Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Well, Tate has had a busy day.  A big day.  We drove to Seattle for his "device consult". 

Tate is thirteen.  Not an adult yet, but not a kid, either.  Old enough to have a say.  And Children's has been fabulous about this.  All the professionals we've met with have dealt directly with him, but not in a way that raised my hackles... always respectful of me and grandpa and grandma, who have both accompanied us to visits recently.

Tate is old enough.  Ultimately it's his body, his hearing, his decision.   But here's the thing.

Sometimes it's really hard for him to make decisions. 

I think it's partly a second-child thing, and partly just who he is.  He really wants to please the ones he loves and respects.  Like me.

So, bonus!  There's no bad choice here!  There are three companies approved in the US for cochlear implants, and they're all good.  We had narrowed it down to two, (with a strong front-runner) before today, and I wondered how Tate would do, or if he would "punt".

He did great.

He had good questions.  We discussed them.  He weighed the options.  He made his choice, and...

Advanced Bionics, here we come!

If you're wondering... here's the part that will be implanted behind his left ear.  The little thread-like projection is the electrode array that will slide into his cochlea.

And this is the Harmony Processor, that is worn BTE (behind the ear) like a hearing aid.  He chose the dark one.  I think he likes the "tech" look of it.
But if he thought he was done making decisions... he was just beginning.  There are so many choices!  First, which set of colors to customize the processor and the part that sticks to the magnet?  (If you count from the left, he chose the group of #5-#8.)

But wait, we're not finished... he's also getting...

... if you guessed a Swiss Army knife, look again...

... this is his second processor, the Neptune, which also has an array of color choices

Tate went with black, lime green, and the darker blue.

The Neptune really 'sealed the deal' for him.  It's fully waterproof.  Get that?

He can swim with it.

That may not seem like a big deal, but think about it for a minute.  Any time he swims, he is very nearly completely deaf. 

He can't hear anyone calling him, wanting to play with him, or warning him of danger.  

I know, you don't hear much when you're actually swimming - you know, underwater.  But it's not just that.  It's all the time at the beach, around the water, hanging out and goofing around with friends.  And it's not just swimming.  It's squirt gun battles with the neighbors.  SAR-EX's in the rain.  Heck, anything in the rain.  I mean, this is the Pacific Northwest, the land of "liquid sunshine"... ha ha ha.

So now we wait.

His scheduled surgery date is... July 11.  I hadn't wanted to share that, because it seems too far away.  Actually, we're really hoping they'll bump him up.  Talked with the doc about that today (she's the head of the program, but not one of the surgeons.)  She seemed surprised he was scheduled so far out too.  Asked if we were committed to the surgeon we were assigned.

I like the guy and don't want to step on any toes, but... no.  We'll take "first available".  They're looking for a cancellation.  They could call us at any time and say, "Come tomorrow."  And that would be fine.  Tate is cool as a cucumber.

I'm hoping and praying he can move up, because here's the thing.  He really wants to go to the CAP Basic Encampment in August.  It's like a week of Boot Camp, and he really, really wants to go.  (I know, I know, what could be more fun than living in barracks, eating MREs, and sweating your heart out with a bunch of other cadets? ... really.)  Yah, in the big picture, which is more important?  The CI, of course.  But to a thirteen year old boy, the whole grueling military experience is like heaven on earth.  And if he's recovering from CI surgery (which can affect your vestibular system) and supposed to be in the process of mapping appointments... well, that may not all work out so well.

So, by all means, feel free to pray with us that his surgery gets moved up!

In the meantime, we're kind of giddy, to be honest.  I mean, pinch me.  His ear, that has been deaf for almost six years, will hear again.  I have to admit to being your basic tech neanderthal, but I'm absolutely overjoyed at the technology available to us - to Tate - today.

I'll let you know if we hear anything!


Felicity said...

That's so exciting - I really hope he'll get bumped up!
I don't know anything about things like these, but WOW! how nice that they come in colours etc.

Ruby said...

Wonderfully exciting!! I look forward to reading about it and whether he stays "cool as a cucumber" when he first hears again!

dlefler said...

Oh, JULY! I am praying, praying, praying that there is a cancellation and that he gets moved up in the schedule. The Neptune is so amazingly awesome - hearing in the water! Love it! I've heard that you can tour the AB factory in Los Angeles, which is cool (several families at John Tracy did that).

Praying for earlier hearing so that Tate can "enjoy" a grueling military experience, lol!

Ann said...

I'm about to admit something about myself - I cry easily. And yep, I'm in tears right now! Of excitement, though! It's just so REAL, and I cannot imagine how it feels for you! Definitely praying for a much closer date!

Liz said...


I am so excited for Tate! Kai's teacher at his auditory/oral school had her CI done last summer at the age of 33 and she said it has been life changing for her. This summer will be such an exciting time for Tate!

Good luck and many prayers!


Rebecca D said...

So cool... We will pray he gets bumped up!

Organizing Mommy said...

Praise the Lord!! What a blessing all around. And it wouldn't surprise me a bit if it gets moved up. Blessings!

The dB family said...

I am so excited for you and Tate!!! I would have never known so many colours were available just to be able to hear well! Still praying his surgery date gets moved up and that all goes well!!

Blessings and hugs!!

Lesley said...

Wow that is so exciting! I am very excited for you all. We just had Collin's 3 month hearing test (no more mapping) and he scored 78%! and it was a hard test, (because he is 6 and still working on vocab, sentence structure, etc) So he did really well. I can't wait to hear about your experience. My husband and I are now frustrated when he DOESN'T have it on. Which is huge considering 6 months ago we didn't even have one! So good luck and I will be praying for speedy surgery and recovery!