Monday, February 25, 2008

Chance is student of the week

Chance being sick last week was kind of a bummer because apparently he was named student of the week. When I picked up Chance from school today, I asked Chance if everyone got to be student of the week. He said no. I thought that maybe it was a situation where each child got a turn at being student of the week.

When I got home, there was a message from Chance's principle who presented Chance with the certificate. He said that the reason Chance was nominated by his teacher is because he is an example to everyone in his class. He always gets his work done and he does it well. And he is a friend to everyone. They emphasized everyone. We are of course very proud of Chance.

Chance's teachers have told me since preschool that Chance is caring and friendly to everyone. When he was in preschool, there was a little girl who was in a wheelchair and required oxygen. His teacher told me that it was really touching because Chance would sit down on the floor with her so she had someone to play with since the other kids were running all around or going outside.

I had a flashback today of a book I read when we first found out that Chance was deaf. The book claimed to be unbiased about communication methodologies for deaf children. This is just what I wanted. I was trying to be informed about raising a deaf child. It was an awful book. It was quite biased, going so far as to say that deaf children who do not learn sign language as their primary mode of communication are more violent, are less caring and lack empathy for their peers. Well then, no pressure intended for parents. So, at times like today when Chance is honored for being a friend to everyone, I remember that book and would love to meet the author and let him see how wrong he was in his book.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Two implants really make a difference.

Today I took Chance to the doctor. He has not been feeling well, and his symptoms have morphed each day into something new.

While we were at the doctor's office, he asked "what?" much more often than usual and I had to repeat things that people had said to him.

There was a medical intern that came in to look at Chance first before the doctor came in and I must say this guy was great. It is not uncommon for people who first see Chance and have no experience with deafness to ask me questions instead of Chance. This man sat down and asked Chance how he was feeling and asked him about his symptoms. Even when I had to repeat some of the questions to Chance, the intern kept focused on Chance and asked him more questions. It is good for Chance when people give him the opportunity to converse, and I feel a certain affection for people who don't see his implants as a barrier and are not scared to interact with him.

When we got to the pharmacy to fill the prescription, I told Chance that we were going to go inside but he had not heard me. It was just Chance and me, and I was wondering why Chance did not seem to be hearing as well as he usually does.

"Chance. are both or your implants working?" I asked him before we got out of the van.

"No." Chance replied simply as he rooted through his pocket for a sucker.

"Which one is not working?" I asked him.

'This one. The batteries are dead." He said pointing to his left ear.

I KNEW IT! 99% of the time when Chance is not responding like he usually does, it is because one of the implants has gone dead. We do not have as much of an occasion to experience this anymore, because Chance is really diligent about changing the batteries when they go dead .
I think that since we were at the doctor's office and he has not been feeling well, he just didn't mention that one of the implants was dead today. Usually Chance will just change the batteries out when they die. He knows where all of our stashes of batteries are. Or he'll at least ask me for the ones in my purse.

There is such a difference though in what he can hear! That second implant just really adds to Chance's overall ability to hear well.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Why are they singing so fast?

Chance unfortunately has been sick the past few days. Chance doesn't get sick that often so when he is laying around the house, you know it is serious.

Sunday morning, I came out to sit with him and noticed that he didn't have his implants on. I asked him if he wanted his implants, he shook his head no.

He had turned on the T.V. though, so he was just sitting watching the screen. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir was singing and the camera flashed to various singers as they sang. Chance turned to me and asked, "Why are they singing so fast?"

I turned to look at the screen to see what he was talking about. It was interesting to think about just watching people sing instead of actually hearing it. I guess you pay more attention to little things like how fast people's mouths are moving. I told Chance that some songs are fast songs, and some songs are slow songs. He was satisfied with that and just continued to watch the choir sing.

Chance did not want his implants on for a big chunk of the day while he was sick. He would eventually put them on, but usually he puts the implants on fairly soon after waking up. He doesn't want to miss too much. He was running a fever, so I don't know if that had anything to do with it. After the fever reducing medicine had kicked in, Chance would put his implants on.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to choose to hear things. When you are sick is it just nicer to zone out and not be distracted by noises around you? You can just lay down and be with your own thoughts? Your own thoughts of "Ewwwww! I feel really icky? "

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Jumping implants

I go help in Chance's classroom once a week. Sometimes I test the kids on various things, but most of the time, they read to me. Each child has their own box full of books and they choose one to read to me. It really is quite fun.

We sit out in the hall on chairs right outside the classroom door. I have been sitting on those chairs outside the classroom since school started in September with no incident. Well today, as Chance was reading to me, the magnet part of his implant suddenly jumped onto the metal door frame. I turned to look at Chance and noticed that his implant was stretching and clinging to the door frame. Chance was reading along and swatting at it like you would a fly. I told him that it was sticking to the door and he was quite amused by that. We both laughed, detached the magnet from the door frame, and then went on reading.

A few seconds later, the magnet again jumped onto the door frame. Chance said "What the...." then stopped and detached the magnet again. We decided to switch places and see if that would help. It did the trick. Chance's implant no longer tried to bond with the door frame.
I had heard that the magnets on the implants could jump onto metal door frames etc. but I had never actually seen it happen.

What I find most amusing though, is that I have sat with Chance out in the hall for months now and nothing like this has happened. I don't know if the chair Chance was in was situated just right for the magnetic pull to be stronger than usual or what. It was kind of funny though.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The foam thingies

Chance found some foam thingies (I don't know how else to describe them) attached to a string and put them in his ears. At first, I thought that he had his brother's ipod but then I realized that:
One, it didn't look like his brother's headphones, and
Two, the cord lead behind his head and down his back. Unless the ipod was attached to Chance's back side somewhere, it just didn't make sense.

I had been having a conversation with Chance for several minutes before I began to question what he had attached into his ears. I wondered how he could still hear me with foam thingies in his ears. Then it dawned on me that this was my deaf son. The microphone for his implants hangs over his ears. He could put a banana inside of his ear and it really wouldn't affect his hearing.

I asked Chance where he got the foam thingies and he said that he had found them. I then told him that we should not put things inside of our ears.

Chance wanted to know why. So I started to explain how we don't put things inside of our ears because the parts that make our ears work are not that far into the ear canal and we can damage them.

This was when Chance's dad began to snicker.

"I know, I know," he said still laughing, "he can still damage his eardrum or affect his balance. It's just kind of funny explaining how he will ruin his ears when he is deaf."

The moral of this story is that even if you are deaf, you still get the lecture by your parents about not sticking things inside your ear or you'll ruin them. Some things just come with the territory of being a child.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Having a deaf child keeps life interesting...

Chance has a friend that he knew from school come over to play. His friend is also deaf and has a cochlear implant that he received last year.

His friend had been at our house for just a few minutes when the batteries went dead in his cochlear implant. One might think that we could just put some of Chance's batteries into his friend's implant. Alas, this is not the case. The boys have different brands of implants. His friend's implant only takes rechargable batteries. Different from both Chanc'es usual battery pack, that requires 3 disposable batteries, and from the rechargable battery pack that works with his brand of implant :)

We don't use Chance's rechargable batteries as often as we could because we like to stash batteries everywhere we might possibly go so that we never run out of batteries and can replace them immidately. We have batteries stashed at both grandparents houses. When Chance goes to movies we stash them in his coat pocket. His school backpack has batteries shoved into the front pocket. They are in the glove compartment of the car, and in my purse. We have had too many times when the batteries went dead and we have not been able to replace them in a timely fashion. So now we just attach batteries to ourselves.

Thankfully, Chance's batteries actually last through a few days so we don't have to worry about changing them daily.

Since Chance's friend was from school, and Chance attends school two cities away, we could not just run over and get some batteries from his friend's house.

So, we had a child who could not hear us at all dashing around with Chance. We explained to Chance that he needed to make sure that his friend was looking right at him when he talked to him and that his friend would not be able to hear him.

Of course, Chance is familiar with the feeling of having no hearing without implants, so he caught on and they were good to go. We used a little sign language or made sure that he was looking right at us (these kids get good at lip reading) when we talked to him.

We had to chuckle though as we had to remind ourselves that his friend could not hear us. He would come up and talk to us and we would answer while doing dishes etc. and then turn to find him looking at us, his head cocked and his brows furrowed.

The boys had a great time though. Not being able to hear can not override the bond of friendship.:)