Subtle and Sweet
Well, we have a hearing boy in our house tonight. And it is truly amazing. We honestly did not want him to go to sleep, we've been having so much fun.
AJ's responses at the clinic were subtle, yet sweet. He responded by blinking, smiling, and most of all calming and stopping whatever he was doing when he heard sound. It took quite a while to get a response out of him. Throw in a squishy lizard and a bunch of therapy balls that soothed his teething...that made it a bit more difficult. We were programming for at least a good hour. He sat in his booster chair (which was funny because its the chair we use for feeding therapy so I swear he thought his SLP should be feeding him between the beeps)and did better than we could have hoped he would do.
AJ's audi put the coil on his head to "locate" the magnet and "schhhwooop", it attracted right to the magnet in the internal device. It was weird but cool at the same time. We think we have a good magnet strength for him, not too strong or weak, but time will tell. She asked us to practice putting on the coil. He did not mind the cord/testing equipment being clipped to his shirt. AND, he most certainly did not mind the coil on his head. Hm. Interesting, we thought. Once or twice the coil came off with his movements against the back of the booster chair. Each time we placed it back on, he didn't even seem to notice. Hm. He is a little territorial of his processor/battery pack on his shoulder though. Geez. Go near that and he stakes his claim on it right away.
He didn't have too much response to the beeps/buzzing that she initially ran to test/set each electrode. He had a much clearer response to the live microphone AKA AJ hearing all sounds in the room including our speech (at whatever level he's set at). It was sort of surreal, because we didn't know what to say. They literally had to tell us, "You can talk to him." The whole experience is surreal. We were so busy watching his reactions we forgot to talk. We got over that quickly and called his name, asked what he was doing, DO YOU HEAR THAT?, etc.
I had ordered a CI shirt for AJ, but of course, after I ordered I realized it wouldn't arrive in time. So I used my creative talents, bought a pack of onesies, iron-on transfers, and went to town. When we arrived at the clinic he wore the "Got Sound?" shirt. After he was activated and had his snack, we changed him into the "I Hear" shirt. After he massacred his lunch, we changed him into the "CI Dude" shirt. By the way, the shirt I ordered came this afternoon. Figures!
We left the clinic with two boxes the size of suitcases full of equipment, etc.. AJ's audi showed us how everything works, and gave us some homework to complete before his 2-week follow-up on 5/1. AJ was busy chowing down two boxes of raisins while we were learning how to insert/remove pins, change batteries, connect the dots-sung to the tune of the leg bones connected to the...(the coil is connected to the...cord, the cord is connected to the...processor, the processor's connected to the...battery pack, oh how I love CIs!)
While on the way home, AJ turned his head to Daddy's voice and clapping. Hm.
When we arrived home, we thought we might as well do this purposefully before it happens incidentally and scares the crap out of him. So we let the dogs out and had our yellow lab, Sunny, bark on cue. AJ GIGGLED HYSTERICALLY! We cannot tell you how awesome that was to witness. We ate lunch to the tune of AJ vocalizing like crazy! Wow. He turned his head to shaking the dogs food in a metal bowl (behind him) and crumpling a paper bag. We put him down for a much needed nap. When he woke, it was time for OT. No sirree, this kiddo doesn't get a break! :) Truth be told, we would not have forced him to participate in therapy if he was not up to it. He giggled right after we put his "ear" on and reached out for his OT. He did well in therapy.
After OT, we played, and played and played. He happened to pick most of his toys that make sound. A few he didn't respond any differently too than he normally does, but a few he definitely had a different response too. We have been thinking all day...we aren't supposed to over do it. Let him ease into this. Don't put him on overload. But, he's doing so WELL! We even turned on the music channels and he heard and paid attention to music for the first time. Our biggest moment of the night I happened to catch on video. Just wait till you see it! It is truly awesome to see him react to sound and to be able to say, YES, YOU HEARD THAT!
We finished our evening with enchilada's (one of AJ's favorites) and his very own ice cream cake. He is now in bed. And here sits this small piece of equipment next to me. Equipment we have been waiting for what seems like forever for. Equipment that gave my son his first day of hearing today. An awesome day!! He did not touch his coil or processor at all today. He did not react negatively to sound. He may not be hearing things "clearly", but he sure is hearing. We could not ask for more. Nope. Not possible.
He is currently on P1 for his program. We will move to P2 in 2-3 days, then on to P3and P4 in the following days. We'll see if this positive reaction to sound continues. It's Day 1 and he heard 7.5 hours of today. Amazing. We are so proud, and so blessed.