"Rejoice in Your Tinnitus," Says Pollyanna.

Discussion in 'Support' started by weberfoot, Jan 22, 2015.

    1. weberfoot

      weberfoot Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      I recently wrote a short piece which may be of interest to persons with tinnitus. It is called "Rejoice in Your Tinnitus (Pollyanna Tells Aunt Polly Why that 'Darn Ringing' in Her Ears Should Make Her Glad)". Although copyrighted, Forum readers should feel free to use it for any non-commercial purpose. After a brief description, the piece is reproduced below.

      The centerpiece is a lengthy letter from twelve-year-old Pollyanna to her Aunt Polly explaining why her aunt should be glad that her ears ring. The letter is in response to a request from her aunt. Pollyanna believes she can provide such an explanation to her aunt from experience, as she herself has "Ring Buzz".

      The characters are based upon those in Pollyanna, published in 1913, a children's novel by Eleanor Porter. Pollyanna, an orphan living with her aunt, creates much "gladness" all over town through her unique perspectives on people and their problems, and by teaching them to play the "Glad Game".


      (Pollyanna Tells Aunt Polly
      Why That "Gosh Darn Ringing"
      In Her Ears
      Should Make Her Glad)

      Copyright 2014 Michael P. Weber

      Cleek & Mashie
      241 Mealey Parkway
      Hagerstown, Maryland 21742


      Based upon: Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter, 1913

      Author's note: These letters give away the ending of the novel Pollyanna. The reader, therefore, may wish to read Pollyanna before reading them.

      Table of Contents

      First Letter from Aunt Polly to Pollyanna

      First Letter from Pollyanna to Aunt Polly

      Second Letter from Aunt Polly to Pollyanna

      Third Letter from Aunt Polly to Pollyanna


      First Letter from Aunt Polly to Pollyanna

      Dear Pollyanna,

      We have missed you very much since you entered the hospital. However, we are sure you will be back here before many months go by.

      I did want to tell you a little problem I have been having recently, likely related to me getting up in years. I have this gosh darn ringing in my ears. It never seems to let up, except when I go to sleep. Most of the time I can just ignore it, but other times it is a bit bothersome. The doctor says there is little chance it will ever go away. I wonder if you might tell me why I should be glad to have this unwelcome mischief. You are so good at making people feel glad when they might feel otherwise.

      We are all looking forward to your return home.


      Aunt Polly

      Letter from Pollyanna to Aunt Polly

      Dear Aunt Polly,

      I, too, look forward to returning home. The nurse and doctor say I am making steady progress with my walking.

      It is a funny thing, but I also have a ringing, sometimes more like a buzzing, in my ears. Well, actually my left ear. One of my doctors said it was likely caused by the loud noise of the car accident. Anyway, I have had a great deal of time to think here at the hospital, so I am now able to tell you many reasons I am glad I have this Ring Buzz - that's what I call it (or sometimes, more affectionately, Mr. Ring Buzz). Now I rejoice in my Ring Buzz - it has been a true blessing. It makes me glad. You might glean from this letter several ideas that might make you, too, glad for your ringing.

      Well, first of all, the challenge Ring Buzz gives me is to remain as productive as I can in spite of Ring Buzz. Just trying to meet this challenge is rewarding, and when I do meet this challenge it is very rewarding. Like Little Pollyanna against King Ring Buzz. To look at it another way, Ring Buzz has shown me that the only real measure of "defeating" Ring Buzz is the things I can do in spite of Ring Buzz, especially because I do not expect it to leave. Being able to continue to do the things I want to do is very important, much more important than my comfort. The winning of the war is not based on the comfort of the soldier, but on the defeat of the enemy.

      Ring Buzz is like a little Chinese puzzle that I can always carry around with me. It has given me many happy hours, when I am not busy learning to walk again, trying to figure out just who Mr. Ring Buzz is and how I can have him as my friend rather than my enemy.

      One of the best things about Ring Buzz is that it works like an Interest Thermometer". If I'm doing something really, really interesting, I don't hear Ring Buzz - that's the way the Interest Thermometer tells me "high interest". If I do hear Ring Buzz - that's the way it tells me "low interest". So my Interest Thermometer helps me to fill my hours doing things I am really interested in, and this lets me live life just as hard as I can.

      Ring Buzz has no outward sign, no way for others to realize that I hear noises that really aren't there, no way for others to understand what this annoyance is like. But these very facts makes me appreciate what others might be going through as a result of their own annoyances, annoyances which I may be unable to either see or understand. It makes me think, as my minister father might say, "we all have crosses to bear"; even though I might not be able to see them. And knowing that some of these unseen crosses are a whole lot heavier than my Ring Buzz makes me appreciate people more than ever.

      Hustle-and-bustle, all the little things we have to do during the day - brushing our teeth, getting dressed, cooking meals, going to the store, practicing music, straightening up, getting ready for bed - is my friend. I used to think hustle-and-bustle was an unwelcome intruder who kept me from doing the things I really wanted to do. Now, thanks to Ring Buzz, I find hustle-and-bustle a most welcome visitor, one who can make me forget all about Ring Buzz for hours at a time. You know, I was mistaken about hustle-and-bustle keeping me from doing things I really want to do. Now that I like hustle-and-bustle, it makes doing all those little chores easier. And wasn't I surprised when I figured out that dealing with Ring Buzz is actually part of my daily hustle-and-bustle. How about that, Aunt Polly? Ring Buzz is helping me to forget about Ring Buzz!

      I now appreciate the little noises I might have thought annoying in the past - the sound of me eating crackers, rain falling on the roof, bath water running, horses clip-clopping along, carriages rattling down the road, the wind briskly blowing. These are all noises which, by covering up Ring Buzz, hold it at bay.

      Ring Buzz takes my attention away from life's little aches and pains - I have quite a few left over from my accident - and life's little aches and pains take my attention away from Ring Buzz. I win either way. I'm vaguely thinking about a mosquito bite and, out of nowhere, comes Ring Buzz. I start thinking about Ring Buzz, and all of a sudden - no more mosquito bite. You can see, Aunt Polly, Ring Buzz and my aches and pains enjoy quite a happy relationship.

      I'm glad to have my Ring Buzz because it teaches me how to solve other problems I might meet in the future. The more tools I can develop to deal with Ring Buzz, the more tools I'll have to deal with future challenges. I look at Ring Buzz as a like a lifelong course in dealing with minor annoyances.

      I have to admit, Aunt Polly, Ring Buzz often has a most pleasing sound, like I'm enjoying a summer evening with a thousand smiling, dancing crickets. Or I'm vacationing in the exotic Land of a Thousand Tiny Tinkling Bells. Or I'm walking through a tropical forest listening to the sound of the Noisy Bird. And sometimes, when I'm lying in my bed thinking dreamily of how many steps I might take tomorrow, the sound of Ring Buzz comforts me like a soft bed of rose petals.

      Ring Buzz makes me hear things, ringing and buzzing noises, that aren't really there. When one of my senses goes a little off like this, it makes me appreciate my other senses - the ones that see seascapes, smell flowers, feel rain, and taste a drop from a honeysuckle flower - a little more. And, of course, it makes me appreciate my sense of hearing, at least the parts of it that work right, to a much greater extent.

      An unexpected gift from Ring Buzz is a greater appreciation of beauty. Of a clouded sky, a spider web, a hidden creek, the smell of a leaf pile, a deer jumping a stream - things I have seen many times before that I now see in a very different way. This gift alone makes me thankful I met Mr. Ring Buzz.

      Interesting activities make me notice my Ring Buzz less, so I am glad that my Ring Buzz encourages me to pursue these activities. Let me give you an example. Musicians sometimes visit our hospital to entertain the patients. Ring Buzz encourages me to listen to their music because I know that it will distract me somewhat from my Ring Buzz. And, if it's especially good music, the kind I like to really, really like to pay attention to, then my Ring Buzz disappears altogether.

      In a similar vein, Ring Buzz encourages me to draw and to write stories. By the way, I have actually taken up drawing, and have also started writing stories, while in the hospital. These are things I can do without disturbing the other patients or the staff. They are two activities which totally absorb me and, in addition, take my mind completely off Ring Buzz. I am glad that Ring Buzz has encouraged me to explore these activities. I do hope to again practice my music, which might disturb the other patients here, when I get back home with you.

      Would you believe that Ring Buzz can make me do more each day? In the morning, I just ask myself, "How much more productive - ten percent, forty percent - would I have to be today to make enduring the annoyance of a Ring Buzz more than a fair trade?" When I figure out the answer, I just try to be that much more productive. Looking at it this way, Ring Buzz is just a "cost of doing business", the business of making one's days as productive as possible.

      Ring Buzz encourages me to form new goals that are not related to my own personal comfort. Some new goals look outward, toward the well-being of others, rather than inward, toward the comfort of myself. Other new goals encourage me to learn how to do more useful things or to do my duty wherever I may find it. I think these kinds of new goals help to make my life closer to what my father would have liked. Although there may be no hope for lasting physical comfort, if the kind of silence I had known before must form any part of physical comfort, there is a very good chance that I can achieve the peace of mind that comes from helping others, doing my duty, learning new skills, and accomplishing worthwhile tasks. You know, something can bother you yet still make you glad. Think, for example, of the happy parent of a child who is sometimes annoying. I shall always be thankful that Ring Buzz encouraged me to strive for peace of mind rather than physical comfort.

      This ringing and buzzing has given my own little laboratory - I can take it everywhere I go - in which I can experiment to learn how to make friends with Mr. Ring Buzz, to calm him down, and to be very glad that I met him in the first place. And maybe I can learn enough to assist other people to be glad about their Ring Buzz. Why, Aunt Polly, my little laboratory has even helped me to write this letter to you!

      I used to think that Ring Buzz was "wearing me down", but no, it's really "wearing me up". Sometimes it's pretty exciting. When Ring Buzz strikes suddenly, it can be exhilarating - like walking through a snowstorm with a howling wind, creeping through a jungle at night with parrots cawing and hyenas screeching, or tip-toeing near the edge of a bottomless gorge. As with so many other things, Ring Buzz has its good parts and its bad parts. It certainly isn't boring.

      I told my doctor about my Ring Buzz - not to complain, just to talk. Well, he lent me a few simple books on physiology, neurology, and anatomy to look through to learn more about how ears my work. I read that hearing depends quite a bit upon the tiny hairs inside my "inner ear" accurately sending messages to my brain. And that when these little hairs get damaged, for example, from very loud noises, they sometimes start sending inaccurate messages to my brain, like telling my brain there is a ring or a buzz around somewhere when there really isn't. Anyway, learning how cleverly my ears are constructed, and how many little things must happen, just exactly so, for my ears to work at all, surprised me very much. Without my Ring Buzz I might never have gotten to look through those most interesting books.

      I don't know about you, but I've noticed that my Ring Buzz gets louder and more annoying when I'm very tired or upset. I've also noticed that it often almost goes away when I'm talking with interesting people. So Ring Buzz encourages me to talk to staff and other patients, to get a good night's sleep, and to keep from getting upset. In addition, doing these things makes life more enjoyable apart from any effect on Ring Buzz.

      Ring Buzz has made me learn how to concentrate on the "business at hand" in spite of much ringing and buzzing, and to tolerate a near-constant annoyance. These things, concentrating and tolerating, were difficult at first, but I have found that "practice makes perfect".

      This Ring Buzz really makes me appreciate what I now have. My father used to say something like, "From him who hath not will be taken away even that which he hath." Ring Buzz serves as a constant reminder that things can always get worse, that I should be thankful for my blessings. How many things do I have for which I should be thankful? Ring Buzz makes me appreciate their presence. How many annoyances exist that have not affected me? Ring Buzz makes me appreciate their absence.

      I'd eventually like Ring Buzz to be such an ingrained part of me that I would be sad if it left me. Anyway, that's what I'm aiming toward. Then it would be just like losing a piece of myself if Ring Buzz ever went away. When I learn to thoroughly ingrain Ring Buzz, then I think I'll be vaccinated against it for life, even though I still might hear the ringing and buzzing loud and clear.

      There is a cost, Aunt Polly, for all this gladness Ring Buzz has given me. I pay for it just by putting up with some strange, funny little noises for a few hours each day. Such a little price for so much gladness!

      Aunt Polly, please do try to rejoice in that "gosh darn ringing" in your ears. I look forward to seeing you as soon as I am again able to walk freely about your house and garden.

      With heaps of love,



      Second Letter from Aunt Polly to Pollyanna

      Dear Pollyanna,

      Thank you for giving me so many reasons to be glad I have this ringing in my ears. Right after I finished reading your letter, I believe I was already starting to rejoice.

      All of us can't wait until we see you again.


      Aunt Polly

      Third Letter from Aunt Polly to Pollyanna

      Dear Pollyanna,

      I have thought hard about the ideas in your letter regarding my ringing ears and, now, after seven months, have become so glad for my ear-ringing that I hardly notice it at all.

      We all look forward to your coming home next month when we can again enjoy walking around the house and garden.


      Aunt Polly
      • Genius Genius x 1

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