Sunday, September 30, 2012

Back to 2 Ears Again!

We took the camera with us when Chance's 3rd implant was turned on just like we did with the first and second implants.

With the first two, we wanted to capture Chance's reaction to hearing with an implant for the first time.

We were not disappointed as Chance's facial expressions and audible response conveyed his surprise, delight and wonder at hearing through an implant for the first time.

We did not expect the extreme response with the third activation, that we got with the first two implants.   Chance had only been not hearing at all on the one side for a few weeks, although his hearing was greatly diminished by the failing implant.

We wondered if we would get much of a response at all when the 3rd implant was activated.  Chance delighted us with a wide eyed response of wonder when the implant was turned on.

The audiologist asked if his voice sounded metallic or like a woman's voice to Chance.  Then he noted that a child a few weeks ago commented that the audiologist's voice sounded like he had been sucking helium.
Chance said,"That's it!  That is what your voice sounds like!"

So here is Chance, responding to hearing from implant number three.......

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Two ears, three surgeries

Chance: A little nervous, a little excited
The surgery was a rousing success.  It took about 3 hours which we were not expecting because we figured that the drilling into the skull had already been done during the first implantation.  The surgeon explained that though that made sense, a second surgery actually ended up taking the same amount of time if not a little bit more due to scar tissue etc.

It was interesting to see how Chance's dad and I have evolved over the years with these surgeries.
This third surgery found us taking a walk about around the University of Utah Hospital grounds, where the surgery took place, after eating breakfast.  It was a beautiful day and we had given our cell phone number to the front desk right after Chance went into surgery and they told us they would call us when Chance was done with surgery or if they needed us for any reason.  After our walk about around the University, we sat out in the balcony section of the parents waiting area.  We were completely calm, we were excited for Chance to be getting a second implant that would give him what he needs and we sat reading and waiting until Chance was out of surgery and we were called back to join him.

During the first one, we were a little nervous and tended to stay close to the parents waiting room.  We would wonder aloud where we thought he was in the surgery process, was the implant seated yet?  Was he responding well?  There was a level of  nervous/excitement because we did not know what exactly to expect.  Was Chance going to respond well to being implanted?  How much better would he be able to hear?  How big would the wound be and how much of a difference were we going to see between hearing aids and implant hearing?

As the anesthetic kicked in, Chance said, slurring his speech:
"Take a picture of my aaarrrmmm...."
Then after all of that anticipation, we had to wait another 4 weeks to turn the implant on to find out what would happen.

The second surgery found us more familiar with the process, but it had been a long decision for me to make and I spent a lot of time studying and praying and calling other parents with bilateral kids and seeing if they really saw that much of a difference and if they thought it was worth it.

There was a special moment during that second surgery while walking through a little garden on the hospital grounds that I had a sweet confirmation that the second implant was the right decsion.  I had been wondering about how much the second implant would impact Chance's life and if it would make that much of a difference.  An incredible feeling of excitement went through me strong enough to make me stop and take notice.  I suddenly knew that this second implant would open a new world to Chance and I was excited for him and what lay ahead in his life.

That feeling of confirmation has been felt for 6 years now.  The second implant truly has given Chance advantages in hearing that we could not have anticipated when we were making the decision to implant both ears.  Now that we have had a period of time without that second implant, we have seen so many advantages that Chance gets by having two.  We lived with one implant for two weeks and we noticed a big difference.  I asked Chance if he noticed a difference and he said, 'Ya!" in a tone that added a, "Oh man have I ever!"

Recovery after surgery, waiting for the OK to go home.
I asked Chance if he was hearing everything that he needed to in school and he told me that he wasn't.  I reminded him that he needed to sit so that his working implant was facing the teacher and sit near the front.
When I dropped Chance off at school one day, I told him a few times when kids had said "hi" to him because he kept walking and hadn't noticed.

Chance has had more questions about what is going on in class while wearing only one implant and at home, we have had more questions about what is going on around him as well.
We love that second implant. It makes a big difference.
Thankfully, we only had to wait two weeks instead of four to get this one turned on. 

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Two really is better than one...

I have decided to pay attention to what the differences are in Chance's hearing now that one of the implants is not functioning at full capacity.

We don't know exactly what he is hearing out of that left ear, but we do know it is not functioning at full capacity.

Chance says he notices the loss particulary when he listens to his ipod.  He says the left ear is really quiet and isn't hearing much at all.  Listening to an i pod would be a prime opportunity to experience how well your ears are working.  I know we had a couple sets of headphones bouncing around the house for a while and in one set the left earbud was broken.  I picked up that pair to use a few times not realizing one side was broken.  It annoyed me to only have one side working.  Sure, I could hear fine out of the right side, but the music quality and sound was so much better when both earbuds contributed to the sound.  I didn't like to use them and ended up throwing them away.

Chance has started a new school which is quite intense and expects a lot out of the kids.  This is Chance's first year attending so he has to listen and pay attention to the rules and expectations.  He is having to put more effort into hearing what is going on in class and since the environment is new,  he can not rely on what he already knows.  All of teachers are new, the school building is new and all of the students are new to him.

Chance is doing well, though he has been experiencing some anxiety and I can tell that he is making great strides to try and understand and catch everything.  He came home one day and told me that he was only able to complete 3/4 of an assignment in one class and then he said,"I want to get a 4.0 and the teacher would not let me finish the assignment and turn it in later in the day!"

Chance also said that the quizes in class have been hard for him to understand in a few subjects, so we worked out with the special ed teacher that Chance can come in and take quizes in her office if he needs to.

At home, Chance is asking us "what" a lot more often.  He still catches a lot, but both the family and Chance have to claify more often.

I have noticed when we are talking about something that happened at school with his brother or when we are telling a story or recounting an event, Chance asks, "Who? " or  "Now what happened?"  I find I am repeating things much more often.  Just simple things like who is going to the movies or what needs to be done before we can leave the house.

Chance can still hear, and I know that many people have only one implant all of the time.  I have been able to see how having that second implant  adds to and enhances Chance's hearing.  Chance can be more relaxed as he listens with two implants, he doesn't have to work as hard to hear and he just naturally catches more.  Chance also is more bothered by background noise with just one implant.

Chance has been more tired, and I think it has to do with the fact that it is taking more of his brain capacity to hear now.  He fell asleep while doing homework one night which is very unChancelike.  It wasn't just a nodding off either, it was a zoned out dead to the world kind of sleep.