Wow. I have an incredible experience that I'd like to share. We spent a lovely evening in the park with Lucas. There was a praise band and the weather was beautiful. On the way home, my mom informed us that Lucas wanted ice cream (hint, hint), so we decided to stop. While we were getting situated, a woman walked by us and was really excited about Lucas's implant, telling us that her daughter, in line, had bilateral CIs! We were so excited. They sat down next to us, and we proceeded to chat for the next hour.
It just so happens that they were at the same event in the park, and although they don't live in our area, they were visiting family that attend our church. They were even going to go to another ice cream place, but decided to go with their original plan. The mother has a degree in deaf ed, and her daughter is about to turn 14. They go to the same implant center, and even have the same surgeon as Lucas.
This girl was just so impressive, and really well spoken. I'm talking not only about how great her speech is, but also how poised and articulate she is. She was first implanted when she was 8, so she provided some very interesting first-hand perspective as to what it was like to be implanted, how the sound differs from her hearing aids, and the benefit of 1 versus 2 implants. She was a breath of fresh air. I asked her questions about swimming, music appreciation, what kind of a difference using the Dry and Store makes, and what kind of advice she had for me. She told me to keep signing and introduce him to other kids with hearing loss. She also told me about a hearing loss camp here in PA that she highly recommends. Lucas is still a bit young, but we'll definitely look into it when he's older.
Her mom was really great too, and I hope she reads Lucas's blog and is able to contact me. She told me that she just got her daughter a cell phone, and that she's able to talk to her on it, not just text. I burst into tears, and she gave me a big hug, telling me that she understands, and it brings her to tears also. She told me about how her daughter continues to see improvement in her hearing, and how we made a great choice (in her opinion) on our CI company!
Meeting them was an answer to prayer. This is the very first time that I've met an older child with a CI, and really only the 3rd or 4th time that I've met any other children with CIs. Sometimes it's so hard to keep long-term perspective. We're often caught up in all of the little challenges associated with having a baby with hearing loss, such as keeping the CI processor on or whether he's responding to all of the Ling sounds. I've read about many successful kids through this blog network, but somehow, this was just different. Meeting this very successful young lady in person was just so refreshing, and I don't think it was coincidental.