Day 1 at the John Tracy Clinic was very successful. We were a little worried about how Lucas would transition, but he did just fine (indicated by the fact that no one came to retrieve us). Lucas even took a nap during rest time. We'll see how day 2 goes! We were told today that sometimes day 2 is tougher than day 1, because the kids are anticipating the separation. We're still hoping for the best.
We learned a lot of introductory information today about what the next 3 weeks will be like. We were introduced to all of the staff, and got a brief history on the clinic, including the life of Mrs. Tracy. We were given a tour of the facility, which is quite large. We were given our intense schedule, which includes a parent support group, talks on various related topics, an adult & school age panel, guest speakers, sessions with speech, audiology and family counselors (those upon request), among other things! We were given breaks to check in on our kiddos through the observation booths. I took this picture through the window (Lucas is wearing yellow):
We are enjoying our time immensely, but are still getting used to a few minor adjustments...
1. We're living in a USC apartment, and I feel like I'm in college again (not a bad thing to me). We have to use our swipe card to get everywhere - the main entrance, the elevator, the hallways. We feel very secure though.
2. We're so glad we decided to rent a car for our entire stay. It's been well worth it already. But, this car's lights do not automatically go on, and this evening I drove half way home from my errand with them off. Oops. Thank goodness it was only beginning to get dark.
3. Although we don't completely live in the country at home, it's an adjustment to live in a big city, especially with a car. And the freeways are another story altogether. They are very efficient, but a little scary. I'm used to the Schuylkill Expressway, which is four lanes divided. Here, there are many 10 lane divided highways.
4. I'm used to being able to talk on my cell phone whenever I want to while I'm driving. Here in California, it's illegal to talk on the phone while driving. In PA, it's not. It's a good law, but I'm not used to it.
5. Nate and I are very accustomed to being able to speak to each other in Spanish all the time while we're in public, because no one knows what we are saying. Not here. We've opted for German, but Nate doesn't speak German that well, so we've opted for baby German.
6. Our little apartment is spacious, but I'm not used to one floor living. The door knobs are also the french door type kind, and Lucas can open all the doors, including the one to his bedroom. He scared me half to death when he came to our room at 4 AM and crawled into bed with me. But... I loved it. He can't do that at home.
Things to which we are adjusted:
1. good Mexican food
2. non-humid 70+ degree southern California weather
3. spending time with families who get what we're going through, and understand why we're here
4. special family time
In addition to all of the logistical information we learned today, I gathered two main points about the John Tracy Clinic. The first is that their services are free to all of their families, thanks to 5 million dollar annual fundraising efforts and donations. Isn't that amazing?!? The second is that the family is the most important component of JTC's philosophy. They know they can do wonders with our children, but if we don't carry through at home what strategies are utilized at school, then the efforts will have less effect. The parents are just as important, if not a little more important than the kids here. This is what sets them apart from the rest. I just knew it would be a special place.
Lucas was born with profound bilateral sensorineural hearing loss to two hearing parents. He wore hearing aids starting at 3 months, but he got no benefit from them, as we soon found out. He received a cochlear implant in his right ear 3 days after his first birthday. His second ear was implanted 1 month before his third birthday. Cochlear implants have changed Lucas's life immensely. This site was developed to chronicle his life and progress learning to listen and speak!