and then there were two

We had... a GREAT day. I'm exhausted, and am a bit in overload, but we couldn't have asked for a better 2nd activation experience.

We started out early and even went out for breakfast to start our day. Lucas's audiologist was running a little bit late, because he had another activation this morning. We got to see that family as they were leaving, with two sets of grandparents in tow and everything. I engaged them in conversation, because they were excited to see that Lucas had a CI too. When we were in those early stages, I always wanted to talk to people in the waiting area, but others were not always as interested in talking to me. The father asked me how Lucas is doing, and I started crying... you know, that quiet cry that you try to hold in to no avail. All of the emotions of our almost 3 year journey to bringing sound to Lucas rushed to me in that moment, and I was unable to hold it together enough to express to him how well Lucas is doing. Words came out, but were not exactly what I wanted to say. There were really tears of sheer joy and gratitude, and he sensed that, but I wanted to say so much more. I wished them well and they were on their way.

Lucas did really well all day long. He looked a little concerned in the car as we talked about going to the hospital to get his 2nd ear. We assured him that there would be no ouchies, no jammies, and no going to sleep. He then grinned from ear to ear and his body language changed dramatically. Phew. We talked to him about how his new ear might sound silly, and how his old ear would have to be connected to his head, but not on, and how that would be temporary. I guess it worked.

I promise that I dress my child in more than an undershirt when it's 34 degrees outside, but inside this mapping room it was 90 degrees. He really had some great reactions to the new sounds he was hearing. You could tell that he was somewhat unsure, as his eyes would often just move to the side when he heard the beeps. But, other times, he would say "beep, beep". We thought that was really neat. He wasn't so sure about all of the new sounds, but he was definitely a good sport.  Hopefully I'll be able to edit our video footage and post a highlights video this weekend.

He was pretty happy to build this tower...

side view...

rear view...

I love the N5s. There is such a marked difference in size. See for yourself. The side by side view does not look as different as the back view, but there really is a big difference on his head!

I never said I was a hand model... please excuse my very dry hands!

This is the very sleek remote control, that I still must learn how to use!

So, our day went as well as it could have. I felt like a little girl on Christmas morning with all of my excitement. We love the new N5s, but I'm admittedly a tad overwhelmed with figuring out how to work the remote in coordination with both implants. I need to check out the online tutorial this weekend and practice. I think it's a great feature though. 

Lucas did amazingly well today, and took it all in stride. I told him how proud I was of him tonight before he went to bed. I must tell him that pretty often, because the other day I overheard him telling one of his bears, "I'm so proud of you." Priceless!

I will admit, however, that Lucas is not super excited about the new implant. He's tolerating it well, but he expressed several times today, "I don't like it." He always says it calmly though, and there haven't been any tears or tantrums about it. While driving this evening, I removed the new ear because I knew that he would take it off as soon as I shut the car door. We keep telling him that he must wear it so that it stops sounding silly. He happily lets me put it on his ear, and then he runs off to play and forgets about it. I can't ask for much more right now. He must adjust to having sound in this ear for the time, well... ever. I'm looking forward to his ear healing completely too, so that he can go back to wearing wig tape to keep it on his head. For now, we're just using the snugfit, but it's not nearly as effective as the wig tape.

We have four programs to work through until we return in a little over a week for a new mapping session. He definitely has access to sound right now, but it's very quiet, and he's unable to discriminate speech. The goal is for him to get used to wearing the processor and to gradually increase his maps so that he has full access to sound. 

Over the next few weeks, we will try to spend some time each day with his new ear alone. We will start again at step one... sound detection. We will teach him to recognize the presence and absence of sound. Then we will be move up through the 4 levels of auditory development to discrimination (hearing the difference between 2 different sounds), identification (recognizing and labeling sound), and comprehension (understanding the meaning of sound).

I am pumped and ready to work with this new ear! But first, some sleep, and time to let this all sink in. It will take some time to get used to seeing two processors on his head. They will always be there. They will never go away. Sometimes, even on the best of days, it's hard to really digest that reality. But then, he will walk into the room and say the most magnificent sentence in the clearest, sweetest little voice, and it makes it all worth it.

Our baby is a BILATERAL bionic boy. Happy hearing birthday to your new ear, little Lucas.