Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

Our blessings are great this Easter and I hope everyone who is reading is equally blessed!

I have not had a chance to post regularly lately and I think that will not change anytime soon. We are very busy between kids and work. Darby is in track and Carter is sort of an honorary member going to the practices and participating as much as they will allow. They are also both in the school play, which I am crafting some costumes for. Darby is still playing indoor soccer, for which I am helping coach and Carter and Chris are very busy with scouts (we have an exciting camping trip to Yosemite coing up for that). Jaden got two caps on some "defective" teeth and her and Jack have both been battling allergies. No rest for the weary here...

When things get busy I have a tendency to forget stuff and do some crazy-ish things. So here is one from yesterday... I went to the grocery store to get stuff for the week. As usual, I was in a rush. I had a few things in my cart and stopped to get some pork chops. I found what I needed, plopped it into the cart and sped off. Two aisles later, I went to put my popcorn in the cart and was shocked to see two bottles of wine that I had NOT selected. Then, I realized that the only thing that I had actually selected that was in the cart was my pork chops! Yikes! So, I headed back over to the meat aisle and transferred my pork chops over to my actual cart and left some poor person's cart there. I am sure someone else now feels like they are losing their mind! Good grief!

Anyway, Jack is almost finished with his antibiotics. They definitely helped as his nose is not oozing green anymore. We do notice that if we miss the Claritin for one day, he is miserable and I think has a sore throat. So, I am looking forward to that passing. His hearing seems to be better, but he is preferring to wear his BAHA right now saying he can hear better with it. I am fairly sure it is because of fluid, but if his hearing doesn't improve in the next few weeks, I will probably see if Dr. Roberson can see him.

Some other humorous miscellany:

This week, Jack was wearing some headphones. He has always liked to wear these and usually wears them on his cheek bones, which I assume he hears conductively. I had never thought about headphones since his surgery. So, I went over to him and pulled them up on to his hear and he instantly began SCREAMING. They have a child-proof loudness setting, but it was obviously too loud for him and was a bit of a shock! I felt awful. So, I showed him the volume button, and helped him turn it down. He was very happy after that...

Yesterday, we were coloring our Easter eggs, which was great fun for all. The only scary thing is how many eggs we have to eat when we have 4 kids wanting to color eggs. Carter took a look at Jack's work and said, "I know why he is putting so many stickers on his eggs, it's to hold them together!" Needless to say, Jack was a little rough on the eggs! Here is a sample:

Nonetheless, fun was had by all hunting eggs.

Lastly, only people that moved to California from Colorado would actually swim in an outdoor swimming pool in March. But, yes, 5/6 of our family was in the pool today, on Easter Sunday. Yes, on purpose. And no, I did not partake. Crazy!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Day 60 - Buggers everywhere

Well, Jack has gotten sick. Last week he seemed to have some allergy or cold thing going on. He had a stuffy, runny nose encrusted with green goo. His speech turned nasaly sounding and he has been saying "What?" or flat out not responding. I starting thinking he had fluid in his ear. I e-mailed Dr. Roberson this weekend and he called in a prescription. He just wants to make sure we don't damage his still healing ear. We are two days into the antibiotics. The green is gone and that is good. The nose, however, is still like a leaky faucet. I also don't think we have much improvement in the hearing. Probably still fluid in there.

So, we have a fairly grumpy boy on our hands.

He did let me take some pictures, so here they are:

Very slowly, the swelling is going down and there is more definition to his ear. Patience is a virtue, right? There is some wrinkling still on the back of his ear, but the skin is all getting more soft and feeling more "part of him." That probably sounds strange, but at first, it felt like I was touching a plastic ear. Now it feels more warm and fleshy and part of his body. Here is a funny thing too... When he gets mad, his whole ear turns beet red. Good blood flow...

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Jack gets a banana!

A SPEECH banana, that is!

I want to share what happened today. To understand it fully, you really must get to know the speech banana! Here is a picture of an audiogram (decibels/loudness up and down and frequency/pitch across) with a banana shape outlined on it. If you can hear sounds within the banana shaped area, you can hear typical conversational speech. Many other sounds are shown pictorally on the audiogram.

For the first two years of his life in China and when Jack first came home, he was hearing at about 60 decibels across frequencies - completely below the entire speech banana. He could hear the dog bark, the lawnmower and his parents holler, "NO!" He could not hear normal speech, which is why he had no discernable Mandarin. His hearing loss was moderately severe.

When Jack got his BAHA from the Let Them Hear Foundation (have I mentioned how AWESOME they are???), he was hearing in the 20-30 decibel range. This put his hearing within the normal range except for very high frequency sounds.

Today, with no hearing aid, he heard sounds in the 20-40 decibel range depending on the frequency. He has access to almost the entire speech range without his BAHA! He only has mild hearing loss now and is at 40 decibels for only very high and very low frequency sounds. Here is a copy of his latest audiogram:

He really did well with the hearing test and cooperated like he was a pro. Next, Dr. Colen cleaned his ear out while he laid very still (wow - what a difference!). It is possible that his hearing test results might have been a little better with some of the debris out of his ear. Everything is still looking great. We will stop the ear drops now unless he gets his ear wet (like swimming) and won't have another appointment until his next preop appointment. The last thing we did was get a loaner BAHA for Jack's left ear from the Let Them Hear Foundation and dropped off Jack's to be sent in for repair. It is our hope that we will someday be able to donate it so that perhaps another child can have the gift of hearing!

I am exhausted from such an exciting day, and again amazed at how far we have come....

Monday, March 03, 2008

Day 46 - Speech! Speech!

Here is a picture of Jack's ear from today. Above his ear, you can see that the little scab fell off his scalp where the cup had rubbed it raw. This happened yesterday. There are already hairs growing back. I think it will be fine.

Well, tomorrow is Jack's hearing test. I am excited to know the results. I can tell he can hear better and his speech is evidence! I am going to post a little clip of him working on his flash cards. I am just amazed at how far he has come! His speech teachers will be thrilled to know how hard we have worked on his homework (we have been kind of bad since his surgery keeping up with everything).

So here is the budding conversationalist!