I was born in Viet Nam with a cleft pallet and sever ear problems. When I was five months old I was abandoned at an orphanage. The day I was dropped off my orphanage care takers were sure I would die that night. But I am a fighter and I lived. At thirteen months old my Mom adopted me sight unseen. By then my ear problems were really sever. I had puss oozing out of my ear and I was extremely malnourished. But because we live in such a great nation I was able to receive the best medical care in the world. At 18 months my cleft pallet was fixed. But I still had a lot of ear infections. With every ear infection came hearing loss. I did not receive my first hearing aids until I was nine. The hearing aids helped me a lot but I still continued to have hearing problems. When I was sixteen years old the doctors began the process of closing the holes I had in my ear drum. This hole in my drum was caused by the constant ear infections. When the doctors went to close my ear drums they discovered a cholesteatoma tumor. This tumor was wrapped around three of my hearing bones. As a result, I lost those bones and quite a bit of hearing in one ear. The other ear also had a tumor but I did not lose my hearing bone just some more hearing. After trying different hearing aids, I still had trouble hearing. This was affecting my whole life, because I now had worse hearing than before. My current hearing aids did not work. Thankfully I was able to get a powerful Bone Anchored Hearing Aid. Although it works really well, I still have trouble hearing in different environments.
Because I had many ear infections as a baby and toddler by kindergarten I had a lot of hearing loss. My hearing loss affected my school to many different degrees. In kindergarten I had to sit right by the teacher because I could not hear her. Even sitting that close to the teacher I still had trouble hearing her. Many days I would come home crying because I was constantly being made fun of. I always felt different from the other kids. By junior high I had hearing aids because my hearing had gotten so bad I could not hearing a lot of what people would say. Many people would laugh at me when I would tell them that I could not hear what they were saying. When I would play on my schools basketball league I had trouble hearing my coach. I would mess up our plays and a majority of the time make it so our team lost. When I took Spanish class in high school I had a lot more trouble than I had before. I always struggled to hear every sound in the Spanish words. Whenever I said a Spanish word it was usually wrong. Spanish also confused me because I had no idea what I was saying or learning most of the time. I also did not fully understand spelling, vocabulary, grammar, or math until I was in twelfth grade. Although school I missed a lot of what people would say and would have to ask them to repeat what they said. I also struggled in my social life. I usually had trouble watching movies with friends because I could not hear the T.V unless it was way too loud for my friends. I also had trouble understanding conversations because I could not hear a lot of what was being said. Thankfully God helped me be able to survive school with my hearing problems.
In August of 2015 I got a job as a dental assistant. I thought this was a perfect job because the job offered to train me to be a dental assistant. It was very hard for me because I had trouble hearing the dentist with all the sounds of the instruments, music and other people talking around me. My bone anchored hearing aids would pick up the sounds around me rather than the dentist. I also could not lip read him because he had a mask on. I would constantly ask him to repeat things. On January 6, 2016 my boss the dentist I worked for called a staff meeting. My boss announced to the whole staff “Natalie will NOT be assisting me anymore because she is handicapped.” He tried to justify his statement and said he was okay with me being handicapped. He also proceeded to tell the whole staff that he did not want the rest of the staff to help me or ask me to help them. He told us that I would only be doing office work from now on.

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