Thursday, September 20, 2007

It's sinking in.

One year ago today, Ethan was recovering from his first Ci surgery. We were in the hospital over night for that surgery, which is unusual as they typically send the patient home the same day. We got to stay due to the fact that Ethan had a history of apnea and we weren’t sure how he’d respond to the anesthesia. He hasn’t stopped breathing since May 11, 2006, so I don’t know if we can use that experience to get ourselves admitted over night again. I find it appalling that they would send a small child home the same day after such an invasive surgery, but the recovery is pretty amazing and easy for these little guys. Still….my mind is filled with what ifs.

Ethan and I waiting to be released from the hospital after surgery.

This time around has produced similar emotions on some level, but we’re feeling much more informed and calm about everything. Last year we felt a sense of urgency, we knew he was losing valuable language acquisition time. We desperately wanted him to hear, to be able to take part in the culture of our world, the hearing world.

Now he hears and shows some understanding of the language around him, so that sense of urgency is gone. (And now I worry that he won't be able to take part in the deaf world and their culture. Why shouldn't he be able to do both?) Surgery feels much more elective this time around, probably because it is. You can imagine the potential for guilt and second guessing here, but I really feel that we’re doing the best thing we can for him in the long term.

We believe that having another implant will enable him to hear much better in noisy situations as well as locate sounds in his environment. Ethan and I ran into a friend on the street the other day, she was about 10 feet away when she started speaking to us. He couldn’t hear her because her voice was competing with the sounds of the street as well as other voices around him. She would have had to get down to his level and put her face in front of his in order to communicate.

The next year is going to be very interesting. How will having two “ears” to hear with change Ethan? Will it improve his balance? Will he still need physical therapy one year from now? Will his sensory processing issues be noticeably alleviated? Will his progress towards speech be facilitated in some small way?

We’re of course immeasurably grateful that he can hear at all, but this, this is beyond my wildest dreams for him.

10 comments:

Kyla said...

They say that unilateral hearing loss (which effectively is what Ethan experiences with his one CI) does not affect speech acquisition, but have found that to be entirely untrue in KayTar's case. The hearing had has made a unbelievable difference for her, and she only has mod/severe loss in that ear. For Ethan, going from no hearing in that ear at all, to fully functional hearing in both ears WILL make a difference. I really believe it will. I've seen what two working ears has done for KayTar and I think it can do the same for Ethan.

KC said...

I'm sure there are so many "what if's..." but it does seem the right thing to do developmentally. It's very exciting- the new worlds opening up for him.

On a totally different note, I heard Tim Gunn on a local radio station this morning being interviewed. So cute. And he said that the next Project Runway has the most talented designers yet. *small silent scream*

Hetha said...

Kyla,

I have been told by the experts that it should make no difference in his ability to acquire speech. After all, there are lots of kids out there who have only one implant and are speaking beautifully. However, my gut tells me that once he has stereo hearing his speech is going to blossom. Thanks for your affirmations, Kaytar's experience certainly puts the experts claims to the test!

KC,

Tim Gunn is the man! And I'm secretly hysterically awaiting the newest season of PR!

Laurie said...

Has it been a year already? Wow! I'm sure Ethan will do great because he has such great parents who only want the best for him. :)

Two years ago TODAY my first CI was activated! It has been quite a journey and it isn't finished yet! And neither is Ethan's!

slouching mom said...

I can't wait to read the stories about what a huge difference the second implant is going to make!

Eileen said...

I know it is easier said, but you can come up with many what if's and you will drive yourself crazy and start second guessing yourself. I think you need to trust your instinct and your instinct (from what I can tell) has been telling you, with all your heart and soul, that this is the way to proceed. A mother's instinct is a very powerful force and you are making a very informed choice. I think this going to be a very exciting year for Ethan and I can't wait to watch him grow and thrive, just like he has done this past year. You my friend, are an amazing mother!!!
XOXOX

Kyla said...

Yeah, I don't know who "they" are...but they are wrong quite a bit. LOL.

Everyone on her teams (both therapy and medicine) agree that it has worked wonders for her...so I definitely think that it can only be a GOOD thing for Ethan.

Anonymous said...

I have learned so much watching your world grow smaller, yet infinitely larger with Ethan. What an amazing little guy, and what an interesting perspective on this big, wide world (all-be-it often nerve racking with so many "what ifs"). I am often baffled by your 'mother' ability to just keep going.
Let me know what I can do to help with this process/prcedure.
I love you guys, Misha

Hetha said...

Thanks so much you guys, I don't feel that amazing at the moment, so these comments are very uplifting!

jen said...

i am so, so, so happy for you. for his wee little ears. for the amazing technology. for you as his mom.