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.
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.