Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Do's and Don'ts of Recovery

Sleep when you're tired
Enjoy your family
Eat a real breakfast every day
Go outside when the weather is nice
Take each day and savor the wonder of life

Have an allergy attack. Sneezing hard sneezes over and over again is painful.
Over work yourself
Get irritated with those around you

This past week has been wonderful. We've reconnected as a family. The kids have really gotten to know their father, and have had quality play and snuggle time with him. We've taken naps. We've eaten good food. We've taken things slowly.

If only every day could be like this, but it can't. Life will go on as usual, things will change, life will evolve.

This has been an excellent reminder to savor every moment of life, it's not all about work.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Stitches are out!!!

We were scheduled for an appointment this afternoon for David to get his stitches out. In the morning, the office called and asked if we could come in this morning instead. Apparently his surgery got bumped because equipment wasn't there on time (I'm SO glad that didn't happen to us) so he needed to shuffle his schedule around.

We hopped in the car and off we went.

Everyone in the office was all smiles when they saw David. The nurse that took us back thanked us for the flowers that we had sent to the office after surgery. They had worked their tails off to get his surgery approved and back on the books for Monday (that's another story that I'll tell at a later time).

Dr. Cameron came in and took a look at David and told him that it looked perfect and that he had taken very good care of it :) Then out came the stitches. We were thinking we were done, and getting ready to go when Dr. Cameron told us to hang on for a minute.

In he comes with a big box. It felt like Christmas. The box was David's external parts to the cochlear implant. Two processors, batteries, a carrying case, a big electric dry aid, re-chargers for the batteries, just lots of stuff. Fun stuff. Amazing technology.

The initial mapping session is going to take place on May 19th at 1:00.


Now, pictures.



The VERY exciting big box:

Weezy likes it too!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Support Systems

One of the most important things you can have before, during and after getting a cochlear implant is a good support system.

The candidacy process is long, and includes lots of testing. The actual surgery and recovery is physically grueling, and the process of being turned on is a long one.

When David is "turned on" in May, he will have many months of weekly mapping and speech therapy.

I have stood by him throughout it all, and we've had many wonderful family members step up and watch the kids during testing appointments, a last minute pre-op appointment, the actual surgery, and most of the week after surgery.

In the weeks and months to come, I will be there, through thick and thin, the good, the bad, and the incredibly frustrating. I know that those who have stood by us so far will be there too, cheering David on from the sideline and sharing in all of his joys and sorrows. They'll be there to pick us up when we're down, and celebrate when things are worth celebrating. They'll be there to help emotionally, and physically by watching the kids when we have something important to do.

To all of you out there reading, Thank you.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The stitches progression



They get a little better everyday. They come out on Monday afternoon!!!

What do we do all day?

We rest, we play, we rest some more :)

Laying on the pullout couch

He sleeps...

David and Jaime

David and Eloise

Elizabeth and Eloise

"QUIT taking pictures of me doing dishes..."

"Hi Daddy!!!"

Friday, April 25, 2008


Q: What is a cochlear implant?
A: A cochlear implant is a surgically implanted device that directly stimulates to cochlea to transmit sound messages to the brain. The internal device is made up of an electrode array that goes inside the cochlea, and a receiver/stimulator. The receiver/stimulator contains a magnet so that the external processor can be hooked up to it.
The external part of the cochlear implant is a microphone (attached to the processor) a processor (either body worn or behind the ear) and a magnet that attaches to the side of the head to transmit the messages to the stimulator and then on to the brain.

Q: What kind of implant does David have?
A: David has the Cochlear Nucleus Freedom. More information on this particular implant can be found at www.cochlearamericas.com

Q: Why did David only have one side done?
A: David still gets pretty good benefit from his hearing aid. When he was going through the testing for the implant, the specialists talked to us about only doing the right side, where David's hearing is worse.

Q: Will David be able to get the other side done?
A: After he goes through the mapping process and speech therapy, if David likes the implant and what it does for him, he can choose to have the other side implanted as well. This would not happen until he's had his current implant for at least a year.

Q: When will the device be activated
A: Sometime around a month - 6 weeks after the surgery, we will go in for the initial mapping session

Q: What is mapping?
A: Mapping is the programming of the processor. It will adjust volume, and have different programs for different environments. It will need to be adjusted several times in the first few months so that David will get the most benefit from the device.

Q: Does it come off?
A: The external part of the implant is worn just like a hearing aid (David is getting the behind the ear processor) It comes off just like a hearing aid too. At night, so he can sleep, and for showering, swimming, and any water activities.

Q: Does it use batteries?
A: With the Freedom, David will have the option of using two different kinds of batteries. Rechargeable lithium ion batteries, and disposable batteries. The lithium ion batteries are a more cost effective method :)

I hope this answered most of people's questions. If you have any other questions, please leave a comment and I'll answer anything you'd like to know!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Bandages are off!

The stitches look good. David is relieved to have the pressure off his head, those bandages were tight :)

Jaime is afraid to look at him now :( Poor thing. He'll have fun going back with Nana today.

The next step is getting that hair washed (later today) and getting the stitches out (Monday)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

we're all home, we're all happy

Getting to where we are.

David was just implanted with a Cochlear Nucleus Freedom implant on 4/21/08. It took years to get to this point. I'll start at the very beginning.

David was born a normal kid, just like any other kid. The 3rd child in a family of 4 children. He got very ill with spinal menengitis when he was 11 months old. He spent a month in the hospital recovering and came home right before his first birthday. Having this disease caused him to lose most of his hearing. By the time he was two years old, he was fitted bilaterally with hearing aids.

David went through life with his hearing aids, wearing an auditory trainer in school, and working in speech therapy and with a teacher of the deaf throughout his years in school.

Around 4 years ago, we (as a newly married couple) went to see a new audiologist about new hearing aids. She said that the newest technology at this point wouldn't be terribly beneficial to David and that there was one in between digital and amplification that would be the best option for him in hearing aids. She also mentioned that he should look into getting cochlear implants.

We started doing some research and thought that it looked really interesting and beneficial, but David wasn't ready to take that step yet (after all, it is a life altering surgery!)

We went back to his audiologist that he had been seeing his whole life. David mentioned the CI and she agreed, that he would be a good candidate. At that point, David still wanted to think about it more. He was fitted with his new hearing aids and off we went into the wonderful world of digital (semi anyway) hearing aids.

At first they were GREAT! Then, things started getting hard again and David started thinking more and more about the Implants. When we went to get him new ear molds, he brought it up. His audiologist gave him the name of an ENT in another state that did the implants.

We went and met with the Doctor, and started the testing process. This took a long 6 months. David is what they call a borderline candidate. He's just on the edge of being able to get implanted. The reason that he's on the edge is because he communicates well with his hearing aids even though it's terribly frustrating for him at times. The thing that pushed him over the edge into approval is his strong motivation and desire for change.

He recieved the implant on 4/21/08 at 8:30 in the morning. The surgery went perfectly. There was no resistance while everything was being put into the proper places and the device is in perfect working order. David spent the night in the hospital recovering. He was extremely sick upon waking up! He's home now and doing well.

Tomorrow the bandages come off. He can't wait for this, as they are really bothering him at this point. The stitches come out on Monday.

In a short month, David will get the external part of the device and be turned on for the first time. We're not expecting any miracles, and we know that there is a lot of hard work to come, but we're both incredibly excited to begin the next leg of the journey!