Tomorrow will be one month post-activation for Lucas's 2nd ear. Oh how I wish that I could report that things have been perfect, and that he can hear beautifully, etc., but alas, I cannot. I am a bit... disappointed. There, I said it.
I do realize that it has only been a month, and I know that it will get better with age and time. But, with this CI, I had my expectations set really high. When he was first implanted, we were told to keep our hopes high and our expectations low. That way we couldn't be disappointed. We obliged, but last time he far exceeded our (and everyone else's) expectations. This time, not so much.
Okay... to be fair, he's not doing terribly, just not wonderfully. Clear as mud, right? I mean, at his 1-week post activation mapping, he was testing at 20-25 dB in the booth. That's exactly where we want him to be. So, his implant is working properly, and he has optimal access to sound. But, his brain is still not processing sound in his new ear like the old one. Okay, fine. I don't expect it to be either. But, I do expect to seeing glimpses of what he's processing. We're getting nothing.
But, as much as he's not showing what he's understanding, I really think he is. He just won't let on to it. I believe that he is so incredibly high functioning with the first ear that he simply doesn't like what he hears with the 2nd ear. He totally shuts down, and won't show or do anything with it. He retreats into his own little world, silent, then demands to have his old ear back. The most I can get him to wear his new ear alone is 5 or 10 minutes, max. One time, his amazing AV therapist got him to wear it for an entire hour. Unfortunately, Lucas turned 3 and we're not working with her anymore... sigh.
It hasn't helped that Lucas has been really, really sick since New Year's Eve: coughing, head cold, fever, ear infections, sinus infection. Yesterday he finally started feeling better, but he's still not back to himself. Today alone I think I put his 2nd ear back on 25 different times. He hands it to me and says, "I don't need this." He's still adjusting.
I can now totally understand why people get simultaneous, bilateral implants for their children. It would be so much easier to learn to listen with both ears at the same time. Instead, Lucas has a huge disparity between how he hears with one ear versus the other, and he's too young to understand why. Simultaneous bilaterals weren't an option for us though, so it's not like we made a regrettable decision. We would have gotten him the 2nd CI sooner, but that wasn't an option either. So here we are, doing our best. We continue to be thankful that he has a 2nd CI at all. Some day I know I will be singing the praises of 2 ears... when he's in the elementary school cafeteria, on the playground or when one of his processors breaks. We'll get there... I know we will. I hope to give a better report next month! :)