Well, we're home from our visit in Cinci where we saw the ENT (Ci surgeon), the developmental pediatrician, and the implant audiologist. All were very pleased with Ethan's progress! It was a very informative trip and fairly emotionally exhausting for some reason. Well, I know the reason.
As my earlier post suggests, Rich and I had our hearts set on getting Ethan another implant. However, the visit with his surgeon was a reality check and an eye opener. Dr. Arjmand said there is little to no research/medical data on bilateral implants in very young children. He is concerned about that and the fact that there are issues with balance that are unknowns since there is so little research. He is concerned about the balance issue with Ethan in particular since he has motor issues and is already in PT. He basically made it seem like he'd do it, but he's cautious and urges us to proceed with caution. He and the audiologist said there is still a window of 1 to 3 years that the surgery could be done and provide maximum benefits, so what's best for Ethan might be to take it slowly and see how he develops.
Dr. Wiley was overall very impressed with his gross motor development and applauded the PT's working with him, as well as his parents hard work and effort :-) She put his fine motor skills at 12 months (and he's 15, almost 16 months old now) and his language skills at 18 months. If his fine motor skills don't develop up to par she might recommend we take him to an occupational therapist. I think he'll come along fine, he's just working so hard on his hearing right now, so one thing at a time! She also recommended we try melatonin for his sleep issues. I would be a whole new woman if he would start sleeping through the night, so I say let's give it a shot. Last of all, she and I discussed his eating habits and she felt that his speech therapist should work on oral motor skills with him so we can avoid problems with learning to speak. Did you know there is a big connection between eating and talking? Your mouth uses the same muscles, so since Ethan shows a preference for creamy texture, he's not fully developing the other muscles that are needed for speech.
The final visit of the day was with the implant audiologist who said "he's doing incredibly well with his implant"! He heard her voice as low as 15 db in the booth, which is a whisper! We were so thrilled with his progress and she sent us home with 4 new maps. She commented that Ethan's high tolerance to pain has really made it possible for the mapping to be aggressive, which, has made it possible for him to progress so quickly. Rich and I have always known he has a high pain threshold, but we never imagined it would serve him so well in learning to hear.
So in summary, yes I had the wind let out my sails yesterday. We wanted that second implant so badly. Today I feel differently though. I really respect everything our surgeon said and have to agree with him. We're just beside ourselves that Ethan is hearing so well with one implant! We've got a miracle boy whether he's got one implant or two.