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These pages are a collection of stories from the Writer's Group at Box Hill U3A.

Does Anyone Have An Ear Trumpet For Sale.

"Anything good on the telly tonight love?"

"Hang on a minute and I'll have a look"

"I don't want to see people cooking. You know I hate those shows."

"I didn't say cook. I said I'd have a look"

He tells me to come closer. He still can't understand what I'm saying. I'm afraid if I get too close irreparable damage to his life and limb might ensue. You see the whole problem is that he won't wear his hearing aids. Not only does it cause problems with conversation, but when he is watching telly at night we have to have it so loud that it almost blows the rest of the family out of the room. Fortunately he doesn't ever sit down to watch till eight thirty and by this time the two chaps are doing other things, so I'm the bunny left to contend with him.

The worst part of it is, that even then he can't understand what's going on. He almost needs a blow -by -blow description of the whole programme. Michael wonders if he's losing it a bit up top but I don't think so. He always seems to hear something if you don't want him to.

The worst scenario is when the cricket is on. He's got so used to asking about the scores that even when they show them he still wants audio confirmation. The other day I asked him if he was going blind as well as deaf and he didn't even get the joke.

It all makes the day-by-day running of the house quite bizarre sometimes. He's almost eighty six now and so I try to cut him a certain amount of slack. He doesn't get up till after ten most mornings. By this time I've had breakfast, done chores and fed the birds. I gave him a shout yesterday when I came in and said, "the magpies all came down today dear."

"Come in the room. I can't hear you."

I feel like saying, that's because you haven't got your bloody hearing aids in, but I keep my big mouth shut. He would only say it's because he's not yet out of bed. I can't win can I?

Before he broke his hip he used to feed the birds and it was something that he really loved doing, that's why I feed him bits of bird gossip from time to time. I must admit that lately I have become almost paranoid about the whole business. The boys have got to the stage where they don't say too much to him anymore to avoid the frustration, as everything has to be repeated two or three times. If he speaks to them they engage in conversation close up. My daughter used to come to tea every Friday after work, but now I see her at the weekend when we sometimes go out together. You see, she is not like the rest of us. If something annoys her she gets stuck in, so as soon as he starts asking what's going on she hoes into him about the aids. This only causes more trouble for me, trying to separate them. In the end she gave up and stopped coming. I tried to explain to her that having a go at him is a fruitless exercise as it only erupts into a gigantic row and the hearing aids still remain in their little box. Then she goes home and I have to deal with the aftermath.

Dr Harris tried to get him to wear them, to no avail, and now the new lady doctor said something about it last time we were there. I just shrugged my shoulders. Sometimes I conjour up pictures of him with an ear trumpet. Maybe I could get one on E bay. It would be a bit of light relief.

However I have become very cunning. Sometimes when he asks who's doing what and to whom I give the wrong information. It is lovely to see how confused he gets and has become like a sort of game I play. I don't do it all the time only now and again when I'm tired and overwrought. The other night we were watching a murder mystery and I completely mislead him. He told me who he thought the murderer was from my false information and bugger me dead he was proved right. He even capped it off by saying he thought I had totally misunderstood the whole show. I can't win can I?

I hope this kind of thing doesn't become a habit as I'm not really like that, and I know many other people have the same problem. Strangely enough after researching it among friends I found that it s nearly always the man that won't wear them. It gives me great heart to know I'm not alone.

The saddest part of the whole thing really is that he is missing out on so much.

Pam Carpenter.