GAYE IS profoundly Deaf and, having trained at Griffith University, is a teacher of the Deaf at Caboolture State High School.
With the help of the Wesley Mission Brisbane National Auslan Interpreter Booking Service (NABS) support her medical history turned from one of misdiagnosis to the miracle birth of her daughter Hannah Maree – “wished for grace”.
Diagnosed with a deteriorating hearing loss at the age of six, doctors had previously told Gaye’s parents that she was just naughty or ignoring people.
By her teens she was completely Deaf.
“My parents wanted me to learn to sign and sent me to the Deaf school but medical experts advised them against it,” said Gaye. “Mum regrets not learning to sign.
She knows I need the signing to understand what is going on fully.”
A series of misdiagnoses, including a stomach haemorrhage that almost killed her, led to Gaye avoiding going to the doctor at all costs.
“I usually ended up being dragged there by my mother most often seriously ill and often ended up in hospital because of a misunderstanding on what medications to take, how much and how often.
“I never got the full story about my health, only bits and pieces, because Mum can’t sign and it was too difficult for her to use the language the doctors use.
“When I went on my own to the doctor it meant writing things on paper and most doctors have terrible handwriting.” Consequently NABS, a free service for Deaf people, was a welcome service.
“I have used interpreters since my uni days … I really like that NABS asks who I would like to be my interpreter for appointments.
“I have four preferred interpreters and NABS always tries their hardest to get one of my preferred interpreters.
“Family should be there to support you, but a professional interpreter allows me privacy; there are just some things you don’t want a family member to see.
“I have a better relationship with my GP and other specialists.
“I feel more confident about going to the doctor.
“Having support from NABS for interpreting means I can communicate with my GP and other specialists clearly.
It means I leave their rooms knowing what the problem is, and what medication I will have.”
Gaye’s daughter, an IVF baby, is a wonderful example of how NABS helped in a sensitive situation.
“NABS has been part of the journey from conception to her birth and no doubt will be there for her in the future too as she grows up as a child of a Deaf adult.
“I can’t thank NABS enough for the support they gave me through that process, the only thing they were not there for was her actual birth; the interpreter for that came from a different agency.
Hannah may not have made it into the world if NABS was not here.”
Photo : Proud mum Gaye with baby Hannah. Photo courtesy of Wesley Mission Brisbane