and innovative ideas to keep them entertained. Even books...
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