Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Okay, so there isn't really a clinical term out there for the fear of being late, but somebody with a pretty funny sense of humor dubbed it Allegrophobia at some point in time.  I have always been annoyed by late arrivals and the idea of arriving late to an appointment, work, or class is strong enough to keep me up all night.

This fear is compounded by the fact that I cannot hear an alarm clock.  So how is it that the deaf and hard of hearing ever get anywhere on time in the wee hours of the morning?  For me, it was a struggle for many years.  As far back as high school before I even realized that my hearing loss was a problem, I had trouble waking up on time.  I had a little bedside alarm that would sound off bright and early waking up everyone in the house except for me.  Apparently this was a problem for my dad.  He's not the kind of guy that just runs out and buys gifts to show you he cares, but I have a foggy, just rudely aroused from an awesome dream, kind of memory of my dad, sitting on the edge of my bed bouncing it up and down a little telling me to rise and shine.  Then I heard it, the terrible clanging bang of the gift he was bringing me.

He handed me a shiny brass alarm clock with two bells on the top.  That thing was loud enough to wake the neighbors.  I didn't know it at the time, but my old alarm clock was waking him up every morning while I kept on snoozing.  He had run down to the drug store and found me a clock that I could hear, a clock so annoying I would jolt out of bed like somebody hit me with a cattle prod.

I carried the golden dreamslayer with me for years until somewhere along the way it was lost, or broken, or most likely thrown against a wall or beat to death with my own bare fists.  It's hard to sleep at night when you know you have to be somewhere the next morning by a specific time.  Marrying my husband was a blessing because he was there to wake me up and for awhile I didn't have to stress about it.  My dog, Cotton (so named because she looks like a dirty old cotton bowl that's sprouted out of the red Texas sand where I grew up) is pretty good about waking me up too.  She doesn't like the sound of the alarm clock.

But eventually, my husband had places to be much earlier than I did and Cotton is not always reliable.  For awhile I used a dual alarm clock that had double alarms set five minutes apart.  If I didn't hear them, Cotton would wake me up just to get me to turn them off.  I also got pretty good at just knowing; most of the time I would think to myself, I need to be up by 7 and I would just automatically wake up at 7.  Not the trustiest way of doing things yet it usually worked. But eventually a time came when that simply wasn't enough.

I had just given birth to Lillian and paid a visit to my audiologist to buy my second set of Oticon hearing aids.  I was discussing my problems about hearing the baby monitor with her when she introduced me to the Sonic Alert System.  I can't believe I didn't discover this sooner.

It's an alarm clock that sounds off at 113 decibels and not only that, it will shake the whole bed until you turn it off.  And it acts as a receiver for other products including the baby monitor, door bell, fire alarm, and stove timer.  It can also be connected to any regular bedside lamp that will flash until you hit the shut-the-hell up button.  She used my insurance to pay for the whole system.  I have flashing strobe lights that plug into outlets throughout my house, the super clock, a vibrating bed, a flashing lamp, and a noise receiver in my daughter's room.  If the doorbell rings, the baby cries, or the alarm goes off, so do the strobes, shakers, and lamps.  And finally, I can rest in peace.