For many years, I have heard how so many lives are changed during a Starkey Hearing Foundation mission. But, I was surprised that it was really my life that was changed from my mission experience to Matamoros, Mexico in April 2017.
My first patient was Carmen. She was 101 years old, very quiet and had 6 sons. She didn’t say much to me throughout the initial process of registration, otoscopy, and testing. She came with one of her sons and her daughter-in-law. They shared with me that every day one of her boys brought her the daily paper. They read it together and talked about what was going on in the world. He said that it was something he looked forward to. But lately, the family had noticed that Carmen was less engaged in the conversation and was misinterpreting what was said to her. He told me that he had resigned himself to the fact that, in the possible near future, his Mom may not be with him. But while she was still living, her family was not ok with her not being able to effectively communicate with them. They were not willing to let hearing loss rob them of precious moments with her.
Once Carmen was fit with her new aids, she became a different person! She began asking me questions about where I lived, about my son and telling me stories about what it was like to raise 6 boys in a two bedroom house. She lit up!
When traveling on a mission you may feel like you are a world away from what is familiar. But, a mission reminds you that no matter where you are, people want similar things. We want peace. We want to create a better life for our children. We want happiness and health for ourselves and our families. When Carmen was getting ready to leave, her son said to me, “There are many beautiful people in this world. But not everyone remembers that we are from one heart. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we lived our lives with that knowledge?”