Sarah Churman Book Excerpt: Deaf Woman Describes Hearing for First Time


Sarah Churman "Powered On" Book Excerpt

All these things only intensify because I'm hearing all this from inside myself for the first time, and I'm completely and utterly overwhelmed like you cannot imagine. I fear my heart is going to explode and I just cannot put into words what I'm thinking. Then I start thinking, I don't want to hear myself cry…this is weird -- which I say out loud -- which makes me giggle even more. I was a huge mess…but a good mess.

The doctors and specialists continue to do their testing and mapping program to tweak my device to suit my needs, all while I sit there still in amazement and grinning from ear to ear. Sloan [Churman's husband] only snapped 91 seconds of film simply so that his mother can see the moment of activation and my response.

After he puts the camera down he goes to asking me questions as the techs are working on me. At one point, they ask him to ask me a question. He covers his mouth with his hand, and he says, "Do you want a cucumber sandwich?"

Twelve years I've been with this man, 10 years I've been married to him, two children I've given him -- and that's what he chooses to say to me for his first sentence I get to hear with a good ear. Didn't matter to me. In that moment, it was the sweetest thing I had ever heard. I repeated his sentence back, to which the whole room cracked up laughing.

One person said "What the heck?!? Why'd you say that?" Sloan's defense is that he didn't want to say something cliché, and he knew me well enough to know that even though he covered his mouth, I would recognize his facial expression and muscles saying the words "I love you" or something common like that. Plus, those who know Sloan like I do will understand, I wouldn't have expected anything less from him than a silly comment to make me smile and make the moment memorable.

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