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RUSH: This is Alicia in Miami. Hi, Alicia. You’re next. It’s great to have you on Open Line Friday. Hi.

CALLER: Thank you for having me on your show.

RUSH: You bet.

CALLER: You know, the first time I heard your program, I think it was around March the 20-something in 2001. I was home. I just had arrived from Madrid. I married in Madrid with an American citizen and we decided to move to New York. You were talking about how you were losing your hearing, and you actually moved me to tears because I’m a journalist and I was thinking, “What is he gonna do? If he can’t hear, how is he gonna continue with his show?”

RUSH: I was doing the same thing.

CALLER: That’s the thing, you know, you continued to do the same thing day in and day out, and I really got addicted. When I went back to Spain I would try to listen to it through the Internet. And then fast forward to spring of 2009, I was a correspondent for a newspaper, I was doing translation, and I write, and I was having trouble with my carpal tunnel syndrome. So I have surgery. It went really bad, really wrong. It was medical negligence and I lost my fingers, all five fingers of my left hand.

RUSH: No. Wait, wait, wait, wait. You lost all five fingers on your left hand?


RUSH: And you are a writer?

CALLER: Yeah. Lucky for me they just cut the fingers, not the rest of the hand, because in the beginning they said it was going to be below the elbow. So I’m lucky, and I’m alive. But, you know, it’s a shock. What am I gonna do? I write. There are many people to credit for my recovery, and you’re one of them because you inspired me. You know, it’s like our veterans. They come back without two limbs, four limbs, and they keep going, and they keep doing what they do. And it was the same with you. So just so you know, I really look up to you, and I listen to your program every day. It was really good while I was doing rehab to keep listening to you, because you know that you can be an individual with strength and stamina to keep going and not be stopped because you lose your fingers.

RUSH: Oh, I can imagine. When I was losing my hearing, it was obviously scary, but it was also frustrating. It happened rapidly, but in stages. I lost it all in six months. It was about 10% a week at one point. And finally, one day I came in here, and I literally, I called New York, the engineer, to get started on setup for that day’s program, I couldn’t understand what he was saying. I heard him fine. It’s just my hearing had deteriorated that I could not make out the words. And that meant that day I was not gonna be able to understand a single thing anybody said to me on the phone.

So it hit me that the original diagnosis of me was wrong. They thought, “Ah, it’s just genetic. Your father was hard-of-hearing,” and they thought it would taper off and it’d be handled with hearing aids. But that didn’t work. I always knew — my point here, I always knew that there was not a solution, but a way to deal with it called a cochlear implant. But I didn’t know how well it would work. I didn’t know if it would work well enough for me to comprehend speech. But I knew there was something I could do, so I didn’t really panic.

But I’m sure in your case, same thing with me, I mean, you love to write, and so you just found a way to do it. It’s what you want to do. Okay, you lost your fingers on your left hand, in your case. You also were fortunate to find things that inspired you, and you found a way around it to keep doing what you love. And, you know, everybody needs inspiration. Everybody needs assistance now and then. So I’m really honored that I could have been a part of that for you. I know how important it is. I don’t even think about it now other than when I — like I just got a new one on my right side, then it becomes a focal point and I tell people about it. Now to me it’s just normal. How about you? What is your work-around?

CALLER: I’m doing pretty well. I keep translating. I don’t do a lot of gigs, journalism, ’cause I’m really a bit disappointed at the state of the profession. I’m doing a lot of copy writing, translating, and I’m doing well. I work at home with my dog and I enjoy South Florida, and —

RUSH: Do you use your right hand to write?

CALLER: No, no, no, both hands. The one without fingers, I trained myself. In the beginning I would use Dragon, the voice recognition software, which is very good. But it’s not the same when you write with your hands and when you write with your speech.

RUSH: Well, you know, that’s interesting —

CALLER: Completely different.

RUSH: Interesting you say that, because, you know, I want to send you, do you have — well, I’m gonna send it anyway. Do you have an iPad or an iPad Mini?

CALLER: No, I don’t.

RUSH: I want to send you an iPad Mini. You can dictate on it. What you’re calling voice recognition, you can dictate to it. An app that has a keyboard, e-mail, word processing, you can dictate. Now, in my case, I speak my thoughts much better than I write them because that’s what I’ve done my whole life. My brain can’t keep up with typing on a keyboard, but it can keep up with my mouth or my mouth can keep up with my brain. So when I write anything or a lot of things, I dictate it and then go back and clean it up later. Because if I write, I can’t type ’cause I get focused on making mistakes, correcting them and losing my train of thought and I get frustrated. I’ve learned that I can actually dictate my thoughts, speak them with more vocabulary and more creativity than if I just sit down and write. And not that it’ll ever be that way for you, but if you let me send you one of these iPad Mini’s, it’s got dictation on it, you can try it and it might come in handy at least in helping you express yourself in a written way, which is what you love to do, I gather.

CALLER: Thank you so much. You’re so nice. I have to tell you something else. I just bought your Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims, not for a kid, but for me. (laughing) And I’m enjoying it.

RUSH: You bought it for you? (laughing).

CALLER: Oh, yes. Yes. I’m a voracious reader, and I try to improve my English every day. And my learning of history of this country, I’m so glad and so grateful to be able to become an American, which will be very soon.

RUSH: Well, God bless you. Look, I’m flattered. I’m flattered that you called. If you will hang on, the people you talked to when you called will get your address, and make sure it’s an address that we can FedEx to. We don’t mail here for a bunch of reasons. And I’ll get it out to you. It might be a week before I can get to it, ’cause I don’t think I’ve got one here. I’ve got ’em at home, but I’ll do my best to get it as quickly as we can. In the meantime, I appreciate it, Alicia. Thank you so much.

I’ve gotta go, folks. Quick time-out because time constraints force me to. Back after this with much more.

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