Dawn Ford Seniors’ Situation Room – Hearing Aids & Pets – Edition #41 March 15, 2015

DawnFord_SSRIt is hard to believe that I am typing my 41st. column for Cornwall Free News. The first one came out in August of 2012. After the second one, I was wondering what exactly I would write about next. Somehow things just kept crossing my desk.

Watch your hearing aids around your pets. The batteries are dangerous for children and pets.

One time I had taken one of my aids out for a few seconds and laid it down on the coffee table, safely I thought. One of our dogs came out of the blue and got it, chewing it. It was all mangled up by the time I got it out of the dog’s mouth but I couldn’t find the battery. I called the Veteranarian just in case the dog had swallowed the battery. The Vet said that it would probably pass through the animal before it started to disintegrate, but that we still need to be careful .He mentioned that a lady in a village near here had her aid chewed by her dog 5 times!! 5?? I later found my battery on the floor. Apparently they are attracted to the odour of the ear wax or it could be that the aid is not turned off and the noise is comparable to a dog whistle. The dog wants the noise to stop and will grab the aid.

One time I lost my aid somewhere. I was sure it was in the house but it disappeared. I had to buy a new one. Sometime after my cat died, I finally got up the gumption to clean out her little toy basket. In the bottom among her balls and catnip mice was my hearing aid and an ear ring which had also been lost. Apparently cats like shiny things and will steal them. That theft had cost me a bundle for a new hearing aid and I had already thrown out my one ear ring. I am now very careful with my aids after all that.

Tri- County Literacy Council is offering free courses – Essentials for Work, Hospitality and Basic Computer training for SD&G adults 19+ starting March 23rd. Please call 613-932-7161 to reserve your seat – space is limited.

WOW!!! The baseball games have started to be aired on TV. Saw the Blue Jays and the Yankees. And the clocks are already ‘sprung ahead’. Spring is almost definitely here!!

A senior lady I know was telling me about her experiences in the courts for the past 7+ years. The reason she was telling me all the details is because she was concerned, not only because of her lawyer fees and the emotional cost to her but also the very very high cost to the taxpayers. It was a simple case of a legal separation/ financial agreement turned sour when her significant other failed to honour it. She said they had three sessions in Data Base Centers , were in court 10 times which involved court aides, policemen and 6 judges over the period of years. Imagine the terrific cost to the taxpayers .Is there not a cheaper and faster way to handle these cases out of court when they say that the courts are jammed up and our hospital is crying for money??

I remember being warned as a kid , by whom I don’t remember, probably my brothers, not to go swimming in the river near the Lalonde’s house where the RCAF Wing is housed today. They said there were blood suckers in the water. I thought until recently that that was just a ploy to keep us away. A friend, Bob Katz, who grew up in the east end of Cornwall at the corner of Bergin Avenue and Water Street tells me that it was true and that the blood suckers were also at the Silver Bridge. He said some kids had a salt container to put on the little bugs if they bit swimmers. I swam there a lot but have no memory of any blood suckers, just a shaky old bridge. Bob talked also about his memories of the St. Lawrence Park where besides swimming and having picnics, there were also boat rentals and a dance hall. All gone now, replaced by the College.

Apart from the Roxy theatre and a red and white barber shop striped pole, and the St. Lawrence Park, I don’t remember much of the East End. At the park, we used to put our little sister Evelyn on a swing that was like a little box and had a bar across the front so she wouldn’t fall out. She would whine and try to get the bar off so we had to keep pushing her to stop her fussing. My Mom would look over at us approvingly from her picnic table as we pushed our little sister. Little did she know we weren’t being great siblings; just wanted to keep the kid quiet. Ev was happy as long as she was swinging.

Here is a very old picture of St. Lawrence Park long before my time. Look at the dresses the women are wearing. Am I glad they invented’ Pedal Pushers.’


Bob said that he remembers an old barn on Amelia Street where a Mr. MacDonald kept the ice he had cut from the canal during the winter and would bring it around by horse and buggy to fill up the ice boxes in the homes. In those days we didn’t have refrigerators. At that time also, some houses had little doors on the side of the house for the milkman to leave the milk which, in the winter would freeze leaving a couple of inches of cream on the top of the milk bottles. I remember George Maybee’s dad on his horse and buggy cart leaving the milk inside our porch door. Great for cereal and coffee. Bob remembers the coal cellars where the coal was stored in the basement for the furnaces and the old ringer washers. If you didn’t have a washer, you used a galvanized tub and a scrub board. He also reminisced about the corner of Marlborough and Second Streets where across from the Cornwall General Hospital was McAlear’s Shell station. They served gas and did car repairs.

My memory of that particular area has to do with babysitting. Next to where the Parisien Manor is now was the home of a Parisien family I baby sat for which is now Marlborough Place 2. Across the street was a funeral home where Dr. Shah’s office is today. I babysat there once in the apartment over the funeral home. I think the owners lived there. This one night, they left a big pot simmering on the back burner of the stove with water and chicken bones in it. At the time, being about 16, I didn’t know what it was but it smelled awful. I guess today they were making broth. They asked me to stir once in awhile. There was a back staircase which led downstairs but it only had a curtain for a door. Each time I went into the kitchen to stir the pot, the curtain seemed to move. Creepy!! I had seen enough scary zombie movies to have a vivid imagination. I don’t know if I thought a dead corpse was going to come up those stairs but I can tell you I was very happy when the couple came home and I could leave…never to return again, believe me!!

My brother , the late Sonny Herrington, had a big blanket with the Yankee logo all over it. It is gorgeous and very soft and plush. When my brother Ron, who is an avid Detroit Tiger fan, and I used to go to see Sonny at the Lodge, he would tease Ron sometimes and throw his Yankee blanket on him. Ron would go ‘yuk’ and the fun would start. Sonny and I were Yankee fans and after he died, his family gave me all Sonny’s Yankee mementos which included the beautiful blanket. I treasure it and keep it draped over the bed railing at the my foot of my bed. The other day as I was changing my bed, I was called away for a few moments and I left the blanket on the bed. When I returned there was a furry little cat all snuggled up asleep on the soft cosy blanket….Tiger, big big baby, had found a new ‘bed’. These creatures know comfort when they see it. He doesn’t want to give it up. Sonny liked cats and used to enjoy reading about my Tiger in my columns. Sonny is probably looking down and smiling at Tiger all cuddled up sound asleep in the wonderful Yankee blanket.

The Family Corner Restaurant at 9th. and Pitt Streets is bedecked in the Wearing of the Green for St. Patrick’s Day. Lovely green cloths cover the tables and there are leprechauns, Irish pipes, shillelaghs and shamrocks to welcome us. Thanks Henry and staff for making St. Patrick’s Day celebration festive and fun. Kudos.

The medicals experts are suggesting we walk a lot, learn something new, eat our fruits and vegetables, not forgetting the blueberries and do things like puzzles, all to keep our grey little brain cells sharp as we age. Some people like to do Jigsaw puzzles where you might have 80 or, it seems to me, 1000 little pieces of various shapes and colors. I look at all those pieces and want to run. My brother Ron likes to do Jumble puzzles where you have to put scrambled words in their correct sequence to form a word. That is hard on this old beanie also. Some people do the Sudoku puzzles where you have to complete the grid so that each row, column and 3×3 box in the bold borders contain every digit 1-9. Add, you mean?? That’s work!

Myself, I like to do Crossword puzzles. There was a time may moons ago when I did them as if I was getting paid to do them. I have crossword dictionaries, Roget’s Thesauruses , geography reference books, etc. and I used to use them religiously to finish a hard puzzle. Now I just hope for the best, just enjoy the doing and it usually works out in the end. And of course, if all else fails, the answers are in the back of the book. At one time, I did the puzzles in the newspaper when I got home from work. The next morning at work I would ask someone if they got an answer or two I was missing. Finally, someone, told me that I should be doing them in the am before I went to work. Ho Ho!! I don’t think so. I had to get up at 6am to get out to St. Raphael’s and be in the staff room for 8am sharp. Who had time to do puzzles? Also, I was a bit brain dead at that early hour (still am). But three people told me that it was true, that it helped them ‘get going’ in the am mentally and that is why the math tests in the schools are in the am. I tried it. They were unbelievably right. but it wasn’t relaxing or fun because I knew I had to get on the road soon. Luckily now, retired, I can do them whenever I want and again, if all else fails, the answers are in the back of the book or in the newspaper on another page. Doing any kind of puzzles is a good fun way to learn something new every day.

Here is a cute little seniors joke:

I felt that my body had gotten totally out of shape, so I got my doctor’s permission to join a fitness class and start exercising. I decided to take an aerobics class for seniors. I bent, twisted, gyrated, jumped up and down and perspired for ages. But by the time I got into my leotards, the class was over.

Have a good week, Dawn

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  1. Good stories about hearing aids Dawn. I have two that I purchased about three years ago. But I can’t use them because if my ear canals get blocked (as they do when you use hearing aids) my ear canals sweat. Then my hearing aids eventually short out. The company replaced them twice at no cost to me. I was finding it a pain in the butt to constantly take y hearing aids out to dry my ear canals. So, I don’t use them anymore. I’ll wait the two remaining years and get new ones that can take the moisture and don’t make my ear canals sweat as much.

  2. Hugger 1: I have not heard of this problem before in all my experience with people with hearing aids. I have worn in-the -ear hearing aids since I was 46 and the only problem I had had was that my ears might get dry and itchy which oil would relieve. My ENT doctor said that making sure water got in the ears while showering, etc. would keep the wax formation down. I would suggest you contact the Canadian Hearing Society and /or The Hard of Hearing Assoc…both have web sites… to see how this problem could be avoided in the future.

  3. Good story about cats and them being so inquisitive. I have one who loves all jewelry. Learned very quickly after I got him that all things need to be put out of reach just like having a child. Enjoyed your stores about the past and how the community used to be.

  4. I was struck in the head and shoulder by a falling tree at work last march, and have developed tinnitus from it. I have seen an Audiologist who said what I have is what I have. He did a hearing test and found mild to moderate hearing loss. I work around loud noise daily but this came on after the accident. It is very loud most of the time. I have always used a fan at night for white noise but the ringing overrides the fan. I take blood pressure meds, stay away from sodium, aspirin etc. I am afraid what the noise will be as I get older and my hearing diminishes more. Now I know why people with tinnitus drink but I don’t plan on taking that up as a cure. Good luck to all fellow ringers!

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  5. Dawan, I have an excellent ENT here in Cornwall. He’s told me the complete opposite of what your ENT said. In my case I am to keep as much moisture as possible out of my right ear. Moisture causes problems for my right ear. When I started seeing him he did a swab test and the infection in my ear was one he had never seen or heard of before.

    Evelyn Ringe….cats are just evil. They never do what they’re told.

  6. Hugger1: Interesting. It shows how each case is different and how important it is to go by the advice of your own doctor.

  7. Dawn I like the old picture that you posted and I saved it on my computer. I wish that I had the old pictures from the past (Cornwall’s much better days). I laughed about the cat and the hearing aid. Yesterday I helped my daughter clean wax out of her ears since she lost her hearing with the build up of wax. I have had hearing problems since my childhood and now I cannot read the very fine writing without a magnifying glass – I don’t wear eye glasses. I love to read about your Tiger and Jamie’s dogs and cats.

  8. Evelyn: Tinnitus not fun. I have a bit from time to time also but seems to be in certain buildings which is weird.

    Jules: I got that picture off a Cornwall web site which has lots of wonderful pictures of Cornwall.

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