MRI Results

Dr. K (CI ENT @ CHOP) called last week and left a message for me about Lucas' MRI results. At first, I was mad that I chose not to answer the call (because it was a random phone number), but then I was glad to have his message on my voice mail, because I listened to it like 10 times and got something different out of it every time I listened to it (and still continue to...).

He said that it appears that Lucas has auditory nerves in both ears and he said "that's good!" Without auditory nerves the CI would not be possible, because the CI bypasses the cochlea and stimulates the nerve directly to create "sound". So I'm really excited that physically he should be a candidate! That's what we were hoping for. I'm sure that we will learn more August 11-13, when we are able to ask the many questions that we have!

Usually I don't look forward to going to CHOP, as it's just another reminder of Lucas' deafness. This time, however, I'm kind of excited. We will have our CI info meeting, an appointment with his AV therapist, another booth testing appointment to see if we can chart his hearing loss anymore (and be fitted with new ear molds) and then an appointment with this new CI ENT, who can discuss the MRI with us at length. Hopefully we can then move forward with planning his CI surgery. For now, it's off to a relaxing week at the beach on Sunday before that all takes place!


I met Mike Patz at the base of the Town Wall the other day. Index has some of the best granite I have ever climbed on and the Town Wall features a stock pile of line after line after line. Good stuff. I found a hat there, which was quite nice. It's striped, has a dragon on it, and is definitely a hip hat for a hip guy. For half of the day I wore it crooked, so the bill was pointing towards one o'clock. It was quite fashionable, until I realized that it's really hard to walk straight with a crooked hat. I ran into a couple trees and got lost on the trail to the Blues Cliff. That night, Mike and I stayed with my buddy Cole Allen. Cole's a classic character. We had to drive to Goldbar to get gas for his vanagon, as the fuel gauge on his clunker broke long ago and he'd used up all his unleaded. At the gas station Cole struck up a conversation with a woman who insisted she had been in Twisted Sister, the eighties glam band. She certainly looked the part.

I've been trying to work on an article about the bouldering here in Leavenworth. Max is going to have a bunch of pictures published in Climbing. Someone else is already writing the article but, I might try to submit mine anyway. I wonder what the protocol is and what the ethics surrounding it are.

I really need to buy a computer.

Last week, I ran over to Jessica's house, picked up some flour and a few of the Rainer cherries from her backyard, and made an awesome cherry pie. I wish I had pictures. It was inspiring. I really like baking. Pies are fun. I need to branch out and start baking some more difficult shit. Maybe croissants or turnovers.

this land is my land

"thank you for the seeds you've planted in me
thank you for the earth roots at my feet
thank you for the sun that greens my leaves"
-michael franti

our summer adventure began in the wyoming wilderness. tucked in deep with cabins full of relatives that had come long and far to connect our roots. i can't wait to be holed up in the middle of nowhere with so many people that i love again.
my favorite parts: watching cousin elias catch his first fish ever, laughing with the francis girls, a big girl hike with my aunties, four-wheeling to the lake with my dad, seeing my handsome cousins and their fish-gutting-all-things-wilderness-loving-wives, listening to my gram and her sisters tell stories of back then, watching my sisters swing, and andrey (the happiest boy alive) completely in his element.

but there's nothing better than seeing things for the first time through lukey eyes:

a brave boy on a canoe ride with daddy-0

eating his first fresh fish
::caught by reno, gutted by ali, cooked by kyle and devoured by luc::
me and my boy. thinkin' about somethin'
wonder. wonder. wonder.

::my life in six words::

gigantic heart. happy soul. brave girl.

the passionista herself has called me out in a tag. and it's a good thing because my life as a blogger was hanging by a thread. a great way to jump back in - head first and dig around in my brains for something with substance worth posting.
i just spent many many weeks tucked into the pretty freshly painted yellow guest room of my parents home. i was attached at the hip to my mama while we explored beautiful stores, filled our tummy's with delicious food - not to ever forget the snitch of sea salt topped caramel and chocolates and made big plans for someday crazy girl adventures. i watched my littlest sister jump with both feet into a life of sweet baby love. she is my super-mama-nursing-hero. i celebrated my daddy on his day with a ride on the trax to sneak in a free concert and get lost a little bit. i shared a bathroom with steen and even if the only moment i really saw her was while she sat in the sink to dye her hair - i am happy to have been among her things and smell her perfumes and watch her waltz in and out of the house from one adventure to another. i chatted and giggled with presley and lucas over a plate of wooden sushi eaten with velcro chopstix. a weekend trip on a whim to visit my gram at her wyoming cottage. trying to catch a breath of natalie and her tiger skirt from india in between her floating down the river and hiking up a mountain.
we're home now. safe and sound with our papa love who we missed so much. but my heart is aching a sadness of missing my family and the comfort of their hustle and bustle. it will take a few days to get things here back in order. check all the mail. return the phone calls. unpack the suitcases. fill up the cupboards. but for now my red plaid blanket still smells like my mama's house and i'm gonna go snuggle up and take a nap with my boy.

i tag you. take a minute to sum up your life in this moment. exactly how it is. in six words. please play.
love, lin

A Grapefruit Ankle

Friday, after Max and I climbed Shriek of the Mutilated, we climbed a really cool sport route called Das Muzak. We both managed to send the rig our second try. Then we rallied back to the Peshastin house, I showered, shaved, threw on a nice shirt and some black shoes and headed to an interview for a bussing position at Visconti's. The manager looked at my application and my resume quizically. "Don't you think you're overqualified?" Obviously, the manager had never seen me work. I swore up and down that I was not. Maybe I'll have a second job. I did some errands around town, and saw Isaac. We made plans to boulder and an hour later, he, Ryan, and I were at the Icehouse. We rocked out the boulders there for a bit before heading to Saul's Canal, where Isaac had just established some new problems. One was an extremely hard mantle clocking in around v8. Shit. He had his heel and his arm intertwined pressing the business out. Impressive stuff. Afterwards, we stopped by Safeway to get food for dinner. In the checkout line, the cute girl in front of me turned, smiled, and said "Hi James." It took me a moment to place her. She worked as the bartender at Visconti's. We never met, but obviously she knew who I was. We flirted in line. I thought about telling her what a big deal I am but decided to keep it cool. She encouraged me to go back to Visconti's and try hard to get the bussing job. Good stuff. Afterwards, Isaac, Ryan, and I made dinner, and I drank too much beer. What a rad day. There's not much better than having a lot of things go well in one day. Makes me not mind living in Leavenworth so much. I have been thinking about leaving lately, but I might just be able to stick it out up here.

Last night, I worked a double, which means 8 non-stop hours of bussing. I do not mind working hard. Don't tell anyone I said that. But I rarely walk around much outside of work. For the past three and a half years, I have avoided sligging, hiking, and general long walks. The impact makes the metal in my left ankle funky, and the whole rig swells up like a grapefruit. Yesterday, I hobbled to my car after my shift ended. I felt like a cripple again. Not cool. Learning to walk again was difficult. Limping reminds me of the pain.

In other news, I am going to see the Batman movie today and am very excited. I love superhero movies. I spend hours reading comic books. Yup, I dork out to The Amazing Spider-Man, and The Dark Knight, and the occasional Archie and Jughead comics. Who doesn't think Peter Park is the shit, or that Bruce Wayne is a badass, or that one day Betty and Veronica will kiss and make Jughead's day.

This, That and the Other Thing...

I think it's time for another post! This picture was taken yesterday at my nephew's baptism. We decided to get a family shot, as we don't have many of the 3 of us looking nice.

Lucas is almost 7 months old and he is so joyful! He is pleasant, curious and he doesn't miss a beat with his eyes. He can't quite sit on his own, but he's trying! I think he would prefer to stand all the time anyway. He reaches and grabs for objects, and my Nanny taught him to lift his hands if you put yours out to him. His giggle is contagious and he has a great belly laugh. And he's a water baby! He can spend an hour or more in the water and not get bored. He likes to float on his back, throw his head back in the water and kick, kick, kick! I'm so glad that he likes the water, as Nate and I love to swim. He started eating solids about a month ago. So far he's had: rice, oatmeal, barley, carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, green beans and sweet peas. He seemed not to like the green beans too much, but he didn't completely reject them either. He's also teething. It looks as if his top front teeth will come in before the bottom ones. What a surprise. Not much else has followed "textbook" progression with him, so why would he start now? (big smiley face) I regularly forget that he is profoundly deaf. Then reality hits me square in the face.

I no longer feel the need to refer to his hearing loss as severe-profound, as he has yet to test in the severe range. And, the last report we got from CHOP lists his responses to speech stimuli as "consistent with profound hearing loss, bilaterally." I often think about how different it would be if his hearing loss were only moderate. He could at least hear me call his name. I know it really wouldn't be any easier, but the grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence.

We still have yet to elicit any kind of reaction from him. But, I am absolutely convinced that when I put his hearing aids in every day, he starts to vocalize within 30 seconds, without fail. My Mom has confirmed it and so has Nate, so I'm not just imagining things either. So maybe he can hear himself a bit with his hearing aids in. I would agree that he's at least getting sound awareness.

Lucas is now a celebrity! I've passed the blog along to all of the (many) healthcare professionals that he works with, and I was contacted by CHOP to see if I would allow them to use the blog picture of Lucas in their publications! How exciting! And now I'm going to praise CHOP. Lucas is enrolled in their "CATIPIHLER" program (CHOP's Assessment and Treatment Implementation Program for Infants and toddlers with Hearing Loss - Enhancing (Re)habilitation). Two of the MAJOR benefits of the program are loaner hearing aids and free hearing aid molds for the first year! If he is a CI candidate, we will never have to purchase hearing aids on our own then. Other benefits include: speech and language assessments and intervention sessions with certified AV therapists, consultation with an educational consultant, meeting with a counselor or social worker, and assistance with referrals to other specialists, if needed. It has been very helpful, especially when I'm trying to schedule more than one appointment on one day, I've contacted CATIPIHLER and they've helped me get it done more efficiently. If I have one complaint about CHOP, it's been some incompetent support staff (receptionists, etc.) and this program has helped me bypass those frustrations. I'm very impressed with the ENT and audiologist we've been working with, so CHOP gets an A so far (Can you tell I'm a teacher?). That comment reminds me of when Lucas was admitted to the hospital over Easter with RSV with an oxygen saturation level of 80%. Initially, Nate and I were like "that's not so bad, it's a low B"... haha, now we know much better! We head to the Outer Banks in 2 weeks, then we return for marathon CHOP appointments - August 11, 12, 13 & 20. Oh yeah, I hand delivered his MRI CD to CHOP last Tuesday, and the ENT we were seeing called to re-schedule with me with one of the CI ENT surgeons, so we will see him on August 13. We will know the results of the MRI by then, at the latest.

Shriek of the Mutilated

Max rolled a cigarette, letting a few shreds of Bali Shag fall into his lap. He sucked on the coffin nail, and racked up. The day before he removed an unecessary, and somewhat annoying, pin from the route. Two weeks before, he had tried the route. A year before he flailed on it. He finished his cigarette and stared at his rolling tobacco. For a moment I thought he would chain smoke another one. He reached in his pack, grabbed his lighter, and smoked some hippie lettuce instead. Nervous.
Shriek of the Mutilated climbs out a body length roof. Max moved delicately up to the overhanging section of granite, placed a cam carefully, rested for a moment then started into the crux. He bumped his hand out to the lip, stretched more, then popped to a small ledge. That's when he screamed. His feet cut. He dangled in space before quickly slapping his other hand around the lip, throwing his heel onto the rock, and pressing his body up to a tiny crack. He grunted heavily when he finally pulled over the savage roof. Tough guy, Max Hasson.
It was pretty cool to watch Max try hard on a route. Though an accomplished rock jock, with a one day ascent of Cerro Torre's Compressor Route, numerous v8 boulder problem sends, and 5.12+ sport flashes, he had not red pointed 5.12 on gear before today. So next time you see him congratulate him. Or better yet quote the Beatles and tell Maxwell Silver Hasson "Bang! Bang!"

A Project Perhaps?

In climbing, it is possible to climb very, very hard. Usually this requires a decent amount of effort. Some people project routes, working for long periods to send the rigs. Rob Miller spent two or three years on the Muir Wall on El Cap, leaving right after work in Santa Cruz, driving three and a half hours to Yosemite, hiking to the top of El Cap, and rapping down the face to work on the route. That's one type of projecting. Alex Honnold waltzed up to Jailhouse tied into his rope, and tried Flower Power, hanging on the bolts, and bouldering out the moves. He tried the route again for a couple days, complained about how hard it was, then sent the savage 14b in eight tries. That's another type of projecting.
Yesterday, a bunch of monkeys and I piled into my station wagon and bumped up the Icicle road to boulder. The Millenium boulder sits next to the river in a small opening, a single large granite chunk. A half dozen problems ascend the formation most of them involving sloping holds and heinously high feet. On one side of the formation there is the Millenium Traverse, which begins in a curvature of the rock, hits a sloping lip and moves left across the boulder to a large sidepull and a huge move to a good ledge. I climbed well on it yesterday and plan on going back to work on the problem more. Hopefully, it won't be a epic project but be something I can complain about for a few days, crush, and then spray about.


I wish I was an idiot savante, minus the idot part. Imagine being able to tickle the keys of any grand piano with Mozart’s 19th symphony or strutting into a Las Vegas casino, counting all the cards, and strolling out with millions or maybe Tom Cruise could be your brother. But I’m not Rainman, though I am an idiot savante, minus the savante part.

I try to picture myself inventing the paper clip, or perhaps the glue on the back of a post-it-note. That would be smart. I try not to picture myself with a paper clip, scrapping a tin pipe for resin, or sniffing a post-it-note’s glue to get high. That would be more realistic. I prefer to imagine the fantastic. Walking around the financial district of San Francisco with a leather suitcase filled with protocol pamphlets on Wells Fargo’s auditing department. That would be fantastic. Somewhere along the lines of Falcor, the luck dragon in The Neverending Story, a flying white Dachsun, who looks more like he should belong inside a hot dog than amongst the clouds. Sitting in my station wagon, stealing wireless from the local library, and looking for another job, more money to pay for another pair of climbing shoes. That would be realistic. Too bad reality can not become the fantastic.

I am epicing. I have no money. I am not working enough. The future looks grim. This is me festering.

Cleaning and Grinding

Today, we cleaned the Peshastin house. I took the time to scrub the counters with a sponge and soap instead of my shirt sleeve while Max swept. Hell, he even moved the furniture. After such hard work, we deserved some well earned sustenance. Max blended a creamy peach and banana smoothie complete with a healthy dose of Trader Darwin’s Whey Protein. This vanilla powder contains 16 grams of protein, 130 IU of Vitamin D, and 80 mg of calcium from the whey protein extract. Tired of all the jokes about how he jumared the Compressor Route on Cerro Torre, and got dragged to the summit of a first ascent on Fitz Roy, Maxwell is bulking up, moving from his current bantam weight class to one where he will not be considered so light duty. Good luck Max! After he finished his bulk fest, I used Max’s Cuisin Art to mix a batch of garlic hummus, which turned out quite well. Now, let me tell you something; I can blend. It’s a delicate art, this whole chopping and grinding business. Here are a few things I have learned over my years behind a blender.

1. Do not toss your ingredients in half-hazardly. Oh no! Formulate a game plan, starting with the items which will be hardest to chop and adding to this base ingredient.

2. I once mistook peanut butter for tahini. Make sure to read the labels on all ingredients or your hummus may have a strange hint of Skippy.

3. The proper way to run a food processor is to add ingredient, close lid, and then blend, puree, or chop. Do not run the processor with the top off for two very good reasons.

3.a There could be splatter. I spent half an hour wiping garbanzo beans off my kitchen walls.

3.b The opportunity to put in some foreign object into the blender is way too great when the cover is off. My favorite wood spoon lost half of its curve and there is always a chance a finger could fall in. Neither splinters nor blood add a pleasant taste to hummus.

Quick Update

Just to give a quick update...

We won't know the results of the MRI for a while, because I guess the radiologists in Lancaster are too inexperienced to read the MRI for what I'm looking for. It's been a long few days of many phone calls and frustrations, but I've realized that I will have to send the films to CHOP and have them read them there. Who knows how long that will take. The next appointment with the ENT at CHOP is August 20, so we might not even know until then. I really hope sooner though, as I am very, very anxious to hear.

On a different note, Lucas now has a speech-language pathologist (SLP) who has a lot of experience with HOH kids, and despite a very busy schedule, is willing to take on Lucas because she has a big heart for HOH kids. I have heard so many good things about her, and I really look forward to working with her.

Although we are signing with Lucas, it is no longer our first priority. It will be an excellent way to bridge the communication gap with our son (as it is with all babies), but our real goal is for him to listen and speak. I really figured that out when I sat down with the AV therapist at CHOP and we made up a dream sheet. She asked me where I wanted Lucas to be in a year, in 5 years, in 10 years. I realized that my goal is not for him to be fluent in sign language, but rather to be speaking and listening, period. Although we're not throwing signing out, AVT (auditory-verbal therapy) is our new priority. Some families with profoundly deaf children do not sign at all, so it's not impossible, it's just a different way of thinking. We're still doing Total Communication, but with a big AV emphasis.

a secret...

"a baby has begun to grow... a belly has begun to glow"

On Bouldering and Awkward Conversations

Some days quick draws cover the ice screws. Other days, crashpads cover the ropes and biners. But on most days, piles of empty Olympia cans bury the climbing gear. A week ago, the boys of the Peshastin house dug the mountaineering gear out and made an epic slog up Mount Maude, a classic Cascade choss hike. For the next three days Max, Jens, and Dave sat. They barely had enough energy to scrap their pipes and take their hourly resin hits. I avoided the hike and stayed pysched on the local climbing, bouldering around the Tumwater and Icicle Canyons. Rad stuff. I took a day off and wandered the granite boulders to make a summer tick list. For the past few days, I have been attacking the list, checking out some of the harder problems and sending the easier ones. Two days ago, the monkeys and I rallied out to the Forestland to try the Ruminator, a classic Leavenworth boulder problem. The twenty foot highball begins off an undercling and follows a steep crack to an exciting finish. Sick. Real sick.

Jens and I drove out to Nason Ridge a couple days ago. The local choss pile features steep, crazy rock. Lots of big holds. Lots of loose rock. After warming up Jens started up a line in the left part of the cave. The climb follows easy terrain to a strange fin, which juts out at head height. The crux of the route involves hitting the fin and pushing against it in a sort of fucked up chimney move. Imagine reaching up and pushing off against the O on a stop sign. Jens fell with the rope wrapped around his leg, lowered to the ground, started back up and fired the route. I tried the route afterwards, did the move and entagled my arm in the rope. When I fell I managed to get a big burn across my arm just below my bicep. Ouch.

Yesterday, Max, Dave, and I met Joe out at Osprey Rafts, where Joe works as a white water rafting guide. The Wenatchee runs fast even through the summer. The class 3+ rapids crashed into our raft. Exciting stuff. Unfortunately, I was ignorant of how cold the run off of the Cascades is. That and the water was wet. Who knew? We barreled down most the river without too much trouble. The beer before the rapids gave us courage for the white water and the hippie lettuce calmed us down afterwards. Everything went well until the end when my b astard of a friend, Joe, flipped the boat. Max was livid and for good reason. Getting worked by waves sucks espescially when you swim like a stone. Scary stuff. Thank Jesus for life jackets.

In other news, my friend’s ex-girlfriend called me, seeking solace as to why her boyfriend ever left her. It was not awkward at all. I do not know what to say about this except that I need to screen my phone calls more, even if it is a girl.

Also, Jessica had a party at her house the other night. After bouldering, we headed up there, picked Rainer cheeries from her tree, gorged ourselves, and then settled back with a couple Olympias. A few hours later, some of the local Leavenworth kids showed up. One dawg wore a super sized shirt with a huge sequin dollar bill on it. He spent time in California before; he hustled outside Venoose, slinging Oxycotin for big skrilla. “Dollah, dollah billah!” He sprayed. Jens wanted to punch him in the head when he would not share his blunt. Max wanted to show the wiggah what was up for saying “dawg” and “skrillah.” Angry, angry monkeys. Funny stuff.


I'm really glad today is over. It started at 1 AM, when I woke Lucas up to give him a bottle for the last time before the MRI. We arrived at the hospital at 6 AM, and Lucas slept the whole time we were there until he had the MRI. It really went quite smoothly. I discussed with the anesthesiologist not sedating Lucas, because I was convinced he would be asleep the whole time. The MRI was to take about 1 1/2 hours, so he didn't want to chance it. So, sedation it was. At 7:30 they wheeled me down to radiology holding Lucas and it was there that I had to give him over to the staff (that's never fun). But he was at least sleeping, so he didn't know any better. They gave him anesthesia through a mask, then put in an IV to continue giving meds, so he actually didn't shed any tears today (hooray!). That was comforting. The last two times we were in the hospital because he was sick, he cried a lot because they had to do painful procedures on him (like restarting an IV line 3 times in a row at 2 in morning).

Nate and I then went to the cafeteria to get some breakfast, he left for grad school and I went to day surgery to wait. I was told the MRI would take about an hour and half, so I was figuring I would hear from the doctor by 9:15. From about 9:20-10:00, when I still hadn't heard anything, I got pretty worried. Since there are risks associated with sedating babies, I was terrified. Instead of continuing my worst-case scenario thoughts, I asked the desk to call and find out what was going on. They said he would be in post-op in 10 minutes. I was so relieved. Soon thereafter, I met with the anesthesiologist who said Lucas did really well, and then I got to go to recovery and see my baby. The MRI just lasted longer than anticipated, as the radiologist wanted some additional pictures with contrast.

When I got there, I was told that the nurses were fighting over who got to hold him. He woke up groggy, but pleasant. He was happy to see me. He drank half a bottle and then was wide awake, standing on my lap, smiling, waving his arms, and flirting with all the nurses. And so continued his day. He had absolutely no side effects from the anesthesia! That's good to note for future reference. We both had a good nap together in the afternoon, then went swimming at Grandma's pool. You'd never know that he had had general anesthesia this morning.

At this point, we have no idea what the MRI showed. It has to be read by a radiologist, then relayed to our pediatrician, then we can find out the results. I hope to hear by the middle of next week. I'm just trying not to think about it. These results will either make or break his chances of CI candidacy, and his chance to ever hear.


I've never been one to like work. My distaste for the matter stems from my childhood, too many long hours shoveling goat shit, planting rows upon rows of silverqueen sweet corn, and chasing cows when they broke through the fences in Vermont. But, I need money to support my obsessive climbing habit. Shoes, ropes, and gas do not come cheap. Thursday morning, I will start working at a rafting company in town. I am torn between trying to find a second job and work a lot, the current position at Osprey only requires 24 hours of work a week, and just trying to get by. Less work means more climbing. More climbing now means more work later though. I would really like to have some money to move to Boulder in December and to take a few months of before going. I really want to spend a little time hanging out in Yosemite/Sonora area this fall as well as head down to Zion. I might have to find a second job.