I completely ignored the blog during the second half of November but I am done with my class for the semester and can get caught up here.
First, Joshua failed his fourth OAE (hearing screen) two weeks ago, which forced us to accept that he did have hearing loss. Chris and I both spent lots of time grappling with this knowledge. Second, I hosted Thanksgiving for one of my brothers and his family. This forced Chris and I to spend some more time unpacking (finally) our things. I also spent roughly a week getting ready for the big day, shopping for simple stuff like a table cloth (I realize now that I didn’t entertain much during the 8 years that I was a single parent). It was a fun day and sort of served to christen our house. Chris and I both felt, at the conclusion of the day, that this house was really turning into our home. It has a soul about it and we are pleased to be uncovering that soul, bit by bit. We, however, certainly felt the absence of Hannah on that day. She made it through the day in Japan without too much homesickness. I am grateful for that–now, she just has to make it through Christmas and then she’ll have made it through the big four events (Josh’s birth, her birthday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas) away from home. If you read this Hannah, I am proud of you; keep on plugging.
Now, for the good news. Yesterday, we brought Josh to Children’s Hospital for an ABR. We were hoping to get Josh to sleep through the exam without sedation. I set out to sleep deprive him yesterday morning. I got him through the morning without a nap, but he fell asleep (go figure) in his car seat on the way to the hospital. Of course, when we were checking him in, he woke up. It seemed to be enough sleep to take the edge off. He has become very interested in his surroundings lately and so we waited a whole hour for him to get back to sleep. We appreciated our very kind audiologist who worked with us on this, giving us the time and space (even a better room) to get him to sleep. Before he was even asleep, she was able to repeat the OAE, which he failed again. She had much better equipment than the other two clinics where he received his earlier tests. It was much less of a hassle. I started wondering why we weren’t just referred to her much sooner (when it would have also been much easier to get Josh to sleep). Once asleep, she was able to administer the full ABR on the right ear. We were relieved to find that he only registered mild hearing loss in that ear. She also did a bone conduction test, which showed his inner ear was working well. This, and the fact that he had good hearing in the high frequencies, led her to believe that his loss might yet be temporary. She was only able to get through part of the ABR on the left side before Josh woke up. His hearing wasn’t as good on that side, but still registering in the mild range. The good news is that this audiologist (really, of the 4 we’ve seen so far, she was hands down the best) thinks there is a good chance that the loss is temporary on both sides. She still thinks there might be fluid behind the middle ear that is causing his current loss. The ENT will not do anything about the fluid at this time. So, for now, we wait. Josh will go back in late January to be retested. If there is still mild hearing loss, we’ll begin to talk about tubes. We don’t need to do anything further until then. This is a relief because I thought I would be spending my entire break in doctor offices. I asked about hearing aids. She said that Josh was hearing well enough to avoid hearing aids for now. If by six months, they haven’t been able to improve the hearing through tubes, they may consider hearing aids.
For now, we have been given back some hope that this might resolve. We are also rejoicing in the knowledge that sound is getting through to him. Now, when I tell Josh the noise a kitty makes, or what the dog says, I can rest assured that he is hearing me when he flashes me that big grin at the “meow” or the “wuff, wuff.” I give ever so much thanks for this. Thank you all for your prayers and good thoughts.