Friday, August 29, 2008

And the school year begins...

So, I'm back to work again. I enjoyed my summer immensely though, and I wouldn't trade spending 10 weeks at home with Lucas for anything in the world. There are many great things about being a teacher, like having the summer off. But, work is never finished, and I can never just leave school at school. I always have something to grade or create, and I feel like I'm not able to be either an excellent teacher or mother, but somewhere in between both. After school is Lucas time though, and school work waits until he's in bed, whether it gets done or not. It will be an interesting year, trying to balance a busy teaching load with a busy special baby.

Interestingly. there's a new hearing impaired classroom in our school district, so I'm anxious to visit. Nate also has a new job teaching where I teach. We now make up more than half of the World Languages department at Manheim Central! (there are 3.5 of us... the .5 is a part-time teacher) Nate is closer to home and I love having him right next door to where I teach! We're able to spend more time together and devote more time to Lucas together.

Last week's MRI went pretty well. I'm glad it's over, and they better as heck have the slices of film that they need to determine the status of his cochlear implant candidacy this time. We're still waiting to hear about the results from Dr. Kazahaya. The insurance review has been completed. Our private insurance will not cover the surgery (what a surprise!), but our public insurance will, so we're very lucky about that. We're headed back down to CHOP on October 6 for an audiology appointment, and on October 7 for the next stage of the CI process. We meet with one of the CI audiologists, a social worker, and a SLP. All three appointments are right in a row. Then we have a pre-surgery appointment for the ear tubes and a meeting with anesthesiology. Ear tubes will be put in sometime in October. We don't have a surgery date yet, because I wanted to combine dates with our 10/6 & 10/7 appointments so that I can save my sick days as much as possible. The surgeon's calendar wasn't available yet, but I hope to hear soon. I want a Friday surgery date so I can spend the weekend afterwards with Lucas before going back to work. I'm so picky! But at least I know what I want.

Lucas popped 5 teeth this month is starting to be very mobile! He's not exactly crawling on all 4s, but he's doing an army crawl, which is getting him where he wants to go. He's still not really sitting on his own, although it's getting better... mostly because he wants to either crawl or stand, and doesn't have the patience to sit! We still get no response to sound, but he continues to vocalize, so we're pleased about that! We're just kind of in a waiting game. We continue to meet twice a month with his SLP, his TOD, and his OT, so that's keeping us busy! And we're still using baby signs with him to teach him pre-language. We need a way to communicate with him, since he responds to nothing. He is beautiful, happy and we couldn't imagine life without him. He has taught us SOOOOOOOOOOOOO much about life these past 8 months - what's important, what's not, and that his hearing is our number one priority.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

August appointments

Wow! What a week! We drove 10 hours home from North Carolina on Sunday, then we traveled back and forth to Philly on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Then today was Lucas' IFSP (baby IEP) 6 month review. I'm ready to do nothing tomorrow, but I need to get my classroom ready for the school year. My pretend life as a stay-at-home is soon coming to an abrupt end. I will just have to look forward to next summer.

Our appointments went alright. Nate and I went without Lucas on Monday for our CI information meeting. I will admit that I didn't learn that much, but it was still nice to talk to someone about it and I got to see the implant and processors. We also discussed the three different companies that make the implant, so that we can make an informed decision on which one to choose. It's like picking out a car. We get to choose the make/model, and even the color!

On Tuesday we met with the AV therapist for an evaluation. Because he doesn't react to any sounds, we didn't really get anywhere, but continue to learn AV strategies, that we will definitely be employing when he gets implanted. It's not too early to learn these strategies.

Then we met with audiology on Tuesday, for new hearing aid molds and booth testing. Testing was quick, because we didn't get any responses. We'll try again next time. Nate and I also decided to get Lucas blue and white swirl ear molds. I thought it would come just in time for Penn State's football season. When Erin (our awesome audiologist!) asked if we wanted to get something other than clear, Nate and I both responded "sure, why not?" I think it's a good indication that we're finally accepting his hearing aids. Before we wanted to draw as little attention to them as possible, and now we want to add a little flair. Tuesday was good, because we like to chat with our audiologist(s) quite a lot! (Melissa too, if you're reading!!)

On Wednesday we met with Lucas' new ENT doctor, Dr. K. We learned 2 things. First, the MRI we had done on July 3 was not good enough. I'm not so happy with the local MRI group right now for their lack of knowledge and lack of professionalism for not calling me to let me know that they didn't know how to effectively perform the scan that I requested. So, he will have a repeat MRI next Wednesday August 20. Yippee.

The doctor also found fluid in his ears, although there was no infection. He wants to put tubes in his ears, so that when/if he's implanted, it won't postpone the surgery. I guess if there's either fluid or an ear infection, they won't implant. So, that surgery will be some time in late September or early October. I'm still working on those details. It's a simple procedure, that's supposed to take 7 or 8 minutes, but they still have to put him under general anesthesia.

So, we got some news we weren't expecting, but generally we had good appointments. I was hoping to have Lucas under anesthesia only 1 more time in the next 6 months, and instead it will be 3.

Although everything still looks good for CI candidacy, Lucas has definitely not been approved yet. We're still at the beginning of the process, with quite a few steps left before official candidacy. I talk about it a lot though, because I just have to believe that it's going to happen. It's our only hope.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Hearing Aid "Magic"

I hope you enjoy this video of Lucas as much as I do. It really puts a smile on my face every morning when I put his hearing aids in. Sometimes he vocalizes more, but I was just happy that he was performing for the camera! Enjoy!