Making the decision for Alice to have her first CI was, for us, an easy one.
Alice could hear nothing useful. She had no language.
Whilst there were obviously risks involved, not least whether it would actually work or not, the miracle of hearing was something that far outweighed the risk in our minds.
As we have written numerous times on this blog, Alice has been doing very well with her CI. Her language continues to improve and, in short windows at least, she appears normal. The gap is narrowing and, for the first time since we found out she was deaf, there is a small chink of light at the end of the tunnel.
Now let’s throw a spanner in the works. Do we have her other ear done?
We always had the option of having Bilaterals implanted simultaneously last year. The advice of the surgeon (based on Alice’s ANSD) and our comfort threshold meant that we went for one at the time, with the option of a second later on. Last March when the CI journey began, the second wasn’t even on our minds. Now the time has come to decide, only this time, the starting point is very different.
Alice hears well and is progressing well with her one CI. Many children only ever have one and continue to do well. The evidence for the benefits of a second is patchy and largely annecdotal, but on this we must base our decision.
It may well give Alice benefit, particularly in noisy situations, but she will be able to cope without it. Equally, there are the odd (albeit very rare) stories of the second implant causing a child to reject the first. Do we really want for Alice to take a step back? More to the point. do we want to put our beautiful daughter back through the anguish, pain and confusion of another 4-5 hour surgery?
Whatever we decide Alice will have to live with it for the rest of her life – hopefully she will thank us for it one day, whatever the decision is.
But tell me honestly, what would you do?