A Break From the Barn

On Thursday I’ll be giving the barns a good cleaning. I’ll muck out the goats’ stall, sweep cobwebs and scrub waterers. I’ll scrape chicken manure from a ledge under the big barn’s roost, and put down clean shavings. I’ll give the goats a good brushing and rub coconut oil into Candy’s dry ears. On Friday I’m having surgery and I won’t be allowed in the barns for a couple of weeks.

I’m getting a cochlear implant. I’ve been slowly going deaf for years (no one knows why.) I’ve worn hearing aids since my twenties, but as my hearing has worsened, they no longer help, and so it’s time. Hearing loss is an invisible disability. It’s stressful, exhausting and limiting. The CI offers hope that I’ll be able to once again engage in conversations around the dinner table, and hear simple exchanges like “credit or debit?” at the supermarket. But, it’s a long process. First, there’s the surgery, then a month of healing, then the CI is turned on, and there’s learning to hear again. I’m told that at first everyone will sound like Donald Duck (one of my least favorite cartoon characters – I’m dreading this) until my brain makes sense of the new inputs. There’s no telling how successful the CI will be – it’s not like a new pair of glasses, where the results are known and immediate. I’ll be doing auditory rehab for months. My surgeon and audiologist are optimistic that my hearing will improve dramatically. I sure hope so.

I’ll spare you the details on the surgery, but suffice it to say that one part of it entails drilling a hole through the skull to access the inner ear. I can’t risk dust and germs getting into that incision, so I won’t be allowed in the barn. Many of you have written to tell me that Little Pond Farm is your “happy place” and your “island of sanity.” It is for me, too. I’ll be watching the HenCam along with you.

It’s outpatient surgery and I’ll be home Friday night, but I’ll be on potent pain-killing drugs, so I’m not sure when I’ll be lucid enough to blog. But don’t worry, I should be fine. I’ve got homemade soup in the freezer, a husband at my side, and friends willing to close up the barns at dusk if he can’t. My oldest son knows how to do the laundry (well, I wouldn’t have him fold it, but it’ll get clean…) Any suggestions for movies to watch while I’m holed up? I like movies with happy endings.


  1. Love Actually and The Holiday are my go-to under-the-weather favorites. Best of luck!

  2. What an amazing adventure you will have! It’s stunning to think what good things we have that can assist us now. That first trip to the barn to hear your chickens and goats sing will be so wonderful! On Thursday, I will take a moment to send you postive thoughts for a speedy and perfect recovery.

  3. Oh dear Terry! I can’t believe that drilling a hole through the skull can be day surgery! So glad you have a good support system at home! Good movies? Well, I am definitely at “happy ending” person too. I loved Sleepless in Seattle and one with Meryl Streep I think was called Music of the Heart. Julie and Julia, another great Meryl Streep film but so recent you may have seen it not so long ago. If I think of any more I’ll let you know. Heartfelt best wishes for a speedy and successful recovery!

  4. I so enjoy your blog and hen/bunny/goat cam I’ve been lurking for awhile. But I’ve decided to de-lurk to wish you well and much luck with your surgery…..hope everything goes BETTER than expected.

  5. I too have had problems with my ears…when I was 12 I finally was able to get my new ear drums..they made them with some bone from my skull. I was 12 so I was very vain about my hair. When they said they were going to shave 2 inches around my ears I thought “not so bad..I have alot of hair to cover it” well! My dr laughed and laughed when I saw my head for the first time! He said if looks could kill he would have had a slow and agonizing death! My advise? Lots of rest! It’s amazing what these drs can do now! At the time my surgery was new and I was so young that they didn’t know if I was going to have to have it done again but so far so good! Best of luck to you and let us know how it goes!!!

  6. good luck & swift healing! just think—some of the first sounds you will hear once you’re back in the barn are the hens scolding you for leaving them ‘alone’ ;) some of my favorite recordings for down-time are t.v. series, such as ‘midsomer murders’ (18 seasons worth on netflix! an inexpensive way to watch maximum amount of movies, btw).

  7. What a blessing to be able to have this surgery, and the skilled doctors to perform it! I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers for an eventless recovery.
    Good movies: “The Blind Side”, “Under the Tuscan Sun”, “Definitely, Maybe”, “The Proposal”, and I agree with Erin- “The Holiday”.

  8. We’ll be thinking of you – wishing you a gentle recovery.

    You must be looking forward to hearing all the animal voices around Little Pond Farm.

    As for movies… a friend lent me The Devil Wears Prada when I was recovering from major surgery. I didn’t think I’d enjoy it but my tired body and fuzzy brain loved it! How about Julie and Julia, I remember enjoying that at the cinema or Slumdog Millionaire worth it for the ending alone.

    Do you like costume dramas? My recovery was greatly helped by the boxed set of ‘Wives and Daughters’ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0215364/ watched over a whole week of afternoons with my cats on the sofa.

    All our good wishes

  9. Best wishes to you for a speedy recovery, I’m sure all the animals will be rooting for you also!! Happy Holidays to you and yours.

  10. Best of luck and I will be sending all of my positive thoughts to you. My movie recommendation is “Julie and Julia” and I see others liked it as well.

  11. We’ll be thinking of you Terry, with best wishes for a gentle and good recovery. Maybe Steve should put in a TerryCam that can be streamed into the henhouse, goat/chicken barn and Candy’s hutch.

    My favorite “cure all” movie is “The King of Hearts” (1967) with Alan Bates…it is a hoot. And the best book for pure amusement while recovering from surgery (or any other trauma) is Aunts Up The Cross by Robin Dalton, a tale of Dalton’s eccentric Australian family in the 1930s. It is somewhat hard to find but absolutely worth the effort…maybe the Boston Public Library? I also agree with Jonquil about Midsommer Murders. I started with #1 from Netflix, a few years ago, and went through everything they had, until I discovered that the last few series (16 & 17) could be purchased from Acorn before NetFlix had them available. I found these particularly good for getting through blizzards, as long as the electricity holds! And did you know that “Fantasia” is now available at NetFlix?

  12. Hi Terry. Good luck with your surgery and recovery afterwards. Will be thinking of you.

    A few of my favourite films to pick me up are Babe, Guys and Dolls, Sabrina and The Bee Movie.

    Get well soon!

  13. Best of luck Terry! I’m sure you won’t need it; doctors work wonders these days. Still, we’ll be thinking of you!
    P.S. I’ve purchased a copy of your lowfat recipies cook book for my mother this year. Can’t wait to see it for myself (as opposed to online), and give it to her!

  14. Best wishes to you for a complete and rewarding recovery. You might enjoy,”It’s Complicated”, we thought it was quite funny.

  15. Dear Ms Terry, I’ll be praying for a most successful surgery and a speedy recovery. You may enjoy watching “Be Kind, Rewind” with Jack Black. So funny!

  16. Best wishes for a speedy recovery. What a marvel the body is! And science!
    Great movie ideas listed! I’ll add ‘Temple Grandin’ if you didn’t see it on HBO. It is at Netflix.

  17. One of my favorite movies is “Cannibal: the Musical”. Cheaply made, crass, gorey- but it does have a happy ending! And some catchy tunes.

    Hope you recover quickly! And in the meantime, we’ll be watching HenCam with you!

    P.S.- and I agree with Miranda, “Babe” is a brilliant movie…

  18. Like all of your followers I wish you a smooth transition that will bring you more joy than you have ever known. For your down time, how about a Fred & Ginger/Cyd Charisse/Leslie Caron festival. The Dancing in the Dark duet with Cyd Charisse never disappoints. Or Kate and Spencer Tracy. I also love old Bette Davis movies, but the endings aren’t always so happy. Best of luck.

  19. Thanks for all of your well wishes! And the movie suggestions. I’ve already added some to my netflix queue. I agree that Babe is a wonderful movie – one of the few movies based on a kid’s book that doesn’t ruin brilliant writing (Babe is right up there near Charlotte’s Web in the all-time greats get the animals right stories.) Also agree that Temple Grandin is worth watching – as is reading her books. I loved the Cranford series on PBS, so will look into those British costume dramas. Sometimes they don’t come with closed captions… some of the older Miss Marples, (which I love) aren’t close captioned, which makes them inaccessible to me.(Shout-out here to the ADA. Like many laws, not always enacted with common sense, but oh, how it improves the lives of those with hearing loss!)
    Keep those suggestions coming :)

  20. wishing you a speedy recovery and happy hearing again so that you can get back to the things you love best.

  21. “It’s Complicated” is a hoot! One of my fave feel-good movies is “Corinna Corinna”. I also wear hearing aids and still need closed captions. I’m praying for you Terry!

  22. Terry, my husband and I read about your book, “Tilly Lays an Egg” on Suzanne’s blog, borrowed it from the library and read it just today. What a beautiful book. We love it! Wonderful photos and details to go with the cute story. We plan to have chickens next spring, to go with our daughter’s sheep and our 4 beef cows (plus 9 pampered barn cats).
    I do hope your surgery goes well and your recovery is rapid. What an adventure! I too have hearing problems and can relate. Miss Marples is a favorite of ours too, and oh, how I wish they had closed captions!
    The English TV series “As Time Goes By” with Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer is a lot of fun. We found part of the series at our local library. Netflix might have it.
    Good luck! You will be in our prayers.

  23. Princess Diaries, I and II.
    American President (I love his little girl ;-)
    Beauty and the Beast
    How to Train your Dragon

    Refuah sh’lemah!

    I hope you don’t get any grief for the implant, and I hope it works. Are they doing both ears or just one?

  24. Faithful friends and family is the medicine of life whether they be human or animals. We are all wishing you a safe and speedy recovery with success. Comfy jammies, cozy bed, big soft pillow for your head. Worry not. The world can wait. Take your time. Recuperate. May be a few animated short cartoon with Donald Duck will get you use too the blessed new sounds of life for your near future. Good luck and we look forward to hearing from you on your adventures.

  25. Terry, I will be praying for a successful surgery for you on Friday and a healing that is complete and also successful. I have been a sucker for any Christmas movies and there are plenty to choose from. God bless you!

  26. Terry, hope all goes well. I have hearing loss as well so I understand the frustration. I never realized that a CI was something that can be used by someone who is not “deaf”.
    My go-to movies when I don’t feel well and need a pick me up are The Holiday, You got Mail and Nottinghill(romantic comedies) and Twister.

    • Martina, the best thing that you can do for yourself is to join HLAA (Hearing Loss Association of America.) http://www.hearingloss.org/ You’ll find windows to all sorts of information that your audiologist never bothers to mention. Also, support, and conferences that showcase the latest technology. I’m still hearing – but the loss bottoms out at 90dB and in the last year the clarity has gone downhill, so, although I can technically still hear, I’m a CI candidate for both ears.

  27. Blessings to you and your family as you travel down this path toward healing. We wish you a swift recovery from your surgery, and happy “stalking” of your hencam until you can resume your barn duties. Your feathered wee lovies will miss you, no doubt!

    As for movie recommendations, Brie and I highly recommend the following:

    A Little Princess (Alfonso Cuaron) — brilliantly directed and a powerful story
    The Black Stallion (Francis Ford Copolla) — visually stunning
    Elf — Will Ferrell at his best. Enough said.

    PS still working on bringing you to Westport, CT! Looking at the last week in April or first week of May. I’ll keep you posted. :)

    • Adore A Little Princess. Years ago, I forced my sons to watch it – at the time, they were adamantly uninterested in movies with titles that had “princess” in them :)

  28. Best of luck to you . . . As for movies . . .Elf & Ferris Beuhler’s Day Off. Step Brothers and The Hangover . . . if you like that kind of humor.

  29. Terry – will be sending you good juju for your surgery and a swift recovery. Be well…..

  30. Terry – Wishing you good luck with your surgery and hope you have a speedy recovery. One of my favorite movies is Funny Farm. Best wishes!

  31. I hope your surgery goes as well as mine last year when I got new eyes via cataract surgery. Modern medicine is so amazing. From the day they did the first eye no more glasses. Quite a change for me after more than 60 years. I’m not specially fond of movies. I’m trying to read my way through the mystery section of the Durham County Library! So my new eyes get quite an on-going workout!!
    I’m sure things will go well for you. Durham (NC) may be the ‘City of Medicine’ but Boston has some of the finest medical facilities in the world.
    I’m planning to make the Solstice Shortbreads this year. Wish I could send some to you and Steve. Happiest of holidays to all!

  32. Well I will be praying for you and your swift recovery. I know that you aren’t looking forward to the month of healing (I know that would be tough for any of us) but take that time to enjoy yourself and your family.
    The movies I would recommend have pretty much all been mentioned but I would recommend: Fireproof,Flywheel and Facing the giants.

    Be Blessed, Doug

  33. I will be lighting candles for you, Terry! I am a BIG candle lighter! Speedy recovery to you! We will ALL miss you and wait patiently for your return!!!

  34. Terry, I will pray all goes well for you and that God will guild the surgeons hands. Get Netflix the only way to go for recovery! Thants what I’m using now for my ankle surgery recovery. Take care and get lots of rest!!!!! Lori

  35. The Read Dirt on Farmer John
    An Education
    Life As A House
    Charlie Wilson’s War
    Bread and Tulips
    Michael Jackson This is it
    All very good and entertaining. Not too heavy either. Enjoy

  36. I now have a Netflix queue of 16 movies. That’s a lot for me – I have such a hard time picking movies. I’m surprised that no one mentioned my four favorite food movies: Mostly Martha, Big Night, Ratatouille, and Babette’s Feast. With luck, though, I’ll be on the couch feeling miserable for less than 2 weeks and I won’t get to all of the ones I’ve requested!

    • So glad you mentioned Big Night -not many people know it and it’s one of my favourites ( I have a big Stanley Tucci thing…)
      I love ‘My Favourite Year’ which always makes me laugh, and the latest Miss Marples, with Julia Mackenzie, are marvelous. The frocks! The cars! The furniture!
      Do you ever get ‘Jeeves and Wooster’ over there? Perfect.
      And two guilty pleasure films for me are ‘Overboard’ and ‘Stuck on You’ (even though I hate the Farelly brothers. Watch right to the end of the credits.)
      Of course there are all the Wallace and Gromit films (some good bunnies in ‘Curse of the Were Rabbit’)
      Good luck, not that you’ll need it. You’ll be home before you know it.

  37. Good luck on the surgery and recover quickly. Positive energies for you.

    • Children’s voices are the hardest to hear. As much as I’m sure you love your job, I’m sure you’re exhausted from the work of listening all day. Am very pleased that my animals are in the classroom with you!

  38. Terry,
    Everything that Wendy Scott & Family said plus think of the good sounds you hear on the farm in the spring and know that you will hear them better by Spring 2011! I always think of good thoughts when I am feeling a bit discouraged and it lifts me up! We all look forward to a speedy recovery for you and especially you being able to have good hearing again.

  39. Did anyone mention Chicken Run? But you must have seen that one!

    • Love Chicken Run, but when I mention it during school visits, it’s to ask the kids what is it about the chickens in the movie isn’t true to life. The answer- they have teeth! At least the animators knew they were adding an anatomical feature – they said it was a conscious decision in order to get more emotion from the faces. It allows me to talk about how birds don’t chew – they use gizzards. Kids love that fact.

  40. Dearest Terry, I have just now read this post as I’ve been so busy with the holiday hustle and children. My sweet Mother’s tips for you is keep your hair cut short, get a 15 minute battery charger and plenty of rechargeable batteries, and know that the strange sound you are hearing out the window is your ROOSTER crowing! She walked around my house for days asking me what this noise was and what that noise was…it was grand fun…we had many laughs. After about a year her voice changed, she sounded like a normal hearing person. No more deaf speech impediment. The sound of her own voice was surprising to her…she heard an echo for a few weeks but it went away. Also…she finds that plugging her cell phone directly into her processor works best. My most heart felt wishes go out to you and your lovely family…and now I’m totally regretting not coming to your book signing last month…because I would have loved to HUG you! I hope to see you soon…please keep up the blog posts when you feel well enough. I think you will find that a month of silence might find you blogging more than you would have thought! SENDING YOU MUCH love from New Hampshire. Your friend in Chickens and Soap! Brandy~

  41. My thoughts and prayers and a speedy recovery to you! I recommend any movie based on a Jane Austen novel.

  42. You will be in my thoughts and prayers! Good luck, and think of how glad your animals will be when you get to be with them again!