Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, to the audiologist we go....

The audiologist that we all have grown very attached to has moved 2 and 1/2 hours away from our house. And we have decided to follow him. We still live here, we just see more of our state through road trips than before.

We needed to do a more intense appointment than we have the past few visits as we were coming up on tests that had not been done for a while and we wanted Chance to be all squared away for the new school year. Also, since returning to our audiologists will now take more time, we want to be extra thorough in our assessments:)

The results in the sound booth were very pleasing. The testing included sentence testing which had Chance repeat back a sentence he had heard from a recorded voice that was pumped into the sound booth. The sentences were things like,"Mother made cookies yesterday." After the sentence was spoken, Chance would repeat what he heard or thought he heard. He scored 91% with just the right implant on, 77% with just the left implant on, and 97% when both implants were on together. 97%! That is what we like to see! A year ago, Chance scored 71% with the right implant, 74% with the left and 85% together.

When Chance was tested with quiet speech where the volume was lower, he scored right ear 86%, left ear 67% and both 92%.

The word test which is just random words pumped into the booth with absolutely no context....duck, hotdog, window etc. Chance scored right ear 56%, left ear 50% and both ears 58%. Average scores on this test are 40 to 50%, so Chance did well.

Chance's mapping was changed quite a bit this time. Right after the mapping, we went to eat lunch and get ice cream. Chance was telling me that he did not like his implants being so loud. The audiologist said that this might happen. When the mapping is first adjusted as much as Chance's was, many adults will complain that they don't like it. It just takes some getting used to. There are 4 different programs on Chance's implants. Usually program 1 is the main program that he uses for most of the day. Program 2 is for noisy places, program 3 is a music program and program 4 is the old primary program. I noticed that Chance had turned his implants back to program 4 which was his old program. I made a deal with him that he just turn one of the implants to program 1 and the other to program 4 for a bit. By the time we got to the mini zoo after lunch, Chance had both implants on the new programs and he had done it by his own free will.

Program 2 is supposed to help in noisy environments in school so we'll see if Chance notices a difference. Program 3 which is for music is new to us and we are going to see if Chance likes it.

We are very pleased with Chance's progress with the implants and what he is able to hear. As usual, having the two implants makes a big difference in his hearing which we see any time only one implant is on.

Our newest decision is whether or not to buy Chance a personal FM system. This is a boot that snaps onto the end of his implant with a microphone being attached to a teachers lapel, or up on the stand at church etc. (Some children also use these in other various settings such as playing sports, in the car, or noisy settings.) Since these systems are mere pocket change of only $4,000.00 to $5,000.00, money is not an obstacle:) We have struggled in the past with this decision and are doing so again. I think Chance could really be helped by having such a system. It is one of those things that he will eventually need it is just a matter of when we buy it. His school provides a another sort of technology where there is a tower speaker in the room and the teacher has a microphone, but it is not the same as a personal FM System and it stays in the classroom so when Chance is in the library or in the gym at an assembly, he does not have access to it. A personal FM system has been very beneficial to people we have talked to who have them.

Another dilemma is that there are new upgrades coming out with the FM Systems with in the next year or so and we would like to take advantage of the new product. Our audiologist says that he really thinks that Chance would benefit from an FM System now though. Hmmmmmm, decisions decisions decisions.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Chance has been inspired

The Olympics may be over, but Chance has been influenced by watching the world's best athletes compete for a gold medal. Chance was highly impressed with Micheal Phelps the phenomenal US swimmer who won 8 gold medals and broke almost as many world records. Chance watched Michael race and was an enthusiastic cheerleader from his perch in front of the T.V.

Chance has decided that he wants to join the swim team. I think it is a fabulous idea and I know that Chance can do anything. My question is, will the swim coach feel the same way? I know that having a deaf child on the swim team may be slightly intimidating for the coach. Chance could wear his implants to hear instructions and then take them off for the swim putting the implants back on as soon as he reaches the side of the pool.

There would be something particularly gratifying to have a deaf child on the swim team, just to really show that deaf kids really can do anything any other child their age can do.

Swim team tryouts are not until next spring which would give Chance all winter to practice and get ready. I think he should give swim team a try. You don't know unless you try. We'll have to sit down and see if Chance wants to swim above all other available sports this winter. If he does, I say we go for it!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

With the purchase of an implant we'll throw in...

We did not realize an added feature contained with in Chance's implant until this past week. With the help of some sibling and neighbor children, Chance has realized that the implants endow him with special powers.
During a romp through a field near our home, Chance and the posse of kids with him discovered alien tracks. That's right, aliens in our own neck of the woods.

The footprint was quite large and the kids realized that this footprint could only belong to one person.....the alien king. These aliens are apparently not keen on us human beings and will eat us if given half a chance. HOWEVER, the aliens are afraid of the implants AND Chance is the only person who can communicate with the aliens because they send messages through the implants. If there are killer aliens on the loose, you definitely want to be the one with the implants.

I was awakened one morning by Chance and his sister who eagerly filled me in on the alien happenings as I had not been home the night before when they found the footprint. Chance explained in detail what the alien communications sounded like. His sister and the other neighbor kids were greatly relieved to realize that Chance could converse with the aliens and therefore they could know what they were up against, and it was apparently best to be by Chance as the aliens were afraid of the implants.

Who knew that we were getting such a nifty - not to mention practical - addition when we purchased the implants? I wonder if there are any other powers that will manifest themselves as time goes on. It is something to look forward to.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Chance faces the crowd.

Our church congregation has a tradition of once a year, spending a little over an hour, singing church hymns. Usually this hour is used for hymns, partaking of the sacrament and talks given by prechosen people that are members of the congregation. But once a year, in the place of talks, people in the congregation are invited to come up to the podium and choose a hymn to sing that has special meaning to them. There were some touching memories of hymns shared and the entire congregation got into the singing.

Chance and his brother decided at one point that they also had a hymn they would like to sing. They each had different hymns they wanted to sing so they came to me and asked if they could walk up and share the hymns they had chosen. Chance showed me the song he wanted to sing and so did his brother. I decided there was no reason that they should not share their favorite hynns, so they walked up to the front of the room.

This was quite a brave thing to do as we were a bit late and were seated at the very back. I was impressed that Chance felt confident to get up in front of 300-plus people and talk into the microphone unscripted.
Chance went first and stood up confidently at the micrphone and announced that he would like to sing, "I Am A Child of God," on page 301. As he sat down, he looked in a kind of wonder as the entire congregation opened their hymnals and began to sing the song he had suggested. It was touching to see Chance and his brother on the stand, confident enough to express themselves in front of such a big group of people. I was delighted that Chance was willing to get up and talk to so many people, full of confidence. And yes, Chance, You are a child of God, who has blessed you very much.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Just stand by the speaker if you can't hear...

Chance came up with a way to ensure that he does not miss any sounds while in the hearing booth.

Whenever Chance's hearing is tested in the sound proof booth, there is a little sticker or mark on the ceiling indicating where the chair should be placed when one is having their hearing tested. In front of the chair is the big glass window through which you can see the audiologist administering the test. On either side of the chair in the corners are speakers. If one should crouch up and move from under the mark on the ceiling, the audiologist will politely remind you to sit under the mark.

While Chance sits in the chair, different tones of sound are played through the speakers and Chance pushes a button, or throws a car into a bucket each time he hears a sound. Some sounds are very soft, and others are quite loud. Sometimes Chance is tested with both implants on, sometimes with one implant on and then with out any implant on at all.

While Chance was having his latest hearing test this last week, he realized at one point that there may be sounds coming out of the speakers that he was not fully hearing. He seemed to think there were sounds, but he was not sure. To solve this problem, Chance got out of the chair and went and stood with his ear plastered up against the speaker in the right corner. Obviously this is not the traditional way of testing someone's hearing, but Chance apparently decided to take matters into his own hands when he could not hear the sounds well. He gets an A for innovation for sure. I was glad to see that he would take the initiative and was proactive when he was not hearing well. But alas, he had to move back to his seat and test just as he has done every other time which meant that sometimes he would not fully hear the beeps or miss them all together.

The test went well though and Chance actually ended up hearing phenomenally well even if he could not put his ear up against the speaker to make sure he didn't miss anything.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Chance huddles!

Chance and his friends were dashing in and out of the house like usual today. They were in between adventures and just as the three of them passed through the living room in front of my chair, Chance put an arm around each of them and pulled them into a huddle. In excited whispers, he began explaining his thoughts on what their next move should be as his friends whispered back and nodded enthusiastically.

I could not hear what the boys were planning, but I was delighted to have witnessed Chance calling them all to a huddle and whispering as any boy would.

One of the incidents that motivated us to really pursue the implant, was watching a DVD that one of Chance's friend's parents had made of Chance and two of his friends. It was really cute and Chance loved watching himself and his friends running around telling jokes etc. Chance' s dad and I were realizing that while Chance was clearly enjoying his time with his friends, there were several times when Chance was left out of the proceedings because he could not hear what was going on. For instance, when the boys huddled in a circle and whispered to each other. Chance smiled and tried to follow what was going on, but it was clear he simply could not hear what his friends were saying. At one point, Chance's friends whispered to each other and then giggling madly, dashed off to another room. Chance was left watching them trying to figure out what was going on and where they had gone. After a few seconds, he got up and followed.

After the DVD, Chance and his brother laughed and talked about various parts of the"movie" . Chance's dad and I wanted to cry. It was as if we had been given a secret glimpse into Chance's life when he was away from home. We realized that Chance needed more hearing ability if he was going to go the oral route. Could he hear more than he was? We had to find out.

Now here we are 3 years later and Chance is the one calling the whispering huddles. We have caught him huddling in the backyard whispering plans to fight the enemy which happened to be his brother and his friends who were armed with foam swords. Chance can now take command of the huddles instead of enduring them and then trying to figure out what is going on after wards.

Let's hear it for the huddle!!!

Monday, August 04, 2008

And Chance is super-glued back together...

Chance had some kind of a mishap on his bike while out with our dog. His brother came home and told me that Chance had crashed on his bike and that I might want to come pick him up with the van.

When I got to the next cul-de-sac over where Chance was, he was on the ground next to his bike, our dog licking and comforting him.

I soon assessed that Chance was going to live, he would just have the discomfort of road rash wounds on his face below his eye, his elbow and both knees. The weird thing was, all of the wounds were on the right side of his body except for a puncture wound to his left knee. I think he crashed on his right side, but his left knee hit some screw or maybe the handlebar or pedal. Chance always wears a helmet when he rides, so his implants were unscathed and so was his head.

When I got Chance home, I laid him on the floor and began to ready the wounds for cleaning. Chance did not appreciate this process much, but his siblings were doting telling him they would help with his chores for the day and bringing him Froot Loops even though we only eat those on Sunday mornings.

As I wiped off his left knee, I saw that the wound wasn't long, but I could see the fat layers inside of it.

Luckily we have several nurses in the neighborhood so I called one over for a consultation. I had a morning packed with activities and didn't mind heading over to get stitches if it was needed, but I did not want to hang out at a doctors office to be told stitches were not warranted.

Chance lay back on a pillow while the nurse and I discussed and evaluated his knee. She said that the wound met the criteria for stitches though it would probably only take one or two. She pulled out her first aid kit and then.......we super glued Chance's knee back together.

Chance had been watching T.V. but heard us discussing the glue and pulled his head up from the pillow and said,"Super glue?!" He was both intrigued and concerned. I explained that the super glue would help his skin heal back together while it held the two parts in place.

My husband pointed out that we wanted to have a little chat with the kids now about how we don't just super glue ourselves together at will. Nor do we ever just play with super glue.

So, Chance has been put together again, and all is well once again.