It doesn’t matter if you’re a communications major or not, you know who Doyle is. From his fanciful facial hair to his gaudy gold silk shirt, Doyle’s presence does not go unnoticed. His charisma is matched only by his talent as a wordsmith. Whether he is tickling your funny bone with his wit or challenging your mind with his profundity, Doyle uses language in a way that never ceases to captivate his audience. In the classroom, Doyle goes the extra mile for his students. Yes, his curriculum challenges us all, but the puppy-of-the-day and the occasional home-baked cookie ease the strain.
With all that being said, the point of this article is to relay some important news from Doyle to the NCU community: Doyle is going deaf.
If you think this is a joke, let me assure you that I could not be more serious. Earlier this week, Dr. Srader received a final diagnosis of Ménière’s disease. Doyle is already partly deaf in his left ear, but the disease could cause him to lose his hearing in both ears. In addition to the loss of hearing, the disease also causes sudden attacks of severe vertigo, sometimes so severe that patients are forced to retire and go on full disability. In its present state, Doyle’s case is mild, but the disease is both progressive and very unpredictable.
So, why is this news being brought to you via the Beacon Bolt? Well, Doyle wanted to break this news to the NCU community all at once, with no need for him to repeat the same complicated explanation over and over again. This news is difficult to accept, but as a community we are called to bear this burden together with the peace and grace that come from Christ.
Now, I’m sure you’re all wondering, “What does this diagnosis mean for Doyle and for NCU?” In our email correspondence, I asked Doyle how he’s handling the news and he told me that he is actually thankful. He said, “God’s been at work preparing me for this. [I’ve been] able to document things that were very clearly preparation for this.” In regards to how the disease will affect his professorship at NCU, Doyle directs us to the words of James 4:13-16.
As unfortunate as this situation is, we can learn from it. There are lessons to be learned about the sudden onset of chronic illness, and about how people with disabilities are often people who until recently were entirely able-bodied. “There’s a reason disability rights activists call people without disabilities the ‘temporarily abled.’” Keeping in mind that our earthly bodies will eventually wear out, we should all take solace in the words of Psalm 73:26.
Before I end this post, there are two more things that Doyle and I thought worthy of noting here. Firstly, we both found it (strangely?) amusing that Doyle gets to donate his brain to Harvard when he dies. The neurobiologists at Harvard are chiefly interested with his temporal lobes, but they want the rest of his brain as well, so they can trace the audial nerve pathway. Emotions aside, there’s a certain coolness factor there.
Secondly, the day before Doyle received his diagnosis, news broke about the discovery of a new Van Gogh painting. This is humorous because there is good reason to think that Van Gogh cut off his ear not as a crazy romantic gesture, but because he had Ménière’s disease.
Let us all keep Doyle in our Prayers.