Thursday, May 8, 2014

Tate's CI Adventure, Take Two, or This Ain't My First Rodeo

I could almost reprint the post from 2012 (here, if you're interested.)

Grandma Grasshopper accompanied Tate and me to Seattle Children's yesterday.  (Grandpa Grasshopper is away, doing some volunteer work for a remote Christian camp, and Kerry stayed home with the other boys.)

Didn't have to be there too early - check in at 10am.

You see that smile on his face?  He wasn't faking it.
Tate has my admiration for his calm, un-anxious acceptance.
Just like last time, he seemed completely at peace and without fear.
I know that has a lot to do with how well he tolerates the surgery and recovery.

Two years ago, as we drove to Seattle, he said something like,

Mom, do you think there's something wrong with me?
Am I missing something?
Because I'm not worried about this at all.

Like, what's up?
Am I too dumb to worry, or what?

I assured him then, and again this time, that we're all calm and confident,
at peace with the decision as well as the surgeon and the hospital.
That peace in his heart is a gift from God :D

And yes, they do mark which ear they're going to do!
Not sure what the surgeon wrote, but it might be his initials.

Oh the layers...
we checked in and got our name badges.
We checked in on the 6th floor.
We checked in with the surgery reception.
We met with an intake nurse.
We met with the anesthesiologist.
We met with the surgeon.
We met with the OR nurses.

And everyone was completely kind and reassuring,
telling Tate exactly what would happen,
accommodating his wishes and concerns.

And off he went.
He walked off to the OR as unconcerned as if he were going for lunch.
Oh that does this Mama's heart good -
seeing him relaxed, confident...
such a young MAN.

And I was glad to have Grandma there to hang out with.
We grabbed a bite of lunch, read our books,
snoozed in our chairs, and waited...


... we met a very groggy Tate in his room.

Actually, the surgeon met with us first.
All had gone well.
The CI is placed properly, all 16 electrodes are working,
and his incision - which I saw later - looks great.
No stitches this time - they GLUED it.
(And that doctor had the nicest stitches last time - I was impressed.)
But the glue is a great deal because it apparently seals the wound from germs.
No twice-daily antibiotic cream needed.

Tate dozed for awhile, but by 7pm he was more himself.
Awake and, if not actually hungry, interested in eating.
Chicken noodle soup sounded good, with some crackers.
And some ice cream went down nicely and soothed his throat.
I guess it felt kind of weird and he had a bad taste in his mouth from the breathing tube.

And look!  He got the Red Thumb Upgrade!
(Everybody will want one, now.)

Actually, that thing drove me nuts.
Tate was monitored all night - pulse, breathing rate, oxygenation, etc.
Well, that kid is so fit, and sleeps so soundly,
that his resting heart rate is low.
And every time it dropped below 50bpm,
the alarm went off.

HE couldn't hear it
(no great loss without some small gain?)
but I could.

Four times,
before the nurse turned off that alarm.

On top of all the other routine checks through the night,
and waking him up to take meds once or twice.

And, you know, I had one of those fabulously comfortable
fold-out chair/bed things.

So we were really thankful that this morning he was...

eating and drinking normally,
coping fine with pain,
(on a scale of 1-10 the worst he ever said he was feeling was a 3,
and usually he says a 1 or a 2),
and - a great relief -
not feeling dizzy at all...

so they discharged us :D

I'm so glad we rode down with my mom (Grandma Grasshopper) and Kerry came for us, because I'm not sure I would have been a very alert driver coming home!

Tate is a champ.

If you're not familiar with a Cochlear Implant,
the surgery placed the electrodes into his cochlea.
They're connected to a receiver which is under the skin, above and behind his ear.
But the internal components don't do anything by themselves.
I guess it's kind of like having a (land-line) phone that's not connected to anything yet.

The normal progression of things is that Tate will need two to three weeks to heal before they fit him with the external components - the processor - and activate it.  In other words, he's not hearing anything yet.  But that's the plan.  Activation day sets off a flurry of appointments in Seattle where they continuously adapt the programming of the processor to stimulate the electrodes to customize and maximize what he hears.  He'll also be receiving weekly therapy through the summer to help him adapt to the new sounds he's hearing.  (Because it's REALLY WEIRD at first!)

But for now...

we are thanking and praising God for how well things are going!

* PS *

Tate CAN hear through the processor he received two years ago.
He's not getting any "new" hearing until activation day (May 27),
but he's hearing essentially what he was the day before the surgery.

Ta ta...


Q said...

Wow - even his color didn't change much from the first photo to the last. Home . . . I bet you're both happy about that!

RogersUIO said...

PTL! Thanks for the update full of information. I love hearing you talk about your kids -- we really want to me you all! How about sometime Summer 2015 when we're in Seattle?

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Q - yep. He was as cool as a cucumber. Amazing.

Nikki - we'd love to meet you guys! Keep me posted as to when you'll be in the area!


nina the mom said...

yay!!! I got your email last night, but it was after our planned 6 hour power outage. ( so no Wi-Fi to check your blog!). so glad to read all the good news this morning! Praying you have a rest-filled weekend ahead of you!
<3 <3 <3

Wilma said...

So happy that this is completed. He is an amazing young man. I know that you, his mom, are so thankful for him and his attitude.

Anonymous said...

I have to comment because you say that "he can't hear anything" - that's in the newly operated on ear. He is hearing fine via the ear that had the cochlear implant two years ago - so communication is great. Gramma Grasshopper

Joyful Reader said...

Whata' Champ! Happy to hear the good news! Hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day weekend!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to you all. I admire you as parents to walk through this with him. It even shows in the pictures that he is becoming a confident young man.

Natalie said...

I'm in the Seattle area and found your blog though another CI-related blog and have enjoyed reading about the adventures of your boys, Tate in particular. I was implanted April 21at UW and switched on 2 days ago with AB Naida and Neptune processors. After being HOH for 36 years, I'm having a little too much fun hearing sounds I haven't heard in years! Hope Tate bounces back quickly and I look forward to reading how he's doing with two. I have a feeling that a 2nd may be in my future as well! Blessings to you all!

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Oh Natalie, our HUGE congratulations to you! Prayers and best wishes for a smooth transition for you too :D It must be overwhelming at times to have a barrage of sound after years of silence - glad you're enjoying the process!


Lissa said...

Wow!! I can't wait to see how he does with his 2nd Implant. I wonder how it will compare to his first implant. I cannot wait until I finally get a 2nd implant if the NHS will fund it, even though it may be 20 or 30 years time LOL