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 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

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.