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.