Monday, December 29, 2014

Another implant in the family

It is the eve of another cochlear implant surgery for our family.  Tomorrow we will be heading to a hospital an hours drive away to have an implant added to the family.  Sure, Chance's brother will have the most intimate relationship with the implant out of all of us as it will belong to him, but I can not even write in words how excited Chance is that this surgery is taking place.

We have been waiting.  Waiting for a month to see if our insurance company would cover this implant surgery process.  The surgery has been scheduled for a few months now for if the loss continued to drop, but we only got an OK from the insurance company on December 23rd.  We were supposed to know by December 3rd, but due to some sort of end of year back log, we didn't know for sure if things would be covered until less than a week before the surgery.  We had the implant ordered...the brown one which was the best hair match, though I foresee many fantastic covers being utilized through the years as well.

When we did eventually hear from the insurance company, Chance's brother, who was sitting on the floor, just sat pondering what it all meant.  We had been unsure what to prep him for.  He could or could not be going in for surgery in less than a week, and we didn't know which way to prepare him for, so we had just been waiting.  At the news that the surgery would be covered by insurance, Chance jumped up out of his chair in the kitchen and shouted,"IT'S ANOTHER MIRACLE!"  Then he picked up his brother and swung him around saying, 'YOU ARE GETTING AN IMPLANT!"

It really is a a blessing that this implant was approved.  Our insurance company is one of the strictest ones when it comes to covering implants and we weren't sure if they would cover it.  We have been praying with family and friends that our little son would get what he needs, and he needs an implant.  That left ear of his, is the worst of the two ears and he is always turning his head so that his right ear is facing whoever is talking to him even when he has hearing aids in. Where he once used to be able to hear me when he crawled under my bed covers in the morning, he now can not hear me and I have to put my mouth right up to his ear for him to get anything I am saying on his better side,  And there is still no guarantee that he will hear me.

Chance is a little bit jealous since his brother will be getting the newest implant AND will be getting some pretty awesome accessories to go with it.  We went with another Cochlear brand implant and Chance thinks some of the accessories we chose are awesome.  Chance now has a new wish list of implant accessories that he would like for himself after looking the list over.

We have been preparing our young son for the past few days for what will happen tomorrow.  He has asked questions about how big the scar will be and if he will be able to hear right at first.  Luckily, we have Chance around who has been a living specimen for his brother to look at.  Chance has shown his brother his scars,  and we have stuck paper clips to Chance's magnets to show how great the magnets in Chance's head are.  We also walked through what will happen at the hospital tomorrow like we did with Chance.  The family did a little skit about what will happen tomorrow and we each took parts.  I was the narrator and the kids all took the parts they wanted to act out.  Chance was the surgeon. Our oldest son was the anesthesiologist, one sister was the admitting nurse, and his other sister was the nurse that took patients back to the operating room.  We looked at diagrams on the computer of the implant inside a cochlea,  and the big "bubble" of gauze that will be around the ear after surgery.  It is this bubble that prompts us to use button down p.j.s for these operations.

We have also shaved the sides of his head as the hospital will shave his left side, and having the hair start out at the same length on both sides helps both sides grow together after the surgery, avoiding awkward hair moments later.  We have done this before can you tell:)

Chance has asked to come to the hospital with us to support his little brother, so all 4 of us will head off tomorrow morning to be a part of the implant process.

We let Chance's brother choose a fun place to go as a family on Saturday before the surgery.  He chose a place with giant trampolines and foam pits.  He had a great time swinging out over big pits and dropping into the soft cubes of  blue foam.

We are hopping that any hearing that is left in his ear will be salvaged, and are told that there is about a 50% chance it will be saved.  We are praying that any hearing be left intact, that the surgery goes well and that our little son responds well to the anesthetic and recovers quickly.  I will be updating the blog with details of the process as we go along.

Chance told his brother tonight as he was heading off to bed, "Implants are so much better than hearing aids."


P.S. I realized that by the time this posted, the date would read December 29th instead of December 28th. The surgery is on December 29th.







Monday, December 22, 2014

A conversation between my two hearing impaired kids

Our family headed up into the mountains a few weeks ago to find and chop down our Christmas tree.

We took an ax, hot chocolate, some snacks, a sled, and warm clothes.  It turned out that the day was quite mild and a beautiful day to search out a Christmas tree.

As we set off on our journey, we were in the truck.  The truck is a bit of a tight fit for the family, but we figured that it might be the best way to haul a tree down the mountain. I heard a conversation transpiring between my two sons, one with hearing aids, and one with cochlear implants:

Chance had his legs spread out, taking up a bit more than his share of space in the backseat.  That made it so that his brother did not have enough room so he asked Chance to clap his legs together. As in clap them together so there was more room.

Chance thought he was talking about clapping the window shut, and said, "Would you rather have the window open now for 10 minutes or when we are up the canyon?"

Since the conversation wasn't making much sense to me, I thought I would make sure that my two hearing impaired children were actually understanding each other.

I asked Chance if he even knew what his brother was talking about.  Chance was sitting by an open window at the time,

Chance said, "He wants me to close the window."

I then told him that his brother had asked him to close his legs so that there was more space to sit in the backseat.

Chance laughed and said that he had no idea that was what his brother had said.

My roles are many.  Mother, wife, friend, student, Christmas tree finder and sometimes, an interpreter for my children with hearing loss.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Can you cheat in a hearing booth?

I took Chance's brother to another hearing appointment today.  In case any of you are keeping track, he has been in the sound booth 497,000 times.  OK, that may be an exaggeration, but he is in the sound booth A LOT.

Today, he made me laugh at the same time my heart was hurting for him as his hearing fell again.

His left ear has the most loss, and as we sat in the booth together, Chance's brother was not getting several of the sentences he was supposed to repeat back to the audiologist.  Many times, he would just look at me and shrug because he did not know what was being said with out his hearing aid on.

Then, he asked me this question," Can you hear everything they are saying?"

The fact is, I could hear every single word they were saying, but I didn't want to make my little son feel bad that he couldn't.  So I paused for a moment, trying to think of what to say, and then I just told him the truth.

"Yes, I can hear what they are saying."

With the adorable little grin that he gets sometimes, he asked me sweetly,' Can you tell Me what they are saying?"

He looked so cute sitting there in his chair asking me if I could tell him what was being said, however in an audiological booth during a hearing test, that would be cheating, so I had to say no.

You have to give the kid credit for trying to work around the problem of not being able to hear what is being said to him though.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

We need another stash of batteries

Many moons ago, when Chance wore hearing aids, we had hearing aid batteries stashed in the glove compartment of the car, in my purse, at his preschool and at each set of grandparents house.  (We followed this same practice with his cochlear implants before he used rechargeable batteries)  Chance was really young so he was not a good source to tell us when his battery was dying so we just tried to be prepared everywhere we went.

We have apparently lost our edge. Today, in the middle of the afternoon, Chance's brother told us that his hearing aid batteries were dying.  Both of them, at the same time.  And five minutes later, both hearing aids turned off.  Chance's brother's hearing is such now that he cannot hear much without those hearing aids.   This was when we discovered that WE HAD NO HEARING AID BATTERIES ON HAND.  We were not prepared and our son begged us to go to the store and get some more batteries.  Quite the change from only a month ago huh, when he didn't even want to wear the aids at all.

Today is Sunday and we try not to shop on Sundays.  It is our day to go to church and spend as a family. But we could not have our son not hear for half a day, so I ran to the store and got him some batteries.

Today he  was begging for us to get some batteries; a month ago, he would have seen this as an opportunity to take the hearing aids off, but now, he realizes how much better he hears with them.

It is time to prepare ourselves again and stash hearing aid batteries in the car, in my purse and maybe at the grandparents houses.  There is something a little pathetic about a child with hearing loss having to beg for hearing aid batteries.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Crispy fall leaves just waiting to be walked through
This is a look at what is going on in our neck of the woods.  It is fall, and as we get ready for Thanksgiving, crisp leaves blanket the ground and the weather is turning colder.

I love the huge hay rolls that appear in the fall
It is also time for the cub scout derby! The derby is a highly anticipated event where cub scouts build their own cars out of a kit and then race them against each other.  Chance's brother had a marvelous time building his car with his dad.  Last year he won 3rd place, but this year he just had LOTS AND LOTS of fun racing the other boys.

The boy in the picture is not Chance's brother, just a cub scout ready to race.
The only problem we had with the derby had to do with hearing the time to turn in the cars for a weigh in.  Chance's brother was bound and determined that at church when they announced what time the cars had to be turned in, that they had said 2:00 in the afternoon.  I received an email telling us that the cars had to be in at 5:30, but my son had heard 2:00 and he could not be talked out of that time.

This is one of those interesting things that happens when you have deaf and hard of hearing children.  They sometimes don't hear things quite right, but they think that it is YOU who have heard it wrong.  It is quite comical sometimes.  We finally talked our son into believing us that the weigh in was at 5:30 but it took several days and a conversation about how at 2:00, both the boys and their dads would still be at school and work.

We have another hearing test today to see if Chance's brother has lost more hearing.  Each time we have had a test in the past several months, at least one ear has lost more hearing.  We are now looking at cochlear implants.

Wish us luck in the hearing booth!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Chance moves to Tonga and joins the United Nations


So, we went bowling again this week as a family.  This must be some kind of a record.  We had another birthday in the family and I would just like to say that, I BEAT CHANCE!

Chance participated in a re-creation of a United Nations Meeting this past week at a local university. High school kids from about 16 high schools in the area were bused in to re-create a United Nations Conference. Chance was the UNICEF (The United Nations Children's Fund), representative from the country of Tonga.   Chance and his fellow high school students had a debate on the resolutions that should be passed for children involved in and affected by armed conflict in the world.  The second debate was about children in poverty across the world.   Chance really enjoyed the experience and wants to participate again next year.

I am delighted that Chance got to participate in this program.  He is now a little more interested in taking debate classes as well.

All I can say is that if Chance is a representative from the nation of Tonga, I think I need to pay him a visit:)


Update:  Chance's brother has a big hearing test tomorrow.  By big, I mean it is his first one in 3 weeks, and each time we have gone in these past few months,  his hearing has fallen a little more. Tomorrow we will do at least a few hours of testing and see how things are progressing.  In the meantime, our boy has taken to Harry Potter and when he got a scrape across his forehead, he was delighted to see that it looked awfully similar to Harry's scare and is even in the right spot.  This made dressing up for the masquerade ball that his children's choir performed in, even more delightful for him.  You usually just can't plan scrapes like that.

After our marathon testing session, we will head over for an ice cream cone at the creamery up the street from the sound booth.  I think we may even get double scoops.  Sitting for several hours in a sound booth testing your hearing deserves a double scoop of ice cream.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

How Chance celebrates Halloween



This is Chance planning and carving his Halloween pumpkin.  We have a pumpkin patch up the hill by our house and so the kids all got to pick their own pumpkins.  Naturally, everyone chose the biggest ones they could find.

Morph Suit + High Heels = Chance?
Chance has been enjoying this Halloween season.  He went to a Halloween party dressed in his morph suit, and then at some point during the party, he decided to wear the high heeled shoes of one of his friends.  He asked me how girls could wear high heels because they are really hard to walk in.  I hope those shoes are OK for his friend to wear again.... Chance's feet are not small and dainty by any stretch of the imagination.

At school and for trick or treating, Chance dressed up as Sanka from the movie Cool Runnings.  So did his brother.  Chance now says that he wants dreadlocks, but apparently he got voted "best hair" a few weeks ago at school with what he's already got so he may want to reconsider.

Chance went trick or treating with his cousin and texted me with the message that they had gathered 11 POUNDS OF CANDY!  I am going to have to bury some of it in the backyard so that Chance doesn't get sick.


Monday, October 20, 2014

The ultimate game of bowling

My phone camera blurs during action shots, but this is Chance making his move.
Chance is quite the bowler.  Our family doesn't actually go bowling all that often. but between our family trips and the few times Chance has gone bowling with friends, it has been enough to give him a knack for the game.

To celebrate Chance's younger brother's birthday, we set out for bowling as a family this past week and Chance beat us all. I like to think that I gave him a bit of competition, but he did beat me by 12 points. I am not a superb bowler but I was having a good day:)

I wonder if you can get college scholarships for bowling?  What about a soccer bowling mix?  We may need to let Chance go bowling more often.  If having long legs helps you to bowl better, Chance has that one covered.




Sunday, October 05, 2014

When deaf and hard of hearing kids think they can hear you

Now that I have another child with hearing loss, I am noticing a trend.  They think they can hear you when their devices aren't on.  But I'm here to tell you that they can't.  Chance used to tell us, without his hearing aids on, that he could hear us.  It was actually pretty hilarious sometimes.  Like the time he was climbing up onto the cupboard to get something down.  It was bedtime so his hearing aids were not on. I was trying to tell him that I was saving whatever he was trying to get down, but he couldn't hear me so I suggested that he put his hearing aids back on.

"I can hear you mom!" He shouted, that's not a clue at all that he is not hearing well:)  He wasn't shouting at me because he was mad, he was shouting everything he said.

So, I turned my back to him so he couldn't see my lips.  He did not like that one bit!

"Mom!  Turn around so I can hear you!!"  Uh huh. So I can read your lips is what he was really saying.

Chance has pretty much come to the conclusion after all of this time that he is deaf, although every once in a while he will tell us he can hear us when we all know for sure that he can not.

My other son who is losing his hearing does the same thing sometimes.  You can kind of see him being confused, due to the fact that his hearing is not stable.  It came up in some middle pitches, and fell quite a bit in his right ear.  Just today, his brother asked him which ear was easier to hear out of and he shrugged his shoulders. He is in the moderate to severe hearing loss range though, so when he doesn't have a hearing aid on and he is a room away from me, telling me he hears me, I don't buy it. This is not my first time around the block with hearing loss:) He may be looking at me, but he doesn't yet have the lip reading skills of Chance.  He hasn't had the need to learn how to lip read thus far.  Chance is a master.

In honor of deaf and hard of hearing kids in our family, who claim to hear when they really don't, I give you Chance during the early years.

Chance at a hike to a waterfall when he was 5 years old.

The walk back from the waterfall.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Enlisting Chance

Chance's brother does not like wearing a hearing aid.  The situation just keeps getting better as it was discovered this week that not only does he need an aid in his left ear, but his right ear needs an aid now too.

This past week, I enlisted Chance to talk to his brother about the benefits of wearing your hearing aid/implant. The boys were sitting on bar stools at our kitchen island and the conversation went something like this:

Chance: "You need to wear your hearing aid because you need to hear."

His brother: "I can already hear."

Chance: "But you need to hear more."

His brother:" I don't like wearing it."

Chance:" Trust me, it is better to hear.  Do you see that I have my implants on everyday? That is so I can hear what is going on.  Trust me, you want to hear what is going on."

Chance's brother:" Ya, but you have implants not hearing aids!"

Chance:"I used to have hearing aids when I was younger. And I would wear them!"

Chance's brother is not fully convinced that he needs to wear his one hearing aid all the time, I don't know that he will be thrilled with wearing two.

On a funny note:  After his brother's last hearing test, I pulled Chance aside and told that his brother had lost more hearing and that if his hearing continued to fall, he would need an implant.

Chance went pale for a minute and sputtered out,"What?"

I said,'Your brother is losing more hearing and will need your support.  If he continues to lose hearing, he will need an implant.

Chance sighed with relief. "Oh, I thought you were saying that he would need one of my implants!"

What could be better than sharing one of your implants with a brother?  (Of course, with the price of implants, maybe that's not such a bad idea :> )

I think it is safe to say that Chance has built a relationship with both of his implants and does not want to part with either one of them:)
Chance holds a butterfly that his brother caught 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Below is part of the email that Chance's Chinese teacher sent me along with a video of Chance and another student talking in Chinese to each other.  I would show the video, but it takes place in the hall of the school and there is noise in the background.  Chance's dad and I were pretty excited to watch our boy talking in Chinese.  I would at least tell you what Chance said in the video, but.....I don't know any Chinese;)

Here is what his teacher had to say:


"On the last test, he and another student's video dialogue got chosen as the best of the class! Specifically, because his pronunciation, comprehension (unscripted!!!) and body language all showed he really knew what was going on."


Ya Chance! You go! 


The teacher also asked if there was anything she needed to know about the implants as she didn't have any experience working with students who have implants.  I love teachers like this.  She makes sure that Chance sits front and center in the classroom which he probably needs to focus on the sounds and have the least amount of distractions as he distinguishes between the subtle sound changes in the Chinese language.  



I would like to update the status of Chance's younger brother who is losing hearing.  He is on some medication right now to see if we can stop his hearing from falling any further.  We have a hearing test on Wednesday to help us see if the medication is working. 


Meanwhile, this boy does NOT like to wear his hearing aid.  He only has one right now, but that one is being underutilized.  I will ask him,"Do you have your hearing aid in?"  Or 'Are you wearing your hearing aid?"  He is pretty tricky and will remove his hearing aid during the course of the day.  Some of the responses I have received are:


"No, I am making macaroni and cheese."  Naturally, one can not wear a hearing aid while doing this.


"I am going outside and it might rain."  This could be used as an excuse every time it is cloudy.


"No,I am going to jump on the tramp."  This might be a valid excuse if the hearing aid fell out while he was on the trampoline, but I don't think he has ever tried jumping with the hearing aid in his ear to know.


This past week, right in the middle of choir practice, he decided to take his hearing aid out.  After all, who needs to hear while they learn to sing;)  There was a malfunction though, and before he could get it into his pocket, the thing started to squeal like hearing aids do when you take them out and they are still turned on.  I could see the panic on his face as kids started to turn and look to see where the noise was coming from and he was having a hard time opening the battery pack that turns the hearing aid off.   I ended up going up to help him.  I didn't make him put it back in right then, though I did suggest that he do so. His face was flush with embarrassment and I didn't want to draw any more attention to him and his hearing aid.  I took the aid and put it in my purse for the rest of the practice and then we talked after wards about the importance of being able to hear as best we can during choir practice.  He is really excited to be in choir so hopefully he won't try to ditch his hearing aid again while learning the songs.  Meanwhile, I am working to come up with incentives to help him keep his hearing aid in all day long.  Apparently being able to hear better, is not incentive enough right now:)




This is Chance bonding with a cow at the state fair. I think the cow likes him.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The World of Hearing Underwater

*NOTICE*
CHANCE PAXTON SPEAKING


I always wondered what it was like to hear underwater. Now I know because of the new waterproof cases that I have received. It is a miraculous sound beyond what I had imagined. Sometimes in movies they will have a sound affect when someone or something is underwater and it was kind of like that except better! I could hear myself swimming! It was AMAZING!!!!! I can hear my friends when they are talking to me when we go free swimming! It is awesome and exciting!!!!!!

I think that Chance likes the water proof Aqua+ covers we bought from Cochlear at the beginning of the summer:)


Chance standing in a natural spring area in the mountains near our house.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Chance talks about learning Chinese

Hello, this is Chance here.

My mom is having me explain what it is like to take Chinese for my language in school. I got into Chinese thinking, this is probably going to be a boring class because you have to learn how to pronounce the different tones and pronunciation but I have a couple of friends in there and it turns out that it is better than I thought it was going to be. It is actually a bit fun learning the new language, there are a few benefits of learning a language that many people aren't taking, one is you can talk in a different class and the teacher will have no idea what you are saying. 

Two is that you can have a private conversation with your friend and everyone else will have no idea what you are saying (girls...). Chinese can be a very hard language to take but it is better than you think it is going to be. It's awesome being able to pronounce and read words in a different language. 

This is Chance's mom here.  Chance came up to me yesterday and started telling me the different sounds that he has learned in his Chinese class so far.  He likes the class and has several friends in there that could prove to be good for study groups when they need to study for tests.  Chinese is not a subject that Chance's dad and I are going to be able to help him with.   Hopefully, having great friends in his class will not distract Chance from utilizing his listening skills to the highest degree:)

Chance and his brother

Monday, August 25, 2014

Chance takes the challenge and sleeps on

Many of you may be aware of the ALS challenge that is playing out across social media like Facebook. (  Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, is a disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement. ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.) The idea is to raise awareness for this debilitating disease that has no cure and I would guess very little understanding.   Chance was challenged and taking the challenge, had a HUGE bucket of ice water dumped on his head this morning.  When you accept the challenge, you challenge at least 3 other people that you know to do the same thing.

Chance took his implants off for the dunking as it was 5 gallons of ice water poured over his head in about 5 seconds. Chance loved it. He was cold, but he loved it

The last few nights we have had several storms with massive claps of thunder. The kind of thunder that wakes you up from a sound sleep because your whole house just shook and the noise is so loud, that your brain is instantly alert to see if you are in danger.   Chance sleeps on. Waking him is like waking the dead, so I don't know if even a shaking house is enough to wake him up. I will have to verify with him, but I have not heard him say one word about the noisy storms, but the rest of the family compares how long it took to get back to sleep after being jolted awake like that.

 Yes, Chance is the soundest sleeper in our house.  The situation reminds me of a children's book we have called "Bear Snores On" about a hibernating bear that sleeps through all of his friends coming into his cave and having a party.  Maybe the family should try having a party in Chance's room after he is asleep and we can see if he sleeps through it. We could call it, "Chance Snores on."
Chance strikes a pose.




Monday, August 18, 2014

We meet a fellow implant family

We were sitting at church a few weeks ago, when I noticed that about 5 rows up sat a little girl with cochlear implants.  She looked to be about three years old and it was obvious that her grandmother who sat by her adored her.

After church was over, I went up to talk to the grandma. She was visiting our church that day so I introduced myself and told her that I had a teen-age son that had bilateral implants as well.  She was excited and started asking about how Chance was doing and if the implants had worked well for him.  Obviously, I said that we LOVED the implants and I told her that Chance played on a competitive soccer team, was on the city swim team and had a job as a swim aid. She was delighted to know that Chance was doing all of that with implants.  She was interested in meeting Chance so I called him over.  Chance came over smiling, and she asked him questions.

As a parent with a young deaf child, it does your heart good to be able to talk to people who are further along on the implant journey than you are.   You want to see older kids who are living with implants and see how they are working out for them.  Can they play sports? How are they doing in school? Do they have friends and are they treated well by others?  Chance was able to show this sweet grandma that yes, you can do anything that any other child can do even with implants.

We ended up talking to the little girl's parents, and had an immediate connection. You are people sharing a life experience.  You learn from each other and share insights you have gained on the journey.  I love to connect with other parents who have deaf and hard of hearing children.  We parted after exchanging cell phone numbers in case either of us has questions or perhaps answers to questions that may arise.

We are part of an implant family and we keep finding delightful members of our family as we travel along on our journey.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Chance goes to youth camp

Chance spent the last week at a camp for youth.  He was so excited to go and had been planning on what he would pack for days.  There would be girls there and dances, so what one packed was extremely important.
Chance did a good job packing all he needed including his guitar for the variety show.

 He roomed with a friend who was also deaf, so we had to tell the counselors that they would have to go in and wake those boys up or they might miss all of the morning classes. Chance had cousins and his brother attending the same camp, but because of differences in age, they didn't really see each other that much.

We dropped all of the boys off on Monday morning where the entire week lay ahead of them for fun and friendship.  We planned on picking them up on Saturday morning when the camp was over and we could hear about how great camp had been.

Monday night, at 11:05, I got a text.  It was from Chance, who had forgotten his battery charger for his implants.

Excuse me a minute.....Ha! Ha! Ha! He goes away for a week and forgets his battery charger??  Chance is usually so responsible and on the ball with this stuff that we were just shocked.  Lucky for him the camp was just a half hour away.  It was bedtime lights out though, and we got the text late so we planned on delivering the charger and extra rechargeable batteries the next morning.

The next morning, our home phone rang at 6:50 a.m. I knew it was Chance right away, and told Chance's dad that his implants must be dying.

Chance told us that his implants were beeping and that meant he had about 20 minutes left to hear.  We called the camp and told the counselor that we were on our way and in the mean time, Chance would be signing out and would not be able to hear anything.

It all turned out well in the end.  We delivered Chance's implant charger and he was able to hear for the rest of the week which is good since not being able to hear all week at camp would be most unfortunate.

Next week, I'll blog about the COWS of camp.  That stands for the crush of the week.  Everyone apparently knows this term, and the really brave souls, tell their COW how they feel by the end of the week. If you tell your COW and they don't feel the same, it is rather awkward.  If you tell them and they feel the same however, then it makes camp just that much better.  



Monday, July 28, 2014

Chance's other job

Chance's job helping to teach little kids to swim has come to an end.  He literally became the best buddy of a little boy in the class who would go to no one but Chance.  He asked Chance on the last day of class if he could give him a hug.  His grandparents and parents told Chance that he was a household topic of conversation at their house because the little boy just loved him and was always talking about him. Chance really liked his job and was good at working with the kids. Maybe he'll apply to be a swim aid again next year.

Chance waiting for his next group of students
In the meantime.....Chance got another job!  He had turned in an application to be a soccer ref for the city leagues when he turned in his application for the swim aid job.  He got a call back on that application a few weeks ago.  When the lady called about the job, she called out of the blue and Chance didn't know who he was talking to and he didn't have any context at first about who was calling.  Because of this, Chance's naturally chipper disposition didn't come through and he was more mechanical on the phone.  The lady calling didn't get a real feel for Chance's personality over the phone which can make a difference when they want someone who is cheerful and good at working with kids.  She called him in for an interview anyway, and I sent Chance into the rec center while I waited in the parking lot.  He came back out about 25 minutes later with a new hire packet.  Linda really seemed to like Chance and she paired him up with another 14 year old boy to coach the first soccer game who happens to be a friend of Chance's from his competitive soccer team.

Linda called our home to talk to Chance a few days later and the captions weren't working so he was having a hard time understanding her.  Chance's dad got on the phone and explained that Chance was having a hard time on the phone that day due to the lack of captioning and could he relay the message.  Then Linda said,"I didn't realize Chance was deaf!"

Chance's implants were obviously not the first thing she noticed about Chance during the job interview.  She didn't seem to notice them at all.   When Chance first went into interview, I remember thinking that I hoped whoever interviewed him realized that he was fully capable to ref soccer and that his deafness would not interfere
with his ability to do that at all.  Apparently, my wish was granted as Linda didn't even realize that Chance was deaf.

Chance wears a pin on the backpack he takes to work that says,"Ask me about my implants." Obviously he is not shy about talking about them.  I just want people to see Chance for who he is and not focus on what they think he might not be able to do because he is deaf.  Apparently, people are doing just that:)
Chance getting wild and crazy with his brother and cousins.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Deja'vu

We are having deja'vu here at our house.  Once upon a time, we had a little boy who was deaf and we started writing about his journey.  Now, we have another boy losing his hearing and we are experiencing many of the same situations that we did with Chance.

We have gotten MRI's done.  Two of them.  Both came out clear with no indication of why our son would be losing his hearing.

We have been to several doctors, all of whom do not know why our son is losing hearing.  Chance was already deaf when we started taking him to doctors, but they never could tell us why he couldn't hear.

We have many many medical appointments, hearing tests and various other things related to figuring out what the needs of our son are, just like we did with Chance.

Insurance still doesn't see hearing loss as something that should be covered by insurance so hearing tests, hearing aids and various other things related to hearing loss are not covered by insurance.  We just went on the same insurance that we had when Chance was diagnosed a few months before our other son started losing his hearing.

I run around a lot from various doctor appointments to hearing tests to eye checks, to blood draws, to MRI's to hearing aid appointments to......well you get the picture.

Having a deaf child is not the worst thing that could happen.  We love our Chance and he is a great blessing to our family.

We want to understand though where we can, what is causing our son's hearing loss.

We have met  with a rheumatologist and she is treating our son with steroids for the next few weeks. We are looking to see if the cause of his hearing loss is an auto-immune disease where the immune system, for some unknown reason attacks a healthy ear.   The idea is that when you go on steroids,  they suppress the immune system and will disrupt your immune system from attacking healthy tissue.

We shall see what happens.  We had a hearing test done right before he went on steroids, then we will do a round of steroids for two weeks. and have a hearing test done with in the last few days that he is on steroids. If the cause of the hearing loss is an-auto immune response, then we should see an improvement in the hearing while on the medications.

We have talked to a family whose son has this condition and their son started out much like our son has. First one ear starts to loose hearing rapidly.  If there is no intervention, then the other ear starts to loose hearing as well.  Our son has one ear that has marked loss every time we have a hearing test. His right ear is borderline needing a hearing aid.  If the steroids do indeed help, we should see an improvement in hearing while on the medication. There is a window though where the loss must be addressed. Once the hearing has fallen all the way, you can not get any of it back.

We are just waiting to see.  Meanwhile, common side effects of the steroids, are being cranky and not sleeping well. That is a potent combination for a kid.

Just as we did with Chance, we need to explore all of our options and tell our son that we did all that we could to help him.

Having another deaf or hard of hearing child would not be bad.  We know the journey well.  But when a loss suddenly starts and there may be something that can be done to stop it, we have to give it a try.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Camping Adventures

Chance has not commented on how his canoe trip went, or how he feels about hearing under water.  He will though, he will.

We went camping and did not have access to technology.  It was rather nice actually. It was us, the trees, the lake, a tent, and the squirrel that kept running over to our fire pit and trying to steal any food that may have been left there.  He was a professional food stealer that Squirrel. He ran into camp while we were all sitting there, his little body like a pint size torpedo.  Then he would jump into our fire pit(we never actually used that fire pit as we joined family at theirs at the camp spot next door), poke his head up and look at us all, and then dash back into the trees. It was a delightful little ritual.

Chance slept with his cousin in a tent.  They claimed to have stayed up until 4:00 a.m.  Chance was a little cranky the next day, so he may have stayed up practically all night.  Many members of the extended family got to see what it is like to wake Chance up in the morning.  Chance's reaction was a little more severe than normal, as his brother decided to help wake him up with a little water. All of the kids had a meal they were supposed to help prepare, and Chance had breakfast that morning so his brother was waking him up to come help at camp.

Brother's don't like it when wake them up with water whether they can hear or not.  Our whole extended family heard Chance yelling at his brother to stop and giving him a piece of his mind.  Heck,  the campsites on either side of us may have heard him.  Later, Chance told us he had no idea how loud he had been.

We know.  When Chance can not hear himself,  he can be loud.

I think we all took away from this episode, that no one really likes to be woken up with water. To Chance's credit, when he crawled into the family tent the next morning with a cup of water to get revenge, he stopped when his brother, all curled up in his sleeping bag, asked him to stop and didn't even sprinkle a drop of water on him.




Monday, June 30, 2014

Chance goes on a canoe trip

Chance would be the best person to talk about how his canoe trip went.  He is going to tell us all about it on this blog in a few days too.

For now, I will share what I have heard about this once in a lifetime trip.  Chance and his scout troop headed down to the southern end of our state to canoe for 70 miles through some of the most beautiful country that God has to offer.

There were 26 people in total, 9 leaders and 17 boys.  They were matched into groups of two to share a canoe and then they spend the next three days bonding as they glided, and fought rapids down the river.  The rapids were a bit of a surprise and I have to give all of those males credit for taking on rapids in a canoe.

Chance's partner was his dad since he was on the trip as a leader.  This was a handy situation for Chance since he could do things like hand his implant to his canoe mate when he wanted to jump into the river and take a swim.  I said implant because Chance used only one implant for much of the trip. He had the two kinds of water protectors for his implants and he really preferred one over the other, but he only had one of those.  His favorite was the more expensive option. Naturally.  Kids always like the more expensive model right?:)

Obviously there were some precautions taken so that Chance's implant did not take off into the river on it's own during brawls with rapids or when there were strenuous moment trying to get the canoe to shore against the current to camp.

I do know that Chance's implant ran out of battery power about half hour before the group got to the part of the river where they got out.  Chance's dad asked him if that bothered him, and Chance said no.  Chance's dad then asked if he liked floating down the river in silence and Chance nodded that he did. I can imagine that the ability to silently take in all of the beauty and majesty of the scenery must have been an almost reverent experience for Chance.

I will blog more about what I know about this canoe trip that Chance will remember forever, but I want to give him an opportunity to share his experience first.

In the meantime, here are some stock photos (thanks google search) of the area where they were at:






Monday, June 23, 2014

A second time around

I started this blog to talk about Chance and his journey to hear through his deafness.  Last month Chance had a routine mapping appointment that had been scheduled for months.  His appointment just happened to fall on a day that I would be attending Women's Conference with friends. So my brave husband took most of our kids to the appointment himself.

I was sitting at Women's Conference listening to a speaker when a text came through on my cell phone. Normally I wouldn't pay attention to my phone during a class, but my cell phone was in my hand as I was getting something out of my bag.  When I realized that it was my hubby, I looked to see what he said because I knew he wouldn't text me at Women's Conference unless it was important.  This is what I read:

"Our son is measuring at a moderate to severe hearing loss."

Now, Chance has a hearing loss of course, but this text wasn't about Chance.  It was about one of my other kids.

I just sat there staring at the screen.

Then I texted back something profound like, "Wow."

Then I didn't hear from my husband again.  So when class was over, I tried to call him.  He didn't answer.

You can't just text a mother and tell her that her son has hearing loss and then not answer the phone!

Actually, the logical part of my brain knew what was happening at that moment where my husband was in the audiologists office.  I have been to many such appointments in my lifetime.  I knew the audiologist was running my son through the sounds again or he was talking to my husband about the results of the hearing test.

I texted my husband with, "I know that you are busy but I am dying here call me when you can."

He texted back with "Sorry, I will call you in a minute."

We didn't have texting like this when Chance was diagnosed 11 years ago.

I then went to my next class and started making a fairy wand as part of a humanitarian project.  I have to admit that I was a little distracted and I needed to be able to focus on the instructions for making that fairy wand since I am not a natural at sewing.  Luckily,  there were some women at my table making the same fairy wands so I watched what they were doing and followed.

My phone started to ring, and I dashed out of the room to catch the call.

I had lots of questions like, "NOW WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT HERE?  WASN'T THIS CHANCE'S APPOINTMENT?" Along with:

"Do both ears have a loss?"

"How big of a loss are we talking about again?"

"Will he need hearing aids?"

"Why do they think he has a loss?"

"How is our son taking it?"

"What happened there........how did one of our other kids get into the hearing booth?"

My husband opened up with the whole story.  Our youngest son has been telling us that he can not hear as well out of his left ear.  I actually had made a note to myself to call the school district to have him tested.  Chance's dad just asked the audiologist at the implant appointment if he could test our other son as he had mentioned that he was not hearing as well out of his left ear.

Turns out there was a reason he hasn't been hearing as well out of that ear.

As our son sat in the booth having his hearing tested, my husband was sitting behind the audiologist watching him mark down the results.  Since we are people that are quite familiar with audiograms, my husband knew right away that the left ear had developed some issues.  The left ear was testing at a moderate loss.  Since that initial appointment when the hearing loss was discovered,  the loss has continued to fall.  The fall has been like this:

First visit the loss in the left ear was 50-55db across 500-4000 Hz, dropping to 70-80db in both ears at 6000 and 8000 Hz.  His right ear was between 0 and 10 except for the 6000+Hz range.

Two weeks later his left ear had dropped about 10db across the board, to about 60db up to 4000Hz, then 80 to 90db in both ears at 6000-8000Hz.  His right ear also dropped - now sitting at about 20db loss except for the dive in the 6000+ Hz range.

Another two weeks later showed another 10db loss:  Left ear hitting up to 70 db in some frequencies, and the upper ranges are now 85-90 db.  The right ear now sits at 25-30 db across the board, then 80-85 db at 6000+ Hz.

So, we are in the process of getting MRI's done, seeing doctors and having hearing tests.  We are trying to figure out what is happening to our son's hearing.  The first MRI didn't give us any information, so we had another one done a few days ago that went more in depth. That MRI didn't reveal any reason for the loss either.  We will meet with doctors at a hearing clinic in July to see if they have any ideas about why the hearing is dropping and if there is anything that we can do about it.  Our son went on a round of steroids but his hearing loss continued.

For now, we have a hearing aid on his left ear, and we are watching the right ear.  We have another hearing test scheduled in July and we will see where the loss falls then.

It is like deja-vu.  We have gone through this with hearing loss before.  The difference is, when we found out that Chance had hearing loss, he was already deaf, whether the loss happened all at once or dropped over time, we don't know.  Right now, we are watching a loss that just continues to drop every couple of weeks.  With Chance we didn't watch his hearing drop.

I still have some of the original questions that I had when we started and hopefully we'll find some answers.

Now we have both implants and hearing aids in the house, something we've have never had before.  We are becoming reacquainted with hearing aids again.  They can't get wet at all.  Condensation can build up in the tube leading into the mold and then you need to suction it out.

One person with hearing loss in our house wears their hearing device all day only taking it off to sleep and shower.  The other person with a hearing device takes their device off at times and has to be reminded to put it back on.  I'll let you guess who is who:)

Sunday, June 08, 2014

We Love the Caption Phone

Chance and I love the caption phone.  Chance loves it because he can read what is being said and it makes it easier for him to understand when people call.

Chance has a CaptionCall phone like this

I  love it because I get to capture little gems of conversation like you will see below.

Let me set the scene.  Chance gets a call from his cousin who is the other pea in his pod.  I am watching this scroll down the screen as they talk:

"Chance, do you have a pass to the water park?  Because guess what?  My mom said maybe you can come with us. Um, I will call you about the details again.  It is going to be Monday or Wednesday and it is probably going to be an all day thing and my parents say we can go off on our own.
And we can flirt with girls, heck ya!  You like that sound?"

Gee, it is so hard to figure out what is going through the minds of teenagers these days when you have a caption phone.

It is a little like being a spy.  Only you don't have to have any special sort of skill to figure out what is going down.

Chance's doesn't know yet that his aunt invited me to join them at the water park this week.   So that means Chance will have his mom there too.  I wonder if that will impact the flirting.  I hope so:)


Sunday, June 01, 2014

Aqua accessories to the rescue!

I should probably talk about what the "dohickies" are that I mentioned in my last post.  The "dohickies" are actually the aqua accessory by Cochlear Ltd.   We (well OK, Chance), are also using the aqua+.  What are these aqua things you may wonder.  

The aqua accessory is an envelope that fits around the implant.  The entire implant goes into an implant ziploc-type bag.  This protects the implant from water.  Each envelope can be used once. 

courtesy of http://mycochlearimplantjourney.wordpress.com


The aqua+ is a new coil and a sleeve that goes over the whole processor.  You can use this sleeve 50 times. (each kit has two sleeves, so good for about 100 uses).   It does cost (significantly) more up front, so we bought one to test it out - one kit works for one implant, so if you want to use it for bilaterals, it means buying two kits.
Rather than coming soon, this is actually here now!

Chance will have much to report on both aqua products in the next few weeks as his job as an official assistant swim instructor starts tomorrow.  Luckily, Chance has some siblings that will be attending swim lessons during part of the summer so I can take pictures of Chance's siblings.  And Chance on the job:)  They will all be in the same pool, I may as well just get pictures of everyone.  I see a swimming scrapbook page in our future. 

Chance is really excited about this job.  He did training for a few hours on Saturday, and tomorrow the actual kids arrive for lessons.  Each swim session lasts for two weeks.  Every two weeks a new group of kids will arrive to learn to swim.  Chance could be teaching anyone to swim from babies (with their parents) to older kids learning to dive.  The classes he helps to teach will vary according to need. 

Chance will get up at the crack of dawn (or before) for swim team., then stay at the pool to teach lessons all morning.  We will need to stock up on sunscreen.  Chance is not tan.  Not even a little bit.  He has an awesome stingray swim shirt that he inherited from his older brother though, so that should help with sun protection.

On a side note, Chance asked me if taxes would be taken out before he got his paycheck.  I assured him that the government would make sure that they got their share before Chance even sees money in any form from a job.  I didn't quite say it like that, but I did assure him that all taxes would be taken out before he received any sort of payment. 



 

Monday, May 26, 2014

The job

Chance had his first training for his new job.  He will be a teacher's aid and help with swimming lessons at our local pool.

That's right, Chance who wears implants, will be spending his mornings in a pool.  Filled with water and splashing children.  Teaching children how to swim.  Chance doesn't see any boundaries to what he can do with implants and I go with him on that.  That boy can do anything he wants.

Chance's implants can take some water, but we also got him these snazzy little dohickies that fit over his implants to help protect them.  Chance will be in the pool, helping a teacher teach little kids to swim.  Some of these little kids did not come up with the idea to learn to swim on their own and are being forced to learn by their parents.  They will cry, kick, hit the water with their hands and otherwise do all sorts of things that could get implants wet.

Little dohickies
Come to think of it, Chance first learned to swim against his will, and he cried, kicked and hit the water with his hands, all while looking at me in despair and holding out his arms to me.  But Chance had to learn to swim.  Chance out of all of my children, would be able to hear me the least when we were around any kind of water.  He needed to know how to swim at least a little and not just sink like a log to the bottom of a pool.  It was a hard go, I must admit.  Chance didn't want to learn to swim at first.  Heck, he didn't even want to be in the water with his teacher.  So guess what happened?  The teacher's aid would work with Chance and help him by gently having him do what the rest of the class was doing.  She knew he was deaf, and she worked with him by demonstrating what he needed to do.
It was rather heartbreaking as Chance called out to me during swimming lessons

Now Chance will come full circle and help other hapless children who are in swim lessons against their will.  Some of the kids love swim lessons and look forward to it every day.  Chance got to the point where he loved swim lessons and looked forward to them.  It didn't happen that first year though.

I am so excited for Chance.  He is really good at working with kids and he genuinely likes them and they like him back.  I think he will do a great job and the kids will love him.  AND, we get to try out these little dohickies on Chance' implants.  He is really excited about using them.  His dream is to swim underwater and hear what the rest of us hear and see what it is like to have sound when he is swimming.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The season is over

Chance's soccer team took 4th place in the state.  Each game this week was a nail bitter and two of the games went into over time.  One game went into double over time and ended with the kick offs.  Chance's team won that one.  It was intense, and all week was like that.  Each game came down to the last minute.

One of the highlights, was when Chance kicked the assist to his best friend and then his friend made his first goal ever in a game.  It was like they knew what the other one was thinking.

They didn't loose any games until the 3rd day, and then they lost the 4th day as well, with a goal made by the other team just as the buzzer blew.

I am telling you, watching the games was incredible and there was never a dull moment.  The team is so close and they will remember this year in soccer forever. Their coach said they are the best team she has ever had. I wonder if she still feels that way since Chance arranged for a 5 gallon bucket of water to be poured over her head when the season was over:)

CHANCE GOT A JOB!!

He starts training later today and I will give a full report.  He is so excited. There were many kids that applied for this job and only 5 slots.  CHANCE WAS ONE OF THOSE 5! YIPPEE!

I will write more about Chance's job when he gets home and tells me how it went:)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Chance's team is ready to rumble

Chance's school soccer team has played well this year.  So well that they are ranked 2nd and will have tournament games all week this week.  They will have the home team advantage too since all of the games will be played at their school (until the final, assuming the 1-seed wins to that point too).

Chance's school has amazing school spirit and several teachers and parents are always found in the crowd cheering the kids on.

Chance has some amazing friends on the soccer team and they are a tight group that have each others' backs.

There is a wall at school marking each goal that has been made by the team this year and the name of the player who made the goal, along with the names of the assists, where appropriate (and remembered). Chance's name is listed on some of those papers and he has had a great season. His coaches said that he was one of the best conditioned on the team.  That made Chance very happy.  He can now kick well with his left foot as well as his right foot which he is quite excited about.

Chance's county soccer league just ended for the season and will pick up again in the fall.  As soon as the school soccer season ends, Chance will begin swim team and be getting up at 6:15 each morning to swim. There is no such thing as sleeping in for Chance through the summer.  But that is okay, he loves to swim. and stay active.
Go Chance Go!

Where are all the other players

Get the ball Chance! Chance is in the orange and yellow cleats

We are all excited for the tournament this week and wish the team all the best! Go team!



Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Being deaf helps keep brotherely relatioships intact

Chance and his older brother share a bedroom.  They are great buddies most of the time and have each other's back.

Chance being deaf has really helped the relationship stay on track since his brother has a habit that would drive people who can hear all through the night to the brink of madness.

With all of the technology available in this day and age, Chance's brother has yet to master the option to put music on a timer at night as you go to sleep.  Instead of music playing for 10 or 20 minutes while drifting off to sleep, Chance's brother's music sometimes PLAYS ALL NIGHT LONG.  It is still playing in the morning when he gets up for school.

This may explain why he is so tired some mornings.  We should schedule a discussion about the repercussions of ,making your brain listen to music all night long.

This glitch in Chance's brother's habits though, does not sour their relationship in the least because CHANCE CAN NOT HEAR THE MUSIC PLAYING ALL NIGHT LONG.  He just blissfully sleeps in that comatose world he enters at night where nothing disturbs him.  Except for us if we need to move him or wake him up prematurely.  Even in those moments I think we are more disturbed than he is as we shake him, lift up his arm, or manually try to lift him as he continues to sleep on.
If there is ever an emergency in the middle of the night and we have to evacuate the house,  it is not out of the realm of possibilities that two of us will be half carrying Chance out the door as he still sleeps. Forget the idea of fleeing with provisions ahead of a flood etc. we will be fleeing holding onto Chance.

I wonder how hard it is for his friends to wake him up at scout camp. I am going to start asking questions.

Yes, Chance and his brother are close and have each other's back,  and no music playing through the wee hours of the morning can change that.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The amputation rumor

It turns out that Chance's good friend who hurt his knee, didn't really hurt his knee.  He took a family trip to China and missed April Fool's Day, so he decided to play a trick when he got back.  He came to school using crutches and everything. Chance was not at school though, so he did not know any of this.

Chance decided to play a joke on his friend who he thought had a hurt his knee and sent a text telling him that the doctor had said Chance's leg would have to be amputated from above the knee.  Chance's friend never texted back, so Chance did not have an opportunity to respond that he was kidding,

When I checked Chance into school the next day, his first class was history which just happens to have his friend who didn't respond to the text in it and is taught by one of Chance's soccer coaches.

Chance said that when he walked into class, a little late as he was hobbling around the school on crutches, he said his teacher/coach looked like she was in pain when she saw him.

His teacher along with a few other people, thought that Chance was going to loose his leg.

Chance felt bad.  He had never meant for the text to spread.(there is a lesson in this situation somewhere).

After everything was cleared up and everyone understood that Chance's friend had never really hurt his knee at all, and Chance was not going to need an amputation, the soccer coach/history teacher had a talk with the soccer team.

She explained that April Fool's Day was on April 1st and did not last for the entire month.  She then told the team that they could trick on the official holiday for fooling people, but that was it.

That poor teacher.  She just loves Chance and spent an entire day and a half thinking that he was going to loose his leg.  She was also his teacher when his implant failed and she was thinking that poor Chance had been asked to endure many physical challenges in this life.

Chance is fine.  His friend is fine.  The teacher is fine now.  I think the moral of this story is, you never know how far and wide a text you send will travel, so keep that in mind when you press the send button:)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Chance wounds his knee

This past week was spring break and Chance had a really good time not going to school and hanging out with cousins.

He also started to learn some new long boarding tricks.  Just as he was in the middle of doing that, he fell and whammed his  knee.  Really hard.  His knee had a nice big raspberry wound on the side and was a little swollen.  We put a band-aid on it and Chance left with his cousins to make his own long board since his cousins work for a guy that makes them.

When I picked Chance up several hours later, he was grinning from ear to ear holding up his own custom made long board.  While still smiling, Chance said,"Hey mom!  Check at my knee!"

His knee was HUGE.

Chance's uncle is a physicians assistant so he felt around the knee and wrapped it in an ace bandage telling Chance to ice it.  Then we left for our 10 hour drive home.

This morning, two days later, Chance's knee was still huge so I took him in to see the doctor.  On the way to the doctor's office, Chance informed me that he really hates needles and would rather ride a shark than get poked with a needle.  I wonder how he really feels.

Once the doctor took a look at Chance's knee, he told us that Chance's knee was filled with a lot of blood and gave us two options:  keep a wrap on the knee, ice it regularly and let his body absorb the blood,  OR he could poke a needle into Chance's knee and drain out the blood.

I chose the needle option.  It would help the knee heal faster.  Chance told me that he needed to get back to the soccer field as soon as possible as he has three games this week.  I realized that Chance would most likely not make any of his games this week, but draining the blood would help the knee heal faster it seemed.

The doctor thought this was the best option as well, and he proceeded to pull out a HUGE needle.  Chance looked concerned.  The doctor told him that he would numb the skin first and that would feel like a bumble bee sting.  Chance sighed and lay down on the exam table and started to play a game on an iPod to distract himself.

The doctor told him not to move, that was very important, but that if things started to hurt, Chance could call out and he would adjust  things.

Some of Chance's siblings were with us, and it took a moment for me to convince them that they could not look on at the proceedings with  looks of horror on their faces with their hands over their mouths like they were doing when the process started.  We all had to be strong for Chance.

I stood with my hand on Chance's shoulder for moral support and distracted the other kids with games of tic tac toe.

Things did hurt, and Chance told the doctor twice that he was feeling pain in his knee. After only a few minutes, Chance's knee was visibly smaller and the HUGE vile attached to the needle was full of Chance's blood.  At this point, Chance was calm and started asking questions about what would be done with his blood now. The doctor gave him a brief explanation and sent us home.  He said that if Chance's knee filled with blood again tomorrow, we would need to check for other issues.  Chance was instructed to elevate his knee, ice it several times today, and stay off of it.  That meant he would not be going back to school.  Chance took that news quite well.  He will be resting his knee tomorrow as well.

This afternoon, we got a call from the doctor's office.  When the doctor sat down later in the day to finish the notes on Chance's file, he started to feel that it would be a good idea to get an x-ray since so much blood had been taken out of the knee to check for other problems.

The x-ray came back and things looked good.  Chance and I looked at the x-ray with the doctor and he pointed out that the knee looked normal with no fractures etc. The doctor pointed out  Chance's growth plates and said that he would be getting taller.  Chance was delighted to hear this news.  He is already getting tall, but taller is even better.

Luckily for Chance, I emailed all of his teachers so his brother could pick up all assignments and homework he was missing:)

As far as soccer goes, the soccer coach at school is having a challenging week.  Chance's position on the team is left wing and his good friend plays left wing as well.   As luck would have it, Chance's friend hurt his knee on spring break too so he is on crutches.  Today at school Chance's friend was nice enough to share one of his crutches with Chance, until I picked him up for his appointment halfway through the day. When Chance was called down to the office where I was waiting, it was lunch time and he was all smiles limping along with the help of one crutch.
The soccer team will be minus two left wing players this week.   Chance should be ready to play again next week. I don't know about his friend.  I did tell Chance though,that if his friend ends up needing to stay home from school tomorrow, that he can come over here and they can play card games together as they elevate and ice their knees.



Monday, April 07, 2014

Chance, are you deaf?

This past week at soccer practice, the team was told to move down field during practice.

Chance didn't hear this little tidbit of information and continued to dribble the soccer ball up on the hill.  So, and I am not making this next part up,  one of Chance's coaches calls out and said, "CHANCE, WHAT ARE YOU DEAF? GET OVER HERE!!!"

At this point things could have gotten really awkward. This phrase is usually just used as a figure of speech.

Chance ran over to where he was supposed to be and he and his friends on the team started laughing.

Chance's coach felt really really bad.

 She said, Oh, my gosh!  I didn't really mean that!  I feel bad!"

Chance had not taken offense.  He thought it was funny.

Chance had a good excuse for not hearing because, hey, he really is deaf.

Now it has apparently become a big joke at soccer practice.  The same situation happened again, where Chance did not hear that the team was supposed to move down field but he saw the team moving down field and ran to catch up.

Chance purposely ran in between his two coaches and said, "WATCH OUT! DEAF KID COMING THROUGH!"

It should be noted that the field where soccer practice is, has a hill leading down to the track and beyond that is the soccer field.  At the top of the hill is a parking lot where the kids are picked up for carpool, so if Chance was on the hill dribbling the ball, with the sound of cars off to the side and the wind was blowing and his coach was on the field down the hill and past the track, it could have been hard for Chance to hear her.

Yes, Chance is deaf and apparently it has made for some humorous soccer practice moments this week.



Monday, March 31, 2014

Chance has a reunion

The first several years of Chance's school years were spent at The School for the Deaf in a trailer classroom at a school two cities away.  Chance had a little posse of friends that attended with him and they all rode the bus to and from school together, shared the same teachers, had recess together, had speech therapy from the same teachers, began to integrate into the school classroom together and basically were attached at the hip for several years. These cute kids all moved from two years of preschool, to kindergarten, to first grade and into second grade together.  At that point, it was time for Chance to go out into the wide wide world and attend his local neighborhood school.  He was ready.  He actually ended up being home-schooled for a year and then going into a neighborhood charter school after we caught him up to his peers a bit more.

Chance no longer saw his fellow deaf bosom buddies on a regular basis as all the kids are scattered across the county.   Each of Chance's friend's left the School for the Deaf in their own time when they were ready.

I can still remember the little pack of deaf kids that were so cute and so little!  They seemed to have an understanding of each other even though they didn't always know what was being said.  They had lunch together every day and did the same projects.  They invited each other to their birthday parties and we parents drove kids across the valley to so that they could share in the birthday celebrations.  They were each other's best friends.

Recently, one of the mothers of these kids contacted me through Facebook and Chance was so excited to have a connection with his dear friend again. They immediately planned a get together with another of Chance's deaf friends that lives by us and was part of the original posse.

Chance said that a good time was had by all.  It was just the same as it had been before, they all just clicked and enjoyed being together even though it has been several years since they have seen each other. Chance says that his friend looks just the same - just much taller.

They all like sports and ended up playing lacrosse with neighborhood kids.  Isn't it great that these little deaf kids who could barely get their words understood back in preschool can now just join a pick up game of lacrosse with neighborhood kids who have always been able to hear and no one has a second thought??  It is not an "us" and "them that are different", it is just teenage boys enjoying sports together.  I love that!

I am so happy for Chance that he was able to reconnect with his friend.  I think they are going to make sure that they don't lose touch again and will just pick up where they left off.  They may go to different schools now and live in different cities, but they have a connection forever.  When you grow up learning to hear together in a world where you are the minority,  you make strong connections to those who go through the process with you.

I love these pictures of Chance and all of his friends from the School for the Deaf.  When Chance returned to school after his second implant surgery,  they all gathered around to have a look at his scar.  They were all so fascinated by Chance and this new development in his life.  It was so funny too because these kids had all been through this very same process!  Chance was actually the last one to get an implant in this group so they all actually had more experience than Chance did.  Many of them were much younger than 6 which is when Chance got his.  I remember wondering if they just didn't remember their own surgeries and scars that well because they had been so young when they were implanted.

Yes, it was a fascinating day at school when Chance walked in with a scar on his head, and it made for some very memorable pictures as the kids check out Chance's implant like it is a brand new thing even though they all already have one of their own.