An article by B R Chitwood - My Mission: Writing to Discover Me
“Can You Hear Me?”
Pre-dawn, rain storm, and fear gripped me like thousands of little fire ants crawling over my naked body, stinging as they hurriedly moved helter-skelter across my skin.
My forefingers rubbed irritated eyes as the darkness moved on the wall in front of me like angry waves lapping on a stormy coast, grotesque shapes of all sizes in staccato persistence…but it was those deep and growling whispers that tore at my sanity. What was this madness of movement and dulled sound?
For some unearthly reason, an aberrant thought came to my frenetic mind… a distorted and disoriented man with gaping mouth standing silently on a walking bridge screaming without sound. Was there madness occupying my mind and body in these dark hours?
My trembling body sought refuge under the bed covers. The ominous whispers were coming audibly low, rhythmic, but I could not make them out. I felt childish in my fear. Why not get up, turn a light on, and see if there was some logical reason for these melodic murmurings? Alone, I could admit to myself that I was too paralyzed with fright to move.
So, I cowed there beneath the covers, the unmuffled bass whispers still there, still melodic but also changing in different modulations.
Time was lost to me as I lay there in my fetus position on the edge of despair. The whispering had somehow merged into a harmonic blend, coming with the merciful daylight.
Tentatively I stretched my body full-length on the king-size bed and slowly pushed back the covers.
My wide eyes scanned the bedroom, saw nothing but the furniture and a splash of sunlight on the western wall. The whispers were now subdued into a musical sound, almost lovely to the ear.
What the hell was going on?
Was a radio on in the apartment?
I rose from the bed, padded to the closet, put on a robe, and walked into the living room. There was nothing out of place or different about any of the rooms in my bachelor pad. I stood looking out the window at the wondrous blue of the sky and chuckled.
The radio was not on, yet still I heard the whispering musical sounds. I was at a loss to explain it.
After a fast breakfast, I called my doctor, gave him a brief recap of my early AM experience, set a mid-day emergency appointment at 11:30 AM.
Soon after my long-time doctor ran auditory tests, he came into the examination room and stood stoically in front of me with a put-on capricious look. We were also friends and golf buddies, so I knew the man very well.
“Okay, Doc, the dramatic pose is good but are you going to let me in on it?”
“Just funning you, buddy. Sorry, but I had to confirm my suspicion. You, Frankie, my friend, have MES.”
Again, he just stood and smiled.
“Well, what the hell is MES, Doc? Must not be too serious, or, you’re a masochist, making me beg for answers.”
“MES is an acronym for ‘Musical Ear Syndrome’ – that’s what you have. It’s a rare medical anomaly. You have your very own music system built into your brain.”
“Well, is it a temporary thing? Is it something I have to live with?”
“We know of no treatment for Musical Ear Syndrome at this time. It’s a relatively new phenomenon that only a few people acquire. It’s akin to Tinnitus. I’m afraid it’s something you have to live with, good buddy.”
“It scared me, Doctor Ben, really, truly, scared the hell out of me. The sound started out loud and low like a threatening voice until it finally settled into a slow melodic monotone.”
“It’s likely music you’ve heard over the years playing back for you.”
“Can other people hear this MES music?”
“No, just you, Frankie. You’re one of the select few.”
“Well, ‘bully’ for that, but it’s going to be annoying, Doc.”
“Yes, I suppose it can be in the beginning. You’ll get accustomed to it. It should level off sooner than later. At some point you may need hearing aids, and they will help with the MES.”
“Hearing aids? Damn, I’m not that old, Doc. Hell, you’re the old man here, Ben. What? Three years older than I, you old coot.”
“I know, but hearing is not restricted to us old folks. Soon, you won’t even know the music is playing. And, hey, the song could be one of your favorites.”
“Very funny, Doc. You get no strokes on any of the next golf holes we play.”
“So, that’s the tune you’re going to play for me?”
“Still funny, Doc, but don’t give up your day job…a lot of comics are out of work.”