So we have a date in about 8 weeks time. There are few words to sum up how we feel but generally it’s ‘sh1t’ – on so many levels…. and even between the two of us (and of course anyone who has met us knows we agree on everything………..well publicly at least).
I’m not usually potty-mouthed or a writer of profanity, so why that particularly word? Any parent who has been down our path will understand, but for the rest of the world, here goes:
Ollie doesn’t have to have the surgery. His life will be different, but he could grow up in a world without sound and we could sign and in many ways it would be a rich and fulfilling life. This was the only choice open to parents like us decades ago. Make the best of what you have and do your best. In that sense, the surgery is optional. It is not a life-threatening condition, merely a life-altering condition. But we want him to hear. We want to approximate the life we thought he was going to get.
Ollie doesn’t have to have the surgery now. Alice was two when she got her first implant and I think we could all agree that she has certainly made a success of it. At two you have a much more developed brain and a better understanding of the world. But current research shows that progress with a cochlear implant is a bell curve (and as a good statistician I know) you can have outliers, you can have fairly fat curves but those implanted before one have the best outcomes. At one Ollie will have less of a speech and language delay; his brain will still be elastic enough to mold itself to aural not to visual language and frankly a one year gap is easier than a two year gap; the smaller the gap the less hard we have to work.
It’s a big operation. He’s tiny – well not for an nine-month-old, but nine-month-old babies are still small. He’s around 8kg and his tiny head is still small enough to sit in my hands. He can’t look after himself and won’t understand why he can’t eat, why there’s a big bandage, why he’s wobbly and being sick. We can’t imagine waving our little boy away for anywhere between five and eight hour’s of surgery and praying that it all works out. We don’t like leaving him for a second; seven hours (probably with going under, testing and recovery) is far too long not to hold him and know he’s safe. I can not imagine how we will fill the time without him. I think it boils down to this. We know surgery is the right option and the right thing to do. We know he will benefit from it and it will open up the world to him. I just wish it happened yesterday, so that I don’t have to deal with it.
Let’s all wish him well. We know his big sister will be holding his hand through it all……