Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Two deaf kids in the house

So,  we now have two deaf kids in the house.  We have realized that Chance still can hear absolutely nothing when he takes his implants off and walks around the house. His brother on the other hand, has a bit of hearing in that right hear that wears a hearing aid.

We realized a long time ago, that Chance is deaf as a doorknob when he takes those implants off and if there were to be an emergency in the middle of the night, we would be saving one of our most treasured valuables....Chance.  He won't hear anything and will not flee voluntarily of his own accord.  We will be hauling him out, pulling him along as he snoozes on.

Chance's brother on the other hand, can hear a bit when you wake him up.  He is disoriented, and has to get his bearings as to where he is and what is going on, but he can at least hear a smidge of what we say if he is looking at us.  After he wakes up a bit, he can hear a little more simply because he is a little more alert.

So far, Chance's brother doesn't take his implant off to read like Chance does.  Chance loves a good book, and has been known to take off his implants and totally get into his book therefore blocking the rest of us out of his world.

Chance's brother is on a city basketball team and he really likes it.  He is in the phase where he is learning the basics of the game and last week he made a basket.  He got high five's from all sorts of people and he won the best sportsmanship award for the game and got a prize from the referee.

Chance is getting ready to try out for the school soccer team this next week.  He has been working out for weeks with the soccer coaches and other kids who are hoping to make the team.  Tomorrow is the big day.   He has also been  running on his own and his work has paid off.  Chance is buff.
The soccer coach said that he has never worked with someone who wears implants before.  I don't think Chance's implants will affect him getting on the team at all.  Chance will again, show that deaf kids can do anything they want to, and they are just as capable as anyone else.

Except knowing when to take headphones off in class.  Apparently Chance has a problem with that sometimes.  In one of Chance's classes, the teacher will let the kids listen to music while they write.  Chance has not been hearing when the teacher tells the kids to take their headphones off and listen.  He has just blissfully kept his headphones on.  I have to confess that I think that if this class was one of Chance's favorite classes, he would be more in tune with when he should be listening.  I don't think he purposely leaves his headphones on when his teacher starts talking, but I think he doesn't pay as much attention to when everyone else has their headphones off as he could.  We talked to Chance about it and he is going to start paying more attention and also having his friend that sits next to him in class, nudge him when the headphones are coming off if Chance misses the cue.

Chance is kneeling to get down to his brother's level.

Two deaf boys and two journeys in deafness.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Chance and Chinese

Chance is doing fabulous in his Chinese class.  His teacher says that he is very driven and she loves to see students who want to learn like he does.

I LOVE to hear these things! I am so excited for Chance and I am glad that he likes learning Chinese.  Chance actually greets me in Chinese now when he gets home from school.  I get to learn all sorts of things being his mother. I now know one Chinese word.

There all sorts of programs that let students go to a country where Chinese is spoken for a few weeks in the summer. The students get to stay with a host family or in dorms with other students and learn during the day.  I really wish we could send Chance on one of those trips.

I was reading a book about when Mao Zedong was the leader of China and I kept pronouncing Mao wrong.  I would get it and then when I talked about it again, I wouldn't say it just right.  This would drive Chance a little crazy.

Chance is really really really tall now. And skinny. I don't know if it will be possible to buy him pants anymore if he keeps growing.  We can get the tall.  We can get the skinny. But it is hard to get them together. He needs to wear men's pants for his height, but most men are not as skinny as a beanpole like Chance.  It is a good thing that spring and summer are around the corner so that he can start wearing shorts. Shorts are easier to manage on tall skinny boys than long pants are. Chance is about 6 feet tall now and he is only 14! It will be interesting to see where he ends up.

Chance is buff too.  He has been training to try out for his school soccer team and the coach really works them.  He does lots of running: sprints and long distances, downhill push-ups and all sorts of other conditioning work.

Chance biking on a little family get away

Monday, February 09, 2015

Like a girl robot

Our audiologist is a man.  That is important to know because when he turned the implant on for the first time and asked what our son heard, he was told he sounded like a robot.

The audiologist then asked,"Do I sound like a boy or a girl robot?"

Our little son sat with his new gleaming brown implant attached to his head as he leaned across the table and said, "A girl robot."

The audiologist explained that this was normal and that we all may sound like robots for the next few days.

The family was all there for the big moment, except ironically Chance.  Normally I would not have a problem at all checking Chance out of school so that he could see his brother get his implant turned on, but Chance was in the middle of a special assignment at school that lasted for about 3 weeks.  He would have missed two days since we had our appointment over two days. Chance was at the hospital and nursed his brother there, so I don't feel too bad.  Besides, Chance will be joining his brother for many appointments in the future, not exactly the same, but scheduled together to make for a single 5 hour round-trip, rather than two separate round-trips.  (Of course, add the 3-hour appointment, for each boy, to the 5 hour trip, and it makes for a very long day.)

Raising his hand when he hears sounds

Shaved head where the surgery was.

Learning to find the magnet on his head so he can attach the implant.  This process is harder than it looks.

A boy concentrating on sound.

Notice the cute boy on the left.  Notice the computer screen displaying his t-levels

What a face! He took to the implant right off the bat.  Notice the dangling hearing aid...we were concentrating only on what he could hear with the implant. 

Since our appointments spanned two days, and it was  long way to drive home just to get up and drive back again, we got a hotel.

The kids were delighted.  We made sure the hotel had a pool, and from the first time he hit the water, our son had on his Cochlear Aqua+  covers. on. He was excited to be swimming with his new implant.  It was a great sign that he was immediately attached to his implant.

He took immediate ownership as well, carefully finding a plug for his battery charger in the hotel room and wanting to take his briefcase full of implant goodies with him wherever he went.

Unlike Chance, this implant activation was not quite as dramatic.  It was wonderful, but where Chance had these incredible expressions when his implant went on for the first time, our other son was more chill.  Part of this is the difference in their personalities.  Part of it was that Chance had gone without being able to hear many sounds for years, and turning his implant on, gave him access to things he was hearing for the first time and he was surprised/delighted/astonished.  Chance's brother was delighted as you can see by his little smile in the pictures, he just wasn't as expressive. And the audiologist purposely just turned the implant on while he was watching a cartoon to see if he would notice over his interest in the cartoon.  He did.  The whole family was excited for him and glad to be part of the process.

Implants are amazing. They have been a miracle for our two boys and we are so very grateful for the surgeon, the nurses, the anesthesiologist, the audiologist, and everyone else involved in the process.

Thank you.