Monday, October 28, 2013

Chance, Chance, are you there?

Chance has been in a choir performance at school all week.  The choir sang for a performance of three classic musicals that the school put on.  Students acted out scenes from these musicals and Chance and his fellow choir students sang and enhanced the performances of,"Phantom of the Opera," Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde," and "Wicked."

I knew Chance was in the show, I saw him and his brother perform on Monday night with the entire family.  It took us a while to find Chance that night as he was hidden from view behind some taller high school students.  We didn't have a camera that night, but consoled ourselves with the thought that we would bring the camera to one of the other performances as the boys sang several times through out the week.

I attended again solo on Saturday night and was ready and waiting on the front row to capture marvelous photos of both Chance and his brother to permanently record this moment of their junior high and high school years.  I found Chance's brother, he was kind of hidden in a corner, but by zooming the camera in and stretching, I managed to get some pictures of him.  Then I waited after the intermission when Chance would be on stage to capture him on film.  I looked as the choir stood to sing and could not see him.  Then I searched the stage when the choir sat down but could not find my boy for the life of me.  I began to doubt Chance.  Chance had brought a good friend to the performance and I could not find him in the audience either.  I started to wonder if Chance had missed the curtain call because he was with his friend and had not been where he was supposed to be.  Then my mind wandered to how Chance's grade would be affected by missing his concert.  Choir only has one way to have a term final, and that is to sing.  I could not see Chance singing and envisioned him failing choir because he  missed a curtain call and then could not get out on the stage to sing his term final in choir. In a desperate thought, I wondered if I could get Chance's brother's attention and begin a signing dialogue that would have gone something like this:

'Where is your brother?"

Chance's brother would glance around the stage, and not seeing his brother either, would shrug his shoulders at me as he started to wonder as I did if Chance would now fail his choir class.

I restrained myself from using such communications and did not cause a scene.

At the very end of the show, when the actors and actresses came out to bow, I SAW CHANCE.

He was wedged behind some highs school students in the bass section and could only be seen when everyone on stage started to move around and shift their positions. In a desperate attempt to capture him on film, I was able to get one picture to prove he was there.  One.  Then the ranks closed in again and Chance once more became invisible.

So, here is Chance in his term choir concert.

I love the fact that Chance has learned songs from these musicals and has fallen in love with a few of them.  At least I can hear him sing around the house, since I could not hear or see him in concert at the school.

For the term final concert, I am sending Chance with a stool.  That way I may be able to see him perform.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Chance doesn't believe he can't do it

They had a career day at school this past week.  In the morning the kids took tests, then in the afternoon, they got to talk to various people who were visiting the school talking about possible career options.
It was during this little career investigation that Chance came across a career that he was told he would not be able to do because he is deaf.

A marine came to one of Chance's classes and was telling the kids about being a marine. One of Chance's best friends from school raised his hand and asked if Chance would be able to join the marines with his implants.

The marine asked what kind of implants they were.  Chance's friend replied they helped Chance to hear. The marine then said that you could not be in the marines with poor hearing.

This did not set well with Chance.  I asked Chance if he had asked his friend to ask the question about the implants and he said no he didn't.

On the way home from school, Chance was telling me that, "these people don't know what they are talking about!  I can hear just fine!"

I think this may be the first time that Chance has been told that he can not do something because he is deaf. Obviously, Chance does not agree that this would hinder him in being a marine.

Most times if Chance was told that he could not do something because he was deaf, I would be right there with Chance telling him that he could do anything he wanted to do and he didn't need to worry about the opinion of others.

I understand though how being a marine and being deaf could be problematic. If Chance's implants come off in combat or for any other reason, he can not hear.  And sending in an interpreter with him into battle to sign for him all the commands that are issued is not really feasible.

Technology as it stands now for deaf and hard of hearing people would not do well in the marines where you are put in some of the most dangerous situations in the world.  When you can't hear or there is the possibility that your "ears" can fall off (or be blown off), this can cause problems for you and for the men and women who are serving with you.  Not because as a deaf person you are not capable. It is the nature of the communication between troops and the noise and chaos that ensues in some situations the marines are involved in.  You have to be able to communicate with your team.

So, for now with the present technology, I can see how being deaf in the marines would be a problem.  I don't rule out future technology and other possibilities though.  Chance does not feel he is held back at all by being deaf, so he'd be open to other possibilities.

Who knows, maybe in a few years, there will be a technology advancement that makes it possible for Chance to be a marine while being deaf.

I never rule out any possibilities with that kid.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Chance's implant goes SPLAT

I got a call from the school last week.  It was Chance's brother calling. He informed me that he, Chance and a teacher had just picked up the pieces of Chance's implant off of the gymnasium floor.

"Pieces?"  I asked.

"The hook part of the implant isn't there anymore and it is in pieces."

"How is Chance? Does he need me to bring his backup implant?"

"Chance, do you want mom to bring your back up implant?" My son called out to Chance who was standing nearby.

I heard Chance in the background say that he would be alright for the last two periods of the day.

"Chance just wanted you to know so that you could order another one right away." My son informed me.

Flash forward a few hours later.

Chance presents me with a baggie containing his implant.  In various pieces.

"WHAT HAPPENED?"  I asked since I could not fathom how the implant could have broken that way.

Chance then demonstrated what happened in P.E. class that day.  He and a friend were goofing off in the gym and Chance put his arm around his friends neck/shoulders.  His friend reached back behind his head to grab Chance and hit one of the implants with his arm, causing it to fly off and crash onto the gymnasium floor.  Where it kind of went splat.

Chance then went and got his brother in class so he could come help him recover the implant pieces.  When your brother is deaf and his hearing device splatters across the floor, it counts as a valid excuse to leave class.
Needless to say, that implant has retired and a new recruit is en route to our house through the mail as we speak.
Chance on his way back for his second implant surgery.
Who knew THAT could happen?(Chance 7 years ago)

Wow. Who knew THAT could happen?

This is why we have insurance on those babies.