Friday, September 5, 2014

Oops...I'm a bit behind...

Sorry folks, I'll try to cover the last few weeks in one post...

Tues 19th Aug - Post-op check-up
Went to see our surgeon this morning, to see how things were healing after surgery last week. He was very pleased with the wound, no infection, seems to be healing up nicely. Sutures were removed and we can wash her hair again, hooray! Wants to see us again in Nov just to make sure all is well...which means a new referral, bother.

Jarrah has had a cough for quite a few weeks now so I checked in his ears, saw they were a bit moist and saw what I thought was still a hole in his left eardrum. He had a grommet removed about 12 months ago, and our ENT said it can take 3-6mths for the eardrum to heal over. I emailed them to see what they thought we should do and they rang me to say they'd like to check it out just to make sure all is ok. Fortunately I was able to get an appt on the same day as Jonica's post-op check and the clinics are about 300m apart, so we went straight from Jonica's appt to Jarrah's!

I was right - there is still a hole in his eardrum. Rats. What to do? Well, not much it seems. Since he has a history of retaining fluid in his middle ear, the ENT is hesitant to patch the hole just yet. What's the point of patching it, only to find we've got to go and put another grommet in it? So, we wait. Until he's 10. That's 2 years! 2 more years of blu-tak at bath-time, 2 more years of blu-tak in swimming pools...not a huge problem, just inconvenient. The hole doesn't appear to have changed much since January 2014 (about 8 months) so personally I think we're going to be patching it in 2 years' time...

Tues 2nd Sept - Switch-on!!
What an exciting day! Jonica has been eagerly waiting for today, saying to me many, many times, "But Mum, I need my implant!" Keith is still not working so he was able to attend the appt too, which was wonderful. We took the boys to school then jumped on a bus to the hospital, arriving in plenty of time.

We met our audiologist, who had everything setup and ready, and began to talk through what would happen. First, some beeps to see if Jonica registered anything at all. Then some tones to get a basic map of her frequencies. Then, the moment we had all been waiting for - real, live switch-on! The beeps went fine. The tones went fine. Then it was time to remove her other hearing aid, switch the implant on for real, and see what she could really hear! I can't describe it - you'd better watch it...

video


Wow! Amazing! Granted, she may have been lip-reading some of those words, but just the fact that she could understand most of the words was incredible, and bodes very well for the future. She loves wearing her implant, which is also wonderful, and the next morning I asked her some simple questions and she seemed to understand exactly what I was saying then too.

It will take a while for her left ear to get used to the new sound, as an implant is not like natural hearing, so it's only running at a soft volume at the moment. Gradually, as she wears it, her brain will learn to re-interpret the signals it's getting as sound, and will integrate that signal with what she hears in her right ear so that she won't really hear the difference. We need to attend intensive speech therapy over the next 6-12mths to help that process, but we're so pleased that she's doing so well already. I'll be very interested to see if I notice improvements in her speech over the coming weeks...

A side note, in case you're interested: I've just been reading back over some old posts and found my wish for a home hearing test kit. Well, there's an app for that! Sure, doesn't give you numbers in terms of decibels, but places your results in a range that means something - Mild, Moderate, Severe, Profound - and is pretty comprehensive, testing at least 6 frequencies. So, if you're worried about your hearing or that of someone in your family, check out uHear on the Apple App store. Wish there was an iPad version, but it's now firmly installed on my phone so that at the first sign of deterioration I can get some idea of what's going on...

Next appts: Tues 9th Sept Implant mapping, and first Implant speech therapy

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