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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Initial Ochsner's Visit- 05/13/2011

It's as if Hunter knows when the important days come around, because he always acts like an angel :) Our road trip with Daddy and Gammy was quite successful, and we even got to visit with Nana and Pappie while Pappie is recovering in the hospital, and looking great I might add!
Our appointment started with Hunter and I sitting in a sound booth, a routine procedure that the audiologist has to perform on Hunter just to make sure she doesn't get any reaction out of him. It mainly consisted of high pitched sounds that would cause a hearing baby to jump due to the loudness of the sounds. But as expected, Hunter did not react to the noises.
We then met with Dr. Molony, soon to be our saving grace. Dr. Molony is the Tiger Woods of the Cochlear Implant surgery, and is said to be one of the best in the southern region! We had a small meet and greet with him just to get a feel for what we are in for. He did tell us that the FDA does not recommend the implant surgery on babies less than a year old, and he sees no reason to do them any younger than a year. (and we are all for following whatever the FDA recommends) We will go back in 6 months, when Hunter is about 8 months old because Dr. Molony likes to redo the ABR test (the hearing test he had when he was born) just to make sure there is no change. At this appointment Hunter will also have to be sedated to perform the CT scan. This is to get a look at the inside of his hear to make sure all the bones are there for the implant to be wrapped around. In the mean time we are borrowing a pair of hearing aids that we will get programmed for Hunter to wear for 3-6 months. This is something that is required for eligibility of the implant, just to make sure the hearing aids do not make any difference in Hunter's hearing. After talking with Dr. Molony, we then met with the audiologist again who showed us exactly what the implant looks like. There is a magnetic round part that is placed a little behind the hear and it has two string like devices that wrap around the cochlear bone. There are many different accessories that are required for the implant that go outside the head, one of which goes behind the ear like a normal hearing aid, and a round device that is connected to the hearing aid with a wire that sticks to the magnetic implant device that is inside the head. If this magnetic part is not on the head, then the device does not work. The outside parts comes in black, brown and beige so can be disguised if desired. But as she said, this is something to be proud of, and we will want to show off Hunter's new "ears"!
We did want to mention that we recently met an amazing little girl named Izabella Broussard from New Iberia. She had the implant surgery done by Dr. Molony almost 2 years ago, and is doing leaps and bounds as far as her hearing and talking is concerned. It gave us a new outlook for Hunter and put Blair and I's concerns about Hunter being a "normal" child to rest. She is such a character and joy to be around. Her parents, Natalie and Scotty, and her older sister Gabby have welcomed us with open arms and showed us what a success this road can lead to. We are so appreciative to them for their guidance and giving us a new found hope. I know Hunter and Isabella will have a very special friendship for life. Thank you to the Broussard Family!
So what's next? We enjoy every single day that we have with our little man until our next appointment in November. In the meantime, we also have been brushing up on our sign language skills and learning new ones every day. The sign language in a very important tool for us to use with Hunter so that once he does start hearing, it is easier for us to teach him what he is hearing. The implant allows him to hear, but not the same tones we do, and like a new baby he will have to learn what he is hearing. We are very excited about the sign language and our new friend Mrs. Nancy with the school of the deaf is excited to help us learn more and teach others who are interested! We also will do therapy sessions once a week, just to keep our little guy on track. We have been learning different tips on how to stimulate him in ways other than sound. Bright colors, light up toys, and BIG funny faces. We have started getting smiles and giggles... it's so fun to get reactions out of him! Thank you for following us, and we will post pictures in the meantime. But keep us in your prayers, they are appreciated more than you can ever imagine!
Hunter's Mommy

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