In that day the deaf will hear the words of the scroll, and out of gloom and darkness, the eyes of the blind will see. –Isaiah 29:18
I am prophecy fulfilled. The first part of the above verse happened—to me!
March 21, 1961, I was in basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia. We were out on the rifle range firing a variety of M-1 rifles, automatic rifles and machine guns, all going at the same time. Three hours following, I had lost 30% of my hearing.
Over the next three days, I heard very little aside from loud ringing in my ears. It would be approximately a year-and-a-half later, that I would finally find a doctor who told me what happened. Up until that time, medics and doctors who apparently couldn’t make it in the civilian world had given me an abundance of bogus information.
But Dr. Cornwallis at 97th General Hospital in Frankfurt, Germany got it right. I had lost 30% of my hearing. Much of the high frequency range was gone. He told me that if I lived long enough, I would be deaf. He also said that, when I returned to the States, I needed to go immediately to the nearest VA and apply for compensation. I did, but they advised me that the loss was not serious enough for them to be involved.
Over the years, I periodically went back, but there was always a reason they would not honor my claim. Eventually I gave up, but so did my hearing.
Over twenty-five years went by, before a friend who had worked for the VA asked why they had not taken care of me.
I said, “You tell me! I’ve been trying for over 25 years to get them to do something, but every time, they say no.”
He said, “They always say no. You just cannot take ‘no’ for an answer. You’ve got to pull out all the stops. Join the Disabled Veterans (DAV), the American Legion and other such organizations. Get sworn depositions from officers under whom you served, if you can locate them. Contact your congressman, and best wishes.”
When I spoke with my congressman, he asked, “Have you ever seen your medical records?”
I said, “No sir! I don’t believe I have.”
He said, “They’re the best evidence you have. You can go through them and highlight every appointment and test. If you’ll sign a release, I’ll have those records in your hand within five days.” I did and he did.
This started a two-year appeal process, which ultimately got me into the VA system with retroactive compensation for the appeal period. I eventually lost all my hearing and was forced to take early retirement.
Along the way, I began to learn about assistive technology, such as captioned telephones, FM listening devices and induction loop systems. I learned about an organization called SHHH (Self Help for Hard-of-Hearing People). It is now HLA, (Hearing Loss Association of America).
I became deeply involved with this organization and the meetings were one place where I could fully participate. All speeches and conversations were captioned and broadcast through the assistive devices.
By the summer of 1998, my hearing had dropped from 12% to 0%. My audiologist at the VA recommended a cochlear implant, but, she told me, I would have to go to Seattle to get it.
I told her I would go to New York if I could hear again.
February 1, 1999, I had cochlear implant surgery and one month later, March 1, my audiologist turned it on. She asked me a couple of questions and I answered them. My wife, Carolyn was seated behind me. She asked me a couple of questions and I answered them. She gave a big “thumbs up” and shouted, “Yes!”
Friday, March 1 of this year, 2019, marked the twentieth anniversary of the day I fulfilled that prophecy almost buried in Isaiah 29:18. This deaf man has been able to hear again for an extra twenty years.
God uses a lot of different ways to heal our afflictions. Over many years, a lot of people prayed that He would heal my deaf ears, and on that morning in 1999, He did. To God be the glory for the fulfillment of His wonderful promise.