‘Cruel’ wait for an implant
At 48, Simon Baldock has given up hope of ever hearing again. He was assessed as eligible for an implant last year, but without extra funding, he will remain on the waiting list.
He says the experience is ‘‘almost cruel’’. ‘‘The impression given is that this magic wand of a cochlear implant will happen to you . . . And then to receive a letter stating that you do meet the eligibility requirements comfortably [but] due to funding constraints this won’t happen. I’m still in a bit of shock processing that I won’t get one.’’
A genetic condition saw his hearing begin to deteriorate as a teenager and has got progressively worse in the last 18 months.
A psychologist, from Picton, Baldock now fears for his job. He says every day is ‘‘mentally and physically exhausting’’ and interactions with groups of people have become impossible. ‘‘All I try to do is survive through to the end of each day as it is very tiring, physically, physiologically and emotionally.
‘‘I used to be quite sociable, involved in football, cricket. I loved going to the theatre. Over time I have lost access to music, TV, being able to go to the cinema and conversations with more than one or two people . . .
‘‘Social gatherings I now tend to try to avoid if I can. It is really emotionally challenging to be sat there, at a family gathering, desperately wanting to be part of the conversation . . . but just sitting and nodding, smiling . . . and not really knowing what is going on.
‘‘Do you know what it feels like to be sat at a table, surrounded by your family, wanting desperately so much to be part of the fun, the joy, the happiness, to share in with it, and yet feel so separated, so distant, so apart that sometimes you would rather not be there as it is too heartbreaking?’’
Simon Baldock fears the long waiting list means he will never hear again.